Kamikaze drones and missiles hit north and south Ukraine; Kremlin denies Putin discussed war ‘settlement’

Russian war hawks were growing restless. Do Putin’s Ukraine attacks signal a change?

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin reviewing naval troops as he attends the main naval parade marking the Russian Navy Day, in St. Petersburg on July 31, 2022.

Olga Maltseva | AFP | Getty Images

As Russian rockets rained down on Ukrainian cities this week, one group of vocal Kremlin critics was delighted.

After weeks of military setbacks and domestic chaos culminated in the embarrassment of a bridge explosion in annexed Crimea, criticism from pro-war hawks and hard-liners in Moscow grew to a peak. The strikes Monday against civilians and critical infrastructure — as well as the appointment of a man known as “General Armageddon” to lead the campaign — offered a display of Russian might those critics could revel in.

But does the deadly barrage suggest a significant and sustained shift by the Russian military, or is the Kremlin likely to face renewed anger as the dust settles and the reality on the battlefield takes prominence once more?

Read more on NBC News.


Ukraine opens criminal proceedings into Monday’s Russian missile strikes

Firefighters work at a site of an infrastructure object damaged by a Russian missile strike, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine October 10, 2022.

State Emergency Service Of Ukraine | via Reuters

Ukraine’s top prosecutor said his office had opened criminal proceedings into Monday’s Russian missile strikes across Ukrainian cities.

Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin, speaking alongside International Criminal Court prosecutor Karim Khan at The Hague, described the strikes as “a classic act of terror” by Russia.

Kostin said that Russian forces launched more than 112 missile strikes into Ukraine marking Moscow’s largest aerial offensive since the start of its invasion in late February.

Khan opened an ICC investigation in March following various reports of war crimes in Ukraine. Khan declined to say when his office would file its first case, adding that he would only move forward “when the evidence is sufficient.”

Russia has repeatedly denied that its forces deliberately attack civilians in Ukraine.

— Amanda Macias

U.S. has not had consular access to WNBA star Brittney Griner in over a month, State Department says

US’ Women’s National Basketball Association (NBA) basketball player Brittney Griner, who was detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport and later charged with illegal possession of cannabis, waits for the verdict inside a defendants’ cage before a court hearing in Khimki outside Moscow, on August 4, 2022.

Evgenia Novozhenina | AFP | Getty Images

The U.S. State Department said that it has not had consular access to WNBA star Brittney Griner in over a month.

“Our most recent consular access with Brittney Griner was at the beginning of August,” State Department spokesman Ned Price confirmed.

“We continue to impart on the Russian government the necessity of consistent and regular consular access to Brittney Griner but also to all of those Americans who are detained in Russia whether they are detained wrongfully as Paul Whelan and Brittney Griner or if that designation has not been made,” Price added.

A Russian court will hear Griner’s appeal against her nine-year prison sentence for drug possession on Oct. 25. Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, was convicted in August on accusations that she was smuggling vape cartridges with cannabis oil into Russia.

The 31-year-old, who plays professional basketball in Russia during the WNBA offseason, admitted that she had the canisters in her luggage but testified that she accidentally packed them because she was in a rush.

The Biden administration has referred to her as “wrongfully detained” and has attempted to broker deals with the Kremlin for her release.

— Amanda Macias

Zelenskyy hails U.N. General Assembly vote condemning Russia’s attempt to annex parts of Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked the 143 nations in the General Assembly that voted to condemn Russia for its attempt to annex four more areas of Ukraine.

“The world had its say – Russia Federation’s attempt at annexation is worthless and will never be recognized by free nations,” Zelenskyy tweeted.

The United Nations General Assembly voted to condemn Russia for its attempt to annex more areas of Ukraine. The final vote was marked as 143 in favor of the resolution, five nations against it and 35 abstentions.

Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared that the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson were part of Russia.

— Amanda Macias

U.S. citizen dies while fighting in Ukraine’s Donbas region, State Department says

People walk through the damage caused to the central market in Sloviansk by a suspected missile attack, on July 6, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Miguel Medina | Afp | Getty Images

A U.S. citizen was recently killed while fighting in the Donbas region of Ukraine, a State Department spokesperson confirmed to NBC News.

