Russia-Ukraine War: In Kyiv Suburb Symbolizing War, a Family Bids Farewell to a Fallen Soldier (Published 2022) (2024)

In Bucha, a Kyiv suburb haunted by war, a family says goodbye to a fallen soldier.


Russia-Ukraine War: In Kyiv Suburb Symbolizing War, a Family Bids Farewell to a Fallen Soldier (Published 2022) (1)



BUCHA, Ukraine — About 150 mourners gathered under a gray sky in Bucha on Thursday to bid farewell to Vasyl Vasiliovych Kurbet, 41, a soldier with a Ukrainian grenade launcher unit who died from injuries sustained in combat near Bakhmut in the eastern Donbas region this month.

Standing beside Mr. Kurbet’s flag-draped coffin in a cemetery in Bucha, a suburb of Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, a fellow soldier eulogized his comrade. Bucha became an international symbol of both horror and resistance in March after the Russian advance on Kyiv stalled and its army retreated, leaving behind a grim tableau that included bodies of dead civilians strewn on streets.

The human toll of war continued to reverberate across Ukraine on Thursday as Russian missiles pummeled civilian targets across the country, raising the death count from a four-day barrage to more than three dozen and galvanizing Ukraine’s allies to help buttress its defenses.

On Thursday, it fell on the fallen soldier’s comrades to comfort the grieving family, including his mother and 13-year-old son. Speaking directly to his mother, Mariya Ustimivna, 76, on Thursday, the fellow soldier said that her son had helped liberate the city of Popasna and that he had died a hero.

“He died in battle. I beg your forgiveness that we lost him,” he said. “It’s our duty to protect you. Be strong.”

Ms. Ustimivna stroked a photo of her son as she wept over his coffin.

“You were the best son,” she said. “As long as my heart will beat, I will love you. I beg you — come to me in my dreams.”

Mr. Kurbet’s 13-year-old son, Glib, was handed the blue and gold flag from his father’s coffin before he cast the first handful of earth onto the lowered coffin.

Mr. Kurbet’s fiancée, Kateryna Smovzh, 35, clutched a bouquet of red roses to her chest and stood almost motionless throughout the funeral. Only after the other mourners had left did Ms. Smovzh go alone to the open graveside.

She knelt. The gravediggers stopped. She collapsed, sobbing, and left.

The gravediggers resumed their grim task of burying the war’s dead.

Finbarr O’Reilly

Russian missiles continue to pummel Ukraine as the civilian toll rises.


Russia-Ukraine War: In Kyiv Suburb Symbolizing War, a Family Bids Farewell to a Fallen Soldier (Published 2022) (2)

Russian missiles pummeled civilian targets in Ukraine again on Thursday, bringing the death toll from a four-day barrage to more than three dozen and adding urgency to Ukraine’s demands for more aid.

The European Union said Thursday it would train Ukrainian soldiers on E.U. soil, the first time the bloc has undertaken such a mission within its territory. Its pledge is the latest in a series of swift new promises of military help from the United States and other Western nations.

As defense officials from NATO countries meet in Brussels to discuss expediting weapons to Ukraine, the United States is working to deliver two air-defense systems, the White House said. Ukraine said it had received the first of several ultramodern air-defense systems from Germany.

Still, top Western defense officials have acknowledged that Kyiv needs yet more weapons after the barrage of strikes President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia ordered on Monday that killed at least 19 people across Ukraine — including areas such as Lviv, in the west, and Kyiv, the capital, that had been relatively unscathed for months —in retaliation for an attack on a bridge that connects Russia with the occupied Crimean Peninsula.

Mr. Putin said the explosion was a terrorist attack and blamed Ukraine. Kyiv has not officially claimed responsibility, but senior Ukrainian officials have said Ukrainian intelligence carried out the blast.

Russia’s attacks have targeted civilian infrastructure, including electrical lines, and have included areas away from the front lines as well as cities that have been struck repeatedly throughout the seven-month war.

Some 40 cities, towns and villages around the country had been struck since Wednesday morning, the Ukrainian military said, with officials reporting that 17 people had been killed on Wednesday. A drone attack hit the Kyiv region on Thursday, adding to anxiety in a region mostly spared from strikes, but the capital was otherwise mostly calm.

A strike on Thursday left people buried under the rubble of an apartment building in Mykolaiv, a city near the Black Sea coast that attacks have targeted since the war began. Eight missiles landed overnight in Mykolaiv, the head of the regional military administration, Vitaliy Kim, wrote on the Telegram messaging app on Thursday.

