What you need to know
Ukraine's interior minister said Russian forces pummeled Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine in an early Friday attack, killing a 10-year-old boy and injuring several others.
The blast left a deep crater in a city street, just meters away from an apartment building, images from the aftermath of the Russian strike showed.
The attack comes a day after a cafe and a grocery store were hit in the Ukrainian village of Hroza, also in the Kharviv region, killing at least 51 civilians.
Meanwhile, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier visited the US capital, Washington, where he met with US President Joe Biden. The two leaders discussed aid to Kyiv in the face of potentially damaging US political infighting and Ukrainian disappointment over Germany's reluctance to supply medium-range cruise missiles.
Here are the main headlines about Russia's war in Ukraine on Friday, October 6:
US and Germany call partnership 'indispensable'
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier was in Washington Friday for a meeting with US President Joe Biden. Though the two ostensibly met as a show of solidarity on German-American Day, much attention was focused on Ukraine.
The two spoke of the importance not only of the ties of the past — the day commemorates the establishment of the first German settlement in Pennsylvania in 1683 — but of today.
"Our partnership is indispensable for our aim to confront global challenges: From climate change and food security to the defense of democracy and human rights," read a statement released by Berlin.
"Our alliance is of central importance to our continued effort in supporting those brave Ukrainian men and women courageously defending their country, their freedom and their future."
There has been great concern in Ukraine, Germany and other European nations that US support for the war effort in Ukraine may be waning, especially in light of recent budget negotiations in Washington and this week's right-wing revolt in the Republican-led House of Representatives.
Biden has sought to allay fears by pledging to find workarounds to funding impasses and promising that the US remains a reliable partner, yet European allies have been alarmed by the dysfunction seemingly gripping Washington's political establishment.
Zelenskyy: Russia will 'try to destroy' energy grid this winter
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Friday said Kyiv was taking steps to protect critical infrastructure before the onset of winter, warning that Russia would again target it when temperatures drop.
"This winter, Russian terrorists will again try to destroy our power system," Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address. "We are fully aware of the danger."
Zelenskyy said Ukraine was preparing "the protection of our generating facilities and provision of electricity and heat, restoration of everything damaged by Russian strikes and hostilities."
Zelenskyy has previously said that Ukraine requires additional air defense systems to protect its power and heating infrastructure during the winter.
Ukraine's infrastructure has proven resilient, yet last winter citizens suffered biting cold as Russian forces targeted the country's power grid and heating facilities when temperatures dropped well below freezing.
Ukraine and its allies accused Moscow of "weaponizing winter" in an effort to break the will of the Ukrainian people.
Russia mulls pulling out of Nuclear Test Ban Treaty
Moscow has hinted that it may withdraw from the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, with Russian President Vladimir Putin broaching the idea Thursday and the head of the Russian parliament suggesting on Friday that a vote could be swiftly considered.
"At the next meeting of the State Duma Council we will definitely discuss the issue of revoking ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty," said Russia's top legislator Vyacheslav Volodin.
In response, Robert Floyd, executive secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), said, "It would be concerning and deeply unfortunate if any State Signatory were to reconsider its ratification of the CTBT."
The treaty has been signed by 187 countries and ratified by 178. However, it cannot go into effect until it is ratified by eight holdout nations: China, Egypt, Iran, Israel and the United States have signed but not ratified it; North Korea, India and Pakistan have yet to sign it.
Russia has repeatedly threatened the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine and has recently suggested that it may resume testing nuclear weapons.
Claiming, "Washington and Brussels have unleashed a war against our country," Vyacheslav Volodin said, [Withdrawal] conforms with our national interests. And it will come as a quid pro quo response to the United States, which has still failed to ratify the treaty."
On Thursday, Putin made note of the fact that unlike the US, which signed but did not ratify the 1996 treaty, Russia had ratified it in 2000.
Ukraine and Russia exchange remains of dead soldiers
Ukraine and Russia on Friday exchanged the remains of soldiers killed in combat. Kyiv reported that it had received the remains of 64 soldiers, as well as returning an undisclosed number of dead Russian soldiers to Moscow.
The exchange of remains, as well as prisoners of war, are among the very few instances in which representatives of the warring countries have direct contact.
