Ukraine Russia war – live: ‘Massive blackouts’ as Zelensky says 30% of power stations destroyed

Russia’s airstrikes have plunged Ukraine into darkness as almost a third of the country’s power plants have been destroyed.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted that 30 per cent of power plants were hit over the past week, causing “massive blackouts across the country”.

Russian missiles have taken aim at Ukraine‘s power grid since 10 October in an apparent bid to deny Ukrainians heating during the approaching winter and to erode civilian morale.

Moscow has also been bombarding Ukrainian cities with Iranian-made drones that have smashed into apartment blocks.

Renewed strikes around Ukraine caused several explosions in an area of northern Kyiv where there is a thermal power station. Two people were killed and one person was wounded, the Kyiv city prosecutor’s office said.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the presidential office, said three Russian strikes had hit an unspecified energy facility. City mayor Vitali Klitschko said the attack was on “critical infrastructure” in northern Kyiv.

It comes after 13 were killed in Russia after one of the country’s own fighter planes crashed into a residential building in the southern city of Yeysk on Monday.

Key Points

  • Putin killed another pregnant woman in Kyiv attacks - Zelensky

  • Zelensky says 37 Iranian drones shot down during Kyiv attack

  • Explained: Poor man's cruise missile ‘Kamikaze’ drones

  • At least 13 killed in Russian fighter plane crash in Yeysk

  • Russia carries out new air strikes on Ukrainian energy facilities

Russia says it has struck Ukrainian military and energy targets

12:18 , Reuters

Russia’s defence ministry on Tuesday said that had continued strikes against military and energy infrastructure targets in Ukraine.

Ukraine receives 2 billion euros in aid from EU - Ukrainian PM

11:58 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Ukraine received 2 billion euros in financial assistance from the European Union on Tuesday, the first tranche of a 5-billion euro EU package following Russian’s invasion, the Ukrainian prime minister said.

“The additional financial resource will help to cover urgent budgetary expenses, in particular for the social and humanitarian spheres,” prime minister Denys Shmyhal wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

Russian strikes knock out 30 per cent of Ukraine’s power plants

11:43 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Ukraine‘s president says that over the past week Russian attacks have knocked out 30 per cent of his country’s power plants.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a tweet on Tuesday that the strikes have caused “massive blackouts across the country”.

Russian missiles have taken aim at Ukraine‘s power grid since 10 October in an apparent bid to deny Ukrainians heating in the approaching winter and eroding civilian morale.

Moscow has also been bombarding Ukrainian cities with Iranian-made drones that have smashed into apartment blocks.

The Institute for the Study of War think tank, in Washington, that Moscow is “prioritising creating psychological terror effects on Ukraine over achieving tangible battlefield effects” amid Ukraine‘s recent counteroffensive.

Nord Stream leaks caused by ‘powerful explosions,’ Danish investigation finds

11:24 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Damage to the Nord Stream gas pipelines were caused by “powerful explosions”, a preliminary investigation by Danish investigators has found.

Unusual leaks were reported by the two underwater natural gas pipelines running 1,230km (764 miles) from Russia via the Baltic Sea to Germany on 23 September.

The Danish findings appeared to be similar to those of Swedish prosecutors, who said two other holes in the pipelines also seemed to have been caused by explosions and that the case was being investigated as an act of gross sabotage.

Nord Stream leaks caused by ‘powerful explosions,’ Danish investigation finds

Two killed in Russian missile strike on Kyiv - prosecutor's office

11:12 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Two people were killed in a Russian missile strike on an energy supply facility in the Ukrainian capital on Tuesday, the Kyiv City Prosecutor’s office said.

Citing preliminary information, it said another person was also wounded in the attack.

Russian missile strikes in Kyiv (REUTERS)
Russian missile strikes in Kyiv (REUTERS)

Kremlin denies using Iranian drones in attack on Ukraine

10:50 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The Kremlin on Tuesday denied its forces had used Iranian drones to attack Ukraine.

Ukrainian leaders have accused Russia of using Iranian Shahed-136 “kamikaze” drones, which explode on impact, in attacks on Kyiv. Several images posted on social media showed delta-wing drones similar to the Iranian model being used in an attack on the Ukrainian capital on Monday.