“We are in touch with the family and are providing all appropriate assistance. Out of respect for the family’s privacy during this difficult time, we have nothing further to add,” the spokesperson added.

— Amanda Macias

Russian-installed official in Kherson asks for help to evacuate citizens

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) speaks as separatist leader Vladimir Saldo of the Kherson region listens during a concert in support of the annexation of four Ukrainian regions at Red Square on September 30, 2022 in Moscow, Russia.

Contributor | Getty Images News | Getty Images

The Russian-installed governor of Kherson called for Russia to help evacuate citizens as fighting in the region intensifies.

Vladimir Saldo said on Telegram Thursday that Ukraine was targeting the region with missile strikes every day and asked the Russian authorities for help in transporting families to Russia. Saldo said that Ukraine’s strikes were a retaliation for Kherson voting in a referendum to join the Russian Federation.

“We suggested that all residents of the Kherson region, if there is such a desire, to protect themselves from the consequences of missile strikes … go to other regions. First of all, these are Crimea, the Rostov region, the Krasnodar Territory, the Stavropol Territory — our neighbors. Take out your children and yourself,” Saldo said on Telegram.

“Turning to the leadership of the country, I would like to ask you for help in organizing such work. We, residents of the Kherson region, of course, know that Russia does not abandon its own people, and Russia always lends a shoulder where it is difficult.”

Sham referendums were held in Kherson and three other Russian-occupied regions last month with a majority of people in those regions seen as voting to join Russia, although the votes were widely seen as fake and illegal.

Saldo said Ukraine’s forces were “retaliating” as a result of the vote: “We knew that such decision would not be acknowledged by the Ukrainian authorities and we expected them to start retaliating against us. This is the way it turned out — every day cities are targeted by missile strikes.”

— Holly Ellyatt

Kremlin denies that Putin and Erdogan discussed war ‘settlement’

The Kremlin’s press secretary denied that Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, discussed what he called a “Russian-Ukrainian settlement” to the war during their meeting in Kazakhstan Thursday.

Dmitry Peskov told Russian state news agency RIA Novosti that the leaders’ meeting lasted about an hour and a half but that “the topic of Russian-Ukrainian settlement was not discussed.”

It was widely expected that Turkey could use the meeting to formally offer to host peace talks between Russia and the West in a bid to end the war in Ukraine. Ankara has positioned itself as something of a broker between Russia and Ukraine during the conflict, helping to negotiate the restarting of grain shipments from Ukraine and prisoner swaps.

— Holly Ellyatt

Power largely restored in Ukraine, but grid operator warns of ‘a lot of work ahead’

Power has been almost entirely restored in Ukraine after a spate of Russian strikes on energy facilities earlier this week, according to the grid’s operator. National energy company Ukrenergo warned that it had more work to do to properly fix supplies, however.

“The employees of Ukrenergo are dead tired but very satisfied because they restored power supply after the largest attack on the power system of an independent country in world history,” Ukrenergo said in a post on Telegram.

Ukrenegro said that Russia’s attacks were the biggest of their type in modern history. “Before World War II, there were no such advanced power grids, and after World War II there were no such large-scale military attacks targeting power infrastructure.”

Power substation destroyed by a Russian missile attack, Kharkiv, north-eastern Ukraine.

Future Publishing | Future Publishing | Getty Images

The energy operator also warned that while it has been able to restore lost power supplies, “this does not mean that we have restored everything that was destroyed and damaged.” 

“We have found ways to provide current, but there is still a lot of work ahead,” it warned, asking Ukrainians to consume power wisely, especially at peak times in the morning and evening.

It noted that 700 Ukrenergo energy workers in 40 repair teams are working to restore networks 24/7. “Please help them – don’t turn on too much and don’t use many electrical appliances at the same time,” it added.

Ukraine halted the export of electricity to the EU (which began in July) earlier this week after multiple attacks targeted its energy infrastructure including thermal power plants and electricity substations. The government also called on Ukrainians to limit their energy use.

