Russia-Ukraine war live: hundreds of bodies found in Kharkiv after Russian retreat; nuclear threat is worst in 60 years, Biden says

From 4h ago

Hundreds of bodies found in Kharkiv after Russians left

In the northeastern Kharkiv region where Ukrainian forces regained a large swathe of ground in September, the bodies of 534 civilians including 19 children were found after Russian troops left, Serhiy Bolvinov of the National Police in Kharkiv told a briefing posted online Thursday.

The total included 447 bodies found in Izium, Reuters reports. He also said that investigators had found evidence of 22 sites being used as “torture rooms”. There was no immediate comment from Russia.

Updated at 08.36 BST

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The 2022 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to human rights advocate Ales Bialiatski from Belarus, the Russian human rights organisation Memorial and the Ukrainian human rights organisation Center for Civil Liberties. You can follow the latest on that with my colleague Sam Jones.

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At least five people were killed and as many injured after Ukrainian forces struck a bus while shelling a strategically important bridge in the Russian-controlled part of Ukraine’s southern Kherson region, Russia’s Tass news agency has reported.

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Russian-installed authorities in the region said the strike took place as the bus drove civilians across the bridge near the village of Darivka. The claims of the attack have not been independently verified.

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Reuters reports videos shared by the Russian armed forces news outlet Zvezda showed the burnt out wreckage of what appeared to be the chassis of a bus, and a badly-damaged van behind it with smoke pouring out its front compartment.

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“Ambulance crews promptly arrived at the scene and provided emergency medical treatment to the victims,” a Telegram channel run by the Russian-installed health authorities said.

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The Daryivskiy bridge, which spans nearly 100 metres, is one of the only Russian-controlled crossings across the Inhulets river, a tributary of the vast Dnipro.

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The bridge is strategically important as it joins two Russian-occupied areas of the region and is just 20km (12 miles) north-east of the city of Kherson. It is in one of the areas of Ukraine which Russia has claimed to annex.

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In the northeastern Kharkiv region where Ukrainian forces regained a large swathe of ground in September, the bodies of 534 civilians including 19 children were found after Russian troops left, Serhiy Bolvinov of the National Police in Kharkiv told a briefing posted online Thursday.

The total included 447 bodies found in Izium, Reuters reports. He also said that investigators had found evidence of 22 sites being used as “torture rooms”. There was no immediate comment from Russia.

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Ukraine’s proclaimed wins in the southern region of Kherson are the latest in a series of Russian defeats undermining the Kremlin’s claim to have annexed around 20% of Ukraine.

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“More than (500 square kilometres) have been liberated from Russian occupiers in the Kherson region alone” since the start of October, President Volodymyr Zelensky announced late Thursday in his nightly address.

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The recaptured territory was home to dozens of towns and villages that had been occupied by Russian forces for months, southern army command spokeswoman Natalia Gumeniuk said.

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Kherson, a region with an estimated pre-war population of around one million people, was captured early and easily by Moscow’s troops after their invasion launched on 24 February.

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Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the Russia-Ukraine war. My name is Helen Sullivan and I’ll be bringing you the latest for the next few hours.

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My colleague Julian Borger reports from Washington that Joe Biden has warned the world could face “Armageddon” if Vladimir Putin uses a tactical nuclear weapon to try to win the war in Ukraine.

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The US president made his most outspoken remarks to date about the threat of nuclear war, at a Democratic fundraiser in New York, saying it was the closest the world had come to nuclear catastrophe for sixty years.

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“We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban missile crisis,” he said.

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Meanwhile here are the other key recent developments:

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    \n

  • The EU has imposed a new round of sanctions on Russia, expanding import and export bans and blacklisting individuals over Moscow’s annexation of four Ukrainian regions.

  • \n

  • Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the Ukrainian president, told European heads of state gathered in Prague that Ukraine must win so that Russia does not “advance on Warsaw or again on Prague”.

  • \n

  • The Russian opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza, who has been imprisoned in Moscow since April, is being investigated for “high treason”, as the authorities step up their case against him for his criticism of the war in Ukraine.

  • \n

  • The United States has accused Russian mercenaries of exploiting natural resources in Central African Republic, Mali, Sudan and elsewhere to help fund Moscow’s war in Ukraine, a charge Russia rejected as “anti-Russian rage”. The US ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, has said the Wagner Group of mercenaries are exploiting natural resources and “these ill-gotten gains are used to fund Moscow’s war machine in Africa, the Middle East and Ukraine”.

  • \n

  • Ukrainian emergency services said three bodies were pulled from rubble after a Russian rocket strike destroyed a five-storey apartment block in the southern Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia.

  • \n

  • The Kremlin denied reports that 700,000 Russians had fled the country since Moscow announced a mobilisation drive it said would call up hundreds of thousands to fight in Ukraine.

  • \n

  • Two Russians who said they fled their country to avoid compulsory military service have requested asylum in the US after landing in a small boat on a remote Alaska island in the Bering Sea, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski’s office said Thursday.

  • \n

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Key events

Ukrainian sources are attempting to clarify what President Volodymyr Zelenskiy meant yesterday when he talked about “preventive strikes” being necessary to stop Russia using tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine.

Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov earlier seized on the comments, interpreting them as a call for Nato to use nuclear weapons against Russia, and said the comments showed why Russia’s “special military operation” within Ukraine’s borders had been necessary.

Reuters reports that adviser to Zelenskiy, Serhii Nykyforov, has written on Facebook:

Colleagues, you have gone a little too far with your nuclear hysteria and now you hear nuclear strikes even where there are none. The president spoke about the period before 24 February. Then it was necessary to apply preventive measures to prevent Russia from starting the war. Let me remind you that the only measures that were about then were preventive sanctions.

Nykyforov went on to say that hints at the use of nuclear weapons were “afforded only by the terrorist state Russia. You will never hear such calls from Ukraine.”

Earlier US president Joe Biden gave his starkest warning yet about the prospect of the use of nuclear weapons in the Ukraine conflict, saying the world could face “Armageddon” if Vladimir Putin elects to use the weapons.

Russian and Ukraine human rights organisations among Nobel Peace Prize winners

The 2022 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to human rights advocate Ales Bialiatski from Belarus, the Russian human rights organisation Memorial and the Ukrainian human rights organisation Center for Civil Liberties. You can follow the latest on that with my colleague Sam Jones.

Valentyn Reznichenko, governor of the Dnipropetrovsk oblast, has posted to Telegram to say that the city of Nikopol “shuddered all night from the explosions”. He wrote:

Almost 40 Russian shells arrived in Nikopol. In the city, several high-rise buildings, more than ten private houses, farm buildings, a transport infrastructure enterprise, gas pipelines and electricity networks were damaged.

The claims have not been independently verified.

The office of Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has issued a brief read-out after he held a call with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. Reuters reports the pair discussed the latest developments in Ukraine, and that Erdoğan repeated Ankara’s willingness to do its part to peacefully resolve the war.

The headquarters of the armed forces of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) has claimed to have captured three settlements from Ukrainian forces in Donetsk. The RIA Novosti news agency quotes an official source saying:

As of 7 October, on the territory of the Donetsk People’s Republic, a group of troops of the DPR and Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) , with fire support from the Russian Federation armed forces , liberated Odradivka, Vesela Dolyna and Zaitseve

The three settlements are close to Bakhmut. The claims have not been independently verified. The DPR and LPR are only recognised as legitimate authorities by three UN member states: Russia, Syria and North Korea. Donetsk is one of the regions of occupied Ukraine that Russia has claimed to annex, despite not having full control over the territory.

Reuters has a quick snap that a team of four specialists from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IEAE) is expected be arrive at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant later today.

Five killed in Ukrainian shelling of key bridge in Kherson region – reports

At least five people were killed and as many injured after Ukrainian forces struck a bus while shelling a strategically important bridge in the Russian-controlled part of Ukraine’s southern Kherson region, Russia’s Tass news agency has reported.

Russian-installed authorities in the region said the strike took place as the bus drove civilians across the bridge near the village of Darivka. The claims of the attack have not been independently verified.

Reuters reports videos shared by the Russian armed forces news outlet Zvezda showed the burnt out wreckage of what appeared to be the chassis of a bus, and a badly-damaged van behind it with smoke pouring out its front compartment.

“Ambulance crews promptly arrived at the scene and provided emergency medical treatment to the victims,” a Telegram channel run by the Russian-installed health authorities said.

The Daryivskiy bridge, which spans nearly 100 metres, is one of the only Russian-controlled crossings across the Inhulets river, a tributary of the vast Dnipro.

The bridge is strategically important as it joins two Russian-occupied areas of the region and is just 20km (12 miles) north-east of the city of Kherson. It is in one of the areas of Ukraine which Russia has claimed to annex.

Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, has said this morning that Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s comments about Nato making “preventive strikes” showed that Russia had needed to carry out what it terms its “special military operation” within Ukraine’s borders.

Yesterday, speaking via video link to an audience in Australia, Ukraine’s president had said “What should Nato do? Make it impossible for Russia to use nuclear weapons. What is important, I once again appeal to the international community … preventive strikes so that they know what will happen to them if they use them [nuclear weapons].”

Today marks Russian President Vladimir Putin’s birthday, an event that has not gone unnoticed by Arvydas Anušauskas, Lithuania’s defence minister. He has sarcastically tweeted, in a reference to photographs of Putin meeting world leaders at a distance, that the Russian president has been gifted “a new table and binoculars”, and said that in his honour “Lithuanian people are raising money for some ‘fireworks’”.

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Today Putin on the occasion of his birthday was given a new table and binoculars for communicating with visitors. Lithuanian people are raising money for some “fireworks”.

&mdash; Arvydas Anušauskas (@a_anusauskas) October 7, 2022

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Today Putin on the occasion of his birthday was given a new table and binoculars for communicating with visitors. Lithuanian people are raising money for some “fireworks”.