The city’s mayor, Oleksandr Sienkevych, said that the top two floors of the building were “completely destroyed.” An 11-year-old boy was rescued after spending six hours buried in the crumbled five-story building, Mr. Kim said. In later posts on Telegram, he said that rescuers searching the building had recovered the bodies of a 31-year-old man and an 80-year-old woman, and that the boy who was rescued had died after being taken to the regional hospital.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, a senior official in the office of President Volodymyr Zelensky, said that 11 people were killed in missile strikes on Wednesday in the Dnipropetrovsk region of central Ukraine and that one person was wounded. He said on Telegram that two people were killed and 13 others wounded in the hard-hit southern Zaporizhzhia region, while in the Mykolaiv region two people were killed on Wednesday and six others were injured.

The Zaporizhzhia region has borne the brunt of Russia’s recent attacks; the regional police chief said that at least 73 people had been killed there since late September, including 30 who died when three missiles hit a convoy of people leaving the main city on Sept. 30.

Russia has in the past denied that it targets civilian areas and has accused Ukraine of shelling civilians in parts of the country that Moscow and its proxy forces control. On Thursday, the pro-Russian mayor of the city of Donetsk, Alexei Kulemzin, said on Telegram that Ukrainian shelling had damaged a hospital in the city. His comments were reported by Russia’s state news agency, Tass.

A correction was made on

Oct. 13, 2022


An earlier version of this item misidentified Vitaliy Kim. He is the head of the military administration in the Ukrainian region of Mykolaiv, not the mayor of the city of Mykolaiv.

How we handle corrections

Matthew Mpoke Bigg and Victoria Kim



Moving to preserve Russia’s hold over European energy, Putin offers to sell more gas via Turkey.


MOSCOW — In an apparent move to solidify Moscow’s hold over European energy markets, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia on Thursday offered to export more gas via Turkey and turn the country into a regional supply hub for Russian gas exports to European countries.

Mr. Putin was meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey on the sidelines of a summit in Astana, Kazakhstan, days after Moscow launched the biggest aerial barrage against Ukraine since its invasion in February.

Mr. Erdogan has sought to position himself as a mediator between Moscow and Kyiv, and has previously hosted preliminary peace talks in Istanbul in March, although those discussions were inconclusive. On Thursday, the two leaders did not discuss “the topic of a Russian-Ukrainian settlement,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitri S. Peskov said.

The Russian and Turkish leaders have had a complicated relationship with sometimes mutual benefits. For Mr. Putin, the benefits include energy and arms sales, investment and a close connection to a member of NATO, which is trying to isolate him. For Mr. Erdogan, the benefits involve cheap energy, a large export market, renewed Russian tourism and, crucially, apparent Russian acquiescence to his efforts to crush Kurdish separatism in Syria, where Russia supports the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad.

After the Nord Stream Baltic gas pipelines were damaged by explosions last month, Moscow said Turkey could be the best route for redirecting gas supplies to the Europe Union. The explosions are still under investigation.

“If there is an interest from Turkey and our potential buyers in other countries, we could consider the possibility of building another gas pipeline system and creation of a gas hub in Turkey for sales to other countries, to third countries, primarily, of course, to European ones, if they are, of course, interested in this,” Mr. Putin said after the meeting.

Establishing a gas hub in Turkey could make Ankara a powerful player on international gas markets and open the possibility for Russian gas to be sold to Europe via an intermediary. Mr. Putin said that the proposed hub was attractive because it would give both countries more power to set prices.

“We could calmly regulate” prices, said Mr. Putin, “at a normal market level without any political overtones.” Mr. Erdogan did not comment on the offer. Mr. Peskov told state media that both leaders had given instructions to “work out in detail and very quickly” an assessment of the idea.

While his proposals were vague, Mr. Putin seemed to be trying to revive a version of South Stream, a grandiose pipeline under the Black Sea to southern Europe that he scrapped in 2014 in the face of opposition from the European Union and the United States. Following the cancellation, Russia built a smaller pipeline to Turkey, a major customer for Russian gas, and has been supplying some gas to Hungary and other countries through this link.

Energy experts, however, questioned the viability of Mr. Putin’s proposal, saying that it seemed unlikely that the European Union would approve new Russian gas conduits to Europe. Massimo Di Odoardo, vice president for gas research at Wood Mackenzie, a consulting firm in Edinburgh, said that existing pipelines provided enough capacity to increase Russian gas flows to Europe.

“The idea that Europe needs additional pipeline capacity to obtain more Russian gas is not correct,” Mr. Di Odoardo said.

As the gas trade between Russia and Europe has been disrupted by the war in Ukraine, the Kremlin has been looking for ways to divert its gas sales to other countries. On Monday, Mr. Putin said that Russia would soon start the construction of a new pipeline to China.

Mr. Erdogan in July facilitated a U.N.-brokered deal resuming shipment of Ukrainian grain and Russian fertilizers. The deal is set to expire next month. U.N. officials said last week that they were working to extend it for another year, and Mr. Erdogan reaffirmed that Turkey is determined to “strengthen and maintain” the agreement.