Observers say, however, that such contacts have dwindled in 2023 as compared to the first 10 months of the war, which began with a Russian invasion on February 24, 2022.
US kicks out two Russian Embassy officials in tit-for-tat expulsions
The US State Department said it declared two Russian Embassy officials persona non grata on Friday.
The move came after a pair of US diplomats were expelled from the US Embassy in Moscow.
"In response to the Russian Federation's specious expulsion of two US Embassy Moscow diplomats, the State Department reciprocated by declaring persona non grata two Russian Embassy officials operating in the United States," the State Department said, adding that the expulsions were intended to signal that "unacceptable actions" against US personnel would have consequences.
Russia's state-owned RIA news agency cited an anonymous source in the Russian Foreign Ministry calling the expulsions groundless and claiming that the two US officials expelled from Russia in September had been "caught red-handed engaging in spying activities."
Ukraine's parliament approves defense spending hike
Ukraine's parliament on Friday voted to increase defense spending until the end of the year by $8.3 billion (€7.8 billion) as its war to fend off invading Russian forces continues.
The move will add the equivalent of 26.6% of GDP to Ukraine's security and defense sector budgets.
Ukraine's Finance Ministry said the bulk of the newly approved funds will be earmarked for the financial support of military personnel, whereas a smaller portion will be used to purchase military equipment.
Currently, Ukraine's government says it plans to devote more than half of its 2024 budget — which must still be approved — to defense spending.
EU Western Balkans enlargement 'a geopolitical necessity' says Baerbock
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on Friday said, "Russia's attack on Ukraine makes EU enlargement to include the Western Balkans a geopolitical necessity."
Baerbock made the comments in the Albanian capital Tirana, where she met with the foreign ministers of Serbia, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Albania.
The German diplomat cited Ukrainian enthusiasm for the EU, saying it was a sentiment "shared in particular by the young people of the Western Balkans."
In Albania as part of the so-called Berlin Process designed to advise the Western Balkans' six non-EU states, Baerbock called for the countries to be economically integrated into the West before officially joining the bloc — saying all sides must drop the existing "all-or-nothing" approach to EU accession.
Ukrainian ambassador disappointed Scholz won't deliver Taurus missiles
Ukrainian Ambassador to Germany Oleksii Makeiev on Friday said he was disappointed by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz's refusal to deliver German-Swedish-made Taurus cruise missiles.
Kyiv has long requested the medium-range missiles, which Makeiev told Germany's Funke media group were essential to Ukraine's "survival."
Scholz again ruled out delivery of the missiles on Thursday while attending the European Political Community (EPC) summit in Granada, Spain.
The chancellor justified the decision by saying Germany did not want to escalate the situation and that its laws prohibited it from becoming "part of the conflict."
Scholz did not go into specifics as to which laws he was referring to, nor did a government spokesperson when pressed for clarification by journalists on Friday.
Norbert Röttgen of the opposition CDU accused Scholz of "dragging out the war," calling his decision "morally and politically flawed."
Germany home to largest group of Ukrainians who've fled the war
Almost 4.2 million Ukrainians who fled the war in their country were now living in the European Union, the bloc's statistical agency Eurostat said.
The EU activated a temporary protective directive for the first time this March to quickly assist people fleeing the war in Ukraine without forcing them to go through an asylum application process. Eurostat said the latest data count was until August 31.
The largest group of Ukrainians, 1.18 million people, were living in Germany. The figure represented a hike of 22,000 more people compared to data at the end of July.
In Poland, however, the numbers fell from 1.4 million at its height to 957,000 Ukrainians, according to the latest data by the agency.
Germany and Poland together host nearly half of all refugees from Ukraine, with Germany accounting for 28% of those who fled the war, and Poland accounting for 23%.
The damage in Kharkiv following consecutive Russian strikes
A Russian missile strike on Friday killed a 10-year-old boy and injured two dozen other people in the northeastern Ukrainian region of Kharkiv.
The Russian attack came a day after a strike in the same region killed at least 51 people in one of the deadliest attacks in Moscow's war in Ukraine in months.
Kharkiv's regional prosecutor's office said the 10-year-old boy was killed as a result of the attack early Friday morning.