— Holly Ellyatt

Putin says Turkey ‘most reliable route’ for gas to the EU

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) meets President of Russia, Vladimir Putin (R) within the 22nd meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) leaders’ summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan on September 16, 2022.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin told his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday that Turkey was the most reliable route to deliver gas to the European Union and proposed to build what he called a supply hub there.

Speaking at a bilateral meeting with President Tayyip Erdogan, Putin said energy supplies from Russia to Turkey were in “full flow” and in accordance with requests.


There ‘isn’t a risk’ of Ukraine running out of ammunition before Russia

U.K. Defense Minister Ben Wallace said Thursday that there isn’t a risk of Ukraine running out of ammunition before Russia does, if the war continues for a long time.

“No, there isn’t a risk,” Wallace told Sky News, saying a widely-sanctioned Russia had isolated itself by invading Ukraine while still relying on an external supply chain for its weapons manufacturing.

“They need a supply chain and large parts of the supply chain are not in Russia,” he said, with parts for weapons coming from all over the world, including Europe and even Ukraine itself.

There have been concerns that Western stockpiles of weapons and ammunition could run low and be hard to replenish in good time given Ukraine’s increasing need for military equipment, and the potential for the war to be long-lasting.

Earlier this week, Jeremy Fleming, the head of GCHQ, one of the U.K.’s intelligence agency, said that Russia’s supplies and weaponry were running low.

“We know — and Russian commanders on the ground know — that their supplies and munitions are running out,” Fleming said Tuesday. “Russia’s forces are exhausted. The use of prisoners to reinforce, and now the mobilization of tens of thousands of inexperienced conscripts, speaks of a desperate situation.”

— Holly Ellyatt

Search for 7 missing people ongoing in Mykolaiv

Search and rescue teams are continuing to search through rubble for seven missing people following a missile strike on a five-storey residential building in Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy commented on the attack Thursday, posting on Telegram that a child pulled from the rubble of the building earlier today had been trapped for six hours before being rescued.

“The search for seven more people is ongoing. All services are there and working,” the president said.

“Each of the Russian strikes, all manifestations of Russian terror against our people, our cities will not remain unpunished for the occupiers. A fair punishment awaits you. Know this,” he added.

Vitaly Kim, the head of the Mykolayiv Regional Military Administration, posted a video on Twitter earlier showing efforts to rescue the boy from the rubble.

— Holly Ellyatt

Satellite imagery shows damaged Crimea bridge being repaired

A satellite image by Maxar shows repairs being made to the Kerch Strait bridge that was damaged by an explosion on Oct. 8, 2022.

Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies

New satellite images have been released by Maxar showing repairs being made to the Kerch Strait, also known as the Crimea Bridge, that was damaged by a large explosion last Saturday.

The image above shows repairs in progress on both the rail line of the Crimea Bridge as well as on damaged sections of the road/vehicle bridge span.

Vehicles (primarily cars and small trucks) can be seen traveling along the bridge and nearby while a ferry transports trucks across the Kerch Strait. The image was taken on Oct.12.

On Wednesday, Russia’s security services said it had made eight arrests in connection to the attack, detaining five Russians and three citizens of Ukraine and Armenia that it alleged were connected to the attack on the bridge that Russia uses to access Crimea, a peninsula it illegally annexed from Ukraine in 2014, and to resupply its troops in southern Ukraine.

Kyiv has not said whether it was responsible for the attack on the bridge and said it would not respond to the arrests.

— Holly Ellyatt

Ukraine says it has only 10% of what it needs for air defenses

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy poses for a pictures with Ukrainian servicemen as he visits the town of Izium, recently liberated by Ukraine’s armed forces, in the Kharkiv region of Ukraine on Sept. 14, 2022.

Gleb Garanich | Reuters

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the country only has about 10% of what it needs for its air defenses and ruled out diplomatic contacts with Russia, Reuters reported Thursday.

Participating in a question-and-answer session with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Zelenskyy said diplomacy was not possible with leaders who do not respect international law.

The comments come as Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to meet Turkey’s President Erdogan on Thursday.

It’s expected that Turkey could formally offer to host peace talks between Russia and the West in a bid to end the war in Ukraine. Kyiv has previously said it will not partake in any talks while Putin is president.

