October 3, 2023 - Russia-Ukraine news

By Tara Subramaniam, Lauren Kent, Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt and Elise Hammond, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, October 4, 2023
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3:25 p.m. ET, October 3, 2023

Russia says its air defenses shot down Ukrainian Neptune missile near Crimea

From CNN's Radina Gigova in London 

Russian air defenses detected and destroyed a Ukrainian Neptune anti-ship missile near Crimea, the Russian Defense Ministry said Tuesday. 

"On October 3, at about 8:30 pm Moscow time, an attempt by the Kyiv regime to carry out a terrorist attack using the Neptune anti-ship missile against objects on the territory of the Russian Federation was stopped," the ministry said in a post on social media. 

"Air defense systems detected and destroyed a Ukrainian missile over the northwestern part of the Black Sea off the coast of the Crimean peninsula," the ministry said. 

The ministry didn't include additional details about the alleged incident. 

2:26 p.m. ET, October 3, 2023

Pentagon warns of depleting funds for Ukraine support and urges Congress to act

From CNN's Haley Britzky

The Pentagon cautioned on Tuesday that while there are enough funds for the time being to continue supporting Ukraine, funding could run out without action from Congress. 

“We have enough funding authorities to meet Ukraine's battlefield needs for just a little bit longer, but we need Congress to act to ensure there is no disruption in our support, especially as the department seeks to replenish our stocks,” deputy Pentagon press secretary Sabrina Singh said.

“As (Defense Secretary Lloyd) Austin said on Saturday, we urge Congress to live up to America's commitment to provide urgently needed assistance to the people of Ukraine as they fight to defend their own country against forces of tyranny,” she continued.  

Singh added that it was unclear how long the $1.6 billion left from previously allocated funds for Ukraine would last, saying that it depends “how that funding is used to replenish our stocks.” 

“It really depends on what Ukraine requests,” she said. “And again, we know that their priorities are air defense and artillery and also mine-clearing equipment. So that's what our focus is on to that, of course, is what we're inevitably going to be refilling as well.”

2:37 p.m. ET, October 3, 2023

"The bottom of the barrel": Western militaries running out of ammunition to give to Ukraine, officials warn

From CNN's Radina Gigova

Western militaries are running out of ammunition to give to Ukraine — and therefore, production needs to increase, NATO and United Kingdom officials have warned. 

"The bottom of the barrel is now visible," Adm. Rob Bauer, the chair of the NATO Military Committee and NATO's most senior military official, said Tuesday during a discussion at the Warsaw Security Forum. 

"We need the industry to ramp up production in a much higher tempo," he said.

Allies had increased budgets before the start of the war, but production capacity didn't increase, and that in turn led to higher prices even before the war began, he said. 

"That was exacerbated by the fact that we give away weapons systems to Ukraine, which is great, and ammunition, but not from full warehouses. We started to give away from half-full or lower warehouses in Europe, and therefore the bottom of the barrel is now visible," Bauer said.   

UK Minister of State for the Armed Forces James Heappey, speaking at the same panel alongside Bauer, said the "just-in-time" model "definitely does not work when you need to be ready for the fight tomorrow," and that aid for Ukraine should continue. 

"We can't stop just because our stockpiles are looking a bit thin," Heappey said. "We have to keep Ukraine in the fight tonight and tomorrow and the day after and the day after. And if we stop, that doesn't mean that (Russian President Vladimir) Putin automatically stops."

That means "continuing to give, day in day out, and rebuilding our own stockpiles," he added. 

1:49 p.m. ET, October 3, 2023

White House confident new Ukraine funding will be approved — even with possible House speaker change

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

The White House reiterated its confidence that Congress will approve new Ukraine aid — with or without GOP Rep. Kevin McCarthy serving as House Speaker.

John Kirby, the communications coordinator at the National Security Council, told reporters that US President Joe Biden discussed the situation with global allies in a call Tuesday morning.  

“We know that the vast majority of members in Congress support additional help for Ukraine and we know and appreciate their statements to that effect, including those of Speaker McCarthy,” Kirby said. “As evidenced in today's call, we know that the world is watching.”