Asked if Russia had used Iranian drones in its campaign in Ukraine, spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Kremlin did not have any information about their use.

“Russian equipment with Russian nomenclature is used,” he said. “All further questions should be directed to the Defence Ministry.”

The ministry did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Iran denies supplying drones to Russia, and wreckage from at least one drone showed the Russian name “Geran-2” (Geranium-2).

The U.S. State Department said its assessment was that Iranian drones had been used in Monday morning’s rush-hour attack on Kyiv. White House spokesperson Karinne Jean-Pierre accused Tehran of lying when it said Russia was not using Iranian drones in Ukraine.

Leaders from across Europe have said the use of Iranian drones would mark a serious escalation in the conflict and should trigger new sanctions on Iran.

Kremlin says it has no information on use of Iranian 'Kamikaze' drones

10:30 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The Kremlin on Tuesday said it had no information about whether or not Iranian “Kamikaze” were used in large-scale attacks against Ukraine earlier this week.

Leaders in Ukraine have accused Russia of using Iranian Shahed-136 drones in attacks against Kyiv.

The wreckage on an Iranian Shahed drone (Ukrainian military's Strategic Communications Directorate via AP)
The wreckage on an Iranian Shahed drone (Ukrainian military's Strategic Communications Directorate via AP)

Asked if Russia did use the Iranian drones in the attack on Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Kremlin did not have any information about their use.

Russia is unleashing  successive waves of the Iranian-made Shahed drones over Ukraine
Russia is unleashing successive waves of the Iranian-made Shahed drones over Ukraine

Kremlin: annexed Ukrainian lands protected by Russian nuclear weapons

10:14 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The Kremlin on Tuesday said that the four regions of Ukraine that Russia declared it had annexed in recent weeks fall under the protection of Russia‘s nuclear arsenal.

In a call with reporters, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “These territories are inalienable parts of the Russian Federation ... and their security is provided for at the same level as the rest of Russia‘s territory.”

Thirty percent of Ukraine's power stations destroyed in a week, president says

09:55 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Russian air strikes have destroyed 30 per cent of Ukraine‘s power stations since Oct. 10, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said on Tuesday.

He wrote on Twitter that the attacks had caused massive blackouts across Ukraine and that there was “no space left for negotiations” with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

‘Powerful explosions' behind Nord Stream leaks, Danish police say

09:30 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

A preliminary investigation of damages to the two Nord Stream gas pipelines in the Danish part of the Baltic Sea shows that the leaks were caused by “powerful explosions”, Copenhagen Police said in a statement on Tuesday.

Further investigations into the Sept. 26 ruptures of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines in Denmark’s exclusive economic zone will be handled jointly by Copenhagen Police and Denmark’s Security and Intelligence Service.

The Danish findings appeared to be similar to those of Swedish prosecutors, who said two other holes in the pipelines also seemed to have been caused by explosions and that the case was being investigated as an act of gross sabotage.

Swedish and Danish authorities have been investigating four leaks in the pipelines, which link Russia and Germany via the Baltic Sea and have become a flashpoint in the Ukraine crisis.

Danish police could not say when the investigation is expected to be concluded.

“It is still too early to say anything about the framework under which the international cooperation with e.g. Sweden and Germany will run, as it depends on several factors,” Copenhagen Police said.

World leaders have called the damages an act of sabotage and Moscow has sought to pin the blame on the West, suggesting the United States stood to gain. Washington has denied any involvement.

Russia carries out new air strikes on Ukrainian energy facilities

09:10 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Russian forces carried out new air strikes on Ukrainian energy facilities on Tuesday, causing several explosions in an area of northern Kyiv where there is a thermal power station.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the presidential office, said there had been three Russian strikes on an unspecified energy facility. City mayor Vitali Klitschko said the attack was on “critical infrastructure” in northern Kyiv, where Reuters witnesses saw thick smoke rising into the sky.

Neither official said whether the thermal power station had been hit. They also gave no casualty details.

“Ukraine is under fire by the occupiers. They continue to do what they do best - terrorise and kill civilians,” President Volodymyr Zelensky wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

“The terrorist state will not change anything for itself with such actions. It will only confirm its destructive and murderous essence, for which it will certainly be held to account.”

