October 11, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Kathleen Magramo, Sana Noor Haq, Ed Upright, Adrienne Vogt and Aditi Sangal, CNN

Updated 12:57 a.m. ET, October 12, 2022
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2:47 p.m. ET, October 11, 2022

Energy minister: About 30% of Ukraine's energy infrastructure has been hit by Russian missiles since Monday

From CNN’s Alex Hardie

Around 30% of energy infrastructure in Ukraine has been hit by Russian missiles since Monday, Ukraine's Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko said Tuesday.    

The minister told CNN that this was the “first time from the beginning of the war” that Russia has “dramatically targeted” energy infrastructure.  

He said one reason is because Ukrainian electricity exports to Europe “helps European countries to save on Russian gas and coal,” adding that Ukraine is trying “to reconnect quickly from the other sources.”

On Monday, the Ukrainian government urged people across the country to “limit” their energy use.  Asked whether Ukraine would receive extra energy from Europe, Halushchenko said that was “one of the options on the table.” 

The minister said that the Ukrainian energy system “is still stable,” but called on partners to provide “air protection systems which really could help us to protect our infrastructure.”   

“We send this message to our partners: we need to protect the sky,” he said. “Russians they are not playing on some games on international laws. They don’t care about any kind of international agreements or conventions.” 

The Russian defense ministry on Tuesday confirmed it's targeting Ukrainian military and energy facilities in attacks.

2:25 p.m. ET, October 11, 2022

Belarus holds inspection of its armed forces to ensure combat readiness, defense ministry says

From CNN's Anna Chernova, Uliana Pavlova and Sharon Braithwaite 

Belarus said Tuesday that it has been holding an inspection of its armed forces to ensure combat "readiness."  

"Since October 11, the State Secretariat of the Security Council of the Republic of Belarus, in accordance with the instruction of the President, has been conducting an inspection of the Armed Forces of Belarus," the country’s defense ministry said in a statement. 

The minister said the inspection is “comprehensive and covers the most important issues of checking readiness to perform tasks as intended."

"During the inspection, military units and subunits will work out the issues of putting on combat readiness, making a march, deploying in designated areas with the performance of combat training tasks,” the statement added. 

It comes as the country’s defense minister said earlier on Tuesday that the joint deployment of forces with Russia along the border between Belarus and Ukraine is a defensive measure to ensure “security.” 

“The tasks of the Regional Grouping of Forces are purely defensive. And all the activities currently being carried out are aimed at an adequate response to actions near our borders,” Minister of Defense Lt. Gen. Viktor Khrenin said in a statement.  


5:25 p.m. ET, October 11, 2022

Zelensky calls on UNESCO to add port city of Odesa to its World Heritage site list  

From CNN's Sharon Braithwaite in London

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during the video conference of the leaders of the G7 and Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, October 11.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during the video conference of the leaders of the G7 and Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, October 11. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office/AP)

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky has officially requested that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) add the historic Ukrainian port city of Odesa to its World Heritage site list.

Zelensky said Tuesday a total of 540 "objects of cultural heritage, cultural institutions and religious buildings (were) damaged by Russian strikes in Ukraine during the full-scale war since Feb. 24."

"We must provide a clear signal that the world will not turn a blind eye to the destruction of our common history, our common culture, our common heritage," he said in a pre-recorded address to the to the 58 member states of UNESCO’s executive board. 

"One of the steps for this should be the preservation of the historical centre of Odesa — a beautiful city, an important port of the Black Sea and a source of culture for millions of people in different countries. Together with our partners, we prepared the nomination file of Odesa for inclusion in the World Heritage List. We are passing this on to UNESCO," Zelensky added. 

Odesa, like all other cities of Ukraine, is a “target for Russian strikes. Please support Odesa. Show at the level of UNESCO precisely that Russian terror must end," he said. 

The Ukrainian president also demanded that Russia be excluded from all UNESCO bodies and from the organization itself. 