Mr. Peskov complained that Moscow was still having problems shipping Russian fertilizers and grains, a key Kremlin demand when it signed on to the deal.

Valerie Hopkins,Safak Timur and Stanley Reed

Russia says it will evacuate residents from Kherson, a move that comes amid Ukrainian gains.


Civilians in the Russian-occupied Kherson region of Ukraine were being asked to evacuate on Friday, a move that Ukrainian officials called a sign of panic, as Kyiv’s forces continued their biggest advance in the south since the war began.

The first civilians fleeing from Kherson were expected to arrive later in the day in Russia’s Rostov region, which borders eastern Ukraine, according to Russian state news media reports.

Kyiv’s forces crashed through Russia’s Kherson front line early this month and have continued to make gains as part of an advance toward the city of Kherson itself. In the past month, Ukraine’s forces have retaken more than 600 towns and villages that were under Russian occupation, including 75 in the Kherson region, Ukraine’s Ministry for Reintegration of the Temporary Occupied Territories said in a statement.

On Thursday, Russia made the decision “to organize assistance for the departure of residents” of the Kherson region, Russia’s deputy prime minister, Marat Khusnullin, said on Russian state television.

The announcement followed a plea by the region’s Russian-appointed leader for Moscow to assist in relocating residents. The official, Volodymyr Saldo, who is viewed as a traitor by the government in Kyiv, said that because of attacks by Ukrainian forces, residents should head to the Crimean Peninsula, which Russian forces have controlled since 2014, or to Russia itself.

Residents on the west bank of the Dnipro River are a priority for evacuation, he said. That area includes the city of Kherson, the only major Ukrainian city captured by Russia.

Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s Interior Ministry, said in a post on Telegram that Mr. Saldo’s appeal was evidence of panic.

Since Moscow launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February, thousands of people have been detained and deported into Russia from areas of the country that it controls, according to U.S. intelligence assessment. That process is known as filtration. Thousands of civilians have also fled Kherson in recent weeks and entered territory controlled by Ukraine, often going first to the city of Zaporizhzhia, northeast of Kherson Province.

Russian forces have carried out a series of attacks on civilians, with dozens killed in aerial assaults on targets across Ukraine this week. At least 30 people were killed on Sept. 30 in a missile strike on a convoy of vehicles leaving Zaporizhzhia. Russia says it does not target civilians and has accused Ukraine of hitting civilian targets in areas that it controls.

Kherson is one of four Ukrainian provinces that President Vladimir V. Putin said last week were being annexed by Russia. President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, as well as governments around the world, say the annexation is illegal. Mr. Saldo said Ukraine’s missile strikes in the region were a reprisal for the annexation.

Russia appointed Mr. Saldo in the spring after its forces took over Kherson, a province north of the Crimean Peninsula that is bisected by the Dnipro River. Ukraine’s counteroffensive has pushed Russian forces back in some places and has put pressure on the thousands of soldiers Moscow has stationed in the city of Kherson, which is on the river’s western bank. Ukraine has cut four bridges close to the city and has also targeted Russian military infrastructure in the province, using artillery supplied by the West.

Mr. Saldo said that the evacuation, which was organized initially by the local authorities, applied to people living on both banks of the river.

“We, the inhabitants of the Kherson region, of course, know that Russia does not abandon its own people,” he said, “and Russia always lends a shoulder where it is difficult.”

Matthew Mpoke Bigg



The E.U. plans to launch a mission to train Ukrainian soldiers on European soil.


BRUSSELS — In a first mission of its kind, the European Union plans to train Ukrainian soldiers on E.U. soil, the bloc’s top diplomat said on Thursday, a significant move that highlights the bloc’s increased security cooperation since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The mission is set for final approval on Monday during a meeting of E.U. foreign ministers in Luxembourg, the diplomat, Josep Borrell Fontelles, said.

“At the moment when Putin is increasing escalation, we have in turn to continue to support Ukraine as much as needed and for how long is needed,” he said during a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels.

The European Union maintains military training missions in the Central African Republic, Mali, Mozambique and Somalia, but this would be the first time trainers from the bloc would help soldiers on E.U. soil.

The new mission, which has been championed by Poland and other E.U. nations near Ukraine, has been under negotiation for weeks. Some member states hesitated out of fear that the mission would increase the risks of becoming embroiled in the war, diplomats said, but eventually relented.

A small number of E.U. countries will not participate because of constitutionally enshrined military neutrality, the diplomats added.

The mission, to take place over two years, will aim to give thousands of Ukrainians intensive training. Diplomats said that would include trauma work, sniper skills and handling weapons systems being pledged by Western allies.

