November 3, 2022 Russia Ukraine news

By Tara Subramaniam, Hafsa Khalil, Ed Upright, Adrienne Vogt, Aditi Sangal, Matt Meyer and Seán Federico O'Murchú, CNN

Updated 3:02 a.m. ET, November 4, 2022
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2:58 a.m. ET, November 3, 2022

In newly liberated villages, Ukrainian investigators uncover horrific claims of Russian sexual violence

From  Mick Krever, Clarissa Ward and Scott McWhinnie

Tatiana, age 56, recalls the shame she felt after she says she was raped by a Russian soldier.
Tatiana, age 56, recalls the shame she felt after she says she was raped by a Russian soldier. (Mick Krever/CNN)

Day after day, in town after town, a police officer and prosecutor go door to door in Ukraine’s Kherson region.

Treading muddy streets, past homes damaged by artillery strikes, they look for those left behind. The two men form a specialist unit that’s traveled from the capital, Kyiv.

A mother and daughter come out to their yard. “We are looking for sexual crimes,” the prosecutor, Oleksandr Kleshchenko, says.

Until early October, this area of the country was occupied by Russian troops. Burnt-out cars litter the fields. The letter ‘Z’ — a symbol used by Russian forces — marks the walls.

The scars of war run deep here. Russia has used sexual violence as a “weapon of war” — a deliberate “military strategy” — in its conquest of Ukraine, United Nations investigators have said. They have even relayed allegations of Russian soldiers carrying Viagra.

Russian authorities have denied accusations of war crimes in Ukraine.

In two weeks of work in the Kherson region, the team from Kyiv has documented six allegations of sexual assault. The real number is almost certainly much higher, they say.

Tatiana, age 56, says she is one of the victims. CNN is withholding her last name and that of her village to protect her identity.

Walking over broken glass, she shows us into her brother’s house, where she says two Russian soldiers forced their way through her door on August 26.

“They walked around those rooms,” she says. “One stayed there, and the other one, who raped me, came in here. He came in, walked a little bit around the room and here in this place, he started groping me.”

“I told him, ‘No, no, I am not of the age that I can give you something, look for younger girls.’”
He pinned her against the wardrobe, she says, and tore at her clothes. “I was crying, begging him to stop, but with no success,” she says. “The only thought I had was to stay alive.”

Read more here.

12:00 a.m. ET, November 3, 2022

Zelensky: Kremlin demanding security guarantees from Ukraine shows Russian aggression has failed

From CNN's Jonny Hallam

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during his evening video message on Wednesday Nov. 2.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during his evening video message on Wednesday Nov. 2. (Office of President of Ukraine)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia demanding security guarantees from Kyiv demonstrates the failure of Moscow's invasion after eight months of fighting.

In his nightly address on Wednesday, the Ukrainian leader said: "252 days ago, Russia demanded security guarantees from the United States of America. After eight months of Russia's so-called 'special operation,' the Kremlin is demanding security guarantees from Ukraine. These are indeed striking changes." 

"It shows both the failure of Russian aggression and how strong we are when we remain united," Zelensky added.

Earlier on Wednesday, Russia resumed its participation in the UN-brokered grain deal that it had left days earlier, saying it had received written security guarantees from Ukraine on demilitarizing the maritime corridor.

In televised comments, Russian President Vladimir Putin said, "having received the necessary guarantees from the Ukrainian side that the humanitarian route will not be used for military purposes, Russia resumes the implementation of the grain deal." 
9:57 p.m. ET, November 2, 2022

Ukraine claims it hit significant Russian military systems in Kherson

From CNN's Julia Kesaieva

Ukrainian officials say the military struck an important target in Kherson, as pro-Russian authorities press civilians to leave the southern region.

Serhii Khlan, member of the Kherson Regional Council, said Ukrainian forces hit Russian air defense systems close to the stadium in Kherson city. Those systems have also been used to shell Mykolaiv, sometimes with devastating effect.

Khlan posted a photograph purportedly showing the "remains of the equipment."

Khlan said there had also been further hits in the area of the Antonivskyi bridge, where Russian forces and the pro-Russian administration have been operating ferries and pontoon bridges to resupply the west bank, where thousands of Russian troops remain.

He said that in the city of Kakhovka — on the east bank of the river Dnipro — the three streets closest to the river were being forcibly evacuated. He said the Russians "in the city are digging in, setting up concrete trenches."

Khlan said the Russians "are digging in on the east bank, preparing for defense, thinking that this make our offensive impossible. But the resistance movement and the Armed Forces of Ukraine continue to fight."

