Latest news on Russia and the war in Ukraine


Russian forces are regrouping and gathering strength in Kherson, Kyiv official says

A village in the border of the Kherson region on Oct. 7, 2022.

Metin Aktas | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Russian forces show no sign of abandoning Kherson despite the growing Ukrainian counteroffensive to retake the territory that Russia has occupied since early spring.

While Russian-imposed authorities in the region have ordered civilians to evacuate, “the Russians are replenishing, strengthening their grouping there,” Ukrainian President advisor Oleksiy Arestovych said.

“It means that nobody is preparing to withdraw. On the contrary, the heaviest of battles is going to take place for Kherson.”

Kherson is the largest Ukrainian city under Russian control, and lies in the strategic south-east area that Moscow wants as a land bridge to Crimea, which it annexed in 2014. Kherson is one of four major regions in Ukraine’s south and east that Russia declared as annexed — illegal under international law — in late September.

— Natasha Turak

Infrastructure bottlenecks hamper Russia’s booming coal exports to China: Reuters

A photo of chemical plants in Germany.

Jan Woitas | Picture Alliance | Getty Images

Russian coal exports to energy-hungry China have jumped by about a third this year but the supply boom is being constrained by transport infrastructure limitations, industry sources and officials said.

China is seeking coal supplies from overseas, in particular after recent Covid-19 outbreaks in the major coal mining regions of Inner Mongolia and Shaanxi forced many mines to close, while coal demand at power generation and heating sectors will soon pick up with the coming of winter.

The Kremlin plans to increase its energy supplies to Asia, China in particular, to offset a slump in exports to the West, which has imposed sanctions on Russia over the conflict in Ukraine.

Russia is the world’s sixth-largest coal producer and one of top coal exporters, along with Indonesia and Australia. Its share of global coal exports reached 17% last year with supply of 223 million tons.


Ukrainian official asks Ukrainians abroad to not return home and to stay abroad

Civilians are seen taking shelter from Russian artillery in the Kharkiv area of Ukraine on April 3, 2022.

Wolfgang Schwan | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Ukraine’s deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk asked Ukrainians who are currently abroad to not return home yet, according to an NBC News translation.

“I will ask you not to return, we have to survive the winter,” Vereshchuk said, adding that Ukraine’s energy sector and infrastructure is too weak from the war to provide adequate support.

“If there is an opportunity to stay, for the time being, spend the winter abroad,” she added.

In recent weeks, Russian missiles and drone strikes have targeted critical Ukrainian infrastructure like energy systems. The Kremlin has previously denied Ukrainian and Western claims that it targets civilian infrastructure, which is a violation of the laws of conflict.

— Amanda Macias

White House says it would be a ‘major mistake’ for Russia to use nuclear weapons

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre holds the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, July 18, 2022.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said it would be “a major mistake” for Russia to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine and that it is taking the threat of a dirty bomb seriously.

“It would be a major mistake for Russia to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine leading to severe consequences,” Jean-Pierre said at the daily briefing.

The statement came in response to a question about the potential for Russia to use a dirty bomb. Russia has accused Ukraine of planning to use a “dirty bomb” on its own territory. On Tuesday Russia reiterated the allegations in a letter to the United Nations Security Council.

“We must take this seriously because in the past we have seen Russia use allegations as a pretext to escalate.”

— Emma Kinery

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