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UN General Assembly condemns Russia's 'illegal annexation' of Ukrainian regions

by FRANCE 24
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world news The UN General Assembly has voted overwhelmingly in support of a resolution demanding that Russia reverse its annexation of four Ukrainian regions. Earlier, French President Emmanuel Macron said Paris would supply air defence systems to Ukraine in the coming weeks, urging Russia’s Vladimir Putin to “return to the table” to discuss making peace. Read our live blog to see how all the day’s events unfolded. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).  

This live page is no longer being updated. For more of our coverage of the war in Ukraine, click here.

5:22am: Satellite images show Kyiv damage after strikesSatellite photos released Wednesday show damage to a power station and an office building in Kyiv, following Russian strikes on the Ukrainian capital.

4:55am: Shelling hits Kyiv region on Thursday, says local administrationA settlement in the region of Ukraine’s capital Kyiv was hit by shelling early on Thursday, the region’s administration said on the Telegram messaging app.

“Rescuers are already working at the site,” the administration said, without providing further details on where the shelling took place.

3:55am: Russian missiles target Ukraine’s MykolaivRussia unleashed a barrage of missiles on the Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv on Thursday, officials said, after the United Nations General Assembly condemned Moscow’s attempted annexation of four Ukrainian areas and Kyiv’s allies committed more military aid.

“A five-storey residential building was hit, the two upper floors were completely destroyed, the rest – under rubble. Rescuers are working on the site,” Mayor Oleksandr Senkevich said in a social media post, adding the southern city was “massively shelled”.

A shipbuilding centre and a port on the Southern Bug river off the Black Sea, Mykolaiv has suffered heavy Russian bombardments throughout the war.

1:30am: Britain to donate air defence missiles to UkraineBritain said it would donate air defence missiles capable of shooting down cruise missiles to Ukraine in the wake of Russian strikes on Kyiv and other cities in recent days.

British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace announced the new support ahead of a NATO meeting in Brussels on Thursday.

Ukraine’s allies had pledged new air defences and more aid on the sidelines of the meeting on Wednesday.

Britain said the Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile, or AMRAAM, which will be provided in the coming weeks, could be used with the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System, or NASAMS air defence systems pledged by the United States.

Hundreds of additional air defence missiles of other types would also be donated, along with more aerial drones and a further 18 howitzer artillery guns, it said.

10:25pm: UN General Assembly strongly condemns Russian annexationsThe United Nations General Assembly has overwhelmingly condemned Russia’s “attempted illegal annexation” of four occupied regions in Ukraine and called on all countries not to recognise the move, reinforcing a diplomatic international isolation of Moscow since it invaded its neighbor.

Three-quarters of the 193-member General Assembly – 143 countries – voted in favor of a resolution that also reaffirmed the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.

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© France 24 Only 4 countries joined Russia in voting against the resolution – Syria, Nicaragua, North Korea and Belarus. Another 35 countries abstained from the vote, including Russia’s strategic partner China, while the rest did not vote.

BREAKING

The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution that condemns #Russia’s “illegal so-called referendums” in regions within #Ukraine’s internationally-recognized borders, and demands it reverses its annexation declaration.

In favour: 143

Against: 5

Abstentions: 35 pic.twitter.com/MDDIapqTGv

— UN News (@UN_News_Centre) October 12, 2022 9:25pm: UN to vote on resolution condemning Russian annexationsThe UN General Assembly is due to vote publicly on a draft resolution that condemns Russia’s “illegal so-called referenda” and the “attempted illegal annexation” of Ukrainian territories.

FRANCE 24’s correspondent Jessica Le Masurier has the details.

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© France 24 8:35pm: France to supply air defence systems to UkraineFrance will supply radars and air defence systems to Ukraine in the coming weeks, French President Emmanuel Macron has said in a television interview, following Russia’s missile assault which he said was aimed at “breaking Ukrainian resistance”.

“We’re going to deliver (…) radars, systems and missiles to protect them from these attacks,” Macron told France 2 television, adding that France was also negotiating to send another six Caesar mobile artillery units. 

The French leader said Russia’s Vladimir Putin must “return to the table” to discuss making peace in Ukraine.

“Today, first of all, Vladimir Putin must stop this war, respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity and come back to the table for talks,” he said.

When reminded that Ukraine no longer wanted to negotiate with Putin, Macron replied: “I tell you that at some point… it will be necessary. That’s why I have always refused maximalist positions.”

