October 7, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Tara Subramaniam, Sana Noor Haq, Adrienne Vogt and Aditi Sangal, CNN

Updated 2354 GMT (0754 HKT) October 7, 2022
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12:57 p.m. ET, October 7, 2022

A mass grave among 2 burial sites located in formerly Russian-occupied Lyman, regional officials say

From CNN's Julia Kesaieva

Two burial sites have been located in the town of Lyman, which was recently liberated by Ukrainian forces after being occupied by the Russian military and its militia allies for several months, according to authorities in Donetsk region.

One of the sites had about 200 single graves where civilians had been buried, said Pavlo Kyrylenko, head of Donetsk region military administration.

At the other site, there is a mass grave, which "may contain both military and civilians," Kyrylenko said. "The exact number is yet to be established."

Law enforcement officers are investigating these places and will soon begin the exhumation process, he added.

In Sviatohirsk, which was under Russian occupation for about three months, Kyrylenko claims 21 bodies were reburied. These were civilians who died during the occupation, he said.

All the bodies that had been reburied were identified and properly buried, he added.

1:16 p.m. ET, October 7, 2022

City across river from Zaporizhzhia plant comes under renewed shelling, Ukrainian regional official says 

From Julia Kesaieva and Olga Voitovych

Valentyn Reznichenko, head of Dnipropetrovsk regional military administration, said that Nikopol, the city across the Dnieper River from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, has come under fire again. 

"In the evening, Russians shelled Nikopol district again. They hit with 'Grad' MLRS and heavy artillery," Reznichenko said on Telegram.

A 37-year-old man was killed, he said, and a 42-year-old man was wounded.

There are also reports of shelling near Enerhodar, the city adjacent to the nuclear plant. 

Mayor Dmytro Orlov said Friday afternoon that "there are currently reports about heavy shelling that caused a sudden power outage. Along with the electricity, there is also no water supply. There is no internet in the city."

The radiation background at the Zaporizhzhia plant industrial site and in the city itself was normal, he said.

Reznichenko said earlier that Nikopol "shuddered" overnight from about 40 Russian shells.

The Russian strikes in Zaporizhzhia come after Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree earlier this week federalizing the Zaporizhzhia plant, which is located about 120 kilometers (75 miles) from the city and sits in Russian-occupied territory along the Dnipro River.

CNN's Olga Voitovych and Joshua Berlinger contributed reporting to this post. 

12:38 p.m. ET, October 7, 2022

It's nighttime in Kyiv. Here's what you need to know

From CNN staff

If you're just joining us, here's the latest on Friday's developments in Russia's war in Ukraine:

Ukrainian territories liberated in Kherson: The Ukrainian military has liberated 2,400 square kilometers (more than 926 square miles) of territory in the south "since the beginning of the full-scale war," according to Kyrylo Tymoshenko, a senior Ukrainian official. Almost all of that land has been recovered in the past two weeks as Ukraine has stepped up its counteroffensive in Kherson, which is one of the regions Russia has claimed it is annexing. The recaptured areas includes six settlements that were liberated in the Kherson district and 61 settlements that were recaptured in the region's district of Beryslav, according to Tymoshenko. Meanwhile, Ukraine's Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov released a video Friday in which he urges Russia’s frontline troops to lay down their arms and promised “life, safety and justice” to those that do.

Russian shelling hits the district of Nikopol: Almost 40 Russian shells hit Nikopol, Valentyn Reznichenko, governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region, said in a post on Telegram. No injuries were reported but several high-rise buildings, more than 10 private houses, a transport infrastructure enterprise, gas pipelines and electricity networks were damaged, he said.

Deadly missile strikes in the south: Rescue operations are underway in the southern city of Zaporizhzhia after Russian missile strikes killed 11 people on Thursday, according to Ukrainian authorities. The bodies of 11 people were retrieved from two destroyed residential buildings. Additionally, 21 people were rescued, 13 of whom were hospitalized.

Fleeing Russians arrive on American shores: Two Russians crossed the Bering Strait and landed in Gambell, Alaska, earlier this week. They said they were seeking asylum to avoid Russia’s draft in the ongoing conflict with Ukraine. Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy said their arrival had been a surprise and that officials “don’t anticipate a continual stream of individuals.” The Russian Embassy in Washington has said its diplomats will hold a "telephone conversation" with two Russians, state media TASS reported.

