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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7:21 p.m. ET, November 3, 2022

Millions of Ukrainians without power after latest attacks on civilian infrastructure, Zelensky says

From CNN's Yulia Kesaieva and Jennifer Hauser

A car drives on a dark street on November 2, in Kyiv, Ukraine.
A car drives on a dark street on November 2, in Kyiv, Ukraine. (Ed Ram/Getty Images)

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.

6:15 p.m. ET, November 3, 2022

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

From CNN's Yulia Kesaieva and Jennifer Hauser

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.

5:44 p.m. ET, November 3, 2022

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

From CNN's Sugam Pokharel

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.

4:55 p.m. ET, November 3, 2022

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

 From CNN's Gayle Harrington in London

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.

6:13 p.m. ET, November 3, 2022

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

From CNN’s Alex Hardie in London, with previous reporting from Kylie Atwood

A drone is seen in the sky seconds before it fired on buildings in Kyiv, Ukraine, on October 17.
A drone is seen in the sky seconds before it fired on buildings in Kyiv, Ukraine, on October 17. (Efrem Lukatsky/AP)

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. 

"This is unacceptable. No country should provide support to Moscow in this illegal war," he said. 

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.

6:49 p.m. ET, November 3, 2022

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

From CNN’s Uliana Pavlova

Workers restore the damaged parts of Kerch Bridge that links Crimea to Russia on October 13.
Workers restore the damaged parts of Kerch Bridge that links Crimea to Russia on October 13. (Stringer/AFP/Getty Images)

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.

1:52 p.m. ET, November 3, 2022

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

From CNN's Jennifer Hauser

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.

2:48 p.m. ET, November 3, 2022

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

From CNN's Sam Fossum

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 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. (Kirill Kudryavtsev/Pool/Reuters)

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.