November 3, 2022 Russia Ukraine news

kyiv hospital nurses vpx
See inside a Kyiv hospital amid intense Russian missile attacks on the city
02:12 - Source: CNN

What we covered here

  • IAEA inspectors found no indication of undeclared nuclear activities and material at three locations in Ukraine, the nuclear watchdog agency said.
  • Ukrainian officials say the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has again been disconnected from the power grid due to Russian shelling that damaged the remaining high-voltage lines.
  • A senior Moscow-appointed official’s remark that Russian troops will “most likely” fall back from positions in Kherson has led to confusion. A Ukrainian official suggested the statement could be a trap.
  • Seven vessels carrying agricultural products left Ukraine’s ports Thursday after Russia agreed to rejoin the Black Sea grain deal, according to a Ukrainian minister.
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Millions of Ukrainians without power after latest attacks on civilian infrastructure, Zelensky says

A car drives on a dark street on November 2, in Kyiv, Ukraine.

About 4.5 million Ukrainian consumers are dealing with power outages Thursday evening, according to President Volodymr Zelensky.

Households across the country have been temporarily disconnected from energy supply under an emergency schedule aimed at stabilizing the nation’s fragile electric grid. Russia has been bombing and destroying civilian infrastructure, ushering in fears of a cold, dark winter.

Most people are affected in the capital, Kyiv, and nine other regions: Dnipropetrovsk, Zhytomyr, Zaporizhzhia, Sumy, Kirovohrad, Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Khmelnytskyi, Cherkasy. Power outages are also possible in other areas.

“The very fact that Russia has resorted to terror against the energy sector indicates the weakness of the enemy. They cannot defeat Ukraine on the battlefield and therefore they are trying to break our people in this way,” Zelensky said.

Some background: Kyiv’s Western allies have condemned Russia’s focus on dismantling Ukrainian energy infrastructure ahead of winter.

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Thursday that G7 countries have a “moral duty” to help Ukraine, as Putin counts on the winter to help his forces batter Ukraine.

Zelensky touts UN watchdog probe as clear evidence that Ukraine isn't making a "dirty bomb"

Ukraine’s president said Thursday that despite Russia’s “delusions” about “dirty bombs,” there is now clear evidence that Ukraine is not creating such a weapon.

President Volodymyr Zelensky made the comments in his nightly address on the heels of an International Atomic Energy Agency inspection at three sites in Ukraine.

Inspectors did not find any indications of undeclared nuclear activities and materials, according to a statement by IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi Thursday.

“And the only thing that is dirty in our region now is the heads of those in Moscow who, unfortunately, seized control over the Russian state and terrorize Ukraine and the whole world,” Zelensky said.

For context: A dirty bomb is a weapon that combines conventional explosives like dynamite and radioactive material like uranium. It is often referred to as a weapon for terrorists, not countries, as it is designed to spread fear and panic more than eliminate any military target.

Last month, Russia accused Ukraine of planning to use one of the weapons, an allegation dismissed by Kyiv and its Western allies as a false-flag operation that Moscow could use as a pretext to escalate the Kremlin’s war against its neighbor.

Putin is counting on winter to help his forces batter Ukraine, EU's top diplomat says

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said it’s a “moral duty” of the G7 nations to help Ukraine, with a potentially punishing winter on the way.

“The winter is coming. Putin is waiting for the ‘General Winter’ to come and support the Russian army,” Borrell said after a meeting of G7 foreign ministers in the German town of Muenster. 

He blamed Russia for destroying Ukraine “systematically” by bombing and destroying civilian infrastructure after Moscow’s army was unable to win on the battlefield.

“Millions of Ukrainians no longer have access to electricity, and what Putin is willing to do is to put the country in the darkness in the wintertime,” Borrell said.  

“(We have to) continue supporting (them), providing arms to defend themselves, to bring economic and financial support, and reaching out (to) the whole world in order to explain which are the causes and the consequences of this war,” he added.

This week’s meeting of the G7, which is short for Group of Seven, brought together leaders from some of the world’s largest economies: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the US.

