October 6, 2020 Russia-Ukraine news

By Kathleen Magramo, Sana Noor Haq, Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt, Melissa Macaya, Matt Meyer and Maureen Chowdhury, CNN

Updated 0626 GMT (1426 HKT) October 7, 2022
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8:12 a.m. ET, October 6, 2022

Swedish authorities conclude "detonations" caused damage to Nord Stream pipelines

From CNN’s Livvy Doherty

Gas leak in the Baltic Sea from Nord Stream photographed from the Swedish Coast Guard's aircraft on September 27.
Gas leak in the Baltic Sea from Nord Stream photographed from the Swedish Coast Guard's aircraft on September 27. (Swedish Coast Guard/AP)

The Swedish Security Police confirmed “detonations” were the source of damage to both Nord Stream pipelines, after concluding their crime scene investigation into gas leaks that were discovered more than a week ago.

Detonations had caused “extensive damage” to the pipelines in the Swedish economic zone, the Security Police said on Thursday, adding that their investigation had strengthened “suspicions of gross sabotage.”

News of the leaks sparked furore among several European leaders, who said sabotage appeared to be the likely cause. At the time President Joe Biden called the leaks in the Nord Stream pipelines a “deliberate act of sabotage," though he stopped short of directly accusing Moscow for the leaks.

Russia, which built the network, did not rule it out.

Why this matters: Both pipelines have been flashpoints in an escalating energy war between European capitals and Moscow that has pummeled major Western economies, sent gas prices soaring and sparked a hunt for alternative energy supplies.

According to the Swedish police “certain seizures” had also been made as part of the investigation and were now being reviewed and analysed.

A continuing investigation would also show whether “someone can be served with suspicion and later prosecuted” the police statement said. 

Following the conclusion of the investigation, the cordons around the scene were lifted, the Swedish Prosecutor’s Office confirmed in a statement.

CNN's Chris Liakos, Allie Malloy and Maegan Vazquez contributed reporting to this post.

8:26 a.m. ET, October 6, 2022

It's 3 p.m. in Kyiv. Here's what you need to know

From CNN staff

A series of fatal Russian missile attacks have hit residential blocks in the Ukrainian-controlled city of Zaporizhzhia, following Moscow's claimed annexation of the wider Zaporizhzhia region.

The head of the UN's nuclear watchdog is set to arrive in Kyiv Thursday to discuss creating a protection zone around the nearby power plant, after Russian President Vladimir Putin declared the Zaporizhzhia facility a Russian federal asset.

Here are the latest developments:

  • Russian missiles strike Zaporizhzhia: Deadly missile attacks on the major Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia killed one person and left seven hospitalized, including a three-year-old girl, according to local officials. The shelling came soon after Putin signed into law the documents on the annexation of Zaporizhzhia and three other regions -- despite only having partial control of the Ukrainian land it claims to have absorbed.
  • UN nuclear watchdog chief in Kyiv: Rafael Grossi, the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), will meet Ukrainian officials to discuss the instalment of "a nuclear safety and security protection zone around the ZNPP (Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant)."  It comes amid heated confrontation over the status of the plant, after Putin signed a decree on Wednesday that aims to bring Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant under full Russian state control.
  • US commits $55 million package to Ukraine: Samantha Power, the head of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), announced a $55 million investment in Ukraine’s heating infrastructure, as the war-torn country braces for a grim winter. The aid will bolster the equipment required to provide heating at various facilities across Ukraine, benefitting seven million Ukrainians in 19 regions, according to a USAID statement.
  • Kyiv gains ground in the south and east: More settlements in the south of Ukraine have been liberated amid a Ukrainian counteroffensive in the Kherson region, according to President Volodymyr Zelensky. Social media images also showed Ukrainian troops in at least one village in Luhansk, marking the first time since the beginning of the conflict in March that Ukrainian troops have advanced into the eastern area.  
  • US intelligence sheds light on Darya Dugina: The US intelligence community believes the car bombing that killed Darya Dugina, the daughter of prominent Russian political figure Alexander Dugin, was authorized by elements within the Ukrainian government, sources briefed on the intelligence told CNN. The intelligence finding, first reported by the New York Times, would seem to corroborate elements of the Russian authorities’ findings that the car bombing was “pre-planned.” 

8:12 a.m. ET, October 6, 2022

US gives $55 million heating package as Ukraine braces for winter

From CNN’s Victoria Butenko in Kyiv

Head of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Samantha Power answers journalists' questions as she visits Kyiv on October 6.
Head of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Samantha Power answers journalists' questions as she visits Kyiv on October 6. (Efrem Lukatsky/AFP/Getty Images)

Samantha Power, the head of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), has announced a $55 million investment in Ukraine’s heating infrastructure, as the war-torn country braces for a grim winter.

“This assistance will support repairs and maintenance of pipes and other equipment necessary to deliver heating to homes, hospitals, schools, and businesses across Ukraine," according to a USAID statement.

