Ukraine War Updates: Death Toll Rises to 7 After Strike on Zaporizhzhia

Live Updates
  • Ukraine continues to make gains in Russian-held territories amid reports of leadership breakdowns on the Russian side.
  • Russia launched a deadly missile attack on a civilian community in Zaporizhzhia, near Europe's biggest nuclear power plant, Ukrainian officials report.
  • This comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree Wednesday indicating he wants to seize control of the nuclear power plant.
  • Ukrainian forces are pressing into the Luhansk region after Putin signed into law documents that illegally annex four Ukrainian regions.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia "already lost" the war.
Missile Attack Zaporizhzhia
Ukrainian firefighters push out a fire after a strike in Zaporizhzhia on October 6, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP via Getty Images

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Death Toll Rises to 7 After Strike on Zaporizhzhia

A Ukrainian government official said the death toll resulting from a Russian missile strike in Zaporizhzhia has risen, with seven confirmed deaths and a handful of other individuals still missing.

Oleksandr Starukh, the governor of Zaporizhzhia oblast, has been providing updates on search and rescue efforts since the missile strike occurred early Thursday.

Starukh's latest update posted on Telegram said seven deaths were confirmed and at least five other people were still missing, according to a translated version of the post shared by The Kyiv Independent. Starukh said search and rescue efforts are ongoing and that officials will have a final tally once they finish combing through the rubble.

Earlier Thursday, Starukh said two children were among the group of individuals who were injured in the attack and said another individual was in critical condition at the time they were transported to a hospital.

No identifying information was provided by Starukh about the individuals added to the latest death tally.

Two Fleeing Russian Nationals Found in Alaska

Two Russian nationals traveled to Alaska this week and requested asylum in the U.S., according to Alaskan government officials.

The individuals have not been publicly identified, nor has a specific reason been given for their travel to the U.S.

Their arrival comes as Russia's war with Ukraine continues, and just a few weeks after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilization of military reservists will assist with the war effort.

U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan of Alaska released statements in response to the two Russians' arrival, calling for additional federal support in case additional asylum-seekers from Russia begin arriving in the days or weeks ahead. The two Russians landed by boat along the coast of St. Lawrence Island near Gambell, after which the senators said state and local law enforcement officials responded to their arrival.

Murkowski described the federal response to the asylum-seekers' arrival as "lacking." Sullivan, who said he learned of the Russians' arrival on Tuesday, said he requested the U.S. Department of Homeland Security create a plan "in the event that more Russians flee to Bering Strait communities in Alaska."

Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy told the Anchorage-based television news station KTUU-TV there is "no indication" that Alaska will begin to see "a continual stream of individuals or a flotilla of individuals" and said the recent incident "may be a one-off."

Zelensky Wants 'Complete' ZNPP Demilitarization

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the only way to ensure radiation safety near Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP), as well as in the rest of Ukraine and Europe, is "the complete demilitarization of the territory" surrounding the plant.

According to Zelensky, "up to 500 Russian militants" remain near the ZNPP.

Zelensky spoke about nuclear safety concerns Thursday while meeting in Kyiv with Rafael Grossi, the director general of the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Grossi has raised concerns often about nuclear safety in recent weeks as Russia's war with Ukraine continues.

Grossi has said he is working with officials in Ukraine and Russia on creating a nuclear safety zone around the ZNPP, which is the largest nuclear facility in Europe. Discussions on creating the zone were still ongoing this week as shelling in the area continued.

Zelensky also called upon the IAEA to condemn Russia for its recently announced intent to claim the ZNPP as its own.

"We've been waiting for a tough statement from the IAEA regarding this. Society is very much waiting for this condemnation," Zelensky said. Zelensky's office later added that the Ukrainian president believes Russia's move to claim the ZNPP is a form of "international raiding."

More Than 7.6 Million Refugees Left Ukraine

More than 7.6 million Ukrainian refugees have fled throughout Europe since the Russian invasion began.

As of October 4, 7,643,944 refugees have fled from Ukraine to other parts of the continent, according to the United Nations Human Rights Council.