UK and its allies take aim at Russian oil to punish Moscow for war in Ukraine

Britain introduced legislation Thursday which would prevent countries from using the United Kingdom’s services to transport Russian oil unless it is bought at or below a price cap to be introduced from Dec. 5, according to a statement from the UK Treasury. 

The U.S. government, the G7 and the European Union also plan to impose the price cap on Dec. 5 as part of coordinated sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, the statement said, adding that the level of the price cap will be set by the coalition at a later date.

The statement said that the new legislation would include insurance, brokerage and shipping and follows the decision made by the G7 finance ministers in September.

The coalition committed to the price cap as a way of curbing “Putin’s ability to fund his war in Ukraine through inflated global oil prices, while ensuring that third countries can continue to secure affordable oil,” according to the statement. 

“This new measure continues to turn the screws on Putin’s war machine, making it even tougher for him to profiteer from his illegal war,” the UK’s Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt said in the statement.

Remember: The G7 is shorthand for Group of Seven, an organization of leaders from some of the world’s largest economies: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the US.

NATO chief: Iran supplying drones, and potentially ballistic missiles, to Russia is unacceptable

A drone is seen in the sky seconds before it fired on buildings in Kyiv, Ukraine, on October 17.

The NATO secretary general Thursday condemned any Iranian coordination with Russia on weapons for Moscow’s war in Ukraine.

“We also see Iran offering drones and considering ballistic missile deliveries to Russia,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at a news conference. 

Iran is preparing to send approximately 1,000 additional weapons, including surface-to-surface short-range ballistic missiles and more attack drones, to Russia, officials from a Western country that closely monitors Iran’s weapons program told CNN on Tuesday.

The shipment is being closely monitored because it would be the first instance of Iran sending advanced precision-guided missiles to Russia, which could give the Kremlin a substantial boost on the battlefield.

The last shipment of weapons from Iran to Russia included about 450 drones, officials said, which the Russians have already used to deadly effect in Ukraine. Ukrainian officials said last week that they have shot down more than 300 Iranian drones. 

What Tehran is saying: Iran’s government has repeatedly denied sending weapons to Russia.

Last month, the Iranian government quoted Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian as saying Tehran “has not and will not” provide any weapon to be used in the Ukraine war.

More context: Drones have played a significant role in the conflict since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in late February.

Their use has increased since the summer when the US and Kyiv say Moscow first acquired drones from Iran. In recent weeks, these Iranian drones have been used to target critical energy infrastructure in Ukraine.

Russia aims to fully resume traffic on damaged Crimea bridge by late next month, deputy PM says

Workers restore the damaged parts of Kerch Bridge that links Crimea to Russia on October 13.

Russia is aiming to resume traffic by late December in both lanes of the Crimean bridge that was severely damaged by an explosion last month, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin said Thursday.

“We plan to launch traffic on both lanes on the right side of the bridge — on Dec. 5 on one lane, and on Dec. 20 on the other — completely,” Khusnullin said during a televised meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and other members of the government.

Putin, during Thursday’s meeting, thanked everyone involved in the restoration of the bridge.

Some context: A huge blast on Oct. 8 severely damaged the structure connecting annexed Crimea to the Russian mainland, causing parts of Europe’s longest bridge to collapse.

Moscow swiftly blamed Ukrainian special forces for carrying out the attack, though Kyiv has not taken credit.

UNICEF says its delivery of generators will help 12,000 people in Kherson access essential services

UNICEF said it has provided 29 power generators to the Kherson region, which will help restore electricity, water and heating to the southern area of Ukraine and benefit about 12,000 residents.

The United Nations agency said 15 generators were delivered to ensure health care facilities can function in the Novovorontsovska, Velyko Oleksandrivska and Vysokopillia communities.

“Access to healthcare and water is a basic right, so children’s access to critical services should be restored as soon as possible. We are committed to delivering the supplies and services needed to make this happen,” UNICEF Ukraine Representative Murat Sahin said in a news release.

An additional 14 generators were also delivered to local authorities to support water utilities in those areas for residents and emergency services, UNICEF said.