7:05pm: Czech Republic tightens entry rules for Russian touristsThe Czech Republic will turn away Russian tourists holding Schengen-zone visas issued by any country from Oct. 25, the foreign minister has said, as the country joins other European Union member states in tightening entry rules.

Prague had immediately stopped visas for Russians, except on humanitarian grounds, after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in February. But it had been allowing in visitors at airports who had visas issued by other countries in the EU’s Schengen travel zone.

The tightening of rules, approved by the government on Wednesday, means even those with EU visas from other states will not be allowed to enter.

“While Russian rockets fall on a children’s playground and on people in Ukraine, up to 200 Russian Federation citizens travel to the Czech Republic via international airports every day,” Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky said.

6:15pm: IAEA chief heads to Kyiv after Russia talksUN nuclear watchdog chief Rafael Grossi is on his way to Kyiv after holding talks with Russian officials on setting up a protection zone around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

“After my meetings in St Petersburg I am coming back to Kyiv,” Grossi said on Twitter, posting a picture of himself next to a Ukrainian train. “The work on the establishment of a nuclear safety & security protection zone around #Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant continues.”

Earlier, the IAEA chief said the external power supply to the Russian-occupied plant had been restored after an outage forced it to switch to diesel generators.

“(T)his morning’s outage was caused by shelling damage to a far off sub-station, highlighting how precarious the situation is,” Grossi tweeted.

5:22pm: Kremlin believes Erdogan will offer Ukraine mediationMoscow believes Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will offer to mediate negotiations with Ukraine at an upcoming meeting with Russia’s Vladimir Putin, a Kremlin aide has said.

“The Turks are offering their mediation. If any talks take place, then most likely they will be on their territory: in Istanbul or Ankara,” Kremlin foreign policy advisor Yuri Ushakov told reporters in Moscow. 

NATO member Turkey, which has stayed neutral throughout the conflict in Ukraine, has good relations with its two Black Sea neighbours – Russia and Ukraine – and has refrained from joining Western sanctions on Moscow. 

Turkey has twice hosted talks between Moscow and Kyiv, including a March in-person meeting of Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba, the first high-level talks to take place after Moscow sent troops into Ukraine. 

However, peace negotiations have since stalled and Ukraine’s Zelensky said he will not hold any talks with Putin after the Kremlin claimed to have annexed four territories of Ukraine. 

Asked about Zelensky’s pledge, Ushakov told reporters: “I would like to tell him: never say never”. 

4:57pm: Russian nuclear strike would draw ‘physical response’, says NATO officialA Russian nuclear strike would change the course of the conflict and almost certainly trigger a “physical response” from Ukraine allies and potentially from NATO, a senior NATO official has told Reuters.

Any use of nuclear weapons by Moscow would have “unprecedented consequences” for Russia, the official warned.

It would “almost certainly be drawing a physical response from many allies, and potentially from NATO itself”, he said.

The official added that Moscow was using its nuclear threats mainly to deter NATO and other countries from directly entering its war on Ukraine.

3:55pm: West meets to pledge more arms for UkraineMinisters from more than 50 Western countries are meeting in Brussels to pledge more weapons for Ukraine, focusing on its need for air defences after Moscow launched its most intense missile strikes since the start of the war.

Opening the meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group at the NATO headquarters, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Russia’s huge wave of missile attacks this week – in which more than 26 civilians have died – had laid bare the “malice and cruelty” of its war.

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Ukraine has shifted the momentum in the conflict since September with “extraordinary” gains, but will need more help to keep fighting, Austin said.

“These victories belong to Ukraine’s brave soldiers. But the Contact Group’s security assistance, training, and sustainment efforts have been vital,” he added.

Since the attacks, Germany has sent the first of four planned IRIS-T SLM air defence systems, while Washington said it would speed up the delivery of a promised NASAMS air defence system.

2:56pm: Deadly shelling of Avdiivka market comes amid reports of fighting in DonbasThe deadly shelling in the eastern Ukrainian town of Avdiivka on Wednesday came amid reports of fierce fighting around the town of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region, as well as farther north in the Luhansk region. FRANCE 24’s Catherine Norris Trent reports.

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© France 24 2:42pm: IAEA chief says external power restored to Zaporizhzhia plantThe external power supply to the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine has been restored after an outage that forced it to switch to diesel generators, UN nuclear watchdog chief Rafael Grossi said on Wednesday.

“I’ve been informed by our team on site that external power to #Zaporizhzhya NPP is restored,” IAEA chief Grossi said on Twitter. “#ZNPP’s operator says this morning’s outage was caused by shelling damage to a far off sub-station, highlighting how precarious the situation is.”