More than half of those refugees registered for Temporary Protection or other similar national protections in Europe.

Over 13.7 million border crossings out of Ukraine has been recorded since the war began on February 24, 2022.

'Russian Evil Will Lose,' Zelensky Says

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke about Ukraine's ongoing war with Russia during the first meeting of the newly-created European Political Community on Thursday.

Zelensky said "the day will come when Russian evil will lose," and went on to say a Russian loss will occur "the very day when our peace formula will prevail."

"We are now in a strong position to direct all possible powers of Europe to end the war and guarantee long-term peace - for Ukraine, for Europe, for the world," Zelensky said.

Zelensky outlined Ukraine's five-point peace formula during a speech last month before the United Nations General Assembly. He reiterated each of those five points—punishment for Russia, aid for Ukraine, restoring territorial and security integrity, new security guarantees and determination—while speaking before the European Political Community.

Ukraine "needs" peace "so much," Zelensky said, as does "every country presented here today." He noted that several member nations of the European Union and NATO were at the meeting, but no Russian representatives were present. Zelensky said that, based on Russia's "values and behavior," Russia is "the most anti-European state in the world."

Russia Allows Student to Defer Conscription

The Russian Federation amended its conscription order to exclude higher education students from being drafted to the armed forces.

Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a partial mobilization of 300,000 Russians with military training to join the fighting in Ukraine.

The decree spread widespread protests and advice from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky telling Russia to protest, fight back or run away to avoid conscription.

Now, the Kremlin is amending the executive order with some exceptions.

Students of private higher education institutions with state accreditation, post-graduate students and those enrolled in religious education institutions are now eligible for "deferment."

Additionally, those enrolled in secondary vocational training programs and pursue higher education degrees, including in research, teaching, or residency training in innovative research and technology centers, "can also benefit from deferment."

This move comes as many Russian students and other military-aged men have tried to flee the country to avoid being drafted.

Russia, Iran Reportedly Make Energy Exchange Deal

Russia and Iran have reportedly made a deal to exchange energy supplies as both nations confront sanctions imposed by several nations within the international community.

RT, a Russian state-owned television network, reported on the details of the alleged deal on Thursday. Citing comments from Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak, RT reported that about 5 million tons of oil will be traded for 10 billion cubic meters of gas, with the exchange expected to be completed by the end of 2022.

Details surrounding a potential energy trade have reportedly been discussed since May.

Novak met Thursday with Javad Owji, Iran's minister of petroleum. Owji traveled to Moscow alongside Iran's first vice president for the international Caspian Economic Forum. At the meeting, they discussed "the prospects for cooperation between Russia and Iran on the global oil and gas market and possible joint projects in Iran" and "cooperation in the banking sector and in trade," a meeting overview released by the Russian government said.

Novak said an "ambitious interstate agreement" between Russia and Iran is "entering its final phase," according to the Russian government.

Elon Musk Gains More Russian Support

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is once again caught up in a policy debate on Twitter over his stance on the Ukraine-Russia conflict.

The Kyiv Post, and English-language Ukrainian news source, tweeted saying the "Elon Musk situation is clearly getting out of hand."

"It seems like pride and vanity play a behemoth role in his attempt to pose as an expert on Ukraine," the outlet said. "Just stop, Elon. It's ok to admit that you overdid [something]. Just stop."

The outlet added that they are grateful for Musk sending Starlinks but they "naturally disagree with your peace plan and make no secret of it."

The Kyiv Post also invited Musk to sit for an interview to explain his stance on the war in Ukraine.

Musk simply replied, "I'm a big fan of Ukraine, but not of [World War] 3."

Musk has received a lot of criticism for his four-point plan for peace between Ukraine and Russia that he detailed with a poll on Twitter Monday.

His plan included redoing the elections of the annexed regions of Ukraine under the supervision of the United Nations, formally making Crimea a part of Russia and having Ukraine remain neutral.

U.S. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham even said Musk's "peace" proposal legitimizes "one of the greatest crimes of the 21st century by [Russian President Vladimir] Putin."