“We are working to restore de-occupied territories and there is no possibility to repair all the water pipelines and the power transmission lines before the winter season starts. Power generators will help to satisfy the acute needs before the winter and this is a substantial assistance to the local population,” said the head of Kherson regional military administration, Yaroslav Yanushevych, according to the news release.

US embassy officials meet with Brittney Griner for the first time since August

US basketball player Brittney Griner, who was detained at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport and later charged with illegal possession of cannabis, is escorted in a court building in Khimki outside Moscow, Russia, on August 4.

US embassy officials met with detained American Brittney Griner in Russia on Thursday, according to White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

“We are told she’s doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances. As we have said before, the US government made a significant offer to the Russians to resolve the current unacceptable and wrongful, wrongful detentions of American citizens Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan,” Jean-Pierre told reporters aboard Air Force One.

“I can also tell you that in the subsequent weeks, despite a lack of good faith negotiation by the Russians, the US government has continued to follow up on that offer and propose alternative potential ways forward with Russians through all available channels. This continues to be a top priority,” she added.

US embassy officials last had face-to-face contact with Griner in August.

Some background: Griner, a US basketball star, was taken into custody just days before Russia invaded Ukraine – when authorities accused her of trying to smuggle less than a gram of cannabis oil in her luggage.

Her case has prompted concern she is being used as a political pawn amid the backdrop of the Russia-Ukraine war.

Last month, a judge in Russia denied an appeal of her verdict, upholding her conviction and reducing her nine-year prison sentence only slightly.

US officials have tried to secure the release of Griner and Whelan, another American imprisoned in Russia, by proposing a prisoner swap with Russia.

Ukrainian foreign minister addresses energy infrastructure, weapons support with G7 ministers

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba attends the security council meeting "Maintenance of Peace and Security of Ukraine" at UN headquarters in New York on September 22.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said he was able to virtually address a meeting of G7 foreign ministers Thursday despite a blackout disrupting the connection. 

Energy infrastructure, new weapons support to Ukraine, sanctions and accountability for crimes of aggression against Ukraine were some of the main topics discussed at the meeting, Kuleba said in a tweet

The foreign minister also posted a photo of himself seated at his desk, holding up what he claimed was part of an Iranian-made drone which recently hit Kyiv. 

“Iran must cease supplying Russia with weapons used to kill Ukrainians or face an even stiffer global pressure and consequences,” Kuleba emphasized in the tweet. 

Iran has repeatedly denied it is sending weapons to Russia for use in Ukraine.

Remember: The G7 is shorthand for Group of Seven, an organization of leaders from some of the world’s largest economies: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the US.

UN official: Invasion of Ukraine drove the "fastest, largest displacement" of refugees in decades

53 year-old Svetlana Lisak is seen with her dog in front of the Ukrainian flag at the shelter under her own house in Stepnohirsk, in Zaporizhzhia Oblast, Ukraine on November 1. People in the region living in towns where natural gas and drinking water services are not provided and electricity is frequently cut off, have been living in shelters under their homes for months for security reasons.

The United Nations is expressing growing concern about the harsh winter Ukrainians may face after attacks on energy infrastructure and the large number of people displaced by the war.

“The Russian invasion of Ukraine has driven the fastest, largest displacement witnessed in decades. Some 14 million people have been forced from their homes since 24 February,” Filippo Grandi, the UN’s high commissioner for refugees, said in a statement Wednesday.

“Ukrainians are about to face one of the world’s harshest winters in extremely difficult circumstances. Humanitarian organizations have dramatically scaled up their response, but much more must be done, starting with an end to this senseless war,” Grandi wrote to the UN Security Council.

“Unfortunately, we see the opposite: and the destruction caused by strikes at civilian infrastructure, which happens as we speak, is quickly making the humanitarian response look like a drop in the ocean of needs,” Grandi added.

Strikes continue: Overnight Wednesday, Russian attacks hit energy and water infrastructure in the central Ukrainian city of Kryvyi Rih, according to the head of the city’s military administration Oleksandr Vilkul. 

