October 12, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Kathleen Magramo, Aditi Sangal and Jack Guy, CNN

Updated 1:00 a.m. ET, October 13, 2022
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1:11 p.m. ET, October 12, 2022

Allies need to help Ukraine rebuild an integrated air and missile defense system, top US general says

From CNN's Ellie Kaufman

The US and its allies need to provide Ukraine with air defense systems in order for Ukraine to help defend its airspace against incoming attacks from Russian forces, Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said during a news conference after the Ukraine Defense Contact Group meeting in Brussels Wednesday.

“What needs to be done here by all the various countries that were at the conference today is chip in and help them rebuild and sustain an integrated air and missile defense system,” Milley said. 

The United States' proposed plan: Milley laid out a plan where different air defense systems that several countries have, including Israel and Germany, should be given to Ukraine, and then the systems can be used together to protect Ukraine’s airspace. 

“Many countries have Patriot, many countries have other systems, there’s a whole series of Israeli systems that are quite capable, the Germans have systems as we mentioned, so a lot of the countries that were here today have a wide variety of systems,” Milley said. “The task will be to bring those together, get them deployed, get them trained, cause each of these systems is different, make sure they can link together with a command and control and communication systems and make sure they have radars that can talk to each other so they can acquire targets on the inbound flights.”

The execution of this strategy will be “quite complicated from a technical standpoint,” but Milley said it “is achievable.” 

When asked by a journalist when the air defense systems will arrive in Ukraine, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said, “the systems will be provided as fast as we can physically get them there.” 

12:41 p.m. ET, October 12, 2022

Top US general calls Russia’s attack on civilian infrastructure a "war crime"

From CNN's Ellie Kaufman

Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called Russia’s attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure in Ukraine a "war crime" while speaking in a news conference after the Ukraine Defense Contact Group met in Brussels on Wednesday.

“Russia has deliberately struck civilian infrastructure with the purpose of harming civilians. They have targeted the elderly, the women and the children of Ukraine. Indiscriminate and deliberate attacks on civilian targets is a war crime in the international rules of war,” Milley said.

Milley added that while Ukraine’s citizens “have suffered greatly,” the country continues to “endure, and they are an inspiration to all.”

4:05 p.m. ET, October 12, 2022

Attacks on civilians in Ukraine "reveal the malice of Putin’s war of choice," US defense secretary says

From CNN's Ellie Kaufman

Workers in crater left by a missile strike the day before near Taras Shevchenko National University on October 11, in Kyiv.
Workers in crater left by a missile strike the day before near Taras Shevchenko National University on October 11, in Kyiv. (Ed Ram/Getty Images)

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said Russia's recent attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure in Ukraine "reveal the malice of Putin’s war of choice."

Austin, who hosted a meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group in Brussels on Wednesday, said the “resolve” of allies and partners to help Ukraine has only solidified since the recent barrage of Russian attacks on civilians.

Austin held the meeting to discuss how to continue to support Ukraine in battling Russia’s ongoing invasion of the country, with more than 50 countries participating.

“That resolve has only been heightened by the deliberate cruelty of Russia’s new barrage of Ukraine cities,” Austin said. “Those assaults on targets with no military purpose again reveal the malice of Putin’s war of choice, but Russia’s atrocities have further united the nations of good will that stand with Ukraine.”

Austin called the recent attacks a “grim preview" of a future where “appetites of aggressive autocrats outweigh the rights of peaceful states.”

“We would all be less secure in a world where big powers can assault their peaceful neighbors and trample their borders by force," he added.

Austin said the US and allies will “continue” to send capabilities, like High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) systems, that have helped Ukraine in their counter-offensive against Russia. 

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

UN nuclear watchdog chief traveling back to Ukraine after discussing nuclear safety with Putin in Russia

From CNN's Sharon Braithwaite in London

Rafael Grossi, chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), is traveling back to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv after meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg, where the two discussed issues related to nuclear safety.

"As agreed with Ukraine President Zelensky, after my meetings in St Petersburg I am coming back to Kyiv," Grossi tweeted.

"The work on the establishment of a nuclear safety & security protection zone around #Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant continues," he added.

Grossi has repeatedly stressed in the past few weeks the urgent need to create a protection zone around the Europe's largest nuclear plant in Zaporizhzhia, which has experienced frequent shelling in the past few months.

View Grossi's tweet here:

11:44 a.m. ET, October 12, 2022

Ukraine's weapons wish list includes multiple rocket systems, artillery and air defense as top priorities

From CNN's Ellie Kaufman

Ukraine's weapons wish list includes multiple launch rocket systems, artillery and air defense as current top weapons priorities, according to a handout provided to defense ministers participating in a Ukraine Defense Contact Group meeting hosted by US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in Brussels on Wednesday. 

Ministers of defense from several countries are gathering to discuss weapons requirements and how the countries can continue to support Ukraine militarily as they battle Russia’s ongoing invasion of their country.

Under Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), the handout states that Ukraine needs “additional NATO-standard MLRS systems and ammunition.” Under artillery, the handout states Kyiv needs more artillery for towed howitzers, self-propelled tracked howitzers and non-standard wheeled howitzers as well as large quantities of “additional 155mm, 152mm, and 122mm ammunition,” the handout states.  

The third priority is “air defense” including missiles for Ukraine’s current medium-range air defense systems, the S-300 and SA-11. The list also states Ukraine needs a “transition to Western-origin layered air defense systems” and “additional Western and Soviet-era SHORAD systems.” Ukraine has been asking for more air defense systems, but the need has become more urgent as Russia has increased its use of Iranian-made drones. 

