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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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. 

11:46 a.m. ET, October 11, 2022

US ambassador to NATO: No shift in alliance's support for Ukraine 

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler

US Ambassador to NATO Julie Smith said Tuesday she has seen “no shift” in the alliance’s support for Ukraine.

“I see really no change in allies’ commitment to support Ukraine through humanitarian economic and security assistance,” Smith told reporters during a virtual briefing. “I see 30 allies around the table that are fully united in their view that Putin's war continues to be an affront to international peace and the UN Charter, that none of us will be recognizing Russia's attempts at annexation, which we've seen in recent days, and that tragically, the costs of this war, of Russia's war inside Ukraine, continue to climb.”

Looking forward to Wednesday's meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, she said allies will focus on assessing Ukraine's defense needs on the ground and how countries can help most quickly.

“Our focus from the beginning has been on speed,” she said, adding that the US has been in contact with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and the defense minister since the beginning of the war. "We are constantly assessing what their needs are — pairing them with countries that have the assets that they need, and looking for ways to get those assets into the hands of military forces inside Ukraine as fast as humanly possible.”

Smith also defended the United States’ provision of arms to Ukraine, claiming that Kyiv’s battlefield needs have evolved over the course of the war; the consistent theme has been air defense though, she said.

1:41 p.m. ET, October 11, 2022

In wake of strikes, Lviv mayor says Ukrainians will continue to resist Russian attacks

A man watches as smoke rises above the buildings after the Russian missile attack on the critical infrastructure of Lviv on Monday, October 10.
A man watches as smoke rises above the buildings after the Russian missile attack on the critical infrastructure of Lviv on Monday, October 10. (Pavlo Palamarchuk/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images)

Andriy Sadovyi, mayor of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv — one of the cities hit yesterday and today by Russia — said that the strikes fuel Ukrainians' determination.

"Russia spreads fear. They will get the opposite result. Ukrainian people become stronger, powerful and resist. It is our war for independence," he told CNN's Kate Bolduan.

The head of the Lviv regional military administration said there were “three explosions at two energy facilities in the Lviv region” on Tuesday. Sadovyi told CNN that 30% of electricity was out in his city after missiles affected water and power, but the situation is improving.

He called for air defense systems, as other Ukrainian officials have, including President Volodymyr Zelensky, have underscored to foreign leaders.

Sadovyi also said the city needs new generators, especially heading into the winter.

"I expect tough situation [in the] next months," he said.

5:45 p.m. ET, October 11, 2022

G7 leaders vow to hold Putin "responsible to account" for recent attacks in Ukraine 

From CNN's Mick Krever and Sugam Pokharel 

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during the signing ceremony with separatist leaders on the annexation of four Ukrainian regions at the Grand Kremlin Palace, on September 30, in Moscow, Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during the signing ceremony with separatist leaders on the annexation of four Ukrainian regions at the Grand Kremlin Palace, on September 30, in Moscow, Russia. (Contributor/Getty Images)

The G7 heads of government vowed to hold Russian President Vladimir Putin and those "responsible to account” for the recent wave of attacks in Ukraine, the group's leaders said in a joint statement following a virtual meeting Tuesday.

The G7 countries also committed to support Ukraine for "as long as it takes," while promising to continue to provide financial, humanitarian, military, diplomatic and legal support. 

The nations assured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky "that we are undeterred and steadfast in our commitment to providing the support Ukraine needs to uphold its sovereignty and territorial integrity," according to the statement.

"We will continue to provide financial, humanitarian, military, diplomatic and legal support and will stand firmly with Ukraine for as long as it takes. We are committed to supporting Ukraine in meeting its winter preparedness needs." the group said.

11:33 a.m. ET, October 11, 2022

Zelensky urges G7 leaders to create "air shield" for Ukraine and release stiffer sanctions against Russia

From CNN's Tim Lister

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz takes part in a video conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and the head of states of the G7 on October 11, n Berlin, Germany.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz takes part in a video conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and the head of states of the G7 on October 11, n Berlin, Germany. (Steffen Kugler/Bundesregierung/Getty Images)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told a meeting of G7 leaders that "common efforts to create an air shield for Ukraine" must be intensified following a barrage of Russian cruise missile and drone attacks.

At a virtual meeting of G7 heads of government on Tuesday, Zelensky said the Russians had used more than 100 cruise missiles against Ukraine since Monday and that "every ten minutes I receive a message about the enemy's use of Iranian "Shaheds [drones]."

Zelensky claimed Russia had ordered 2,400 "Shaheds" from Iran. 

"Russia wants to provoke chaos in Ukraine and in the entire democratic world, and therefore uses everything — from missile strikes to the seizure of a nuclear plant, threats of a radiation disaster, from sabotage against infrastructure in Europe to a deliberate attempt to destroy Ukraine's energy facilities," Zelensky said.

The Ukrainian president said the Russian leader "still has room for further escalation."

Zelensky appealed for an "air shield for Ukraine," saying that "when Ukraine receives a sufficient number of modern and effective air defense systems, the key element of Russian terror — missile strikes — will cease to work."

Zelensky thanked Germany and the United States for systems that were being delivered and hoped a Defense Ministers meeting in Germany on Wednesday would discuss the integration of these systems with Ukraine's.

More details from the meeting: Zelensky also reiterated his demand for Russia to be declared a terrorist state and further sanctions. "We must block its energy sector with sanctions, break the stability of Russian revenues from oil and gas trade. A tough price cap is needed for the exports of oil and gas from Russia — zero profit for the terrorist state," he told the G7 leaders.

Zelensky said that "there can be no dialogue with this leader of Russia, who has no future."

He also claimed that Russia was trying to drag Belarus into the conflict. 

"The territory of Belarus is already used for strikes against Ukraine. And now we see a bigger threat. Russia is trying to directly draw Belarus into this war, playing a provocation that we are allegedly preparing an attack on this country."

He said Ukraine had no such plans and suggested a mission of international observers to be stationed on the border of Ukraine and Belarus to monitor the security situation.

4:06 p.m. ET, October 11, 2022

Yellen slams Moscow officials during joint meeting with Russian finance minister

From CNN's Phil Mattingly

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen speaks during the Freedmans Bank Forum at the US Treasury Department in Washington DC, on October 4.
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen speaks during the Freedmans Bank Forum at the US Treasury Department in Washington DC, on October 4. (Stefani Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images)

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen singled out top Russian officials for bearing responsibility for the “immense human suffering” caused by the war in Ukraine at a joint meeting attended by the Russian finance minister, according to a source familiar with the matter. 

Yellen specifically cited the recent missile strikes in Ukraine to underscore her condemnation, becoming the latest senior official in US President Joe Biden's administration to respond to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s latest in a series of escalatory actions as his military continues to suffer setbacks.

“Putin’s regime and the officials who serve it – including those representing Russia at these gatherings – bear responsibility for the immense human suffering this war has caused,” Yellen said Tuesday in her remarks during the G20 Joint Finance-Agriculture ministerial, according to the source.

“That includes the innocent lives taken by President Putin’s barbaric missile attacks across Ukraine yesterday. Russia’s decision to indiscriminately strike civilian targets shows the world yet again the true nature of their brutal and illegal war in Ukraine,” she continued. 

Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov was attending the meeting virtually during Yellen’s remarks.