Details of the operation are expected to be finalized by mid-November, officials and diplomats said. Poland and Germany are set to take leading roles, with one likely scenario being a headquarters in Poland and senior command or additional centers in Germany.

Individual member states would be able to contribute, including by taking in Ukrainians for specialized training or by sending mobile units of trainers to Poland or Germany. Funding for the training mission would come from the bloc.

NATO, the United States and Britain already train Ukrainians, some in Poland, but the mission would be run separately from the existing ones. European diplomats and officials involved said they were aware of the pitfalls of duplicating training or setting up incompatible training structures that could conflict on the battlefield.

The European Union has traditionally been an economic and trade bloc and has largely resisted addressing military issues, in part because most of its members are also NATO countries. But Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has compelled the bloc to reassess its approach.

Matina Stevis-Gridneff

Fifteen nations join European air-defense network spurred by Russia’s missile strikes in Ukraine.


BRUSSELS — The beginnings of a new air defense network for Europe came into focus at NATO headquarters on Thursday following a meeting of the alliance’s defense ministers, and the Spanish government announced that it would ship Hawk antiaircraft missiles to Kyiv.

Russia’s cruise missile and rocket strikes on civilian areas across Ukraine this week have been among the most punishing since the war began, and have galvanized Kyiv’s allies to accelerate the country’s air defenses, including the United States moving to speed up the deployment of an air defense system to Ukraine that it uses to protect the White House.

This latest effort, the European air-defense network, is being led by Germany. Called the Joint Air Defense Initiative, and known more commonly as European Sky Shield, officials said it had thus far been joined by 14 other nations, spurred by Russia’s missile and rocket strikes. Its intent is to standardize an air-defense network of short, medium and long-range missiles and radars for use in defending against a potential attack by Russia, and to save money by purchasing the equipment together.

The countries that signed onto the Sky Shield initiative are Belgium, Britain, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia, according to a German ministry of defense official.

“The aim of the initiative is to overcome capability gaps in NATO’s common air defense,” the official, who was not authorized to speak publicly, said in an email, noting that short range attacks by drones are a concern but the group’s highest priority is to defend against ballistic missiles and cruise missiles.

“Since Russia has these capabilities, it is urgent to close these gaps quickly,” she added.

Part of the intent of Sky Shield is to have surface-to-air missiles that can be shared among members of the group as needed. By joining forces, member nations also hope to achieve a degree of economic savings.

“I think the importance of what we did this morning was saying we know that we need to do more and we need industry also to do more and to be really in the front of the development of air defense systems,” Kajsa Ollongren, defense minister of the Netherlands, said in a briefing with reporters after the ministerial conference.

John Ismay



At a children’s hospital in Kyiv, young patients seek shelter after days of strikes.


KYIV, Ukraine — When the air raid sirens rang out on Thursday, some of the young patients at Ohmadyt Hospital, the main pediatric hospital in Kyiv, made their way to shelter in the basem*nt. Among them were Denis, 7, and his parents, who walked down from the sixth floor, where he is receiving treatment for leukemia.

The warnings added to a lingering sense of anxiety in Kyiv, just days after widespread Russian missile attacks across Ukraine — including deadly strikes in the center of the capital — rattled the nation.

Denis’s family said many other children had taken refuge in an enclosed kitchen upstairs, since it was easier than moving downstairs with their IV lines attached. One of the hospital’s doctors, a pediatric oncologist, was killed in a strike in Kyiv on Monday while on her way to work.

Megan Specia

NATO’s secretary general says the alliance will back Ukraine ‘as long as it takes.’


BRUSSELS — NATO’s secretary general vowed on Thursday that Kyiv’s allies would “stand by Ukraine for as long as it takes” and that NATO would provide “more air defense systems” to allow Ukraine to continue countering Russian cruise missiles and drones.

The official, Jens Stoltenberg, made the comments in brief remarks with Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III at a press event at the start of a daylong meeting of defense ministers from member states aimed at reaffirming support for Ukraine.

The ministerial meeting follows discussions held Wednesday during the sixth meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, a grouping of about 50 nations that are supporting Kyiv with military and humanitarian aid.

“We need to stand up for a rules-based international order, for our core values, and again, the U.S. mission in NATO and the international community is essential,” Mr. Stoltenberg said.

Mr. Austin reiterated the United States’ commitment to NATO’s mutual-defense provision under Article 5 of the alliance’s charter, and reaffirmed support for expanding the alliance by adding Finland and Sweden, which applied for membership this year after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

John Ismay



A strike outside Kyiv adds to concerns over Russia’s use of ‘kamikaze’ drones.


KYIV, Ukraine — The Kyiv region of Ukraine was hit by an airstrike early Thursday that is believed to have been delivered by so-called kamikaze drones, a regional official said, adding to concerns about Russia’s increasing use of the self-destructing weapons.

