Ukraine-Russia war – live: Zelensky and Dutch PM visit Odesa and agree to boost air defence

By Isaac M October 14, 2023

Zelensky says Russia trying to incite war in the Middle East

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte, visiting the Black Sea port of Odesa, vowed on Friday to improve Ukraine’s air defences and to increase the security of a “humanitarian corridor” for grain exports.

Zelensky said Kyiv was working to strengthen its position in the Black Sea so that it can continue grain exports, which are vital to ensuring budget revenues following a surge in defence spending following Russia’s invasion last year.

“Today we had a busy day in your beautiful city of Odesa, which was dedicated to global and security issues,” Zelensky told a joint press conference with Rutte.

The Odesa region has came under frequent Russian missile and drone attacks, and Zelensky and Rutte visited a damaged port.

It comes as Russian and Ukrainian forces fought fierce battles for a fourth day around the strategically important eastern Ukrainian town of Avdiivka after Moscow launched one of its biggest military offensives in months.

In other developments, The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported on Thursday that Vladimir Putin’s troops are subsequently “exhausted” and suffering “significant” losses, according to Russian “Vostok” Battalion Commander Alexander Khodakovsky.

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Ukraine hit two Russian vessels, says intelligence source

Ukraine struck a Russian missile carrier and a patrol ship in separate attacks this week involving sea-borne drones carrying experimental weapons, a Ukrainian intelligence source said on Friday.

The source gave no details of the damage but said the “Buyan” missile carrier was attacked on Friday and the “Pavel Derzhavin” missile carrier was attacked on Wednesday in joint operations carried out by the Ukrainian Security Service and naval forces.

“After the first detonation, Russian minesweepers and divers were unable to discover our know-how,” the source told Reuters. “The Buyan missile carrier… was struck today on the Sevastopol route by experimental weapons on ‘Sea Babies’ (naval drones).”

Reuters could not immediately verify the reports independently.

Anton Gerashchenko, Advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, is among those who have on Friday posted footage on social media, which is suggested to show smoke emerging from a Russian vessel in the roadstead of Sevastopol, Crimea.

Tara Cobham13 October 2023 11:25

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US says North Korea delivered 1,000 containers of equipment and munitions to Russia for Ukraine war

The White House said on Friday that North Korea has delivered more than 1,000 containers of military equipment and munitions to Russia for its ongoing war in Ukraine. Speculation about a possible North Korean plan to refill Russia‘s munition stores drained in its protracted war with Ukraine flared last month, when North Korean leader Kim Jong Un traveled to Russia to meet President Vladimir Putin and visit key military sites. White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said that the U.S. believes Kim is seeking sophisticated Russian weapons technologies in return for the munitions to boost North Korea’s military and nuclear program. The White House released images that it said show the containers were loaded onto a Russian-flagged ship before being moved via train to southwestern Russia. The containers were shipped between Sept. 7 and Oct. 1 between Najin, North Korea, and Dunay, Russia, according to the White House. “We condemn the DPRK for providing Russian with this military equipment, which will be used to attack Ukrainian cities and kill Ukrainian civilians and further Russia‘s illegitimate war,” Kirby said, using the initials for Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the country’s official name. “In return for support, we assess the Pyongyang is seeking military assistance from Russia including fighter aircraft, surface to air missiles, armored vehicles, ballistic missile production equipment, or other materials and other advanced technologies.”

Maryam Zakir-Hussain13 October 2023 21:38

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Ukrainians may be among Hamas hostages, according to reports

Ukrainian citizens may be among those being held hostage by Hamas, it has been reported.

Ukraine’s Ambassador to Israel Yevhen Korniychuk said Israeli authorities believe it is possible that Ukrainians were taken by the militants, although there is no concrete information yet, reported The Kyiv Independent.

Joe Middleton13 October 2023 20:11

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Russian air strikes kill two in Ukraine, Kyiv officials say

At least two people were killed and 15 wounded in Russian air strikes in southern and eastern Ukraine on Friday, Ukrainian officials said.

One person was killed and 13 wounded by a missile strike on the city of Pokrovsk in the eastern region of Donetsk, the Ukrainian Interior Ministry said, citing preliminary information.

Emergency services said two administrative buildings had been damaged.

A 34-year-old woman was killed and her 36-year-old husband seriously injured in a drone strike on their vehicle in the town of Beryslav in the southern Kherson region, regional governor Oleksandr Prokudin said on the Telegram messaging app.

A 79-year-old woman who was standing nearby was also hurt, he said.

“This is a deliberate hunt for civilians,” Andriy Yermak, the head of the presidential office, said on Telegram.

Reuters could not independently verify the information. Russia has denied deliberately targeting civilians although many have been killed in attacks across Ukraine.