"A terrorist state definitely has no right to chair one of the key bodies for the protection of cultural and natural heritage — the UNESCO World Heritage Committee. Such a Russian presidency devalues the institution itself — its significance, its reputation. It is inadmissible to let Russia destroy the authority of UNESCO. The terrorist state must be excluded from all UNESCO bodies and from the organization itself," he said. 

More on the application: The UN's cultural watchdog said in a news released that it had formally received the nomination file Tuesday morning and will "be reviewed by the consultative bodies and examined at the next session of the World Heritage Committee, whose 21 Member States will be responsible for deciding on the nomination."

In legal terms, the inscription of the historic center of Odesa on the World Heritage List "would establish an extended protection zone under the 1972 UNESCO Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage," it said.

The fabric of the center of Odesa, "a melting pot of exchange and migration, reflects multiple influences. It bears a heritage and a history that resonates with people around the world and stands as a powerful symbol," UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay stated in the news release. 

2:25 p.m. ET, October 11, 2022

UN ambassador: US will be watching who sides with Russia during vote on condemning annexations

From CNN’s Richard Roth

US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield speaks to press after Security Council meeting in the UN Headquarters in New York on October 1.
US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield speaks to press after Security Council meeting in the UN Headquarters in New York on October 1. (Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket/Getty Images)

US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Tuesday that the United States will be watching which countries side with Russia at Wednesday’s expected General Assembly vote on a resolution condemning Russia’s annexations in eastern Ukraine. 

Unlike the UN Security Council, there are no vetoes allowed in the General Assembly Hall. Abstentions will not count for the official tally.

The US is seeking a strong global signal to oppose Russia on the Ukraine invasion.

Thomas-Greenfield said Wednesday’s vote is “about defending the UN” along with its charter. The US ambassador said she couldn’t predict how China, India or any country will vote. There are about 70 co-sponsors of the resolution, she said. 

Russia has blasted the United States and the West in the ongoing debate on the resolution in debate that began Monday.

At least 45 countries or regional groups are left to speak on the matter, which means the vote will likely occur at some time on Wednesday afternoon.

Some background: On Monday, Russia’s attempt for a secret ballot on the resolution was not approved. Thomas-Greenfield said Russia failed to draw much support and said the number of votes against Russia was “resounding” in the secret ballot vote.

“Now is not the time for placation,” the ambassador said.

1:11 p.m. ET, October 11, 2022

US working to expedite delivery of air defense systems to Ukraine in near future, White House says

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

The US is expediting delivery of two National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems, (NASAMS), to Ukraine as quickly as possible, the White House said Tuesday.

The joint US-Norwegian systems will help fulfill Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s requests for more air defense support.

The US is on track to deliver the first two systems to Ukraine “in the very near future,” John Kirby, National Security Council communications coordinator, said.

Biden had previous agreed to contract for eight of the NASAMS systems, which provides short-to-medium range defenses. It’s the same system used to protect airspace in Washington, DC.

Kirby declined to provide a specific date for when the NASAMS systems would arrive, but said the US was “certainly interested in expediting” the system quickly.

During a virtual meeting of the G7 earlier, Zelensky told the meeting that "common efforts to create an air shield for Ukraine" must be intensified amid a barrage of Russian cruise missile and drone attacks.

1:26 p.m. ET, October 11, 2022

France will step up military presence in eastern Europe, defense minister says 

From CNN’s Joseph Ataman in Paris

French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu addresses a press conference in Berlin on September 22.
French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu addresses a press conference in Berlin on September 22. (John Macdougall/AFP/Getty Images)

France will deploy additional forces to bolster NATO’s “defensive posture” in eastern Europe, French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu told lawmakers on Tuesday.

French President Emmanuel Macron had taken the decision over the deployment Monday evening, Lecornu said.

The announcement comes after the recent wave of Russian attacks on Ukrainian cities and civilian infrastructure.

France will deploy one reinforced company of armored infantry vehicles to Romania, as well as a squadron of Charles Leclerc tanks, Lecornu said. France has taken the lead in NATO’s presence in Romania, with some 750 soldiers deployed there already.