There were no injuries, according to the region’s governor, Oleksiy Kuleba, who did not specify the locations that were hit, citing security concerns. But the use of such weapons has left many people on edge in an area of Ukraine that until this week had largely been spared since the early months of Russia’s full-scale invasion in February.

Mr. Kuleba said on the Telegram social media app that three “kamikaze,” or self-destructing, drones had been used in the attack. Rescuers were working at the scene, he added, urging people to remain in shelters until an alert was lifted, which came later on Thursday morning.

Russia has been deploying dozens of Iranian-made drones as part of a scaled-up offensive on civilian and infrastructure targets far from the front lines. Ukraine’s military said this week that its air defenses were managing to shoot down a significant number, but not all, of the drones.

Britain’s Defense Ministry said in an intelligence assessment on Wednesday that the drones were not fulfilling Russia’s war aims, because they are “slow” and “easy to target.” But they are still causing destruction and sowing fear. Last week, drones landed in Bila Tserkva, a town about 50 miles south of Kyiv, hitting civilian infrastructure.

Ukraine’s Center of National Resistance, a government website that offers guidance on how to help the war effort, said this week that Russia had brought Iranian instructors into occupied areas of Ukraine to instruct Moscow’s forces in the use of the drones. The Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based research group, said the instructors were probably members or affiliates of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the primary operator of Iran’s drone inventory.

In the region around Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, air-raid sirens rang out repeatedly on Tuesday and Wednesday, signaling that a missile or drone with the capacity to hit the area was in the air. The capital had not been hit by a strike since Monday, but the sudden targeting of the city and other sites that day left many people scrambling for shelters in a way that they had not done in months.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, a senior official in President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office, said that critical infrastructure facilities had been hit by the drones on Thursday. The strikes have wrought significant damage on Ukraine’s electrical system as a number of vital power connections have been hit.

Megan Specia and Victoria Kim

Damage to the Crimea bridge has created a long wait for cargo trucks heading into Russia.


Satellite images have captured hundreds of cargo trucks backed up and waiting to cross from Crimea into Russia by ferry, days after an explosion on the bridge over the Kerch Strait, contradicting the Russian authorities’ efforts to portray the situation there as under control.

The images captured on Wednesday by Maxar Technologies, a U.S.-based space technology company, show substantial backlogs at the ferry port of Kerch in Crimea, the peninsula Moscow illegally annexed from Ukraine in 2014. They also show a line of trucks several miles away at an airport that is apparently being used as a staging area for freight vehicles attempting to cross by ferry.

In other images, a ferry laden with cargo trucks is seen passing alongside the damaged bridge as repair teams work on the rail line and adjoining road.

Within hours of the blast on Saturday, Russian-installed authorities in Crimea moved quickly to restore some traffic on the bridge, with Sergei Aksyonov, the Kremlin-installed leader of Crimea, stating on Sunday that cars and trains could again cross the 12-mile span. He said that the road portion of the bridge would be closed for the time being to heavy vehicles, which would have to cross the strait by ferry.

But the backup appears more significant than officials had initially let on. The wait time for cargo trucks to cross into Crimea was currently three to four days, Mr. Aksyonov said on Wednesday on Telegram, the social messaging app.

The satellite images show cars traveling across undamaged portions of the bridge. But freight transport remains limited to ferry crossings, with their long wait times, or cumbersome — and risky — mainland routes through Russian-occupied territories in Ukraine.

The backlog appears to be primarily affecting commercial cargo vehicles; Moscow mainly uses the rail part of the bridge, which was restored within 24 hours of the explosion, to move military supplies to its occupying forces in southern Ukraine.

Oleg Ignatov, senior Russia analyst at the International Crisis Group, said the long lines for the ferry crossing have been exacerbated by additional security checkpoints set up following the bridge explosion.

“They want to prevent another attack because they failed so badly before,” said Mr. Ignatov, referring to Russian authorities.

Mr. Ignatov also raised questions about Russia’s assurances that the bridge would be fully operational again within a month, saying that such promises could be an effort to assuage panic among civilians in Crimea.

Unverified video footage purportedly taken from the airport in Kerch, which lies several miles from the ferry port, showed trucks lined up along the runway. The trucks appear to bear logos of an assortment of commercial companies, including frozen goods suppliers and pharmaceutical brands. One truck is seen with its back doors open, exposing a teeming cargo of produce as it sits on the tarmac.

Euan Ward



Ukraine’s electrical infrastructure is damaged in Russia’s strikes.


KYIV, Ukraine — Rolling blackouts are affecting towns and cities across Ukraine after widespread Russian attacks this week that officials say damaged about 30 percent of the country’s electrical infrastructure.