— Holly Ellyatt

More details on drone strikes on the Kyiv region

More details have emerged of drone strikes on the Kyiv region in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Oleksiy Kuleba, the head of the Kyiv Regional Military Administration, said on Telegram earlier that “kamikaze” drones were attacking the region, calling on residents to shelter.

In an update on the messaging platform, Kuleba said three attacks by kamikaze drones had targeted an “infrastructure object” causing a fire.

“There are no victims or injured. At 06:45, the fire was contained, there was no open fire. 43 people and 12 units of emergency services equipment were involved in extinguishing the fire,” he said, without specifying the object targeted.

Russia has repeatedly targeted Ukraine’s energy infrastructure this week, severely disrupting the country’s water and power supplies.

— Holly Ellyatt

Russian forces likely looking to cement new front line in the south, UK says

A view of the grad rocket firing as counterattacks against Russian forces continue in the Kherson region, on October 07, 2022.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Having retreated around 20 kilometers (around 12 miles) in the north of the Kherson region earlier in October, Russian forces are likely now attempting to consolidate a new front line, according to Britain’s Ministry of Defense.

This new front line was likely to the west of the village of Mylove, which lies to the east of the city of Kherson, a Russian-occupied city in the Kherson region in southern Ukraine, where Ukrainian forces are continuing a counteroffensive to reclaim lost territory.

“Heavy fighting continues along this line, especially at the western end where Ukrainian advances mean Russia’s flank is no longer protected by the Inhulets River. Most of the Russia troops on this front line remain understrength VDV (airborne) units,” the ministry said in its latest intelligence update on Twitter.

The U.K. believes that, in recent days, the Russian occupation authorities have likely ordered preparation for the evacuation of some civilians from Kherson. “It is likely that they anticipate combat extending to the city of Kherson itself,” the ministry said.

— Holly Ellyatt

Putin and Erdogan could discuss peace talk options

Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to meet Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to meet Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday. It’s expected that Turkey could formally offer to host peace talks between Russia and the West in a bid to end the war in Ukraine.

There have been various reports suggesting Ankara — which has positioned itself as something of a broker between Russia and Ukraine during the conflict, helping to negotiate the restarting of grain shipments from Ukraine — could suggest that it host talks between Western governments and Russia about how to bring an end to the war in Ukraine.

Crucially, however, no mention of Ukraine attending the talks has been made. Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy has repeatedly said lately that he will not negotiate with his Russian counterpart and that Ukraine is only ready to talk when Russian troops retreat from its territory.

Yuri Ushakov, an aide to President Putin, told the Russian state-owned Interfax news agency that the Russian leader and Erdogan could be expected to discuss the matter when they meet in Astana Thursday, however. The leaders enjoy cordial relations despite Turkey’s NATO membership.

“Many say that the Turks are ready to come up with other initiatives in the context of the settlement of the Ukrainian conflict, there are various reports in the press that the Turkish side puts forward specific considerations on this matter. I do not exclude that Erdogan will actively touch upon this topic in during this Astana contact, so a very interesting and, I hope, useful discussion awaits us,” Ushakov said, Interfax reported Thursday.

Ushakov noted that several possible formats for talks were being reported on in the Turkish media, “including ‘Russia and the United States, the leading countries of Western Europe’, etc.”

Earlier this week, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday that Moscow had not received any specific proposals to hold talks with Washington, London, Paris and Berlin in Turkey.

Peskov said that “there is a need to figure out what the goal of such a meeting will be, what the result of the meeting could be and whom it could involve,” before speculating about the possibility of talks.

— Holly Ellyatt

Mykolaiv ‘massively shelled’ overnight, mayor says

Air raid warnings sounded out over the southern port city of Mykolaiv overnight with the city’s Mayor Oleksandr Senkevich saying it had been “massively shelled.”

“Mykolaiv was massively shelled. A five-story residential building was hit. The two upper floors were completely destroyed, the rest – under rubble. Rescuers are working on the spot,” the Ukrainian official posted on Telegram.

A 12-year-old boy (some reports suggest the boy is 11) was found under the rubble of a residential building and was handed over to medics.