Tymoshenko said two air strikes hit an energy facility in the southeastern city of Dnipro, causing “serious damage”, presidential aide Kyrylo Tymoshenko wrote on Telegram.

“There is a fire raging and serious destruction,” regional governor Valentyn Reznichenko said of the strike on Dnipro.

An air strike left the northern city of Zhytomyr without water and electricity supplies, its mayor said, and a Reuters witness said a Russian missile struck an apartment building in the Ukrainian port city of Mykolaiv.

The missile completely destroyed one wing of the building in the downtown area, leaving a large crater.

Three children among the dead in Russian fighter crash near Ukraine

09:01 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Three children were among the 13 killed when a Sukhoi Su-34 fighter jet crashed into the courtyard of a nine-storey apartment building and exploded in a fireball in southern Russia just across the Sea of Azov from Ukraine.

The supersonic jet, which the defence ministry said was on a training flight, was seen on video footage speeding across the horizon on Monday with a fire in one engine before a blast and a fireball engulfed the building in the city of Yeysk.

Fire raged through several floors as what appeared to be ammunition exploded in the heat to the shock of onlookers. The crew ejected shortly before the crash and one was shown lying on a street still attached to a parachute webbing.

Russia‘s emergency ministry said 19 people had been injured. At least 10 bodies were pulled from the rubble of the building, the ministry said, while 360 people were evacuated.

“Thanks to the professional, competent and prompt actions of fire and rescue units, 68 people were rescued during the search and rescue operation in Yeysk,” Emergency Minister Alexander Kurenkov said in a statement.

Pictures from the scene showed a scorched building and the ash-white remains of the Sukhoi jet beside a blackened tree and a burned-out car next to the apartment building.

“According to the ejected pilots, the cause of the crash was a fire in one of the engines during takeoff,” TASS quoted the defence ministry as saying.

Northern Ukrainian city without power, water after air strikes- mayor

08:40 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The northern Ukrainian city of Zhytomyr was left without water and electricity supply after Russian air strikes on Tuesday morning, its mayor said on Tuesday.

“There is currently no light or water in the city. Hospitals are on reserve (power) supplies,” mayor Serhiy Sukhomlyn wrote on Facebook. Zhytomyr had a population of 260,000 before Russia‘s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.

In pictures: Russian strikes hit Mykolaiv

08:29 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Photos from the Russian strikes in Mykolaiv this morning show buildings completely destroyed.

A man removes debris in a gallery damaged by a Russian missile strike in a park (REUTERS)
A man removes debris in a gallery damaged by a Russian missile strike in a park (REUTERS)
Rescuers stand next to a building heavily damaged by a Russian missile strike (REUTERS)
Rescuers stand next to a building heavily damaged by a Russian missile strike (REUTERS)
A rescuer gives a local woman her dog at the site of a residential building heavily damaged by a Russian missile strike (REUTERS)
A rescuer gives a local woman her dog at the site of a residential building heavily damaged by a Russian missile strike (REUTERS)

Russian occupiers ‘terrorise and kill civilians,’ Zelensky says as one man confirmed dead

08:16 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of terrorising and killing civilians following air attacks on Ukrainian cities on Tuesday.

He said one person had been killed in a missile strike on a residential building on the southern city of Mykolaiv but gave no other details of casualties.

“Ukraine is under fire by the occupiers. They continue to do what they do best - terrorise and kill civilians,” he wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

“The terrorist state will not change anything for itself with such actions. It will only confirm its destructive and murderous essence, for which it will certainly be held to account.”

Russia attacks energy facility in northern Kyiv

07:57 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Russian forces attacked energy infrastructure in northern Kyiv on Tuesday, causing several explosions and sending smoke rising over the city, Ukrainian officials and witnesses said.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the presidential office, said there had been three Russian strikes on an unspecified energy facility. The city mayor said the attack was on “critical infrastructure” and emergency workers were heading there.

Russia strikes Kharkiv

07:45 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov has reported that two explosions were heard around 8:30 a.m this morning.

According to preliminary information, an industrial area of the city was targeted, as reported by the Kyiv Independent.

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13 dead after Russian warplane crashes into apartment block

07:29 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

A Russian warplane crashed into a residential area in a Russian city on the Sea of Azov after suffering engine failure, leaving at least 13 people dead.

