President Joe Biden warned Russian President Vladimir Putin Putin against using nuclear weapons in Ukraine in a “60 Minutes” interview, Putin earlier threatened to step up attacks on civilian targets as his ground invasion is repelled in northeast Ukraine. The UK defence ministry said Russia is putting Putin’s threat into action, and “has likely extended the locations it is prepared to strike” in a bid to undermine Ukraine’s morale.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy welcomed an upcoming visit by United Nations investigators to mass burial sites discovered in one of Ukraine’s newly-liberated eastern regions.
Another Ukrainian wheat cargo has sailed for Ethiopia under a UN humanitarian program, as Putin renewed a threat to torpedo the safe-transit agreement reached in July for Ukraine’s Black Sea ports that’s seen millions of tons of foodstuffs shipped.
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On the Ground
Russia’s invasion is approaching the seven-month mark. Moscow’s troops shelled the towns of Slavyansk and Kramatorsk in the Donetsk region, and Chuhuiv in the Kharkiv region on Friday night. The Slavyanska thermal power plant was hit, causing equipment damage and a fire. Russia’s defense ministry reported more shelling near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant by Ukraine; Kyiv and Moscow have repeatedly blamed each other for shelling near the plant. Almost a dozen Russian ships are maneuvering in the Black Sea near the coast of Crimea, including three missile carriers equipped with Kalibr missiles and 4 large amphibious ships, Ukrainian operational command “South” said on Facebook.
(All times CET)
Russia Increasing Missile Hits on Civilian Targets, UK Says (7:30 a.m.)
“Russia has increased its targeting of civilian infrastructure” in the past week even when there’s no perceptible military effect, the UK defence ministry said, in what it called an effort to “directly undermine the morale” of Ukraine’s government and people.
Recent targets included Ukraine’s electricity grid and a major dam in Kryvyi Rih, Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s home town.
The tactic echoes comments by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who threatened on Friday to step up attacks on civilian targets as Moscow’s front-line efforts are thwarted. Russia has launched “several thousand” long range missiles since February, the UK said.
Ukraine Has Changed Warfare, NATO Official Says (5:19 p.m.)
NATO chiefs discussed how to “sustain and increase allied support to Ukraine” at a conference in Tallinn on Saturday, Admiral Rob Bauer, chair of the alliance’s military committee, told journalists.
“The ammunition, equipment and training that allies and other nations are delivering are all making a real difference on the battlefield,” Bauer said. “With its successes on the ground and online, Ukraine has fundamentally changed modern warfare.”
Earlier, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said Russia’s war had created “a significant shift” in NATO’s mindset. “Our focus must be scaling-up aid and weapons deliveries,” she said.
Nuclear Plant Reconnected to Grid, IAEA Says (5:06 p.m.)
The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is again receiving electricity directly from Ukraine’s national grid after repairs to one its of main external power lines damaged during the conflict, the UN’s atomic agency said.
The plant, Europe’s largest, shut its last operating reactor on Sept. 11. It now has the electricity it needs “for reactor cooling and other essential safety functions,” the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a post on its website.
The IAEA has had monitors at the site for the past two weeks, following a visit from a team lead by Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi. On Saturday Grossi described the situation at Zaporizhzhia as “still precarious.”
Biden Tells Putin, ‘Don’t. Don’t. Don’t’ Use Nuclear Weapons (2:52 p.m.)
Joe Biden said Vladimir Putin would face a “consequential” US response if the Russian president used nuclear or chemical weapons in the war in Ukraine.
“Don’t. Don’t. Don’t,” Biden said in an excerpt from an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes” when asked what he would say if Putin were considering using tactical nuclear weapons or chemical weapons in the almost seven-month-old conflict.
Biden Warns Putin Against Using Nuclear or Chemical Weapons
Wheat Cargo Sails For Ethiopia (12:30 p.m.)
A vessel charted by the UN’s World Food Program has departed Ukraine carrying 30,000 tons of wheat for Ethiopia, Ukraine’s infrastructure minister said on Twitter.
The shipment comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin threatens to curtail the safe-transit deal reached in July for exports from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports, saying not enough cargoes are going to the world’s poor.
Millions of tons of grain and other foodstuffs have been exported under the deal so far, including to Africa. The availability of supplies from Ukraine has helped knock benchmark wheat prices down to pre-war levels, benefiting all buyers.
Read more: Putin’s Attack on Ukraine Grain Deal Belied by Shipping Data