Khlan repeated what other Ukrainian officials have asserted: that the Russian-backed authorities have left the city of Kherson — which is on the west bank — to set up office in the city of Skadovsk, much closer to Crimea. 

"As for the urgent and mandatory "evacuation" called for by the Russians, our people are not going to go anywhere. If the locals did not have the opportunity to go to the de-occupied [Ukrainian-held] territory or decided to stay at home, they definitely do not want to go to Russia," Khlan said.
12:39 a.m. ET, November 3, 2022

First on CNN: US accuses North Korea of trying to hide shipments of ammunition to Russia

From CNN's Kylie Atwood and Katie Bo Lillis

National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby speaks from the White House in Washington, DC, on October 26.
National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby speaks from the White House in Washington, DC, on October 26. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

The US is accusing North Korea of secretly supplying Russia with artillery shells for the Ukraine war by concealing where they are being transported to, according to newly declassified intelligence.

US officials believe that the surreptitious North Korean shipments — along with drones and other weaponry that Russia has acquired from Iran — are further evidence that even Moscow’s conventional artillery arsenals have dwindled during eight months of combat. North Korea is trying to hide the shipments by making it appear as if the ammunition is being sent to countries in the Middle East or North Africa, the intelligence says.

The recent intelligence comes about two months after the US intelligence community said that it believed Russia was in the process of buying millions of rockets and artillery shells from North Korea for use on the battlefield, CNN and other outlets reported at the time.

“In September, the (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) publicly denied that it intended to provide ammunition to Russia,” the National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications John Kirby said in a statement to CNN. “However, our information indicates that the DPRK is covertly supplying Russia’s war in Ukraine with a significant number of artillery shells, while obfuscating the real destination of the arms shipments by trying to make it appear as though they are being sent to countries in the Middle East or North Africa.”

Officials did not provide evidence to support the new allegations. The declassified intelligence also did not provide details about how many weapons are part of the shipments, or how they would be paid for.

Read more here.

12:44 a.m. ET, November 3, 2022

US officials split over intelligence suggesting Russian military discussed scenarios for using nuclear weapons

From CNN's Natasha Bertrand, Katie Bo Lillis and Zachary Cohen

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu chairs a meeting at the National Defense Control Centre in Moscow, Russia, on November 1.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu chairs a meeting at the National Defense Control Centre in Moscow, Russia, on November 1. (Russian Defense Ministry/Reuters)

Russian military officials have discussed how and under what conditions Russia would use a tactical nuclear weapon on the battlefield in Ukraine, according to a US intelligence assessment described to CNN by multiple sources who have read it.

The assessment, drafted by the National Intelligence Council, is not a high confidence product and is not raw intelligence but rather analysis, multiple people who have read it told CNN. For that reason, some officials believe the conversations reflected in the document may have been taken out of context, and do not necessarily indicate that Russia is preparing to use a nuclear weapon.

The US has still not seen any signs that Russian President Vladimir Putin has decided to take the drastic step of using one, officials said, and Putin is not believed to have been involved in the discussions described in the NIC product.

But others within the administration who have viewed the document have reacted with concern, because it provides a rare window into conversations between senior Russian generals and reveals their intensifying frustration about Russia’s losses on the battlefield in Ukraine. That frustration could turn into desperation, some officials fear. There are also questions about whether Russia’s self-declared annexation of eastern Ukraine earlier this year means Russia is willing to take more extreme measures to protect that territory.

Read more here.

12:44 a.m. ET, November 3, 2022

Russia changes course, rejoins key Ukraine grain export deal

From CNN's Ivana Kottasová

The Malta flagged bulk carrier Zante en-route to Belgium transits the Bosphorus carrying 47,270 metric tons of rapeseed from Ukraine on November 2, in Istanbul, Turkey.
The Malta flagged bulk carrier Zante en-route to Belgium transits the Bosphorus carrying 47,270 metric tons of rapeseed from Ukraine on November 2, in Istanbul, Turkey. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Russia said Wednesday it was rejoining the agreement that guarantees safe passage for ships carrying vital grain exports from Ukraine, a move that may help ease concerns about global food supplies that were raised when Moscow suspended its participation in the pact last week.

The decision to reverse course and rejoin the agreement was announced by the Russian Ministry of Defense just days after Moscow cited drone attacks on the city of Sevastopol in occupied Crimea as the reason for its withdrawal from the deal.

“The Russian Federation considers that the guarantees received at the moment seem sufficient and resumes the implementation of the agreement,” the ministry said in a statement posted on its official Telegram channel.

Russia has blamed Ukraine for the Sevastopol attacks. Ukraine has not confirmed that its forces attacked the city, and the extent of the damage to Russian naval vessels remains unclear.

Read more here.