Biden's nuclear warning: US President Joe Biden’s stark warning Thursday night that the world faces the highest prospect of nuclear war in 60 years was not based on any new intelligence about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s intentions or changes in Russia’s nuclear posture, multiple US officials told CNN. The US still has seen no evidence that Putin is moving toward using Russia’s nuclear capability, nor is there any intelligence showing he’s decided to do so. But Biden’s comments – laid out in starker terms than other US officials have used to date – reflected heightened concerns inside his administration about the risk of Russia carrying out a nuclear strike in Ukraine.

3:50 p.m. ET, October 7, 2022

Russian soldiers moved into pig shed in Kherson village amid widespread damage to other property, Ukraine says

From CNN's Victoria Butenko

The Ukrainian security service says that some Russian soldiers in one occupied village in the southern Kherson region moved into a pig shed because of a lack of alternative accommodation.

The Russians had occupied the village of Lyubymivka, the security service said, where about 70% of the buildings had been destroyed during shelling.

While Russian officers had taken over private houses, some of the soldiers had lived on a pig farm. Local people had led the security service to the farm. Video and images provided to CNN by the security service show that soldiers had slept and eaten in the pig shed. 

Lyubymivka was liberated earlier this week as Ukrainian forces pushed south through rural areas ok Kherson.

What CNN saw on the ground: CNN visited the village this week and found that a school house being used by the Russians had been hit. The CNN team also found that Russian soldiers had also been living in a children's recreational center.

The security service said that there were about 200 civilians left in the village when it fell. During the occupation, locals had been banned from being outdoors after 6 p.m. local time. It said Russian soldiers had taken food and alcohol from local people and had hidden their weaponry in residential areas so that it would not be detected by Ukrainian drones.

The security service also said that it had found stolen washing machines at the pig farm. 

10:42 a.m. ET, October 7, 2022

Head of Nobel Peace Prize-winning Ukrainian organization calls for Putin and Lukashenko to face tribunal

From CNN’s Alex Hardie in London

Ukrainian human rights lawyer Oleksandra Matviichuk in New York on Oct. 3.
Ukrainian human rights lawyer Oleksandra Matviichuk in New York on Oct. 3. (Roselle Chen/Reuters)

The head of the Center for Civil Liberties, Oleksandra Matviichuk, whose organization jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, has called for an international tribunal to bring Russian President Vladimir Putin, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and “other war criminals to justice.”

In a Facebook post on Friday, Matviichuk said she was glad that the center had received the prize, along with the human rights group Memorial and jailed Belarusian advocate Ales Bialiatski.

She called for Russia to be removed from the United Nations Security Council for what she called “systemic breaches of the UN Charter.”

“UN and the member countries should resolve the problem of the ‘gaps in responsibility’ and provide a chance for justice to hundreds of thousands of war crimes victims. Without this a steady peace in our region is impossible,” Matviichuk wrote.

She continued to say that her 20 years of experience in fighting for civil liberties and human rights “undoubtedly shows that everyday people have much more influence than they think.”

“Mass mobilization of everyday people in different countries of the world and their common voice can change world's history quicker than the UN intervention,” she added.  

12:52 p.m. ET, October 7, 2022

Ukraine says 2,400 square kilometers of territory liberated in south since war began

From CNN's Julia Kesaieva

Ukrainian troops hoist a flag above a building in Vysokopillia, in southern Kherson region.
Ukrainian troops hoist a flag above a building in Vysokopillia, in southern Kherson region. (@AndriyYermak/Twitter)

The Ukrainian military has liberated 2,400 square kilometers (more than 926 square miles) of territory in the south "since the beginning of the full-scale war," a senior Ukrainian official said Friday.

Almost all of that land has been recovered in the past two weeks as Ukraine has stepped up its counteroffensive in Kherson.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the president's office, said the progress in Kherson includes:

  • Six settlements that were liberated in the Kherson district, which is to the north of the city itself.
  • 61 settlements that were recaptured in the region's district of Beryslav

Meanwhile, the evacuation of civilians continued amid massive destruction to critical infrastructure in towns like Arkhanhelske, Vysokopillia and Osokorivka, all of which saw weeks of heavy fighting and indirect fire, Tymoshenko said, adding that de-mining was in progress.

Ukrainian forces have been making steady progress in Kherson since beginning an offensive at the end of last month. In his Thursday night evening address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Kyiv has retaken more than 500 square kilometers (about 193 square miles) of territory in the southern Kherson region since Oct. 1.

9:57 a.m. ET, October 7, 2022

Alaska's governor says arrival of 2 Russians seeking asylum is "maybe a one-off"

From CNN's Julia Vargas Jones and Priscilla Alvarez

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy said during a Wednesday night news conference that the arrival of two Russian nationals seeking asylum in the US to avoid Moscow's draft had been a surprise and that officials “don’t anticipate a continual stream of individuals.”