— Arvydas Anušauskas (@a_anusauskas) October 7, 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in Moscow in February.
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in Moscow in February. Photograph: SPUTNIK/Reuters

Oleh Synyehubov, governor of Kharkiv, has posted to Telegram to say that in the last 24 hours, eight people have been hospitalised in the region as a result of Russian shelling. He also said that a 47-year-old woman was injured by stepping on a mine in the Izium region. He cautioned residents again about the risks, saying “the minefields left by the enemy are huge”. The claims have not been independently verified.

Hundreds of bodies found in Kharkiv after Russians left

In the northeastern Kharkiv region where Ukrainian forces regained a large swathe of ground in September, the bodies of 534 civilians including 19 children were found after Russian troops left, Serhiy Bolvinov of the National Police in Kharkiv told a briefing posted online Thursday.

The total included 447 bodies found in Izium, Reuters reports. He also said that investigators had found evidence of 22 sites being used as “torture rooms”. There was no immediate comment from Russia.

Updated at 08.36 BST

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, appealed to Australia for help in a critical UN vote next week, asking Australian officials to join in diplomatic efforts to ensure it was ‘as unanimous as possible’. ‘I’m asking Australia to use all of its influence to convince as many countries as possible not to remain neutral and to vote for international law and against a Russian annexation,’ he said.

Addressing the Sydney-based Lowy Institute by video link, Zelenskiy revealed Australia was offering heavy arms to Ukraine in its next package of military support and thanked Australia for its ‘very meaningful defence’ assistance, saying the Bushmaster protected-mobility vehicles which the country had previously contributed had ‘performed masterfully’.

Zelenskiy calls on Australia to back UN vote condemning Russia’s purported annexation – video
Julian Borger

Julian Borger

Joe Biden has warned the world could face “Armageddon” if Vladimir Putin uses a tactical nuclear weapon to try to win the war in Ukraine.

The US president made his most outspoken remarks to date about the threat of nuclear war, at a Democratic fundraiser in New York, saying it was the closest the world had come to nuclear catastrophe for sixty years.

“We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban missile crisis,” he said.

“We’ve got a guy I know fairly well,” Biden said, referring to the Russian president. “He’s not joking when he talks about potential use of tactical nuclear weapons or biological or chemical weapons because his military is, you might say, significantly underperforming.”

Putin and his officials have repeatedly threatened to use Russia’s nuclear arsenal in an effort to deter the US and its allies from supporting Ukraine and helping it resist the all-out Russian invasion launched in February. One fear is that he could use a short range “tactical” nuclear weapon to try to stop Ukraine’s counter-offensive in its tracks and force Kyiv to negotiate and cede territory:

Ukraine takes back 500 sq km of territory in a week, Zelenskiy says

Ukraine’s proclaimed wins in the southern region of Kherson are the latest in a series of Russian defeats undermining the Kremlin’s claim to have annexed around 20% of Ukraine.

“More than (500 square kilometres) have been liberated from Russian occupiers in the Kherson region alone” since the start of October, President Volodymyr Zelensky announced late Thursday in his nightly address.

The recaptured territory was home to dozens of towns and villages that had been occupied by Russian forces for months, southern army command spokeswoman Natalia Gumeniuk said.

Kherson, a region with an estimated pre-war population of around one million people, was captured early and easily by Moscow’s troops after their invasion launched on 24 February.

Updated at 10.39 BST

Welcome and Summary

Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the Russia-Ukraine war. My name is Helen Sullivan and I’ll be bringing you the latest for the next few hours.

My colleague Julian Borger reports from Washington that Joe Biden has warned the world could face “Armageddon” if Vladimir Putin uses a tactical nuclear weapon to try to win the war in Ukraine.

The US president made his most outspoken remarks to date about the threat of nuclear war, at a Democratic fundraiser in New York, saying it was the closest the world had come to nuclear catastrophe for sixty years.

“We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban missile crisis,” he said.

Meanwhile here are the other key recent developments:

  • The EU has imposed a new round of sanctions on Russia, expanding import and export bans and blacklisting individuals over Moscow’s annexation of four Ukrainian regions.

  • Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the Ukrainian president, told European heads of state gathered in Prague that Ukraine must win so that Russia does not “advance on Warsaw or again on Prague”.

  • The Russian opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza, who has been imprisoned in Moscow since April, is being investigated for “high treason”, as the authorities step up their case against him for his criticism of the war in Ukraine.

  • The United States has accused Russian mercenaries of exploiting natural resources in Central African Republic, Mali, Sudan and elsewhere to help fund Moscow’s war in Ukraine, a charge Russia rejected as “anti-Russian rage”. The US ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, has said the Wagner Group of mercenaries are exploiting natural resources and “these ill-gotten gains are used to fund Moscow’s war machine in Africa, the Middle East and Ukraine”.

  • Ukrainian emergency services said three bodies were pulled from rubble after a Russian rocket strike destroyed a five-storey apartment block in the southern Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia.

  • The Kremlin denied reports that 700,000 Russians had fled the country since Moscow announced a mobilisation drive it said would call up hundreds of thousands to fight in Ukraine.

  • Two Russians who said they fled their country to avoid compulsory military service have requested asylum in the US after landing in a small boat on a remote Alaska island in the Bering Sea, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski’s office said Thursday.

The Guardian