While Ukrainian officials, like the Ukrainian Parliament and President Volodymyr Zelensky, Russia has welcomed the tech billionaire's ideas.

In this latest Twitter exchange, Russia's First Deputy Permanent Representative to the U.N. praised Musk's stance.

"I think that in this regard [Elon Musk] has all the chances to form the biggest fan club," Dmitry Polyanskiy tweeted.

Amid reports that United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has no plans to meet with Musk over this peace plan, Polyanskiy said he will stay aligned with the West.

"Secretary General clearly has no plans to do anything that would contradict the interests or narrative of Western countries," he tweeted. "Or even make them frown! We have already too many proofs of that unfortunately."

Rachel Blevins, a journalist for Russian state media, also praised Musk's stance against "the establishment."

"The fact that the establishment talking heads are losing their minds over [Elon Musk] refusing to parrot the official narrative on Ukraine is a reminder that they never cared about the Ukrainian people." She tweeted, adding that the "establishment" only cares about "profits, controlling their allies, and trying to damage Russia."

Russia Attacks Key Infrastructure in Ukraine

Russian forces blew up a dam in the Donetsk region, Ukrainian military officials report.

Alexander Stupun, the spokesperson of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, said the dam break flooded the town of Raigorodok in the Donetsk region.

This comes as Russian forces have reported attacked several key Ukrainian infrastructures.

Stupun said Russian forces have mined main infrastructure objects, buildings and other territories in Svatovo, in the Luhansk region

In Kadiyivka, Stupen said there is evidence of the mass destruction of archives and copies of documents related to the history of the Russian occupation.

Оперативна інформація станом на 18.00 06.10.2022 щодо російського вторгнення Речник Генерального Штабу Збройних Сил України Олександр Штупун Слава Україні! Триває двісті двадцять п’ята доба...

UN Nuclear Watchdog Calls for 'Urgent Action'

Director General Rafael Grossi of the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) traveled to Kyiv this week to discuss nuclear safety concerns with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The meeting about the current situation at Ukraine's Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) was "positive and constructive," the IAEA said in a thread posted on Twitter. The IAEA has raised serious concerns about the plant, which is the largest nuclear facility in Europe, in recent weeks amid the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine. Shelling has been reported near the plant as recently as October 4, the IAEA said, contributing to safety concerns as fighting continues.

Grossi described the current situation at the ZNPP as "a particularly dangerous moment," with conditions for ZNPP staff having recently "intensified."

"There's a need for urgent action to make their jobs & lives easier, not the opposite," Grossi said.

Grossi has communicated with Ukrainian and Russian officials about a proposal to establish a safety zone around the ZNPP "as soon as possible," though an agreement on the proposed zone had not been reached as of October 5. Grossi is expected to travel back to Kyiv after meeting officials in Russia, according to the IAEA.

The IAEA "will continue to be guided by int'l law & we made progress towards a nuclear safety & security protection zone" at the ZNPP, Grossi said in a Thursday tweet, which accompanied a photo of Grossi shaking hands with Zelensky. "I'll return to Kyiv soon to continue this important exchange."

European Parliament Calls on More Aid for Ukraine

The European Parliament is calling for a "massive increase" in military assistance for Ukraine amid the country's ongoing war with Russia.

Members of parliament called upon countries within and outside of the European Union that are supporting Ukraine to increase the military aid they are already providing, "particularly in areas requested by the Ukrainian government." Countries that have held back on military support thus far "should provide their fair share of necessary military assistance," the European Parliament said in a Thursday press release, adding that doing so "will help shorten the war."

The European legislative body adopted a resolution on Thursday that condemned Russia's recent "sham referenda" conducted in Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine. The referenda inquired about propositions for Russia to annex those territories, which Russian President Vladimir Putin has since taken steps to accomplish.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and several other world leaders have refused to recognize the annexations as Russian territory, with the European Parliament on Thursday declaring the referenda "null and void" while encouraging nations to embrace "severe sanctions" for Russia.

The European Parliament also addressed Putin's recent "irresponsible and dangerous" nuclear threats on Thursday and called for the international community to "prepare a quick and decisive response should Russia conduct a nuclear strike on Ukraine."