The Russians crossed the Bering Strait, landing on western Alaska’s St. Lawrence Island earlier this week.

“The Russian nationals reported that they fled one of the coastal communities on the east coast of Russia to avoid compulsory military service,” said Karina Borger, a spokesperson for Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

The governor said “this is maybe a one-off” incident, warning of a storm hitting areas of northwest Alaska and adding that “any type of transiting the Bering Strait for the next couple days could be dangerous.”

The individuals were transported to Anchorage for inspection, which includes screening and vetting, and were then processed in accordance with US immigration laws, a spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security told CNN.

The Russian Embassy in Washington said its diplomats will hold a “telephone conversation” with the two male citizens, according to Russian state news agency TASS.

More context: The pair’s arrival in Gambell, Alaska, follows Russian President Vladimir Putin’s call last month for “partial mobilization” of the country’s population, prompting an exodus of Russian men out of the country, with cars lining up to cross the border into neighboring Finland, Georgia and Mongolia.

Protests of the draft have erupted in ethnic minority regions, and some military enlistment offices have been set on fire. The mobilization announcement also prompted anti-war protests across Russia.

At its narrowest point, the distance between mainland Russia and Alaska is 55 miles (88 kilometers), according to Alaska Public Lands Information Centers.

CNN has reached out to the Alaska governor’s office.

9:18 a.m. ET, October 7, 2022

Ukraine’s defense minister promises "life, safety and justice" to Russian troops who lay down their arms

From Olga Voitovych in Kyiv and Jo Shelley in London

Ukraine's Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov delivers a video message via social media.
Ukraine's Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov delivers a video message via social media. (Ukrainian military TV/YouTube)

Ukraine's Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov released a video in which he urges Russia’s frontline troops to lay down their arms and promises “life, safety and justice” to those that do.

In the video posted on YouTube on Friday, Reznikov spoke in Russian and warned that "thousands of Russian lads will die" as Moscow's forces continue to suffer losses.

"Your paratroopers are now dying on the right bank of the Dnipro," he said. "You pay in blood for someone's fantasies and false goals."

As Ukrainian fighters advance in the southern region of Kherson, Kyiv has claimed that Russian units have suffered losses and are trying to evacuate their wounded across the Dnipro River.

What Moscow is saying: Russian President Vladimir Putin has falsely claimed that one of the reasons Russia invaded Ukraine was to stop a genocide being committed against Russian speakers.

“You know that in Ukraine you are not liberating anyone,” Reznikov said, claiming that Russian armed forces were “deceived and betrayed” when they were sent into Ukraine in February. “Many of you have already understood that you were not sent to die for a just cause. Maybe that's why your [President] is hiding in a bunker, and not taking a punch next to you. He is afraid of your insight, contempt and your justified anger.”

Reznikov compared Putin to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — who has been pictured with his country’s troops on the frontline. “Our President is with his army. Where is yours?” he asked.  

9:29 a.m. ET, October 7, 2022

There's no change in US nuclear posture, sources say, despite Biden's "Armageddon" warning on Putin’s threats

From CNN's Jeremy Diamond

The morning after US President Joe Biden warned that the world faces the highest prospect of nuclear war in 60 years, a senior administration official says there has been no shift in US nuclear posture.

"We haven't seen any indication of activity [from Russia] that would cause us to change our own nuclear deterrent posture," the senior official said, adding that the US continues to monitor Russian military movements for any change in its nuclear stance.

While this official would not go so far as Biden in saying that the world faces the prospect of nuclear crisis for the first time since the 1960s, the official said that "the stakes are clearly higher right now" as a result of a string of military setbacks Russia is facing in Ukraine.

The official said Biden was speaking "frankly" based on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s "irresponsible and reckless" rhetoric, but not based on any new information about Russia's nuclear posture.

What Biden said Thursday night: During a Democratic fundraiser in New York, Biden delivered a stark warning about the dangers behind Putin’s nuclear threats as Moscow continues to face military setbacks in Ukraine.

“First time since the Cuban missile crisis, we have a direct threat of the use (of a) nuclear weapon if in fact things continue down the path they are going,” Biden warned. He added: “I don’t think there’s any such thing as the ability to easily (use) a tactical nuclear weapon and not end up with Armageddon.”

It was striking for the President to speak so candidly, particularly at a fundraiser, while his aides from the National Security Council to the State Department to the Pentagon have spoken in much more measured terms, saying they take the threats seriously but don’t see movement on them from the Kremlin.

CNN's Sam Fossum, Kaitlan Collins and Paul LeBlanc contributed reporting to this post.