While experts say the country had prepared for such strikes, officials have urged people to conserve energy, and it could be weeks before repairs to the system are finished. Many in the country — a supplier of electricity to Western Europe — believe that more must be done to secure the supply heading into winter.

Assaults on the country’s energy system continued on Wednesday and Thursday, with reports of strikes on power infrastructure in Kamianske, an industrial city on the Dnipro River in eastern Ukraine, and a town in the Kyiv region.

Volodymyr Kudrytskyi, the director of Ukrenergo, which operates Ukraine’s electric systems, said in an interview on national television on Thursday that the authorities had dealt with the attacks on infrastructure “quite quickly,” and that employees had “worked literally without sleep or food in recent days” to restore the supply.

“Unfortunately, we expect that the enemy will not stop there,” he said, adding that people in the country might have to deal with energy restrictions. “This heating season will be very difficult,” he said.

The recent attacks damaged energy facilities in 12 regions and in the capital, Kyiv, President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly address on Wednesday. He said that “the technical capability of electricity supply” had been fully restored in all but four regions, and thanked local officials and residents for reducing energy consumption.

The mass strikes are the first time since the start of the war that Russian forces have targeted the energy infrastructure so broadly, officials say. President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia described the attacks as retaliation for an explosion that brought down part of a bridge between Russia and Crimea and that he blamed on Ukraine.

Ukraine has been preparing for a scenario in which energy infrastructure was targeted, by ensuring that extra equipment and other contingency plans are in place, officials say.

Power stations can operate independently, so the country can be “divided into islands of energy supply,” even when connections between them are damaged, noted Ivan Plachkov, a former energy minister for Ukraine.

The system has some resilience and some reserve, and it will be repaired, said Nataliya Katser-Buchkovska, an expert on the country’s energy system who is a former member of Ukraine’s Parliament and founder of the Ukrainian Sustainable Fund. “But we think it will take a few weeks.”

The government said it would halt energy exports after Monday’s strikes, disrupting a source of income that has been a boost to Ukraine’s economy during months of war.

During the Soviet era in the 1970s and early ’80s, Ukraine became a center of electrical generation. Nuclear plants and coal plants were created, hydropower systems were developed and transmission lines were built to sell power to Western Europe. In a typical year, before the pandemic shifted consumption habits, the country produced nearly twice as much energy as was needed for domestic consumption, experts said, with much of that being sold to Europe.

Ukraine’s renewable energy sources have also been affected by the war. Twelve percent of its overall power supply used to come from renewables like solar and wind power, Ms. Katser-Buchkovska said. But since the war began, and parts of the south and east have been besieged, that amount has been cut in half.

Ben Shpigel contributed reporting.

Megan Specia and Andrew E. Kramer

The U.S. commitment to providing arms to Ukraine is open-ended, the defense secretary signals.


BRUSSELS — In perhaps the clearest statement yet of the United States’ level of support for Ukraine in its war with Russia, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III signaled on Wednesday that Washington’s commitment to providing arms to Kyiv would be open-ended, saying Ukraine would need military assistance for years to come.

His remarks came after the sixth meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group — the Pentagon-led coalition of about 50 nations supporting Kyiv with humanitarian and military assistance — at NATO headquarters.

The group’s resolve to support Kyiv was galvanized by Russia’s recent attacks on civilians across Ukraine, the secretary said, and underscored the urgent need for more air-defense weapons that could help protect against similar attacks in the future. Standing next to the defense secretary, Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, offered a blistering condemnation of those attacks, which he said met the criteria of war crimes under international law.

Indicating that the United States and the contact group would supply Ukraine with the equipment they need for “the difficult weeks, months and years ahead,” Mr. Austin said that the United States would support Ukrainian troops so they could fight through the coming winter.

“The battlefield remains dynamic, and the winter always poses challenges when it comes to fighting,” Mr. Austin said. “But the international community remains united and focused and committed to doing everything that we can to help Ukraine protect its interests and defend its sovereign territory.”

“I expect that Ukraine will continue to do everything it can throughout the winter to regain its territory and to be effective on the battlefield, and we’re going to do everything we can to make sure that they have what’s required to be effective,” the secretary said. “Most recently we’ve seen them be very effective both in the east and down in the south as they’ve taken back quite a bit of territory from the Russians, so we can expect that that type of activity will continue on through the winter.”


The two officials said Ukraine’s top needs at the moment were long-range fires — a term that includes guided artillery rockets capable of striking targets 50 miles away — as well as antiaircraft missiles, networked air-defense systems and additional cannon-artillery pieces. To that end, Mr. Austin said that Germany had just delivered an IRIS-T air-defense weapons system to Ukraine and would provide additional Mars multiple-launch rocket system vehicles, ammunition and howitzers.