“According to preliminary information, there may be seven more people under the rubble, with whom there is no contact. Search and rescue work continues,” he added.

— Holly Ellyatt

Ukraine says critical infrastructure facilities in Kyiv hit by drones

Critical infrastructure facilities in the Kyiv region have been hit by drone strikes, Reuters reported, citing a statement from Ukraine’s presidential office.

“Another attack by kamikaze drones on critical infrastructure facilities,” the office’s deputy head Kyrylo Tymoshenko was quoted as saying on Telegram, the messaging app.

–Jihye Lee

Air defense systems crucial for Ukraine as Russian strikes continue, Zelenskyy says

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has spent much of the week calling on Ukraine’s international allies to provide it with more air defense assistance as Russian strikes on various regions continue.

In his nightly address Wednesday, he said “the more audacious and cruel Russian terror becomes, the more obvious it is to the world that helping Ukraine to protect the sky is one of the most important humanitarian tasks for Europe.”

NATO ministers gathering in Brussels on Wednesday and Thursday have already pledged more comprehensive air defense assistance for Kyiv to protect against Russian strikes. The U.S., U.K., France and Germany all pledged, or have sent, such systems to Ukraine.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov (center) talks to his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar (left) before the start of the Ukrainian defense contact group meeting at NATO headquarters, on Oct. 12, 2022 in Brussels, Belgium.

Omar Havana | Getty Images News | Getty Images

The need for such systems has become pressing given Russia’s targeting of cities and critical infrastructure across the country this week. Power and water supplies are still damaged in a number of regions after Russia targeted energy facilities on Monday and Tuesday and, to a lesser extent, yesterday.

Zelenskyy said last night that the power supply had been fully restored to most parts of the country while work was ongoing to repair the electricity supply in four regions.

“Recovery continued across the country today [Wednesday] after a two-day Russian missile attack. At that time, energy facilities were damaged in 12 regions and in the capital. As of now, the technical capability of electricity supply has been fully restored in most regions. In four regions, work is ongoing, repairs should be completed in the near future.”

— Holly Ellyatt

U.N. General Assembly votes to condemn Russia’s annexation of Ukraine

A view of the 74th United Nations General Assembly on September 28, 2019 in New York City.

Kena Betancur | Getty Images News | Getty Images

The United Nations General Assembly voted to condemn Russia for its attempt to annex more areas of Ukraine.

The final vote was marked as 143 in favor of the resolution, five nations against it and 35 abstentions.

Ahead of the vote, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield called on the General Assembly to pass the resolution, saying, “Let us send a clear message today colleagues, the United Nations will not tolerate attempts at illegal annexation. We will never recognize it.”

“A U.N. member state, one with a permanent seat on the Security Council has attempted to annex territory from its neighbor by force. This U.N. member state has not only put its neighbor in its crosshairs but also put a bull’s eye in this institution’s core principle. One country cannot take the territory of another by force,” Thomas-Greenfield said.

Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared that “there are four new regions of Russia.” He referred to the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson.

Putin cited sham referendum votes held in Russian-occupied areas, saying voters wanted to become part of Russia. Western officials widely view those votes as rigged and illegitimate.

— Amanda Macias

A Russian nuclear strike would almost certainly draw ‘physical response,’ NATO official says

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the plenary session of the 2022 Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Vladivostok, Russia September 7, 2022.

Sergey Bobylev | Tass Host Photo Agency | via Reuters

A Russian nuclear strike would change the course of the conflict and almost certainly trigger a “physical response” from Ukraine’s allies and potentially from NATO, a senior NATO official said on Wednesday.

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. 

— Reuters

Putin suggests U.S. stood to benefit from Nord Stream pipeline leaks

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with members of the Security Council via a video link in Saint Petersburg, Russia, October 10, 2022. 

Gavriil Grigorov | Sputnik | Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested the U.S. had the most to gain from recent damage done to the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines which caused major gas leaks into the Baltic Sea.

“Who is behind the subversion of the Nord Streams? Obviously, it’s the one who seeks to finally cut off the ties between Russia and the EU, seeks to finish off and undermine the political subjectness of Europe, weaken its industrial potential and control the market,” Putin said at the Russian Energy Week forum in Moscow on Wednesday, without naming the U.S.