UN chief welcomes revival of Black Sea grain deal as food shipments leave ports

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addresses the media press at Security Council stakeout at UN Headquarters in New York on November 3, 2022. He hailed the resumption of Black Sea Grain Initiative, praised President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, praised the Permanent Cessation of Hostilities in Ethiopia and addressed the climate emergency ahead of the UN Climate Conference COP27. (Photo by

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres welcomed the revival of the Black Sea grain corridor this week, saying the ships departing Ukrainian ports provide “hopeful news in a world churning in turmoil.”

Seven vessels carrying food left Ukraine’s ports Thursday after Russia agreed to rejoin the Black Sea grain deal. Shipments of grain from Ukraine had been in jeopardy after Russian suspended its participation in the initiative last weekend. It resumed its role on Wednesday.

“Over the past few days I believe the world has come to understand and appreciate the importance of the Black Sea grain initiative,” Guterres told reporters at the UN headquarters in New York. “For stemming the food crisis, for easing prices and pressures for people around the world, for reducing the risks of hunger, poverty and instability, the Black Sea grain initiative is making a difference.”

Guterres said the initiative has reached a new milestone with 10 million metric tons of grain and other food products being shipped through the Black Sea corridor in three months.

“Despite all the obstacles we have seen, the beacon of hope in the Black Sea is still shining and the initiative is working,” he said. “It is our collective responsibility to keep it working smoothly.”

More background: In July, following months of negotiations, ministers from both Ukraine and Russia signed the grain deal brokered by the UN and Turkey. Russia pledged to unblock ports on the Black Sea to allow the safe passage of grain and oilseeds — some of Ukraine’s most important exports. The shipments are viewed as critical to addressing the global food shortage.

The UN chief said Thursday that he is grateful for Turkey’s diplomatic efforts in establishing and helping reopen the vital food supply line.

International Energy Agency warns of potential natural gas shortage in Europe next year 

Executive Director of the International Energy Agency Fatih Birol attends a signing ceremony at the Chancellery of the Prime Minister in Warsaw, Poland, on July 19.

Europe needs to take “immediate action” to avoid risking a natural gas shortage next year, the International Energy Agency (IEA) warned Thursday.

“When we look at the latest trends and likely developments in global and European gas markets, we see that Europe is set to face an even sterner challenge next winter. This is why governments need to be taking immediate action to speed up improvements in energy efficiency and accelerate the deployment of renewables and heat pumps – and other steps to structurally reduce gas demand. This is essential for Europe’s energy security, the wellbeing of its citizens and industries, and its clean energy transition,” IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said.

Analysis by the world’s leading organization on global energy sector published Thursday said that Europe could face a supply-demand gap of as much as 30 billion cubic meters of natural gas during the key summer period for refilling gas storage sites in 2023, if Russia stops all pipeline deliveries and China’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports recover.   

The potential gap could represent almost half the gas required to fill storage sites to 95% capacity by the start of the 2023-24 heating season, the organization added.

The organization that provides analysis and policy recommendations on global energy said it is “highly unlikely” that Russia will deliver another 60 billion cubic meters of pipeline gas in 2023 — the amount it estimates Russia will deliver in 2022 — cautioning that “Russian deliveries to Europe could halt completely.”

IAEA inspectors find no indications of undeclared nuclear activities or materials in Ukraine

International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors have completed verification activities at three locations in Ukraine at the request of the Ukrainian government, and they have not found any indications of undeclared nuclear activities and materials, according to a statement by IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi Thursday.

Ukraine made the request after Russia made allegations about activities related to the possible production of “dirty bombs” in three locations: the Institute for Nuclear Research in Kyiv, Eastern Mining and Processing Plant in Zhovti Vody, and Production Association Pivdennyi Machine-Building Plant in Dnipro, according to the IAEA, the UN’s nuclear watchdog.

“Over the past few days, the inspectors were able to carry out all activities that the IAEA had planned to conduct and were given unfettered access to the locations. Based on the evaluation of the results available to date and the information provided by Ukraine, the Agency did not find any indications of undeclared nuclear activities and materials at the locations,” the IAEA statement said.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called Russia “the world’s top liar” after the IAEA’s announcement.