Ukraine Makes Gains in Kherson, Kharkiv

The Ukrainian army says it continues to make advances in Russian-occupied areas in both northern and southern regions of Ukraine.

Oleksii Hromov, Deputy Chief of the Main Operational Department of the General Staff of the Armed Force, said the Ukrainian Armed Forces liberated 29 settlements in the southern Kherson region since the beginning of October.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said Wednesday that the Novovoskresenske, Novohryhorivka and Petropavlivka settlements have all been liberated from the "sham referendum" in the region.

Natalia Humeniuk, a spokesperson for Ukraine's Operational Command South, said Ukraine has liberated more than 400 square kilometers in Kerson.

"Our successes are quite convincing," she said. "We do not name the directions, but more than 400 square kilometers of the Kherson region have already been liberated from the occupiers."

In the north, Ukrainian forces are also making significant gains.

Hromov said Ukrainian forces have advances 55 kilometers into Russia's defense in the Kharkiv region and establishing control over 93 settlements.

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Ukrainians Reportedly Blocked From Fleeing Russia

Russia is blocking some Ukrainian refugees who are trying to leave Russia from crossing the international border into Estonia, according to Ukrainian and Estonian government officials.

About 1,000 Ukrainian refugees who were trying to enter Estonia from Russia were blocked from doing so for "several days" before Russian officials moved them away from the area, according to the Embassy of Ukraine in Estonia. The embassy said it was working with government officials in Estonia to address the incident, with embassy officials and Estonian Interior Minister Lauri Läänemets traveling to the border checkpoint at Luhamaa in Estonia earlier this week.

Läänemets on Wednesday described the Ukrainian refugees who had been trying to cross the border as being "put in trucks and taken away or driven away" before they could cross into Estonia, according to CNN.

It was unknown on Thursday where those refugees were taken, embassy officials said.

Two Children Among Injured in Zaporizhzhia Attack

More civilians have been reported dead and injured following a missile attack on apartment buildings in Zaporizhzhia.

Regional official Oleksandr Starukh said on Telegram that three people have died so far, according to Anna Tkachenko, the head of the communication department of the State Government of Ukraine in the Zaporizhia region.

There are 12 patients who were taken to medical facilities, nine who were hospitalized and three who refused hospitalization after a medical examination, according to Department of Health Director Oleksiy Kulinych.

One patient is in critical condition and two children are among those injured, Starukh said.

Starukh added that rescuers are "working quickly at the site of the impact of the Russian rockets and freed the injured citizens from the rubble of destroyed residential buildings."

Map Shows Reported Troop Advances

A map shared on social media by the UK Ministry of Defense shows reported Russian and Ukrainian troop movement in Ukraine as of October 6.

The map highlights Russian-controlled areas and contested areas, as well as reported military advances. It also shows five locations where Russian troops are reported to be gathering.

Two of the Russian troop grouping locations are located in or near the Donbas region, where the UK defense ministry's map says troop advances are likely being made. Some likely Ukrainian troop advances are also drawn on the map in the Donbas region, and other likely Ukrainian advances are shown further south near the Kherson region.

Ukrainian troops began a "new phase of offensive operations" in the Kherson region earlier this week, according to a Thursday UK Ministry of Defense intelligence update. Ukrainian troops moving south "pushed the front line forward by up to an additional 20km," with military gains mostly reported east of the Inhulets River and west of the Dnipro River. These advances are "not yet threatening the main Russian defensive positions," the latest intelligence update said.

Meanwhile, UK defense officials say Russian troops "have typically broken contact and withdrawn" as they face the decision of pulling away from the Dnipro River or staying put to defend Russian-controlled territory. With the "majority" of Russian air forces defending the Kherson region, Russia "currently has few additional, high quality rapidly deployable forces available to stabilize the front," UK defense officials said, adding that reservists are likely to be sent to these areas instead.

EU Issues Eighth Sanctions Package Against Russia

The European Union announced a new round of sanctions against the Kremlin amid the ongoing war in Ukraine.

