Ukrainian Zelensky urges European unity; Russian reservists suffer heavy casualties

‘We share your pain’: Putin meets mothers of Russian soldiers

President Vladimir Putin met with the mothers of Russian soldiers who fought in Ukraine on Friday and told them that he and his country shared their pain.

Sitting with the group of women around a table with tea and cake, Putin said he understood that nothing could replace the loss of a son.

President Vladimir Putin met with the mothers of Russian soldiers and told them he shared in their pain.

Contributor | Getty Images News | Getty Images

“I would like you to know that I personally, and the entire leadership of the country, share your pain,” he said, according to a taped television clip seen by Reuters.

“We understand that nothing can replace the loss of a son – especially for a mother. We share this pain,” he added.

The clip did not immediately show the mothers’ reaction to Putin’s comments.

Hundreds of thousands of Russian soldiers have been sent to fight in Ukraine this year, including about 300,000 reservists who were called up in September in a “partial” mobilization.

— Karen Gilchrist

Russian strikes put millions in trouble, says UN rights chief

At least 77 civilians have died and millions have been plunged into extreme hardship since Russia began bombing Ukraine’s critical infrastructure in October, the UN human rights chief said.

“Millions are being plunged into extreme hardship and appalling living conditions because of these strikes,” Volker Turk said in a statement, according to Reuters.

“Overall, this poses serious problems under international humanitarian law, which requires a concrete and direct military advantage for any object attacked,” he added.

Turk also noted that an early analysis of videos purporting to show Ukrainian soldiers executing Russian POWs indicated they were “highly likely to be authentic”.

— Karen Gilchrist

Russia steps up shelling on Kherson

Russian forces intensified their shelling of the southern city of Kherson, killing seven people and wounding at least 21 others, according to an official.

Shelling from Russian positions across the Dnieper River has been a regular occurrence since the city was liberated from Russian occupation two weeks ago.

Kherson region governor Yaroslav Yanushevich said a residential area was hit by Russian artillery and anti-aircraft fire around 5 p.m. local time on Thursday, setting a high-rise building on fire. A children’s playground was also hit, he said.

— Karen Gilchrist

Ukrainian Zelenskyy calls on Europeans to remain united

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday urged Europeans to remain united in the face of the Russian war.

Speaking via video link at a conference in Lithuania, Zelenskyy described the task as the region’s most important mission.

“There is no split, there is no schism among Europeans and we must keep this. This is our number one mission this year,” he said.

Russian reservists suffer heavy casualties, says UK

Britain’s defense ministry said Russian reservists “most likely” suffered heavy casualties two months after being mobilized by Putin after being asked to dig trenches in eastern Ukraine.

“The Kremlin is likely to be concerned that an increasing number of families of reservists are willing to risk arrest by protesting the conditions under which their relatives are serving,” it said in its daily update Friday.

Putin supporters increasingly use ‘genocidal rhetoric’

Prominent supporters of Russian President Vladimir Putin are increasingly using “genocidal rhetoric” when discussing and demonizing Ukrainians, analysts note, while some pro-war commentators hail the concept of the “liquidation” of the modern state of Ukraine.

Read the full story here.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on a screen in Red Square as he addresses a rally and concert to mark the annexation of four regions of Ukraine – Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia – in central Moscow on September 30, 2022.

Alexander Nemenov | Afp | Getty Images

About 70% of Kiev is without power due to Russian shelling, Ukraine says

Local residents walk near a toppled electricity pylon and an apartment building destroyed during the Ukraine-Russia conflict in the besieged southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine, March 25, 2022.

Alexander Ermochenko | Reuters

The head of the Kiev regional government reiterated that about 70% of the regional government is without electricity.

Oleksiy Kuleba also said the death toll from recent Russian air strikes has risen to seven, according to an NBC News translation.

Rockets rained down on Kiev and several other Ukrainian cities on Wednesday, less than 24 hours after officials said a newborn was one of the youngest victims of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war.

—Amanda Macias

50 mass graves found in recently liberated Ukrainian cities, Kiev says

This photo, taken on September 25, 2022, shows empty graves after exhumation of bodies in the mass grave created during the Russian occupation in Izyum, Kharkiv region amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Yasuyoshi Chiba | Afp | Getty Images

The Ukrainian government said investigators found 50 separate mass grave sites in the recently liberated areas of Mykolaiv and Kherson.

“In the liberated areas of Mykolaiv and Kherson regions, 50 sites of probable burials have been investigated,” the government wrote on the Telegram messaging app, according to an NBC News translation.

Search teams have identified the bodies of approximately 200 victims.

The Kremlin has previously denied claims that its forces used mass graves in areas once heavily occupied.

—Amanda Macias

Backlog of 79 ships waiting to ship crops from Ukraine

Ships, including those carrying grain from Ukraine and awaiting inspections, are anchored off the coast of Istanbul in Turkey on November 2, 2022.

Chris McGrath | Getty Images

The organization that oversees Ukrainian crop exports said there is a backlog of 79 ships waiting to be loaded.

The UN-led Joint Coordination Center also said about 110 loaded ships are awaiting inspection in Turkish territorial waters.

The Black Sea Grain Initiative, a deal struck in July between Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the United Nations, eased Russia’s naval blockade and reopened three key Ukrainian ports.

Since the signing of the agreement, more than 490 ships carrying 11.8 million tons of grain and other food products have left for destinations around the world.

Kiev has previously blamed Moscow for delaying inspections and slowing ship movements.

—Amanda Macias

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