Russia-Ukraine war live: ‘Medal ceremony’ deaths of Ukraine soldiers spark criminal inquiry; missile strike on Black Sea Fleet | World news

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Ukraine says 19 soldiers killed by Russian airstrike at awards ceremony on Friday

Ukraine’s 128th assault brigade said on Monday a Russian airstrike killed 19 of its soldiers in the frontline Zaporizhzhia region on Friday, Reuters reports.

Ukrainian authorities ordered an investigation into the attack after receiving reports that soldiers were killed during an awards ceremony in a village close to the frontlines in the south-east.

Key events

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has registered an appeal filed by the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) against the decision by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to suspend its membership, the independent judicial body said today.

The challenge arose over the IOC’s suspension of the ROC following the ROC decision to include as its members some regional sports organisations which are under the authority of the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of Ukraine.

CAS said:

In its appeal to the CAS, the ROC requests that the Challenged Decision be set aside and that it be reinstated as a NOC recognised by the IOC, benefiting from all rights and prerogatives granted by the Olympic Charter.

The CAS arbitration proceedings have commenced. In accordance with the Code of Sports-related Arbitration (the CAS Code), the arbitration rules governing CAS procedures, the parties are exchanging written submissions and the Panel of arbitrators that will decide the matter is being constituted.

The Russian Olympic Committee was banned with immediate effect on 12 Octpber for recognising regional organisations from four territories annexed from Ukraine, the IOC said.

The IOC added the ROC would not be eligible for any funding after it recognised earlier this month Olympic Councils from the regions of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia but that it would not affect any Russian athletes competing as neutrals.

An International Monetary Fund monitoring mission has started work today to review an ongoing multibillion dollar programme for Ukraine, as Kyiv seeks more than $41bn in international aid to cover its budget gap next year.

The IMF mission started policy talks with the Ukrainian officials on the $15.6bn Extended Fund Facility (EFF) loan, the IMF said. The programme is part of a $115bn global package to support the economy as Ukraine battles Russia‘s invasion.

Ukraine’s central bank governor, Andriy Pyshnyi, said:

We are committed to a constructive analysis of the completed work and fruitful discussion on the next steps. The review will not be easy, but Ukraine’s team has been working smoothly and effectively for over 20 months of the large-scale war.

We clearly understand the critical need to maintain IMF’s support not only for further budget needs financing, but for the country’s development and its European future.

Ukraine depends heavily on international aid to cover its budget gap and finance social and humanitarian spending. The government has received $35.4bn so far this year from partners to cover its budget gap. Last year, Ukraine got $31bn, finance ministry data showed.

The finance minister, Serhiy Marchenko, told Reuters that Ukraine was finding it harder to secure financial support as the world’s attention shifts and geopolitical tensions rise.

Kyiv said today that Russia‘s armed forces mounted several “unsuccessful” attacks across the frontlines in the south and east of Ukraine over the last week.

Neither Russia nor Ukraine has made any significant territorial gains for almost a year, and Kyiv’s top army commander said last week the war had ground to a stalemate. But fighting has remained intense, with both sides claiming to have inflicted heavy losses on the other.

Ukraine said 400 individual “combat clashes” took place over the last seven days, and that Russia was continuing its offensive on Avdiivka – an industrial town in the eastern region of Donetsk that Russia has been trying to surround and capture for months.

“The enemy is conducting assault actions in several directions at once,” Andriy Kovalyov, a spokesperson for the general staff of Ukraine’s armed forces, said on Monday in an interview on state TV.

Kovalyov also reported Russian attacks near the village of Robotyne, which Ukraine regained control of earlier this year, in the southern Zaporizhzhia region. “The enemy attempted to restore its lost position near Robotyne but had no success.”

Russia‘s defence ministry said yesterday it had repelled Ukrainian attacks near Robotyne. In a briefing with top military commanders, the Russian defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, said last week his forces were “continuing to conduct an active defence, inflicting effective damage on the enemy” and that Russian “units are moving forward, occupying more advantageous positions”.