The eighth package is a response to Russia's continued escalation and illegal war against Ukraine, including by illegally annexing Ukrainian territory based on "sham referenda," mobilizing additional troops and issuing open nuclear threats, the EU said in a statement.

This package includes a new import ban worth 7 billion euro "to curb Russia's revenues, as well as export restrictions, which will further deprive the Kremlin's military and industrial complex of key components and technologies and Russia's economy of European services and expertise."

The sanctions also aim to "deprive the Russian army and its suppliers from further specific goods and equipment needed to wage its war on Ukrainian territory."

Specifically, this package:

  • Targets the individuals involved in Russia's occupation, illegal annexation, and "sham 'referenda'" in the occupied territories/oblasts of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions.
  • Extends the restrictive measures to cover all the non-government controlled areas of Ukraine in the oblasts of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson.
  • Adds export restrictions to reduce Russia's access to military, industrial and technological items, as well as its ability to develop its defense and security sector.
  • Bans the export of coal, specific electronic components found in Russian weapons and technical items used in the aviation sector.
  • Bans import of Russian finished and semi-finished steel products, machinery and appliances, plastics, vehicles, textiles, footwear, leather, ceramics, certain chemical products and non-gold jewelry.
  • Begins the implementation of the G7 agreement on Russian oil exports in the EU. The price cap would allow European operators to undertake and support the transport of Russian oil to third countries to further reduce Russia's revenues while keeping to global energy market stable.
  • Bans EU nationals from holding post in governing bodies of certain state-owned enterprises so that Russia does not benefit from European knowledge and expertise.

"The EU's sanctions against Russia are proving effective," the body said in a statement. "They are damaging Russia's ability to manufacture new weapons and repair existing ones, as well as hinder its transport of material."

Ukraine's first deputy speaker of parliament Oleksandr Korniyenko said he is "grateful" for the EU's "firm decision."

IAEA Director Has 'Grave Concern' About Zaporizhzhia Plant

The head of the UN's nuclear watchdog will visit Ukraine amid reports that Russia intends to seize control of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP).

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Grossi will travel to Kyiv and then the Russian Federation to continue talks to agree on and implement a nuclear safety and security protection zone around the nuclear plant as soon as possible, IAEA said in a statement.

"The Director General has repeatedly expressed grave concern about the extremely stressful and challenging working conditions at the ZNPP during the current military conflict," the statement said.

The IAEA said one of the seven nuclear safety and security pillars Grossi outlined in March states that "operating staff must be able to fulfil their safety and security duties and have the capacity to make decisions free of undue pressure."

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree Wednesday that would place the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant under Russian control. That came as the Ukrainian state nuclear operator, Energoatom, said its president would assume operational controls.

Zaporizhzhia is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe. The IAEA also said there are also plans to restart one of the six reactors at the plant which "are currently cold in shutdown."

This comes as Ukraine reports two Russian missile strikes hit a civilian community near the nuclear power plant Thursday. The IAEA said it was aware of shelling in a nearby town Wednesday but said the plant was not affected.

Deadly Missile Strike Hits Zaporizhzhia Apartments

Russia launched a deadly missile attack that hit civilian apartment buildings in Zaporizhzhia early Thursday morning, Ukrainian officials report.

"Russians keep deliberately striking civilians to sow fear," Ukraine Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba said in a tweet. "Russian terror must be stopped — by force of weapons, sanctions, and full isolation."

Firefighters worked to put out the blaze and rescue people trapped under the rubble.

Regional Governor Oleksandr Starukh said at least two people have died and seven others were treated for injuries "with varying degrees of severity," including a three-year-old child.

He added that 21 people have been rescued and at least five people remain trapped under the debris. The death toll is expected to rise as rescue crews clear debris.

"The rescue operation is still ongoing," Strukh said on Telegram. "The number of victims may vary."

A second strike in Zaporizhzhia was reported hours after the first missile hit.

Zaporizhzhia Destruction Missile Attack
Debris in Zaporizhzhia Missile Attack
Recovery After Zaporizhzhia Attack
Firefighters Put Out Blaze Zaporizhzhia