Three of them died when they jumped from upper floors of a nine-storey apartment building to escape a massive blaze.

A Su-34 bomber came down in the port city of Yeysk after one of its engines caught fire during take-off for a training mission, the Russian Defence Ministry said.

It said both crew members bailed out safely but the plane crashed into a residential area, causing a fire as tonnes of fuel exploded on impact.

After hours of combing through the charred debris of the building, authorities said 13 residents, including three children, were found dead. Another 19 were treated in hospital.

The vice governor of the region, Anna Menkova, said three of the four victims died when they jumped from the upper floors of the building in a desperate attempt to escape the flames, according to the RIA-Novosti news agency.

More than 500 residents were evacuated and provided with temporary accommodations.

Russia kidnaps top officials at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant - Ukraine

07:10 , Arpan Rai

Ukraine has accused Russia of abducting two senior officials at Europe’s largest nuclear site in Zaporizhzhia today.

The whereabouts of the two officials at the embattled nuclear power plant are unknown, Energoatom, Ukraine’s state nuclear energy company said this morning.

Russian attacks target Dnipro, Kharkiv and Mykolaiv

07:05 , Arpan Rai

Several missile attacks were reported this morning from parts of Ukraine, causing severe damage to the areas, officials said.

One of the attacks targeted energy facility in Zhytomyr which was struck twice. The state emergency service has been rushed to the site of power supply facility, deputy head of president’s office Kyrylo Tymoshenko said on Telegram.

Two explosions were reported from the northeastern city Kharkiv around 8.30am this morning, damaging an industrial area in the city, mayor Ihor Terekhov said today.

Another attack struck energy facilities in Dnipro alongside. Mr Tymoshenko reported “serious damage” at the energy infrastructure.

Overnight, Russia rained S-300 missiles at Mykolaiv, targeting a residential building. At least one person was killed in the attack.

Russia has greater willingness to attack civilian infrastructure after battlefield losses - MoD

06:39 , Arpan Rai

Russia has likely gained greater want to attack civilian infrastructure after severe battlefield setbacks, the British defence ministry said today.

“As Russia has suffered battlefield setbacks since August, it has highly likely gained a greater willingness to strike civilian infrastructure in addition to Ukrainian military targets,” the British MoD said in its latest intelligence update.

It noted that since 10 October, Russia has maintained a heightened tempo of long-range strikes against targets across Ukraine.

“These have been conducted by cruise missiles, air defence missiles in a surface-to-surface role, and Iranian-provided Shahed-136 one way attack uncrewed aerial vehicles,” the ministry said.

It is highly likely that a key objective of this strike campaign is to cause wide-spread damage to Ukraine’s energy distribution network, the MoD pointed out.

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Pentagon may fund Elon Musk’s Starlink network for Ukraine - report

06:23 , Arpan Rai

The Pentagon is contemplating financing the Elon Musk-owned Starlink satellite network in war-hit Ukraine, two US officials involved in the discussions said, according to a report by Politico.

The crucial satellite network aiding Ukrainian troops in the battlefields in the absence of cellular network services damaged in the war will most likely be funded by the US department of defence Ukraine security assistance initiative built to help Kyiv in Russia-led invasion.

This comes as the SpaceX CEO said the engineering firm cannot indefinitely fund Starlink in Ukraine, but quickly backtracked over the weekend to claim the rocket company would continue to spend money for the service in the war-torn country.

Additionally, the European Union is also weighing funding Starlink in Ukraine, reported The Financial Times, citing three officials with knowledge of the decision.

Read more about the world’s richest person’s initiative in Ukraine:

Elon Musk recommits SpaceX to providing Ukraine with satellite internet

Explained: Poor man's cruise missile ‘Kamikaze’ drones

05:57 , Arpan Rai

Russia has unleashed successive waves of the Iranian-made Shahed drones over Ukraine in its renewed bid to penetrate the Ukraine skies.

Known as the ‘poor man’s cruise missile’, the multiple attacks by Russia with the help of this drone killed nearly two dozen and injured several.

‘Kamikaze drones’ unleashed by Moscow has multiple goals — it takes out key targets, crushes morale, and ultimately drains the enemy’s war chest and weapons as they try to take them out.

Read more about this Iranian suicide drones here:

Russia-Ukraine war: What is a kamikaze drone?