UPDATE—I’ve been informed by our team on site that external power to #Zaporizhzhya NPP is restored. #ZNPP’s operator says this morning’s outage was caused by shelling damage to a far off sub-station, highlighting how precarious the situation is. We need a protection zone ASAP. https://t.co/Idi8BimvGR

— Rafael MarianoGrossi (@rafaelmgrossi) October 12, 2022 2:08pm: Gazprom chief says repairs to Nord Stream pipelines will take at least a yearThe damaged Nord Stream pipelines would take at least a year to repair, and Russia has still not been granted access to the area of damage, the head of the Russian state-controlled natural gas monopoly Gazprom said on Wednesday.

Speaking at the Russian Energy Week forum in Moscow, Alexei Miller also echoed a call made earlier on Wednesday by President Vladimir Putin for a European gas hub in Turkey.

1:32pm: Russia can supply EU via Nord Stream 2: PutinPresident Vladimir Putin said Russian gas could still be supplied to Europe through one remaining intact part of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, but the ball is now in the EU’s court on whether it wanted that to happen.

An international investigation is under way into explosions last month that ruptured the Russian-built Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines on the bed of the Baltic Sea.

Putin said it was possible to repair the pipelines but it was up to Europe to decide.

1:17pm: Putin blasts Russian oil price cap proposalsA cap on Russian oil prices will worsen investments in other sectors, Putin has told the Russian Energy Week forum, as G7 leaders are contemplating a cap to strip the country of its largest source of income to finance its war in Ukraine.

A price cap on Russian oil would be a “threat to billions of people”, warned Putin.

1:05pm: Putin says Nord Stream sabotage is ‘act of international terrorism’Addressing the Russian Energy Week forum in Moscow, President Vladimir Putin said major leaks, which were found in the Nord Stream gas pipelines from Russia to Europe, were an “act of international terrorism”.

Putin said that attacks on the pipelines, which European and Western governments have called sabotage, set a “dangerous precedent”.

12:32pm: Several killed in strike on market in Avdiivka: Donetsk governor At least seven people were killed and eight injured in a Russian strike on a crowded market in the town of Avdiivka on Wednesday, the governor of Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region said.

“The Russians struck the central market where many people were at that time,” Pavlo Kyrylenko said in a statement, adding that there was “no military logic” for such an attack.

His statement was accompanied by pictures of dead bodies and damaged market stalls. Reuters could not verify their authenticity.

12:20pm: Germany’s oil supply is secure amid Druzhba leak: economy ministryGermany’s oil supply is secure and the Schwedt and Leuna refineries are still receiving oil via the Druzhba pipeline Freundschaft 1 via Poland, said a German economy ministry spokesperson. 

The spokesperson added that the ministry was watching the situation closely and both refineries had been increasing their on-site stocks in recent weeks as a precautionary measure.

The statement came hours after Poland said a leak found in one of the Druzhba pipelines bringing oil from Russia was most likely caused by an accident.

12:08pm: Ukraine asks France to send guns – with rosesUkraine’s defence ministry posted a video on social media thanking France for its deliveries of Caesar howitzers and other arms and giving Paris a gentle nudge to show its love with more weapons deliveries.

The 41-second clip on Twitter came hours after a French security cabinet meeting held by President Emmanuel Macron decided that France had taken new decisions to “support Ukraine militarily” after speaking to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

France has delivered Caesar howitzers, portable air defence systems and heavy armoured vehicles primarily.

However, a wave of attacks on Ukrainian cities has raised the stakes, with Kyiv demanding its partners provide more supplies, including air defence systems.

Wednesday’s clip made clear to France that it wanted more than just words and promises.

“Romantic gestures take many forms,” a title in the video reads, as the classic “Je t’aime moi non plus” (I love you … me neither), the suggestive and once-censored pop song that Serge Gainsbourg recorded with Jane Birkin, plays in the background.

11:42am: Leak detected in pipeline that brings Russian oil to GermanyA leak has been detected in an underground oil pipeline in Poland that is the main route through which Russian crude reaches Germany, according to the pipeline’s Polish operator.

The operator, PERN, said it detected a leak in the Druzhba pipeline, which originates in Russia, on Tuesday evening about 70 kilometres (45 miles) from the central Polish city of Plock. 

It said the cause of the leak wasn’t known. The incident follows leaks late last month in the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines running along the Baltic seabed.

The Druzhba pipeline, which in Russian translates to “Friendship,” is one of the world’s longest oil pipelines, and after leaving Russia it branches out to bring crude to points including Belarus, Ukraine, Poland, Hungary, Austria and Germany.