Yet, McCarthy may not be the speaker for much longer, throwing into doubt whatever assurances he’s provided about taking up new Ukraine aid.

GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz on Monday moved to oust McCarthy from the top House leadership post by offering a motion to vacate the chair on the House floor — a rare procedural maneuver that can be used to force a vote to remove the speaker. 

Kirby said the leadership fight in Congress wasn’t something Biden would interject himself in.

“That's not something that the president is going to get involved in or necessarily be overly concerned about right now,” he said, pointing to statements of support on Ukraine from other Republicans as evidence of support within the party for continued funding.

“There's a small number of very vocal, a small minority of vocal members who are pushing back on that but they don't represent their party. They don't represent their leadership," Kirby said.

He warned that failing to approve new Ukraine assistance could have dire battlefield ramifications.

“We cannot under any circumstances allow America’s support for Ukraine to be interrupted. Time is not our friend,” he said.

2:08 p.m. ET, October 3, 2023

More vessels travel from Ukrainian ports through Black Sea using new corridor

From CNN's Svitlana Vlasova

A bulk carrier ship sails towards the Black Sea port of Chornomorsk using a temporary corridor, established by the Ukrainian Navy, through the Black Sea on September 16.
A bulk carrier ship sails towards the Black Sea port of Chornomorsk using a temporary corridor, established by the Ukrainian Navy, through the Black Sea on September 16. AFP/Getty Images

More ships have used Ukraine's self-declared humanitarian corridor through the Black Sea, according to Ukrainian and US officials.

Ukraine set up the route after the collapse of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, when Russia withdrew from the arrangement in July.

United States Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget A. Brink wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, that three more ships are headed out to global markets through the corridor and five others are waiting to load.

"Ukraine’s exports are vital to its economy and to feed the world," she said.

Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said three vessels loaded with grain and iron ore had left the Black Sea ports of Chornomorsk and Pivdennyi this weekend. He said the bulk carriers were using the temporary corridor established by the Ukrainian Navy to export 127,000 tonnes of products.

The five ships that are in the process of loading would take almost 120,000 tonnes of Ukrainian grain to Africa and Europe, he added.

But the number of ships using the Black Sea ports to carry grain to world markets has fallen sharply since the Russians pulled out of the grain deal. Ten ships have completed the journey so far, according to the infrastructure ministry.

12:43 p.m. ET, October 3, 2023

Biden speaks with top US allies on Ukraine support

From CNN's Betsy Klein

US President Joe Biden looks on during a meeting with his Cabinet in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on October 2.
US President Joe Biden looks on during a meeting with his Cabinet in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on October 2. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

President Joe Biden spoke by phone with a group of top United States allies Tuesday morning as the future of US funding for Ukraine remains uncertain. 

“President Biden convened a call this morning with allies and partners to coordinate our ongoing support for Ukraine,” the White House said in a statement. 

The call came days after Congress passed a temporary government spending bill that notably did not include aid for Ukraine, which remains a thorny issue with hardline conservatives. 

Participants, the White House said, included:

  • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
  • European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen
  • European Council President Charles Michel
  • German Chancellor Olaf Scholz
  • Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni
  • Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida
  • NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg
  • Polish President Andrzej Duda
  • Romanian President Klaus Iohannis
  • United Kingdom Prime Minister Rishi Sunak
  • French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna

Following the call, EU leaders reiterated their support for Ukraine.

"We stand united and ready to provide additional military equipment, financial and political support for Ukraine," Michel said. "Peace and security in Ukraine equals peace and security in Europe."

Von der Leyen said Europe’s support for Ukraine "is unwavering" through a proposed new 50 billion euros (about $52 billion) on macro-financial assistance, one million rounds of ammunition delivered by March 2024, as well as "EU action to ensure full accountability for Russian crimes against Ukrainians."

"Good call with NATO leaders hosted by the President of the United States. As Russia continues its brutal war, we are all committed to supporting Ukraine for as long as it takes," said Stoltenberg. 

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak echoed that sentiment, according to a readout from his country, reiterating the UK's "ongoing military, humanitarian and economic assistance" to Kyiv.