It’s just over two weeks ago that a series of blasts on the Nord Stream pipelines connecting Russia to Germany provoked an international outcry and widespread suspicions in the West that the blasts were a deliberate act of sabotage. Suspicions fell on Moscow, which denied any involvement in the incidents and in turn insinuated that NATO could have carried out the damage, an accusation firmly rebuffed by the West.

Putin said Wednesday that gas exporters like the U.S. stood to gain from the damaged pipelines.

“Certain market participants who are guided exclusively by their own geopolitical ambitions … simply eliminate the infrastructure of their competitors. In this particular case, I’m talking obviously about the subversion of the Nord Stream pipelines Nord Stream 1 and 2. There’s no doubt it was an act of terrorism aiming to undermine the energy security of a whole continent,” he said.

“Russia built these [pipelines] with its own money but the U.S. can now supply energy sources at high prices,” he said, adding that he believed U.S. LNG (liquefied natural gas) exports were “unstable.”

— Holly Ellyatt

Ukraine won’t comment on Russia’s Crimea bridge arrests

Ukraine’s intelligence services said it will not respond to Russia’s arrests of eight individuals it alleges are connected to last Saturday’s Crimea bridge blast.

“All the activities of the FSB and the Investigative Committee are nonsense. These are fake structures that serve the Putin regime, so we will definitely not comment on their regular statements,” Andrey Yusov, a spokesperson for the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense, said in a statement provided to CNBC on Wednesday.

Russia’s Federal Security Service said Wednesday that it arrested five Russians and three citizens of Ukraine and Armenia that it alleged were connected to the attack, which partially damaged the bridge that Russia uses to access the peninsula it annexed from Ukraine in 2014, and to resupply its troops in southern Ukraine.

Ukraine has not claimed responsibility for the bridge attack and Yusov insinuated the arrests (and potentially, the attack) were staged.

“It is surprising that no business card has yet been found in the area of ​​​​the Crimean bridge,” he said.

That was a reference to an attack on a checkpoint near Sloviansk in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine in 2014 that Russia claimed was led by Ukrainian nationalist Dmytro Yarosh.

Ukraine claimed pro-Russian separatists (or Russian special forces) had initiated what it described as a “staged” attack and had planted Yarosh’s business card at the scene in order to blame it on Ukraine. The purported discovery of Yarosh’s business card was widely ridiculed by Ukrainians at the time.

— Holly Ellyatt

Russia makes arrests in alleged connection to Crimea bridge attack

Russia’s security services said it has arrested eight people it alleges are connected to the explosion that damaged the Kerch Strait Bridge connecting Russia and Crimea last Saturday. 

Russia’s Federal Security Service said Wednesday that it has arrested five Russians and three citizens of Ukraine and Armenia that it alleged were connected to the attack, which partially damaged the bridge that Russia uses to access the peninsula, that it annexed from Ukraine in 2014, and to resupply its troops in southern Ukraine.

The FSB issued a statement alleging that the explosion was organized by the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine and its director, Kyrylo Budanov. 

“At the moment, five citizens of Russia, three citizens of Ukraine and Armenia, who participated in the preparation of the crime, have been detained as part of a criminal case,” the FSB said.

“The investigation into the attack continues. All its organizers and accomplices, including foreign citizens, will be held accountable in accordance with Russian law,” it added.

Black smoke billows from a fire on the Kerch bridge that links Crimea to Russia, after a truck exploded, near Kerch, on October 8, 2022.

– | Afp | Getty Images

Ukraine has not claimed responsibility for the bridge attack and is yet to respond to the allegations. CNBC has approached the Ministry of Defense for comment.

The FSB detailed how it alleges the plot to blow up the bridge took place, claiming that “the explosive device was camouflaged in rolls with a construction polyethylene film on 22 pallets with a total weight of 22,770 kg.” The FSB claimed the device was shipped from Odesa to Bulgaria and then on to Georgia and Armenia before crossing over the border to Russia and then on its final journey to Crimea.

— Holly Ellyatt

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