Firefighters were working in the cornfields near the village of Zurawice to determine the exact point of the leak, said a spokesman for them, Brig. Karol Kierzkowski.

11:05am: Ukraine accuses Russia of blocking diesel supplies to Zaporizhzhia plantUkraine’s state nuclear energy company Energoatom has accused Russia of not allowing the company’s convoy of vehicles carrying diesel fuel to access the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant after it lost power.

The recently restored power has been cut again, forcing the plant to switch to emergency diesel generators, the UN atomic watchdog chief Rafael Grossi said earlier Wednesday.

“Energoatom prepared and sent another batch of diesel fuel to the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant,” the company said in a statement. “However, as of 10:00 a.m. (0700GMT), the Russian side does not allow the company’s convoy of vehicles to pass.”

10:17am: Ukraine recaptures five settlements in Kherson regionUkrainian forces recaptured five settlements in the southern Kherson region, according to the southern Operational Command.

The villages of Novovasylivka, Novohryhorivka, Nova Kamianka, Tryfonivka and Chervone in the Beryslav district were retaken as of October 11, said southern command spokesman Vladislav Nazarov on Wednesday.

The settlements are in one of the four regions recently annexed by Russia.

10:05am: Ukraine says Russia’s investigation into Crimea bridge blast is ‘nonsense’A senior Ukrainian official has dismissed Russia’s investigation into the Crimea bridge blast as “nonsense”.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has blamed Ukraine’s security forces for Saturday’s deadly explosion and earlier on Wednesday, the country’s Federal Security Service (FSB) said it had detained five Russians and three citizens of Ukraine and Armenia over the blast.

“The whole activity of the FSB and Investigative Committee is nonsense,” Ukraine’s public broadcaster Suspilne cited interior minister spokesman Andriy Yusov as saying when asked about Moscow’s allegations on the Crimea bridge blast.

Yusov described the FSB and Investigative Committee as “fake structures that serve the Putin regime, so we will definitely not comment on their next statements”.

9:48am: Zaporizhzhia plant has lost external power: IAEAThe Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has lost all its external power for the second time in five days and is now relying on diesel generators for its nuclear safety and security functions, said Rafael Grossi, head of the UN’s nuclear energy watchdog, the IAEA.

The “repeated loss” of the plant’s off-site power “is a deeply worrying development and it underlines the urgent need for a nuclear safety & security protection zone around the site,” said Grossi in a statement posted on Twitter.

The update came a day after Grossi met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Saint Petersburg. In televised comments after the meeting, Grossi said the Russian leader declared that he was “ready to discuss all issues of mutual interest or cause for concern, for example, regarding the situation around the Zaporizhzhia power plant” and said he was “open to this dialogue”.

Our team at #Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant informed me this morning that the plant has lost all of its external power for the 2nd time in five days. Its back-up diesel generators are now providing electricity for its nuclear safety and security functions.

— Rafael MarianoGrossi (@rafaelmgrossi) October 12, 2022 8:47am: FSB arrests eight suspects for Crimea bridge blastRussia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) has detained five Russians and three citizens of Ukraine and Armenia over the explosion that damaged the Kerch bridge linking Crimea and Russia on Saturday, according to Interfax.

The FSB said the explosion was organised by the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian defence ministry, and its director Kyrylo Budanov.

The explosives were stored in plastic film rolls that left the Ukrainian port of Odesa in August and transited through Bulgaria, Georgia and Armenia before entering Russia, it said.

Bulgaria on Tuesday rejected reports that the truck linked to the powerful blast that damaged the bridge over the Kerch Strait had travelled via its territory.

8:19am: Ukraine has received German Iris-T air defence system: ministerUkraine has received the first Iris-T defence system from Germany, Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov has said.

“IRIS-Ts from (Germany) are already here. (American) NASAMS are coming. This is only the beginning. And we need more,” Reznikov tweeted late on Tuesday. “There is a moral imperative to protect the sky over (Ukraine) in order to save our people.”

Germany had promised delivery of the first Iris-T missile shield “in the coming days” after Russia unleashed deadly attacks across Ukraine on Monday, killing at least 19 people and wounding more than 100, according to Ukrainian authorities.

7:20am: Russia deploying Iranian Shahed drones in Ukraine: UKRussia has deployed Iranian-manufactured Shahed-136 drones in Russia since “at least August 2022” including during the October 10 extensive strikes on Ukrainian cities, according to the UK’s daily military intelligence briefing.

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