Ukraine war latest: 'We will defend our fatherland', Putin tells Moscow crowds; MoD says Russian commanders probably ordered to shoot deserters (2022)

Key points
  • Russian forces probably deploying 'barrier troops' or 'blocking units' due to low morale, MoD says
  • Putin says civilians must evacuate Kherson
  • Why Kherson is so important for both Russia and Ukraine
  • Russia signals retreat in southern Ukraine - but Kyiv fears trap
  • Zelenskyy claims 4.5 million Ukrainians left without electricity after Russian attack on power grids
  • No sign of 'dirty bomb' at Ukraine's nuclear sites
  • Analysis:Johnson's close relationship with Zelenskyy still holds sway - that Sunak will find difficult to match
  • Live reporting by Olive Enokido-Lineham. Updates also from Alex Rossi in Ukraine and Diana Magnay in Moscow

14:08:18

Ukrainian officials receive diesel generators in Kherson

Ukrainian officials have received 29 diesel generators in the southern region of Kherson.

Yaroslav Yanushevich, head of the Kherson Regional Military Administration, wrote on Telegram that the generators will help residents restore their water supplies and medical facilities.

He added that the generators were brought by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and USAID.

It comes after weeks of constant Russian attacks on Ukraine's energy facilities which have left residents across the country without electricity, heating and water.

13:53:14

Confrontation with Ukraine's 'Nazis' was inevitable, Putin says

Russia's confrontation with the "neo Nazi regime" in Kyiv was inevitable, President Vladimir Putin has said.

Speaking to crowds in Moscow as he marked the country's National Unity Day today, Mr Putin appeared to repeat the rhetoric he has used before and said Western powers were trying to carve an "anti-Russian" sentiment in Ukraine.

He went on to say that after the fall of the Soviet Union, Western powers had begun to "meddle" with Ukraine and Russia, adding: "We will defend our fatherland."

13:51:28

(Video) ЗАБЫТЫЕ ВОЙНЫ РОССИИ. ВСЕ СЕРИИ ПОДРЯД. ИСТОРИЧЕСКИЙ ПРОЕКТ

In pictures: Putin marks National Unity Day in Moscow

The Russian president has been taking part in celebrations marking his country's Unity Day, which commemorates the popular uprising leading to the expulsion of Polish-Lithuanian forces in 1612.

Mr Putin, dressed in black, laid flowers at a monument to uprising leaders Kuzma Minin and Dmitry Pozharsky on Red Square.

This year, the Russian authorities are using the holiday to promote the (illegal) annexation of four Ukrainian territories.

13:41:46

Russian forces may be trying to 'lull' Ukrainian troops trying to retake Kherson into false sense of security, analyst says

As Vladimir Putin orders civilians in Kherson to be evacuated, defence analyst for the Royal United Services Institute, Dr Alexandra Walmsley, has said the situation there is "murky".

Earlier today, the state-owned news agency RIA reported that residents in the port city were being told to leave as it had been declared as the zone with the "most dangerous actions".

Russia declared that it had annexed the region in September and the city of Kherson is the largest Ukrainian city under Moscow’s control.

Moscow has already been ferrying people out of an area it controls in Kherson on the west bank of the Dinpro River, and this week announced that the evacuation zone would also include a 15km buffer area on the east bank.

But the latest comments appeared to be the first time Mr Putin has endorsed the evacuations personally.

Speaking to Sky News, Dr Walmsley said: "The situation is very murky and there is the possibility of a Ukrainian offensive.

"At the same time the Russians may well be trying to lull them into a sense of false security."

Looking at the situation in the eastern Donbas region, the defence analyst said the world was "starting to see evidence of what the Russians have been doing" in the last eight months of occupation.

13:23:23

G7 foreign ministers to stand with Ukraine 'for as long as it takes'

Top diplomats from the G7 have released a statement saying they will stand "firmly with Ukraine for as long as it takes".

The ministers said: "We condemn Russia's recent escalation, including its attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure, in particular energy and water facilities, across Ukrain using missiles and Iranian drones".

The ministers also said any use ofchemical, biological, or nuclear weapons by Russia would be metwith severe consequences.

"Russia's irresponsible nuclear rhetoric is unacceptable,"the ministers said.

