US national security adviser makes unannounced visit to Kyiv on Friday
From CNN's Kevin Liptak
National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan made an unannounced visit Friday to Kyiv, where he met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and other top officials.
Sullivan underscored US support for Ukrainians "as they defend their sovereignty and territorial integrity," said Adrienne Watson, a spokesperson for the National Security Council, in a statement.
In Kyiv, Sullivan announced an additional $400 million security assistance package to Ukraine. It includes refurbished T-72 tanks and drones, along with refurbished surface-to-air missiles.
He also affirmed the US will continue to provide economic and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine:
"The United States is going to be with Ukraine for as long as it takes in this fight. There will be no wavering, no flagging, no flinching in our support as we go forward."
Sullivan added that the war could easily end if Russia chose to stop fighting and ceased its occupation.
"And that's precisely what it should do from our perspective," he told reporters.
Zelensky said he was grateful to Sullivan for his support for Ukraine.
"I had the honor of presenting Jake with the Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise of the II degree on behalf of the entire Ukrainian people for strengthening interstate cooperation, supporting state sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine," the Ukrainian president said in a Telegram post.
4:03 p.m. ET, November 4, 2022
US announces new $400 million in additional security assistance to Ukraine
“The USAI package underscores the continued US commitment to supporting Ukraine by meeting their most urgent requirements … while also building the capacity of Ukraine’s armed forces to defend its sovereignty over the long term,” Pentagon deputy press secretary Sabrina Singh said at a news conference Friday.
The package supplies refurbished T-72 tanks, new Phoenix Ghost drones, funding to refurbish HAWK air defense systems to send to Ukraine, and other items.
The tanks will be coming from the Czech Republic, with the US paying for 45 of them to be refurbished, according to Singh, and the Netherlands paying to refurbish an additional 45 tanks.
Some of the tanks are expected to be delivered by the end of December, Singh said.
“These will be the most technically advanced tanks on the battlefield,” she added.
Singh also announced that “a portion” of the Phoenix Ghost drones previously pledged to Ukraine have already been delivered.
“We’ve seen success already on the battlefield, but I don’t have an exact timeline for when this next tranche will be delivered,” she said.
The US will refurbish HAWK air defense missile systems for the first time using Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative funding, Singh said during the briefing.
Singh would not specify how many HAWK air defense systems will be refurbished and sent to Ukraine, citing operational security.
Some background: Ukraine has been asking NATO allies and the US for more air defense systems as Russian forces have continued to attack the country with missiles and Iranian-made drones. While the US has used Ukraine funding to provide NASAMS (National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System), another air defense system, those NASAMS have not arrived in Ukraine yet.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked the US for the support later Friday:
1:16 p.m. ET, November 4, 2022
Luhansk regional military head describes devastation in the eastern region
From CNN's Jennifer Hauser
A Ukrainian military official surveyed the devastation in de-occupied parts of the eastern Luhansk region, leaving him with "rather mixed feelings," he said Friday.
Serhiy Hayday, head of the Luhansk region military administration, described the pain of seeing what the Russians left behind. He found destroyed villages, cattle that are ill or dead, and empty houses, according to a Telegram post about his visit.
Hayday said his party found five to six people "who remained there up to the last" and helped take them out of the settlement. He recommended civilians stay away due to shelling and mines in the area.
Fierce fighting in the region: There are constant battles in Luhansk's Svatove-Kreminna area, north of Russian-occupied Severodonetsk, according to Hayday. He said the Russians are increasing their manpower in the area.
"Every time during the attack, the Russians send their soldiers (numbering up to a platoon) for reconnaissance, in which they cannot survive. They die, and the next ones go forward. Every new attack is accompanied by the fact that the Russians are trampling their dead. Of course, no one takes the bodies out. There is no such thing as value of human life for them," Hayday said Friday.
1:03 p.m. ET, November 4, 2022
Russian-appointed official says city of Kherson is "calm" Friday but warns of possible Ukrainian movement
From CNN's Yulia Kesaieva
A Russian-appointed official says "everything is calm in Kherson city" Friday but again warned Ukrainian forces could be preparing for an attack on the city.