The Italian readout of the call also said Biden was "keen to reassure" Kyiv’s allies about the continuing American support for Ukraine. 

CNN's James Frater, Sharon Braithwaite and Radina Gigova contributed reporting to this post.

12:13 p.m. ET, October 3, 2023

European Parliament adopts multi-year support for Ukraine worth $52 billion

From Tim Lister and Zahid Mahmood

European Union lawmakers have approved a four year budget that would provide up to $52.3 billion (50 billion euros) for Ukraine in order to tackle the crisis caused by Russia’s war, the European Parliament said in a statement on Tuesday. 

The budget revision was introduced to adapt to the ongoing “war against Ukraine and growing migration issues,” the statement said. 

The facility for Ukraine will provide up to $52 billion in direct budgetary support for Ukraine over the period 2024 to 2027, to support reforms, create a favorable investment climate and conditions for attracting private investors to Ukraine's recovery. 

The funding would be separate to financing for military assistance. 

MEP Jan Olbrycht said of the revised budget: “Our goal was an ambitious but realistic proposal...and we have managed to keep it targeted but comprehensive. We aim to stabilise Ukraine's situation with a new €50 billion facility while bolstering the EU’s economy."

At the same time, Ukraine is working towards satisfying the European Union's demands for reform as part of a path towards membership of the EU, though analysts expect this will take at least several years.

According to Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal Ukraine will work on a single document – a “roadmap for reforms plan until 2027."

Much of Ukraine's annual budget is financed by credits from external sources while its spending is focused on financing the war against Russia. 

Shmyhal said the plan would have a number of documents with reform proposals from partners including the seven conditions that the EU has laid out for Ukraine's membership to move forward. Most significantly, these include action on corruption and money laundering, as well as guarantees for media freedom and the protection of ethnic minorities.

More Ukraine aid: The International Monetary Fund is also reviewing financial support for Ukraine, following the agreement of a $15.6 billion package of aid in March designed to help Ukraine's economic recovery from the devastating effects of Russia's invasion This week an IMF team has started technical discussions in Kyiv "with the aim of discussing fiscal, budgetary, financial, and structural measures ."

The arrangement is part of a US$115 billion total IMF support package for Ukraine.

The European Union is also planning to step up the pipeline of credits to finance military aid to Ukraine, principally munitions and weapons systems.

On Monday, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell proposed an annual $5 billion "peace facility" for Ukraine, an EU fund that reimburses states that supply arms to Ukraine. 

10:49 a.m. ET, October 3, 2023

Ukraine Security Service says it cracked a large Russian spy ring

From CNN's Maria Kostenko and Tim Lister

The Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) claimed it has cracked a large Russian spy ring in the south of the country.

The SBU alleged that 13 informants had been detained in the Mykolaiv region, all of them local residents. Four of the 13 had already been found guilty and sentenced to jail, with terms of between eight and 15 years, it said.

"The criminals collected intel regarding the locations and movements of the Defense Forces in the southern region. They also adjusted Russian air attacks on the residential and public infrastructure of the regional center," the city of Mykolaiv, according to the SBU.

Some context: Mykolaiv came under almost daily fire from Russian missiles for much of 2022 but has seen fewer attacks since Ukraine retook much of the neighboring Kherson region last autumn.

The SBU said that the informants had helped Russia target "a multi-storey building in Mykolaiv with an S-300 anti-aircraft missile system in the fall of 2022. Seven civilians, including a child, were killed as a result of the enemy attack at that time."

According to the investigation, the Russian informants passed the coordinates of Ukrainian targets to Russia's Federal Security Service through a "liaison," whom the SBU named as pro-Kremlin blogger Sergey Lebedev. Lebedev was indicted on suspicion of treason in June.

The SBU said that "in the course of the investigation into Lebedev's criminal actions, it was established that following the FSB instructions, he had remotely established his own espionage network in Mykolaiv region." He recruited the informants through his Telegram channel, according to the SBU.

Earlier this year, a woman in Mykolaiv was arrested in connection with an alleged plot to assassinate Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.