Joe Middleton13 October 2023 18:48

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Britain to boost military presence in Northern Europe

Britain said it planned to step up its military presence in Northern Europe, including deploying 20,000 troops to the region next year, to help protect critical infrastructure at a time of growing concern over Russian sabotage.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak earlier on Friday met fellow leaders as part of the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) defence cooperation summit on the Swedish island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea.

Britain said in a statement it would send 20,000 soldiers, sailors, marines and air men and women plus eight Royal Navy ships and a group of fast jets and military helicopters to help police and deter threats from Russia.

Britain said they would take part in large-scale, multi-country exercises, and carry out air policing and cold weather training.

JEF, a defence cooperation group between the Nordic and Baltic states, the Netherlands and Britain, was meeting days after a pipeline and a data cable in the Gulf of Finland were damaged due to “outside activity”, stoking concerns about security in the wider Nordic region.

“This week, we have seen yet again that our security cannot be taken for granted. It is vital that we stand united against those with malign intent,” Sunak said in a statement.

Joe Middleton13 October 2023 17:35

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Zelenskiy and Dutch PM visit Odesa and agree to boost air defence

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, visiting the Black Sea port of Odesa, vowed on Friday to improve Ukraine’s air defences and to increase the security of a “humanitarian corridor” for grain exports.

Zelenskiy said Kyiv was working to strengthen its position in the Black sea so that it can continue grain exports, which are vital to ensuring budget revenues following a surge in defence spending following Russia’s invasion last year.

“Today we had a busy day in your beautiful city of Odesa, which was dedicated to global and security issues,” Zelenskiy told a joint press conference with Rutte. “We are working with partners to protect properly these corridors, and strengthen our positions in the Black Sea, and it also applies to the protection of Odesa’s skies and in the region as a whole…”

The Odesa region has came under frequent Russian missile and drone attacks, and Zelenskiy and Rutte visited a damaged port.

Zelenskiy described the air strikes as “vile tactics” and thanked Rutte for a new air defence package, which would include missiles for Patriot air defence systems and patrol ships.

The Netherlands has provided Ukraine with financial aid and weapons during the war, and has led efforts to help train Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets.

Tara Cobham13 October 2023 16:22

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Putin on fate of Russian tycoon Fridman

The fate of anyone who returns to Russia from abroad depends on how they have behaved, President Vladimir Putin said when asked about the future of Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman.

Fridman was reported to have returned to Russia this week for the first time since the start of the Ukraine conflict. Russian senator Dmitry Rogozin has asked investigators to check reports of possible funding of the Ukrainian armed forces by Fridman.

If someone has behaved immorally and returns, “they will feel it”, Putin told reporters.

The fate of anyone who returns to Russia from abroad depends on how they have behaved, President Vladimir Putin said when asked about the future of Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman (pictured)

(Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Tara Cobham13 October 2023 15:43

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Britain to boost military presence in Northern Europe

Britain said it planned to step up its military presence in Northern Europe, including deploying 20,000 troops to the region next year, to help protect critical infrastructure at a time of growing concern over Russian sabotage.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak earlier on Friday met fellow leaders as part of the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) defence cooperation summit on the Swedish island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea.

Britain said in a statement it would send 20,000 soldiers, sailors, marines and air men and women plus eight Royal Navy ships and a group of fast jets and military helicopters to help police and deter threats from Russia.

Britain said they would take part in large-scale, multi-country exercises, and carry out air policing and cold weather training.

JEF, a defence cooperation group between the Nordic and Baltic states, the Netherlands and Britain, was meeting days after a pipeline and a data cable in the Gulf of Finland were damaged due to “outside activity”, stoking concerns about security in the wider Nordic region.

“This week, we have seen yet again that our security cannot be taken for granted. It is vital that we stand united against those with malign intent,” Sunak said in a statement.

Sweden’s Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson (R) and Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak sign a partnership agreement during the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) Leaders’ Summit

(AFP via Getty Images)

Tara Cobham13 October 2023 15:29

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Ukraine to receive German grant to bolster grid defences

Ukraine‘s national grid operator Ukrenergo has said it would be receiving a 76-million-euro grant from Germany’s KfW to strengthen defences of the grid over winter and increase the reliability of electricity supplies.

Ukraine is bracing for renewed Russian attacks this winter on its power infrastructure, which remains vulnerable after damaging air strikes last winter resulted in long periods without light, heating or water supplies.

Ukrenergo said in a statement the financing from the German development bank would be channelled to the construction of “engineering defence” of energy facilities and modernisation of networks “on the border with Europe”.

It said that in total it has attracted over 220 million euros of grants and loans from KfW intended for restoration and reconstruction.

Katy Clifton13 October 2023 15:08

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Ukraine says it blew up railway line in Russian-occupied Melitopol

Ukraine’s Special Operation Forces blew up a railway line in the Russian-occupied southeastern city of Melitopol on Friday morning, they said in a statement.

“As a result of the explosion, the railway track and the train delivering ammunition and fuel to Russia’s army was damaged,” the special forces said.

Tara Cobham13 October 2023 13:41

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