“IAEA has checked 3 Ukrainian facilities in focus of Russian disinfo and found no evidence of any ‘dirty bombs’. I thank @rafaelmgrossi for IAEA’s excellent and prompt cooperation which helped counter Russian falsehoods. Russia has confirmed its status of the world’s top liar,” Kuleba tweeted Thursday.

Russia had accused Ukraine of planning to use a so-called dirty bomb — a weapon that combines conventional explosives like dynamite and radioactive material like uranium — an allegation dismissed by Kyiv and its Western allies as a false-flag operation that Moscow could use as a pretext to escalate the Kremlin’s war.

CNN’s Yulia Kesaieva in Kyiv contributed reporting to this post.

Correction: An earlier version of this post misspelled the town of Zhovti Vody in Ukraine.

G7 nations will work together on winter aid for Ukraine, German foreign minister says 

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock gives a press statement prior to the start of a G7 Foreign Ministers Meeting in Muenster, Germany, on November 3.

The G7 group of wealthy nations will coordinate their support for Ukraine as winter approaches, German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock said Thursday, ahead of a meeting of the G7 foreign ministers in the western German city of Muenster.

”We will not allow the brutality of the war to lead to the death of lots of elderly people, children, teenagers and families to die from hunger or cold over the upcoming winter months due to the brutal tactics of the Russian president,” Baerbock told reporters as Russia continues its attacks on Ukrainian energy infrastructure that have caused blackouts and cuts to water supplies.

”We, as the group of G7, have already launched our measures to kick off winter aid together,” she continued.

Germany has already sent 100 generators to Ukraine amongst other things such as heaters, blankets and tents, the minister said.

107 Ukrainian prisoners of war were exchanged for 107 Russian prisoners of war, Moscow says

Russia’s defense ministry is reporting that 107 Russian prisoners of war (POW) were swapped for 107 Ukrainian POWs on Thursday.

Earlier on Thursday, Denis Pushilin, head of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), said that 107 “of our fighters” are being returned from “Ukrainian dungeons.”

In exchange, 107 Ukrainian soldiers are being released, he added.

“Today we are returning 107 of our fighters from Ukrainian dungeons. We are giving Ukraine the same number of prisoners, mostly servicemen of the AFU (Armed Forces of Ukraine) again. 65 people of the total number of the released are from the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics. Soon they will be able to hug their loved ones,” Pushilin said on his Telegram channel Thursday.

Ukraine confirmed the exchanged.

“I know how Ukrainians wait for good news every day. And today we have them. We have returned home 107 of our people from Russian captivity. Among the liberated 107 soldiers: 6 officers, 101 privates and sergeants. 74 ‘Azovstal’ defenders,” said Dmytro Lubinets, the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights, on his Telegram channel Thursday.

Lubinets said that “seriously wounded and bedridden” prisoners from Mariupol were among those released with “with shrapnel wounds of arms and legs, gunshot wounds of different parts of the body. There are people with amputated limbs and burns, who cannot feel part of their face, with infected wounds.”

Ukraine’s Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War said Thursday that the POWs included service members from the National Guard, Navy, Armed Forces and other agencies. The POWs range in ages from 18 to 54. It said 83 were wounded during hostilities, with some in critical condition.

US teams inspecting weapon stockpiles in Ukraine are not near the front lines, Pentagon says

Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder holds a press briefing at the Pentagon, Virginia, on October 18.

The Pentagon clarified that the team making inspections of weapons stockpiles in Ukraine are not near the front lines of the war and are conducting the inspections based on security conditions.

“When and where security conditions permit, a small team comprised of US Embassy Kyiv – Office of the Defense Attaché personnel have conducted multiple inspections of US security assistance deliveries within the last couple months at locations in Ukraine. These locations are not near the frontlines of Russia’s war against Ukraine. For operational security and force protection reasons, we won’t discuss specific numbers of personnel or inspection locations,” according to Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder.

On Tuesday, CNN reported that the US had begun conducting on-site inspections of weapons stockpiles in Ukraine as part of a broad effort to assure US-provided weapons are not illegally diverted, according to the Pentagon. It was the first public acknowledgement that troops are being used for other than embassy protection.