The blast left a crater in a city street, just meters away from an apartment building. Debris and rubble littered the street.
Surrounding buildings were blackened by the blast, which shattered windows and damaged parked cars.
A Russian rocket blast a day earlier turned a village cafe and store in Hroza, a village in eastern Ukraine to rubble, killing at least 51 civilians, according to Ukrainian officials.
Zelenskyy condemns Russian strike in Kharkiv
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy sent his condolences to the victims of the latest Russian strike on Kharkiv that killed a young boy and left more than 20 injured.
"Kharkiv, Russian strike this morning. A child, a boy, 10 years old... My condolences to his family and loved ones! Over 20 people have been injured," he wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.
"All the injured are receiving the necessary assistance. The rescue operation is ongoing, and I thank everyone who is helping our people," Zelenskyy added.
Friday's strike came a day after an attack on a shop in Kharkiv killed dozens of people.
UN Human Rights Office deploys team to probe deadly attack in Ukrainian village
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has deployed a field team to probe one of the deadliest attacks in the war in months.
Russia's air forces targeted a cafe and shop in Hroza in eastern Ukraine, top Ukrainian and other officials said, killing at least 51 civilians.
Around 60 people, including children, were attending a wake at the cafe when the missile hit, Ukrainian officials said.
"It is very difficult to establish with absolute certainty what happened, but given the location, given the fact that the cafe was struck, the indications are that it was a Russian missile," Elizabeth Throssell, OHCHR's spokesperson told reporters in Geneva.
"The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Turk, who saw for himself the horrific impact of such strikes, is profoundly shocked and condemns these killings," she said.
"He has deployed a field team to the site to speak to survivors and gather more information," she added.
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, attending a summit of about 50 European leaders in Spain to drum up support from Ukraine’s allies, denounced the strike as a “demonstrably brutal Russian crime” and “a completely deliberate act of terrorism.”
Sweden announces new military package, says assessing transfer of fighter jets
Sweden announced new military aid for Ukraine worth 2.2 billion Swedish crowns ($199 million, €188 million). The package provides Kyiv mainly with artillery ammunition.
Defense Minister Pal Jonsson told a news conference that Sweden was looking into sending Gripen fighter jets — a single-engine aircraft designed to take off and land from dispersed bases and even highways — to Ukraine after the government asked his ministry to assess the issue.
He reiterated that Sweden would need to become a NATO member first before potentially supplying any spare jets.
Sweden had ruled out sending any Gripen fighters aircraft to Ukraine, saying it needs them for its own territorial defense.
The military package is going to be Sweden's 14th to Ukraine since the war began. That puts Sweden's total amount of aid to Kyiv at just over 22 billion Swedish crowns.
Ukraine has long sought Western fighter jets to fight against Russian invasion, but the US and other NATO countries were initially reluctant to transfer jets.
It was only in August that the US approved sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine from Denmark and the Netherlands as soon as pilots were trained to fly the jets.
Boy killed,16 wounded in another Russian attack on Kharkiv region: officials
A10-year-old boy was killed and at least 16 people were injured in Kharkiv as Russia launched a new drone and missile strikes on Ukraine early Friday.
The attack comes a day after Ukrainian officials said that 51 people were killed in a Russian missile strike in the village of Hroza in Kharkiv province.
"Another targeted attack by Russia on civilians. The body of a 10-year-old child was found under the ruins. Another 16 people were injured," Ukraine's interior minister Igor Klymenko said in a statement.
Meanwhile, a drone attack damaged a grain silo in Odesa’s Izmail district, the region’s governor Oleh Kiper said.
Nine trucks caught fire at the site of the attack but it was doused quickly, reports said.
Germany's president to meet Biden in Washington
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier is traveling to the US on Friday for a surprise visit to celebrate German-American Day.
During the trip, Steinmeier is due to meet US President Joe Biden in Washington.
The two leaders will reaffirm their "strong ties," the White House said in a statement on Thursday. Issues on the agenda include "defending democratic values and our shared commitment to support Ukraine as it defends itself from Russia's invasion," the statement added.
Steinmeier's trip comes amid growing concern within the European Union and the NATO military alliance regarding the continuity of US support to Ukraine in its war against Russia.