“The new USAID assistance will directly benefit up to seven million Ukrainians in 19 regions,” it said.

“USAID will also provide power generators and alternative fuel sources to hospitals, centers for internally-displaced persons, and shelters for socially vulnerable citizens, helping provide Ukrainians with access to warm shelter during winter.

"The assistance will target parts of Ukraine that have been devastated by Putin’s war, including the regions of Chernihiv, Kharkiv, Kyiv, Mykolaiv, Odesa, Zaporizhzhya, and Zhytomyr," the statement added.

Power arrived in the Ukrainian capital Thursday to meet a range of people, the US Embassy said in a post on Facebook.

Some background: The Biden administration has emerged as a staunch ally to Kyiv after Moscow launched its military assault on Ukraine earlier this year.

Since the beginning of Russia's invasion in late-February, the US has committed more than $16 billion in security assistance to Ukraine.

Last week the Pentagon announced $1.1 billion in extra military aid to Ukraine, which a senior defense official called a “multiyear investment” in the country’s defenses.

5:46 a.m. ET, October 6, 2022

Second missile attack hits Zaporizhzhia after pre-dawn strikes

From Olga Voitovych in Kyiv

A damaged block is seen in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, after shelling on October 6.
A damaged block is seen in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, after shelling on October 6. (Anton Gerashchenko)

Deadly missile attacks on Zaporizhzhia have been followed up by another strike on the Ukrainian city, local officials said Thursday.

The alleged bombardment came several hours after pre-dawn missile attacks on the southern Ukrainian city left one person dead and seven hospitalised, including a three-year-old girl.

“Attention! There is another enemy missile attack. Stay in shelters!” Oleksandr Starukh said in a post on Telegram addressed to residents. 

The pre-dawn bombardment comprised of seven missiles, according to Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.

"Russians keep deliberately striking civilians to sow fear. Russian terror must be stopped — by force of weapons, sanctions, and full isolation," Kuleba tweeted Thursday.

“So far, it is known about the death of one woman,” Starukh said in a separate Telegram post of the pre-dawn attack. “Seven people were injured…They were hospitalised, including one three-year-old child. The rescue operation is still ongoing.”

Starukh had initially said two women had been killed, but revised the death toll and said the second had survived.

The first attack hit high-rise residential buildings as people slept, Zaporizhzhia City Council Secretary Anatoliy Kurtiev said on his Telegram channel. Among the damaged infrastructure was a flattened apartment building, according to photos posted on social media by the State Emergency Service of Ukraine.

Zaporizhzhia is a major city in southern Ukraine, not far from the front line as Kyiv makes sweeping advances across the country's southern and eastern regions.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law the documents on the illegal annexation of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia on Wednesday, completing the last step of the annexation process, based on the Russian legal system. The annexation is illegal under international law. 

Moscow only has partial control of the Ukrainian land it claims to have annexed, with just over 70% of the Zaporizhzhia region under Russian occupation.

3:16 a.m. ET, October 6, 2022

2 women killed in Russian missile attack on Zaporizhzhia, official says

From CNN's Olga Voitovych in Kyiv

Rescuers work at a site of a residential building heavily damaged by a Russian missile strike in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, on October 6.
Rescuers work at a site of a residential building heavily damaged by a Russian missile strike in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, on October 6. (Reuters)

Two women died and at least five people were trapped in rubble after Russian missiles hit buildings in the city of Zaporizhzhia in southern Ukraine early Thursday, Oleksandr Starukh, head of the regional military administration, said in a post on Telegram. 

“Many people were rescued. Among them is a 3-year-old girl. The child was hospitalized. A rescue operation is underway at the scene,” the post read. 

The acting Mayor of Zaporizhzhia, Anatoly Kurtev, said in a separate Telegram post that eight people had been hospitalized. 

Zaporizhzhia is one of the regions of Ukraine that Russia claims to have annexed — in violation of international law and the protests of Western governments.

5:14 a.m. ET, October 6, 2022

Russian forces fire missiles at Zaporizhzhia in southern Ukraine

From CNN's Josh Pennington and Mohammed Tawfeeq

Rescuers work on a residential building which was heavily damaged by a Russian missile strike in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine on October 6.
Rescuers work on a residential building which was heavily damaged by a Russian missile strike in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine on October 6. (Stringer/Reuters)

Russian forces fired several missiles on the city of Zaporizhzhia in southern Ukraine on Thursday, Oleksandr Starukh, head of the Zaporizhzhia regional military administration, said in a post on Telegram.

"The occupiers have launched missiles on the regional center, targeting infrastructure facilities. The extent of destruction and casualties is being clarified. Take shelter!" Starukh said.

He said fires broke out in the Ukrainian-controlled city as a result of the attack, and "residential buildings were destroyed."