“To be clear, these inspections are not reactive – we have no evidence of widespread diversion of US security assistance in Ukraine. Rather, our approach to ensuring accountability for our security assistance is deliberate and proactive, as described in the recently-released U.S. Plan to Counter Illicit Diversion of Certain Advanced Conventional Weapons in Eastern Europe,” he said.

Ryder added that the US conducted inspections in Ukraine prior to Russia’s invasion in February.

Russia summons UK ambassador after alleging Britain's involvement in Crimea drone strike

British Ambassador to Russia Deborah Bronnert walks out of the Russian Foreign Ministry headquarters in Moscow, Russia, on November 3.

Moscow on Thursday summoned the British ambassador to Russia, Deborah Bronnert, over its allegations that Britain was involved planning a Ukrainian drone attack on the Crimean port city of Sevastapol, the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement. 

The ministry gave a note of protest to the ambassador over Britain’s alleged involvement in the drone strike on Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, the statement said. 

Russia has accused the UK of helping Ukraine to plan Saturday’s drone attack, saying it was conducted under the guidance of British Navy specialists.

Britain on Saturday denied the claim, saying Russia was “peddling false claims of an epic scale.” 

The Russian ministry said in its statement that “the démarche emphasized that such confrontational actions by the British threaten to escalate the situation and can lead to unpredictable and dangerous consequences.”

The ministry claimed that “concrete facts of such activity of London were provided” to the British ambassador. It did not specify any evidence for the claim.

Russian defense ministry says Ukrainian assaults in Kherson repelled

The Russian military has repelled attacks by Ukrainian forces in the Kherson region in southern Ukraine, according to the defense ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov.

“Russian troops repelled five attacks by motorized infantry companies of the Armed Forces of Ukraine” in the direction of the four settlements of the Kherson region, Konashenkov said at a briefing Thursday in Moscow.

Three of those settlements are in the northeastern part of Kherson region — about 100 kilometers (about 62 miles) from the capital. The area has seen heavy fighting over the last month. 

“As a result of the fire defeat and decisive actions of the Russian troops, the enemy was thrown back to its original positions,” Konashenkov said, adding that “the total losses of the enemy amounted to more than 80 Ukrainian servicemen killed and wounded, six armored fighting vehicles and seven vehicles for various purposes.”

Russian forces had also shot down an Mi-8 helicopter in the same area, Konashenkov said.

Claims of Russian troops withdrawing to Dnieper's east bank leads to confusion in Kherson

A senior Russian-appointed official in Kherson saying Russian troops will “most likely” withdraw to the east bank of the Dnieper River has led to an unclear situation in the southern Ukrainian region.

Speaking on Russian television Thursday, deputy head of the regional administration Kirill Stremousov said: “Most likely, our troops will be withdrawing to the east bank of the Kherson region.”

Yet he did not give a timeline for the withdrawal and, with no apparent signs of Russian troops on the west bank making any substantial movements to leave, the statement has caused confusion on the ground.

A resident of Kherson told CNN that as far as they could tell there is no mass withdrawal of Russian troops from the city, but there was unusual movement among Russian forces, with some checkpoints in the city having been removed.

The deputy head of Kherson regional council, Yurii Sobolevskyi, told CNN the Russians had “left some of their checkpoints in Chornobaivka, Stepanivka and Bilozerka (settlements to the north and west of the city, closer to the frontlines),” confirming that there are also “less checkpoints in Kherson.”

Sobolevskyi believes the statements about a possible withdrawal of troops is “more like a trap” as he sees “no mass withdrawal.”

Video from Kherson, Ukraine, appears to show the Russian flag has been taken down from the administration building in the city.

A social media video from Kherson Thursday showed that the Russian flag was no longer flying at the main administration building. This video has been confirmed by Sobolevskyi.

A Russian reporter in the area disputed this, saying he drove around Kherson and this was “not a systemic phenomenon,” adding that the Russian flag still “hangs over other administrative buildings and educational institutions.”

“The roar of tanks moving in large numbers at night”: The Kherson resident, meanwhile, whose identity CNN is not disclosing for their own security, stated that “during the day there are very few large military vehicles; they used to run endlessly all day.”