Other priorities listed include radars, coastal defense, tanks and electronic warfare equipment.

11:13 a.m. ET, October 12, 2022

Ukrainian prime minister calls for 25% cut in electricity use during peak hours to avoid outages

From CNN's Olga Voitovych 

The Ukrainian government is appealing to people to reduce their electricity consumption to avoid blackouts — and wants peak demand reduced by 25%.

Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal appealed to citizens and businesses to reduce electricity consumption from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. in order to stabilize the power system, after damage caused by Russian missile attacks this week.

"We are grateful to all Ukrainians who deliberately reduced electricity consumption yesterday and the night before yesterday. The total saving was 10%. We also thank the mayors, heads of communities, who took a responsible approach to reducing electricity consumption in communities," Shmyhal said in a statement.

But to avoid power outages, he said, "it is necessary to achieve a deliberate reduction in electricity consumption from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. across Ukraine by 25%."

Shmyhal asked that "external electric advertising and other energy-consuming devices" be turned off during the evening hours.

He also appealed to people to use gas and coal sparingly after turning on the heating. "The minimum indoor temperature this winter will be 16 degrees, and the average temperature will be 18 degrees," he said. "This is a necessity and this is our contribution to victory."

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

Ukraine says it has liberated more settlements in the southern region of Kherson 

From CNN's Tim Lister

Ukrainian soldiers patrol counterattack against Russian forces in the southern Kherson region, Ukraine, on October 7.
Ukrainian soldiers patrol counterattack against Russian forces in the southern Kherson region, Ukraine, on October 7. (Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Ukraine says its forces have continued to advance in the southern region of Kherson, liberating five more villages in a slow push southwest. 

Yaroslav Yanushevych, head of the Kherson region administration, said Wednesday: "The Armed Forces of Ukraine liberated 5 more settlements in the Kherson region: Novovasylivka, Novohryhorivka, Nova Kamynka, Tryfonivka, Chervone.

The five villages are relatively close together in a largely rural part of the region. 

More on Ukraine's offensive in Kherson: Last week, a senior Ukrainian official said Ukraine's military had recaptured 2,400 square kilometers (more than 926 square miles) of territory in the Kherson region “since the beginning of the full-scale war."

Ukrainian forces have been making steady progress in Kherson since beginning an offensive at the end of last month, and their successes have sparked rare criticism of Moscow’s war effort among pro-Russian figures.

Kherson is one of the four regions in Ukraine that Russia has claimed it is annexing in violation of international law.

11:49 a.m. ET, October 12, 2022

Biden says he hasn't seen movement from Putin on Brittney Griner's release

From CNN's Kevin Liptak, Anna Chernova and Sugam Pokharel

President Joe Biden speaks with CNN's Jake Tapper during an interview in the Map Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on October 11.
President Joe Biden speaks with CNN's Jake Tapper during an interview in the Map Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on October 11. (Sarah Silbiger/CNN)

US President Joe Biden says he hasn't seen any movement from Russian President Vladimir Putin on the release of American women's basketball star Brittney Griner.

"Not from Putin," Biden said when questioned whether he'd seen any action on Griner's case.

Speaking to CNN's Jake Tapper on Tuesday, Biden said he'd be willing to meet Putin at the upcoming G20 summit in Indonesia if Putin was willing to discuss Griner's release.

"I have no intention of meeting with him. But for example, if he came to me at the G20 and said I want to talk about the release of Griner, I’d meet with him. I mean, it would depend," Biden told Tapper in the exclusive CNN interview.

Biden told reporters Wednesday that recent Russian attacks on Ukrainian civilian infrastructure were brutal and "beyond the pale."

What Russia is saying: A Kremlin aide responded to Biden saying that he has “no intention of meeting” with Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying on Wednesday that Moscow “never refuses negotiations and any useful international contacts,” according to state media RIA Novosti.

“We never repel an outstretched hand. If we feel and understand that a partner for one reason or another does not want to meet, we do not impose ourselves," Putin’s foreign policy aide Yury Ushakov told reporters.

When asked if Putin would attend the G20 summit taking place in November in Indonesia, Ushakov said “there’s still plenty of time” to decide.

“As for G20… It’s still a long way to it, as well as to other meetings (international forums in November), there is still a lot of time. Let's wait and see,” he said, according to the state media. 

10:09 a.m. ET, October 12, 2022

Putin: Russia is not to blame for Europe’s energy crisis 

From CNN's Uliana Pavlova

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a key speech during the plenary session of Russian Energy Week 2022 on October 12, in Moscow, Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a key speech during the plenary session of Russian Energy Week 2022 on October 12, in Moscow, Russia. (Getty Images)

Russia is not to blame for Europe’s energy crisis, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday, adding that the European Union itself is to blame. 

“Ordinary Europeans are suffering. This year, their energy and gas bills have more than tripled. As in medieval times, the population began to stock up on firewood for the winter. What does Russia have to do with it?” Putin said during the plenary session at Russia’s Energy Week.

“They constantly try to blame someone else for their mistakes. In this case, Russia. They themselves are to blame. This is not the result of a special military operation in Ukraine, in the Donbas,” Putin said. 

Putin blamed EU countries for making poor decisions in the energy sector when it comes to cooperation with Russia. 

“The European well-being of the last decades was largely based on cooperation with Russia. The consequences of the partial rejection of goods from Russia are already negatively affecting the economy and the residents of Europe,” he added.

Putin also said on Wednesday that Russia is ready to start gas supplies via a link on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that remains operational but it is the EU’s decision if they want it.

Remember: Russia was a major oil and gas supplier for European countries. Moscow's war in Ukraine has brought this European reliance under scrutiny.