The minister also outlined an additional deployment of Rafale fighter jets in Lithuania, as well as the deployment of a reinforced company of light infantry in Estonia too.

He said the forces would be in place by the end of October or the beginning of November.

France was already contributing two Rafale jets and supporting aircraft to NATO’s air defense mission in Poland and some 300 soldiers in Estonia. 

12:21 p.m. ET, October 11, 2022

Ukraine's security service says it found more evidence of torture in formerly Russian-occupied areas

From CNN's Tim Lister

The Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) says it has found new evidence of detention centers where torture was used in places that had been occupied by Russian forces.

The SBU said its officers had discovered a place of illegal detention in Sviatohirsk in Donetsk region that included a torture chamber in what had been a recreation center.

"SBU detectives and investigators found items that directly indicate signs of torture," it said.

The prosecutor general's office said its inspectors had visited both Sviatohirsk and Lyman, which was liberated last month.

In Sviatohirsk, "law enforcement officers exhumed the bodies of 34 people, some of them with signs of violent death. Also, the burnt bodies of two citizens were found in a car, their identities are currently being established," the prosecutor general's office said.

In Lyman, "about 110 trenches were found at the Nova Masliakivka cemetery, including the graves of children," it added. "In total, 44 bodies have already been exhumed during the inspection."

12:09 p.m. ET, October 11, 2022

US officials still wary of Russian retaliation in cyberspace

From CNN's Sean Lyngaas

Nearly eight months into the war in Ukraine, US officials are still wary of potential retaliatory Russian hacking campaigns against critical infrastructure, despite a paucity of such hacks so far, a senior US Department of Homeland Security cyber official said Tuesday. 

“I think there is some concern about [Russian President Vladimir] Putin escalating, specifically with attacks against our critical infrastructure,” said Jen Easterly, director of the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

US officials have for months warned about the potential for Russia-based cybercriminals or Kremlin-backed hackers to target US organizations after Washington imposed sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. US President Joe Biden's administration has also warned that Russia hacking targets in Ukraine could bring collateral damage for US organizations with supply chains in the region. 

Easterly said those scenarios were still on the table. 

“I think we’re still in a very sensitive time,” she told a conference hosted by the National Association of Corporate Directors.

Some background: Russian-speaking hackers last week claimed responsibility for knocking offline state government websites in Colorado, Kentucky and Mississippi, among other states. The same group also claimed responsibility for briefly downing a US Congress website in July, and for cyberattacks on organizations in Lithuania after the Baltic country blocked the shipment of some goods to the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad in June.

On Monday, the same group, known as Killnet — a loose band of so-called "hacktivists," politically motivated hackers who support the Kremlin but whose ties to that government are unknown — claimed to target more than a dozen public-facing airport websites. There were no immediate signs of impact to actual air travel.

2:37 p.m. ET, October 11, 2022

Putin tells chief of UN nuclear watchdog situation at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant is "of concern"

From CNN's Anna Chernova and Sharon Braithwaite 

Russian President Vladimir Putin told the chief of the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog agency on Tuesday that the situation at Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is "of concern," adding that Moscow was "open" for dialogue. 

Ahead of his meeting with Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, in St. Petersburg, Putin said:

"We see that today there are elements of an excessively dangerous politicization of everything connected with nuclear activity. We very much hope that, thanks to your efforts, we will be able to reduce all rhetoric and bring this area of ​​our cooperation to normal, despite all the turbulence and complex processes that are taking place on the world stage." 

Putin added that he is "happy" to discuss "all issues that are of mutual interest to us and may even cause concern to someone. Well, to us as well. For example, as far as the situation around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is concerned. In any case, we are open to this dialogue and are glad to see you." 

Grossi said that the their discussion today is "very important and indispensable," since "we do have issues that have to do with nuclear safety, nuclear security in particular at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant." 

"As you know, I've been displaying efforts to try and avoid a nuclear accident that could be very detrimental in general terms and in particular in the region," Grossi told Putin.