In northern Kherson, in the direction of Mykolaiv, the resident said “there is a large accumulation of manpower and equipment. Residents of the suburbs hear the roar of tanks moving in large numbers at night” in neighborhoods near the airport.”

The Ukrainian military says fighting has continued around Beryslav, up the river from Kherson city, the Operational Command South saying that enemy troops continue to launch rocket and artillery attacks on peaceful settlements.

It also said that the occupation authorities had “temporarily banned the movement of civilian vehicles across the (Dnieper) river,” opposing Stremousov’s call for civilians in the city to leave for the east bank.

Russian-appointed authorities said there was a “temporary evacuation of civilians from all settlements in the 15-kilometer zone of the east bank of the (Dnieper) is being held.”

Strikes on Russian targets: Ukrainian forces have stepped up attacks on critical supply hubs for the Russians in Kherson this week, with fresh attacks on Nova Kakhovka and pontoon bridges across the Dnieper River near Kherson city. Images geolocated by CNN Thursday showed wrecked boats on the shore close to Kherson city.

Ukrainian forces also struck an administration building on the east bank at Hola Prystan. 

Stremousov confirmed the strike and said no one was injured during the shelling, but the Hola Prystan administration building was “completely destroyed.”

Russian forces are fortifying a zone on the east bank, stretching some 15 to 20 kilometers downriver from Nova Kakhovka.

Stremousov has previously said that Russian forces are dug in and will defend the areas of the west bank of the Dnieper they still hold. At the same time, Russian forces have begun building fortifications on the east bank, according to both Ukrainian officials and the Russian-backed local administrations.

If Russian forces do withdraw from the west bank altogether, they will cede thousands of square kilometers of occupied territory they annexed in September, to Ukrainian forces.

G7 foreign ministers will discuss further support for Ukraine in meeting Thursday

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, right, meets Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State, left, for talks at the meeting of G7 foreign ministers in Münster, Germany, on November 3.

Foreign ministers from the G7 countries are meeting in Germany today to discuss further support for Ukraine, with the focus on Russia’s recent attacks on the country’s energy infrastructure.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will participate in the US-German Futures Forum discussion with G7 host and German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock in Münster at 8 a.m. ET. At 10:30 a.m. Blinken will attend a closed meeting specifically concerning Russia’s war on Ukraine.

Other topics on the agenda will address pressing global challenges such as the climate crisis, global food security and democratic resilience in Africa and the Indo-Pacific.

Reuters has reported that as well as counterparts from the participating G7 members, according to the British foreign ministry, Germany has also invited Ghana, Kenya and the African Union to join the G7 meeting for various discussions.

Last month, a joint statement from the G7 on Ukraine condemned the attacks on civilian infrastructure and lives, holding Russian President Vladimir Putin to account.

“We call upon all countries to unequivocally reject these violations of international law and demand that Russia cease all hostilities and immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw all of its troops and military equipment from Ukraine,” the statement said, adding that they reaffirmed their unequivocal support to Ukraine and its independence.

Switzerland provides $100 million to help Ukraine through the winter

The Swiss government on Wednesday agreed to provide $100 million in aid to Ukraine as winter approaches the conflict-torn country. 

In a statement, the Swiss Federal council said it has “adopted an action plan to mitigate the impact of the coming winter on the people of Ukraine.” The Swiss government said it will in particular help to provide drinking water and rehabilitate Ukraine’s damaged energy infrastructure as winter approaches.

Some 18 million people in Ukraine – around 40% of the population – are already dependant on aid since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, the statement said, adding ”with the onset of winter, this number threatens to increase to 24 million” and ”as around a third of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure had been damaged.”

Switzerland’s President Ignazio Cassis and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky during their meeting in Kyiv last month had discussed how best to provide help to those affected by the war as winter approached. 

”The humanitarian situation of the war-affected population in Ukraine has become even more precarious in recent weeks due to targeted attacks on energy infrastructure and basic supply systems,” the statement warned. 

Switzerland is calling for the international community to step up with additional aid to help with what it calls an urgent situation in Ukraine.

7 grain ships leave Ukrainian ports after revival of Black Sea corridor