It comes after weeks of constant Russian attacks on Ukraine's energy facilities which have left residents across the country without electricity, heating and water.

Kyiv says they have damaged up to 40% of thepower system and Ukrainian authorities warned that residents mayface hours of blackouts due to the limited supplies.

G7 countries gathered in the western German city of Muenster this week with Russia's invasion on its agenda.

The ministers also discussed Ukraine's needs as it heads into the winter - particularly the need to support the repair and restoration of energy and water infrastructures.

13:20:01

News conference held at Wagner Centre in Saint Petersburg

Now over to Russia, a news conference has been held at PMC Wagner Centre, which is a project by the founder of the Wagner private military group Yevgeny Prigozhin.

The Wagner Group is a Russian private military company.

It was founded in 2014 after Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimea peninsula and started providing support to pro-Russia separatists in Ukraine's eastern Donbas region.

At the start of the war, Western allies, including the UK ministry of defence, said the group had been deployed to Ukraine.

In the past, Vladimir Putin has said the group does not represent the Russian state.

The EU has imposed sanctions on the group, accusing it of clandestine operations on the Kremlin's behalf.

13:00:01

Images show war crime prosecutors taking DNA samples in Izyum

Now to Kharkiv in northeastern Ukraine, images have emerged appearing to show Kharkiv war crime prosecutors taking DNA samples from local residents in Izyum.

In September, local officials said they found a mass burial site containing over 400 graves in the Ukrainian city of Izyum after it was liberated from Russian control.

Images from the scene showed a number of wooden crosses jutting up from mounds in the earth, surrounded by trees.

In an interview with Sky News in September, Serhii Bolvinov, the chief police investigator for the Kharkiv region, said the Izyum site is "one of the biggest burials in one liberated city".

At the time, the Ukrainian president likened the suffering in Izyum to the atrocities committed by Russian forces in the town of Bucha, just outside Kyiv, and the city of Mariupol, in the south.

12:45:01

Why Kherson is so important for both Russia and Ukraine

Earlier we reported that Vladimir Putin has said civilians must evacuate Kherson calling it the "most dangerous" zone (see post 11.30).

Here we explain why the southern region and city of the same is so important for both Russia and Ukraine.

Back in February, Moscow occupied Kherson including its city which is the largest Ukrainian city under the Kremlin's control.

It's strategically important and a prime objective for both sides because of its major river and seaport.

It borders Crimea and provides Moscow with a land bridge to the Black Sea peninsula that it seized from Ukraine in 2014.

However, Ukraine's counteroffensive has put pressure on Russian forces in Kherson and losing the region would be another big setback for Vladimir Putin as Kyiv would effectively cut Russia off from that important land corridor.

Kherson also includes the mouth of the Dnipro River which runs through the region and its capital Kherson city on the west bank.

12:25:01

David Letterman interviews Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv

US talk show host David Letterman has travelled to Kyiv to interview Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Netflix revealed the news on Twitter, adding that the president will appear in an upcoming episode of My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman.

The standalone special will premiere later this year.

A picture of the pair shows Letterman and Mr Zelenskyy shaking hands.

Letterman's previous episodes have featured artists, actors and other celebrities including Billie Eilish and Kim Kardashian.

12:00:01

Sunak speaks to Polish counterpart about need to send Putin signal that 'intimidation won't work'

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak held a call with his Polish counterpart this morning and discussed how the countries can "bolster" the security of NATO's eastern flank.

Mr Sunak and Mateusz Morawiecki also spoke about the situation in Belarus and how the UK is keeping a "close watch on developments".

A Downing Street spokeswoman said: "Discussing the situation in Belarus, the Prime Minister said the UK was keeping a close watch on developments and stood by Poland in the face of continued Russian aggression.

"As part of deterrence efforts across the eastern flank, the UK was increasing the capability of its forces, and had increased activity with the Joint Expeditionary Force in the Baltic region", the PM added.

"Both agreed on the need to send a continued strong signal to Putin that intimidation would not work."

Since the war began, Poland has taken in a huge number of Ukrainian refugees who have fled the country.

In September, Britain, Poland and Ukraine announced that they would develop trilateral cooperation by strengthening their defence capabilities and the NATO Eastern flank.

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