Kirill Stremousov, the Russian-appointed deputy head of Kherson's region military administration, said that while there has been no advance by Kyiv's forces, Ukrainian military equipment has been lined up in columns in some parts of the region.
He said the Ukrainians could be preparing for an attack on Kherson city and again warned residents should evacuate. But currently, "Kherson city is under the defense of Russian servicemen," Stremousov said in a Telegram post Friday.
A senior Moscow-appointed official's remark Thursday that Russian troops will "most likely" fall back from positions in Kherson has led to some confusion about the situation on the ground there. A Ukrainian official suggested the statement could be a trap.
What Ukrainian authorities are saying: Serhii Khlan, a member of the Kherson Regional Council, said that residents in the city are seeing an increased military presence in the streets.
Ukrainian forces hit a Russian troops' distribution center in Oleshky on the east bank of the Dnieper river Thursday night. In an interview with Ukrainian station Espreso TV Friday morning, Khlan said Russian troops are carrying out forced evacuations by making residents leave their homes so that the military can move into them. He said it is "happening everywhere in the east bank" of the river.
Kherson regional police said Friday that the agency has begun 42 criminal proceedings over what it called "war crimes" by Russians in the region in the last 24 hours.
In Oleshky, "the occupiers are stealing cars, taking homes away from locals and invading their homes. Russians are settling in recreation facilities," according to police. The department added that there have been reports of kidnapping in the cities of Kherson and Kalanchak in the last 24 hours.
In Kherson city, police said Russians are destroying water-crossing equipment with explosives and are shooting and burning boats.
12:21 p.m. ET, November 4, 2022
Outages in Musk's Starlink service raise concerns about Ukrainian troops' access near frontlines
From CNN's Alex Marquardt and Sean Lyngaas
Ukraine's fears that its troops may lose access to Elon Musk's crucial Starlink internet service deepened in the past week after 1,300 of the military's satellite units went offline, according to two sources familiar with the outage.
The small, easy-to-use satellite dishes made by Musk's private rocket company SpaceX have been universally hailed as a game-changing source of communication for Ukraine's military, allowing it to fight and stay online even as cellular phone and internet networks have been destroyed in its war with Russia.
But concerns have risen recently over the dependability of SpaceX after discussions about funding were revealed and outages were reported near the frontlines.
The recent outage started Oct. 24 and was described by one person briefed on the situation as a "huge problem" for Ukraine's military. The terminals had been disconnected, this person said, due to a lack of funding.
The outage affected a block of 1,300 terminals that Ukraine purchased from a British company in March and were used for combat-related operations.
SpaceX was charging Ukraine's military $2,500 a month to keep each of the 1,300 units connected, pushing the total cost to almost $20 million by September, the person briefed on the matter said. Eventually, they could no longer afford to pay, the person said.
Some background: CNN first reported that SpaceX sent a letter in September to the Pentagon claiming it had spent almost $100 million funding Starlink in Ukraine and that it could no longer continue to do so. The letter requested that the Defense Department take over more of the funding for Ukraine's military, which it calculated would run tens of millions of dollars a month.
Days after the CNN report, Musk appeared to reverse course, claiming that SpaceX had withdrawn the request.
"The hell with it," Musk tweeted, "we'll just keep funding Ukraine govt for free."
Negotiations between SpaceX and the Defense Department continue despite Musk's claim that SpaceX withdrew its request, according to a senior defense official.
"Negotiations are very much underway. Everyone in our building knows we're going to pay them," the senior Pentagon official told CNN, adding that the department is eager to have commitments in writing "because we worry he'll change his mind."
On Wednesday, Musk attended a ceremony for US Space Force that also included Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Musk has also been embroiled in his high-profile and controversial takeover of Twitter.
Neither Musk nor SpaceX responded to a request for comment. The Ukrainian government, including the Ministry of Defense, did not immediately respond.
Pope Francis warns of recent Cold War parallels, saying world is "on the brink of a delicate precipice"
From CNN's Jennifer Hauser
Pope Francis is calling on leaders, particularly in the religious community, to avoid a new Cold War.