The national representatives, most of whom were top civilian and uniformed officials from their countries, were presented with a printed list of Ukraine’s top priorities, which, after artillery, include mobile radars, various types of aerial drones for surveillance and attack missions, coastal-defense and anti-ship missiles, electronic jamming equipment and anti-armor missiles.

Notably, the list indicated that Ukraine, which before the war was almost completely dependent on Soviet-era and Russian-made weapons, wants to fully adopt more NATO-standard weapons in its arsenal. Specifically, Kyiv wants to “transition to Western-origin layered air-defense” systems, Western armored personnel carriers and ammunition for those vehicles, and also transition to Western tanks and infantry fighting vehicles.

Such a move, if completed, would open up a much larger amount of ammunition and spare parts for Ukrainian troops to use from the United States and the inventories of NATO countries than Kyiv can currently access for their Soviet-era weapons and vehicles. Those have to be sourced in comparatively small quantities from the dozens of countries that still possess Russian arms.

General Milley laid out the case for providing Ukraine with what he called an integrated air defense capability. This would include shoulder-fired missiles for short-range and low-altitude targets, weapons like the Improved Hawk missile capable of engaging enemy warplanes missiles at greater ranges and slightly higher altitudes and, finally, more advanced missiles that can shoot down targets at long range and at high altitudes.

Such weapons can be effective in taking down the kinds of cruise missiles and rockets that Russia fired into Ukraine over the weekend, which the general condemned.

“Russia has deliberately struck civilian infrastructure with the purpose of harming civilians,” General Milley said. “They have targeted the elderly, the women and the children of Ukraine.”

John Ismay



Zelensky says Ukraine needs $57 billion to rebuild and pay its bills.


President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine told the international community on Wednesday just how much money his country currently needs to rebuild after Russia’s invasion — and to offset its mammoth budget shortfall for 2023.

Speaking to the boards of governors of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, Mr. Zelensky asked for $57 billion to address the gloomy financial situation in Ukraine, where the economy, he said, has contracted by more than one-third and incomes have decreased by the same amount.

The majority of the requested money, $38 billion, would be earmarked for the budget, going toward pensions, social services and the salaries of doctors and lawyers — things, Mr. Zelensky said, that would guarantee his people’s survival. He said that $17 billion would be needed to rebuild critical components of Ukraine’s underpinning — schools, hospitals, transport systems and housing — that Russia had damaged, with an additional $2 billion allotted toward expanding exports to Europe and restoring Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.

“Terror has to lose, Ukraine has to win,” Mr. Zelensky told the boards during a video conference, “and that’s absolutely real with your support.”

Kristalina Georgieva, the managing director of the I.M.F., estimated that Ukraine would need $3 billion to $4 billion per month next year, with the actual cost hinging on factors like weather and migration. She also said that the I.M.F. would honor Mr. Zelensky’s calls for assembling “as soon as possible” a permanent economic forum that meets regularly to discuss its financial support for Ukraine.

“The more assistance Ukraine gets now, the sooner will come an end to the Russian war,” Mr. Zelensky said. “And the sooner, more reliably, such a cruel war will not spread into other countries.”

Ben Shpigel

Former inmates and new call-ups are fighting the Ukrainian forces advancing in the northeast, a regional official says.


KHARKIV, Ukraine — As they push their offensive against the retreating Russian Army, Ukrainian troops in the country’s northeast have begun encountering soldiers newly called up by Moscow to help hold the line, Serhiy Haidai, the head of the civil military administration in the Luhansk region, said in an interview Wednesday.

After retreating for more than 100 miles, Russian troops who fled Kharkiv Province are now digging in and building defenses in the towns of Svatove and Kreminna in neighboring Luhansk Province, he said.

Mr. Haidai said those troops were being bolstered by former inmates recruited by the Wagner Group, a shadowy private military contractor founded by a close ally of President Vladimir Putin of Russia, and new call-ups who were handed military uniforms and quickly sent to the battlefield.

The new recruits are among the first to be spotted along the front lines after the “partial mobilization” ordered by Mr. Putin a few weeks ago. That order came after Ukrainian troops mounted a successful counteroffensive in early September, making sweeping gains in northeastern Ukraine and breaking Russian lines southeast of the city of Kharkiv.

Progress has slowed since then, Mr. Haidai said, because the Ukrainian forces no longer have the element of surprise. The rapid Russian retreat also meant the Ukrainians were chasing stragglers over a wide stretch of territory, which also increased the amount of ground its supply routes had to cover.

Even so, Mr. Haidai said, the Ukrainian Army was continuing to make progress and has secured a slice of territory in Luhansk Province.

On Monday, he announced the names of seven settlements that had been recaptured, but he said the military was withholding further information since Russia often bombards settlements once Ukraine declares that it has regained control of them.