Acting Mayor of Zaporizhzhia, Anatoly Kurtev, also said residential buildings were on fire in a post on Telegram on Thursday.

It's unclear whether there are casualties, but Starukh said "rescue teams are working" to determine that.

Some context: Zaporizhzhia is one of four areas of Ukraine that Russia claims to have annexed — in violation of international law and despite the protests of Western governments.

Russia has declined to clarify the borders of the territories it claims to have annexed and is not even in full control of these regions — with Kyiv's forces making rapid advances in their counteroffensive across Ukraine's south and east.

Moscow only controls just under three quarters of the southeastern region, not including the Ukrainian-controlled city of Zaporizhzhia, which is situated along the Dnieper River -- 120 kilometers (75 miles) north of the local nuclear power plant that bears its name.

The power plant has been the site of heavy fighting in recent weeks and has been under Russian military control for months.

On Wednesday, the Kremlin also claimed the facility as Russian federal property after President Vladimir Putin signed a decree amending the Constitution to admit new regions into the Russian Federation. Just as Putin was signing the decree, the Ukrainian state nuclear operator, Energoatom, said its president would assume the duties of the plant's director general. 

The confrontation over the status of the plant and the intense shelling that has damaged numerous installations has led the UN nuclear watchdog to intervene. Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said Wednesday that he was traveling to Kyiv.

"The need for a Nuclear Safety and Security Protection Zone (NSSPZ) around #Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant is now more urgent than ever," he tweeted at the time.

10:32 a.m. ET, October 6, 2022

Zelensky says more settlements were liberated in the Kherson region of southern Ukraine

From CNN's Josh Pennington and Julia Kesaieva

President Volodymyr Zelensky said Wednesday that more settlements in the south of Ukraine have been liberated amid a Ukrainian counteroffensive in the Kherson region.

The communities of Novovoskrensenske, Novohryhorivka and Petropavlivka had been recaptured, he said in his daily address, suggesting that Ukrainian forces are making progress through the largely rural hinterland of Kherson. 

The three settlements "were liberated from the pseudo-referendum and [subsequently] stabilized," he said.

However, Ukrainian forces remain some distance from Kherson's capital and other strategically important areas.

8:32 p.m. ET, October 5, 2022

US believes elements within Ukraine's government authorized assassination near Moscow, sources say

From CNN's Natasha Bertrand and Katie Bo Lillis

The US intelligence community believes the car bombing that killed Darya Dugina, the daughter of prominent Russian political figure Alexander Dugin, was authorized by elements within the Ukrainian government, sources briefed on the intelligence told CNN.

The US was not aware of the plan beforehand, according to the sources, and it is still unclear who exactly the US believes signed off on the assassination. It is also not clear whether the US intelligence community believes that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was aware of the plot or authorized it.

But the intelligence finding, first reported by the New York Times, would seem to corroborate elements of the Russian authorities’ findings that the car bombing was “pre-planned.” Russia had accused Ukrainian nationals of being responsible for the attack, which Ukraine had strongly denied in the aftermath of the explosion.

Asked to comment, a Ukrainian defense intelligence official told CNN Wednesday evening following publication of the latest reports that their agency had no new information on Dugina’s death. Shortly after her death, the same official had told CNN that Ukraine had nothing to do with it.

The National Security Council, CIA and State Department declined to comment.

Read the full story:

10:36 a.m. ET, October 6, 2022

Ukrainian forces advance into Luhansk region for first time since conflict began, social media images show

From CNN's Tim Lister

Ukrainian soldiers stand at the entrance to the village of Hrekivka, inside Luhansk region.
Ukrainian soldiers stand at the entrance to the village of Hrekivka, inside Luhansk region. (Obtained by CNN)

Social media images from Wednesday showed Ukrainian troops in at least one village in the eastern Luhansk area, after crossing from the neighboring Donetsk region.

One photograph showed a Ukrainian unit kneeling and standing around a road sign at the village of Hrekivka, just inside Luhansk region.

It is the first time since the beginning of the conflict in March that Ukrainian troops have advanced into Luhansk.  

More on Ukraine's advances: All of the Luhansk region is claimed as Russian territory by the Kremlin, following its forcible annexation. But in recent days Ukrainian forces have been approaching the region from several directions, building on their successful offenses in Kharkiv and Donetsk. 

Social media video also showed Ukrainian troops in the town of Terny in Donetsk region, about 20 kilometers (about 12 miles) from the town of Kreminna in Luhansk, which analysts believe is a critical defensive line for the Russians now they have lost ground in both Donetsk and Kharkiv regions.

The Ukrainian advances in the northeast come within days of the so-called referendums held by pro-Russian local authorities that led to the annexation by Moscow of Donetsk and Luhansk as well as much of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson. Since the annexation measures were approved by Russian President Vladimir Putin last Friday, Russian forces have lost hundreds of square kilometers of territory in Donetsk and Kherson.