Zelensky calls on locals for troop exchange: ‘Need more Russian prisoners’

05:45 , Arpan Rai

Volodymyr Zelensky once again called on Ukrainians to help replenish the besieged country’s so-called “exchange fund” of captured troops.

“...I also thank all those who replenish our exchange fund, who ensure the capture of enemies,” Mr Zelensky said in his nightly address.

“The more Russian prisoners we have, the sooner we will be able to free our heroes. Every Ukrainian warrior, every frontline commander should remember this,” he said.

Mr Zelensky said Ukraine had secured the release of a new tranche of captured Ukrainians from Russian captivity on Monday.

“We managed to return 108 Ukrainian women,” he said, saying that 96 of them served in the armed forces as “officers, sergeants, privates. army, navy, territorial defence, national guard, border guards”. “37 of them are evacuees from Azovstal,” he added, while 12 were civilians.

“Among those released today are those who were captured long before the full-scale war. We do not forget about any of our people – we have to return them all. And we will return them all,” Mr Zelensky said.

At least 13 killed in Russian fighter plane crash in Yeysk

05:30 , Arpan Rai

The death toll from the Russian fighter plane crash in Russia’s southern city of Yeysk has soared to 13, officials said.

Another 19 people have been injured after the fighter jet hit and crashed into a residential building, immediately setting the premises on fire, local officials said.

Visuals of the crash showed explosions aboard the Sukhoi Su-34 supersonic medium-range fighter-bomber as it dived towards the apartments.

The crash hit large parts of the nine-storey building, causing explosions and fire on Monday night.

Officials said later that the fire had been put out.

The jet crashed during a training flight from a military airfield, reported Russian news agency RIA.

Russia still has not notified US about expected nuclear drills - official

05:28 , Arpan Rai

Russia has not notified the US about whether it is carrying out drills of its nuclear forces, amid speculation that the Kremlin is bracing for such exercises soon, a senior US military official said on Monday.

The official told Reuters: “No, we have not received any type of official notification,” on being asked if Washington has been served notice of the anticipated nuclear drills.

The New START Treaty states that both the US and Russia will provide advance notification of any nuclear tests, US officials say, but this is yet to come.

Officials in the United States say Russia will likely carry out test launches of missiles during its annual “Grom” exercises of its strategic nuclear forces, and could also be expected in days.

Zelensky says 37 Iranian drones shot down during Kyiv attack

05:14 , Arpan Rai

Volodymyr Zelensky says his forces intercepted and shot down nearly 40 Iranian suicide drones and several cruise missiles in just 12 hours during Monday’s early morning attack on central Kyiv.

“In just 12 hours from 9pm Sunday, 37 Iranian ‘Shaheds’ and several cruise missiles were destroyed,” Mr Zelensky said in his nightly address.

These drones are said by Kyiv to have been used in Russian attacks which killed 19 people last week, before a widespread and fatal assault on the Ukrainian capital and other cities on Monday sparked international condemnation.

“The world can and must stop this terror. When we talk about Ukraine’s need for air and missile defence, we are talking about real lives that are being taken by terrorists,” said the wartime president, calling for more military aid and air defence systems.

He added: “But in order to guarantee the protection of our skies and to reduce the capabilities of Russian terrorists to zero, we need significantly more modern air defence systems and a greater missile provision for such systems.”

Putin killed another pregnant woman in Kyiv attacks, says Zelensky

04:59 , Arpan Rai

Volodymyr Zelensky directly targeted Vladimir Putin in his nightly address on Monday and said that his Russian counterpart is responsible for the death of a pregnant woman in the suicide drone strikes on Kyiv earlier in the day.

“In Kyiv, they killed a young family, targeting an apartment building with an Iranian ‘Shahed’. A guy and a 6 months pregnant girl... Vladimir Putin can mark another ‘achievement’ - he killed another pregnant woman,” Mr Zelensky said.

He added that the Ukrainian services continued to clear places where the “Russian terrorists managed to hit”.

“In total, four people were killed by this ‘Shahed’ alone. There were other hits. More than 25 settlements of our country were attacked this night and morning,” Mr Zelensky said.

04:42 , Arpan Rai

Good morning, welcome to our coverage of the Ukraine war on Tuesday, 18 October.