Ukraine’s Kovalyov said today that Kyiv was conducting its own “offensive operations” to the south of Bakhmut – a city destroyed by months of artillery fire and urban warfare before Russia eventually captured it in May. Agence France-Presse said it could not verify either side’s claims.

Police conduct evacuation work on 30 October in Avdiivka, Ukraine.
Police conduct evacuation work on 30 October in Avdiivka, Ukraine. Photograph: Libkos/Getty Images

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has not made any announcements that he will run for another term and the campaign has not yet been announced, the Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.

“The president has not made any statements” about this, Peksov said when asked about a Reuters report that Putin had decided to run.

“And the campaign has not been officially announced yet,” Peskov said.

Ukraine says 19 soldiers killed by Russian airstrike at awards ceremony on Friday

Ukraine’s 128th assault brigade said on Monday a Russian airstrike killed 19 of its soldiers in the frontline Zaporizhzhia region on Friday, Reuters reports.

Ukrainian authorities ordered an investigation into the attack after receiving reports that soldiers were killed during an awards ceremony in a village close to the frontlines in the south-east.

Putin to visit Kazakhstan on Thursday

Reuters reports that the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, is expected to visit Kazakhstan on Thursday, the office of the Kazakh president, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, said on Monday.

The leaders will meet in the Kazakh capital, Astana, to discuss bilateral matters, it said in a statement. Putin and Tokayev will also join by video link a Kazakh-Russian business conference that will be held in the city of Kostanai.

It would be only Putin’s third known trip abroad since The Hague-based international criminal court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant in March for the Russian leader on war crime charges, something the Kremlin strongly rejects.

Kazakhstan, like China and Kyrgyzstan, the two other countries Putin has visited recently, is not a signatory to the ICC.

The ICC, which accused Putin of illegally deporting children from Ukraine, obliges the court’s 123 member states to arrest Putin and transfer him to The Hague for trial if he sets foot on their territory.

Ukraine grain exports fall by almost a third compared with last year

Ukraine’s grain exports have fallen by almost a third compared with last year, agriculture ministry data showed on Monday.

The figures show that Ukraine’s grain exports have fallen to 9.8m tonnes so far in the 2023-24 July-June marketing season. The ministry said that by this point last year, Ukraine had exported 14.3m tonnes.

The volume exported this season includes 4.9m tonnes of wheat, 4.1m tonnes of corn and almost 700,000 tonnes of barley. In the previous season Ukraine exported 5.4m tonnes of wheat, 7.7m tonnes of corn and 1.2m tonnes of barley.

The ministry said traders had exported 550,000 tonnes of grain so far in November compared with 1.07m tonnes over 1-7 November in 2022.

The ministry gave no explanation for the drop but traders and farmers’ unions have said blocked Ukrainian Black Sea ports and Russian attacks on the country’s Danube River ports are the main reasons for lower exports.

Ukraine has traditionally shipped most of its exports through its deep water Black Sea ports.

The government said in a resolution published last week that a new export regime would be introduced for key food commodities aimed at preventing abuses, such as tax avoidance.

Ukraine’s government expects a harvest of 79m tonnes of grain and oilseeds in 2023, with its 2023-24 exportable surplus totalling about 50m tonnes.

Russian drone attacks on Odesa late on Sunday evening left at least five people injured, set grain trucks on fire and damaged one of the city’s principal art galleries, Ukrainian officials in the Black Sea port said. Reuters carried the report:

“On November 6, the Odesa National Art Museum turns 124 years old,” Oleh Kiper, governor of the Odesa region, of which the Odesa city is the administrative centre, said on the Telegram messaging app. “On the eve of November 6, the Russians ‘congratulated’ our architectural monument with a missile that hit nearby.”

The walls of the building were damaged, some windows and glass were broken, he said. Kipper later said that 15 Russia-launched drones were destroyed over the city. Several high-rise residential buildings were damaged and warehouse and trucks with grain caught fire, which was promptly extinguished.