“We are advancing,” he said. “Therefore, let the army do its job and we will announce it when possible.”

Carlotta Gall and Oleksandr Chubko



France sends gas to Germany to offset Russian supply cuts.


PARIS — France began pumping natural gas directly to Germany for the first time on Thursday, part of a landmark agreement struck by both governments to help each other confront Europe’s energy crisis as Russia cuts off gas supplies to Europe.

Volumes of gas capable of producing around 31 gigawatt-hours per day of electricity began flowing early on Thursday into Germany, the French network operator GRTgaz said. The connection has a maximum capacity of 100 gigawatt-hours per day, equal to the power output of four nuclear reactors, or about 10 percent of the amount of liquefied natural gas that France imports each day, the company said.

GRTgaz said that months ago it had begun modifying its pipeline networks to be able to send gas to Germany. For years, the German economy had relied on Russian gas exports, but Moscow slashed them this year in response to Western sanctions for its invasion of Ukraine.

France gets its gas from the Netherlands, Norway and Russia, according to the International Energy Agency, although supplies from Russia were cut off in September. It also receives deliveries of liquefied natural gas from several L.N.G. terminals.

To face the energy crunch, France has been storing gas and getting more of it from its European partners and Qatar. Recently, President Emmanuel Macron has burnished relations with Algeria, a former French colony, which has agreed to sharply increase gas exports to France.

In exchange for the gas from France, Germany has pledged to export more electricity to that country as it grapples with an unprecedented crisis in its nuclear power industry that has reduced power production.

“Germany needs our gas, and we need the electricity produced in the rest of Europe, and in particular in Germany,” Mr. Macron said last month after speaking with the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, about the agreement. “We will contribute to European solidarity in gas and benefit from European solidarity in electricity.”

“Merci beaucoup,” Klaus Müller, the head of Germany’s federal network agency, wrote in a Twitter message to GRTgaz on Thursday. “The gas deliveries from France, through Saarland, help Germany’s energy security.”

European countries have pledged to work together to get through winter as Russia’s aggression in Ukraine raises the prospect of a prolonged energy crisis. On Thursday, Spain proposed increasing its gas deliveries to France by 18 percent in the coming months, Spain’s ecological transition minister, Teresa Ribera, said.

As Europe’s largest economy and the one most dependent on Russian gas, Germany has been among the countries worst affected by the energy crisis rippling across Europe, where natural gas costs about 10 times what it did a year ago. Both Berlin and Paris have imposed a broad range of conservation measures, including lowering thermostats and hot water heaters, encouraging the use of public transport and requiring public buildings to turn off lights early.

The energy crunch has forced European governments to fall back on less-desirable power sources that they had been trying to phase out in a push to go green. Germany, for instance, has decided to keep coal-fired power plants online and restart several others that had been mothballed.

In addition, Germany decided to keep two of its three remaining nuclear power plants operational as an emergency reserve for its electricity supply, breaking a political taboo and delaying its plans to become the first industrial power to go nuclear-free for its energy.

And in France, the government is facing an energy crisis of its own after half its fleet of nuclear power plants — the largest in Europe — was taken offline this year for inspections and repairs. The electricity shortage has driven prices to record levels, forcing factories to cut production and put tens of thousands of employees on furlough.

Bruno Le Maire, France’s economy minister, warned Thursday that high energy prices continued to pose a “major risk” to French industry and would lead to a 10 percent decline in industrial production this winter.

Berlin this month announced a 200 billion-euro (about $196 billion) aid plan for German households, businesses and industries. It includes policies to curb natural gas and electricity prices domestically. And France has already spent around €100 billion since last winter doing the same.

But with Mr. Scholz facing pushback over his government’s decision to keep nuclear plants running, Germany’s ability to uphold its end of the energy-swap deal with France may wind up depending on the French themselves: GRTgaz said the exported French gas would allow Germany to produce more electricity, which in turn would be sent back to the French grid during peak hours.

“If we did not have European solidarity,” Mr. Macron said in a televised interview on Wednesday, “we would have serious problems.”

Liz Alderman

Russia-Ukraine War: In Kyiv Suburb Symbolizing War, a Family Bids Farewell to a Fallen Soldier (Published 2022) (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Sen. Emmett Berge

Last Updated:

Views: 6351

Rating: 5 / 5 (80 voted)

Reviews: 95% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Sen. Emmett Berge

Birthday: 1993-06-17

Address: 787 Elvis Divide, Port Brice, OH 24507-6802

Phone: +9779049645255

Job: Senior Healthcare Specialist

Hobby: Cycling, Model building, Kitesurfing, Origami, Lapidary, Dance, Basketball

Introduction: My name is Sen. Emmett Berge, I am a funny, vast, charming, courageous, enthusiastic, jolly, famous person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.