"After two terrible world wars, a Cold War that for decades kept the world in suspense, catastrophic conflicts taking place in every part of the globe, and in the midst of accusations, threats and condemnations, we continue to find ourselves on the brink of a delicate precipice and we do not want to fall," he said in Bahrain at a conference on East-West dialogue.
"It is a striking paradox that, while the majority of the world’s population is united in facing the same difficulties, suffering from grave food, ecological and pandemic crises, as well as an increasingly scandalous global injustice, a few potentates are caught up in a resolute struggle for partisan interests, reviving obsolete rhetoric, redesigning spheres of influence and opposing blocs," the Pope said, in an apparent reference to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
He added that religious leaders need to do their part in opposing rearmament.
The Pope is wrapping up a two-day conference called "Bahrain Forum for Dialogue: East and West for Human Coexistence." He is meeting with Muslim elders and other religious leaders encouraging inter-religious dialogue.
He also urged for peace talks in a tweet during his trip on Friday.
10:53 a.m. ET, November 4, 2022
G7: Russia would face "severe consequences" if chemical, biological or nuclear weapons used
From CNN’s Alex Hardie and Nadine Schmidt
The use of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons by Russia would be met with “severe consequences,” G7 foreign ministers said in a joint statement Friday, following meetings in Germany.
“Russia’s irresponsible nuclear rhetoric is unacceptable,” the ministers said.
The ministers also rejected Russia’s unsubstantiated accusations that Ukraine is preparing a so-called dirty bomb.
“The inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed that these allegations are baseless, and we commend Ukraine for its transparency,” the ministers said.
They added that the coalition will “continue to counter Russia’s disinformation, including false allegations concerning bioweapons,” including “strengthening the G7 Rapid Response Mechanism’s capacity for a coordinated response.”
This week's meeting of the G7, short for Group of Seven, brought together leaders from some of the world’s largest economies.
Some background: International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors completed in-field 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 United Nations' nuclear watchdog.
10:38 a.m. ET, November 4, 2022
G7 establishes “coordination mechanism” to help Ukraine restore energy and water infrastructure
From CNN’s Alex Hardie and Nadine Schmidt
The G7 has established a “coordination mechanism” to help Ukraine “repair, restore and defend its critical energy and water infrastructure,” the group’s foreign ministers said in a joint statement on Friday following meetings in Münster.
“Through these attacks, Russia is trying to terrorize the civilian population. Indiscriminate attacks against civilian population and infrastructure constitute war crimes and we reiterate our determination to ensure full accountability for these and crimes against humanity,” the foreign ministers said.
Ukraine has been facing a wide assault on critical infrastructure and power sources since early October. Some 450,000 households across Kyiv are without electricity Friday as power outages across Ukraine continue, according to the city’s mayor Vitalii Klitschko.
This week alone, attacks on critical infrastructure in the regions of Kyiv, Cherkasy, Kirovohrad, Kharkiv, and Zaporizhzhia have left millions without electricity and water intermittently.
The G7 foreign ministers called on Russia to “immediately stop its war of aggression against Ukraine and withdraw all of its forces and military equipment.”
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.
10:09 a.m. ET, November 4, 2022
Fire and explosions reported around airfield near Kherson city
From CNN's Tim Lister
Social media video and local Telegram channels indicate there have been explosions near an airfield just north of Kherson city — an area occupied by Russian forces.
The video showed a large plume of black smoke rising from the area of Chornobaivka.
There's been no official comment from either the Ukrainian military or Russian-appointed officials in the area.
Further north, on the east bank of the Dnieper river, unofficial Telegram channels say that Russian forces are forcing local people to leave the village of Velyka Lepetykha. Russian-appointed officials have already announced an evacuation of civilians from a 15-kilometer zone (9 miles) along the river as they create new defenses in the area.
Those same channels say a mandatory evacuation is also underway in the village of Hornostayivka further downstream, while new explosions have been heard in the town of Nova Kakhovka, also on the east bank and close to a dam and hydro electric plant on the river.