It was not clear whether the buildings and the trucks were hit by the drones or falling debris. There was no immediate comment from Russia.

The Guardian’s Lisa O’Carroll reports this morning that Ukraine insists it will have completed the reforms required to get membership of the EU within two years, and its deputy prime minister has said it does not want a sympathy vote.

A review published on Wednesday is expected to reveal the European Commission position on whether negotiations should open or not with countries most advanced with their accession reforms.

“We do not want any discounts because of the war,” Olga Stefanishyna said, adding she was confident of a decision in the Ukraine’s favour.

“The two-year timeline we are talking about is just to make sure that we are prepared for membership in terms of legal approximation, of standards and rules and obligations of the directives.”

You can read Lisa O’Carroll’s full report here.

Opening summary

Hello and welcome to the Guardian’s live coverage of the Russian war against Ukraine. It is day 621 and here are the major developments.

  • The Ukrainian army has confirmed soldiers from its 128th Mountain Assault Brigade were killed in a Russian missile strike during what media described as a medal-awarding ceremony. A Ukrainian soldier said on social media that 22 people were killed and criticised commanders for having held the event in Ukraine’s southern Zaporizhzhia region. Local media reported 20 deaths – figures that could not be independently verified.

  • “This is a tragedy that could have been avoided,” the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said of the soldiers’ deaths. “A criminal investigation has been registered into the tragedy. The main thing is to establish the full truth about what happened and to prevent this from happening again.”

  • Ukrainian cruise missiles damaged a warship docked at the occupied Crimean peninsula, Russia admitted on Sunday, a day after Ukraine announced the strike. Ukraine launched 15 cruise missiles at the BE Butoma shipyard based in the east coast city of Kerch on Saturday, with air defences shooting down 13, Russia’s defence ministry said. Ukrainian attacks have progressively been making Crimea untenable for Russia’s Black Sea fleet to use. Ukraine said the damaged warship was one of Russia’s most advanced, able to fire Kalibr cruise missiles. Online observers named the ship as the Askold.

  • Zelenskiy said the cost of letting Russia win the war would be further conflict involving ground troops from Nato countries, as he urged US lawmakers on NBC’s Meet the Press to increase war funding. Zelenskiy also said he was “not ready” for talks with Russia unless its invading troops withdraw. The US “know I am not ready to speak with the terrorists, because their word is nothing”, he said. “They have to go out from our territory, only after that the world can switch on diplomacy.”

  • Zelenskiy also urged Donald Trump to visit Ukraine, where he said it would take minutes to show the war-sceptic former US president his errors about the conflict.

  • Tensions simmered between the civilian and military wings of Ukraine’s leadership as the president’s office publicly rebuked top military commander Valerii Zaluzhnyi for his comments that the war was at a stalemate. The office of Zelenskiy said Zaluzhnyi’s words were helpful to Russia and stirred panic.

  • Zelenskiy said the war in Gaza was distracting focus from Ukraine’s war against Russia as humanitarian, diplomatic and media attention shifts to the Middle East.

  • Russian casualties climbed to more than 305,000 dead or injured, Ukraine said, with the US estimating 120,000 Russian deaths and 180,000 injured in the invasion.

  • Ukraine’s Col Oleksandr Shtupun said Russian forces were following “cannon fodder” tactics, referring to fighting in the Tavria region.

  • Fake Russian propaganda linking the Gaza and Ukraine wars is spreading online, with a fabricated Israeli promotional video claiming to show Ukrainians fighting in Israel exposed by the news organisation Ukrinform.

  • Russia and Saudi Arabia confirmed they would be restricting the supply of crude oil until the end of this year, in efforts to raise the price of oil worldwide.

  • The European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, said on Saturday that Ukraine had “made excellent progress” towards EU accession, as she visited Kyiv and affirmed EU support for Ukraine “for as long as it takes”.

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