Ukraine has reported further Russian missile attacks on central regions of the country. In addition to the capital Kyiv, the Vinnytsia area, among other things, was shelled, the authorities said. There were initially no details about the damage or casualties.
Two Russian missiles are said to have been intercepted in the Chernihiv region north of Kyiv. In the meantime, there was again an air alert across the country. The Ukrainian news agency Ukrinform speaks of a “massive rocket attack”.
News about the Ukraine war: Several explosions in the center of Kyiv
According to reports from AFP reporters, several explosions could be heard in the center of Kiev. The explosions sounded at 2:20 p.m. (1:20 p.m. CEST). The air raid siren had been triggered shortly before, as reported by AFP reporters. The British Ambassador to Ukraine, Melinda Simmons, said on Twitter that the Ukrainian air defense system was probably deployed.
News on the Ukraine war: Putin imposes martial law in annexed regions
Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared a state of war in four recently annexed Ukrainian territories . He has already signed a corresponding decree, said Putin. This goes hand in hand with extended powers for the Russian occupation administrations in the Luhansk, Donetsk, Cherson and Zaporizhia regions.
News on the Ukraine war: Ukraine believes in “great victory”
While the situation in the Cherson region is getting worse (see update from 1.40 p.m.), Ukraine is becoming increasingly confident. In any case, the head of Ukraine’s military intelligence announced big things: “By the end of the year we will have made significant progress,” Major General Kyrylo Budanov said in an interview with the Obozrevatel news agency on Tuesday (October 18). “There will be great victories, you will see it soon… I hope it can be [the liberation of] Kherson.”
Budanov even went one step further, predicting Ukraine’s victory in the spring or summer of 2023. The war would end when the internationally recognized 1991 borders were restored. This would mean that the Crimean Peninsula, illegally annexed by Russia in 2014, and the oblasts annexed by Russia in September would be back under Ukrainian control.
News about the Ukraine war: EU allegedly has evidence of the use of Iranian drones
The EU wants to react to the Russian use of Iranian drones in Ukraine with new sanctions against Iran. At the meeting of EU foreign ministers earlier this week, there was “serious concern about the growing number of reports of Iranian drones being involved in the Russian attacks on Ukraine,” said a spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell in Brussels. Now that enough evidence has been gathered, Member States are working on a swift and decisive response.
News about the Ukraine war: Kyiv accuses Moscow of propaganda show
According to the Russian occupiers, Ukrainian forces have started counterattacks in the Cherson region annexed by Moscow. The Ukrainians went on the offensive in the direction of Nova Kamianka and Beryslav, wrote the deputy head of the Kherson occupation administration, Kirill Stremusov, on Telegram. So far, however, all attacks have been repelled. Initially, there was no information from the Ukrainian side. The Moscow-appointed regional chief Vladimir Saldo emphasized: “No one will give up Kherson, and the army knows what to do.”
Ukraine has meanwhile accused Russia of staging a “propaganda show” with evacuations and warnings of an attack on the occupied city of Kherson (see update from 11.25 a.m.). Presidential chief Andriy Yermak spoke of fake news with which Russia wanted to scare people. “The Russians are trying to intimidate the residents of Kherson with fake news about our army shelling the city and are also staging a propaganda show of evacuations,” he wrote on Telegram. “Propaganda will not work.”
Ukraine war news: Russia evacuates civilians from Cherson
In view of the advancing Ukrainian troops, according to pro-Russian authorities, the announced evacuation of civilians has begun in the Russian-occupied Cherson region in southern Ukraine (see initial report). The people of Kherson would be moved from the right to the left bank of the Dnipro, the pro-Russian administration of the city of Oleshky announced. Russian state media showed images of people being taken across the river by ferries.
According to its own statements, the pro-Russian administration is also withdrawing completely from Cherson. The pro-Russian chief administrator of the Kherson region, Vladimir Saldo, told the Russian broadcaster Rossiya 24 : “As of today, all government structures of the city, the civil and military administration, all ministries, will be moved to the left bank of the river (the Dnipro)”. However, the Russian army wants to fight the advancing Ukrainian troops in the city “to the death”.
News about the Ukraine war: Kyiv pulls together tens of thousands of soldiers in front of Cherson
First report from Wednesday, October 19: Cherson – The Ukrainian army is apparently preparing for the next counter-offensive in the Ukraine war. According to Russian information, Kyiv has now assembled tens of thousands of soldiers to liberate the occupied Cherson region in the south of the country. So far, the situation is “stable,” said the deputy head of the occupation administration, Kirill Stremousov, according to the Russian state news agency TASS . A possible offensive has not yet begun, but an attack is expected. Initially, there was no information from Ukraine.
Cherson fell into Russian hands in March – as the only Ukrainian regional capital. President Vladimir Putin announced the annexation of the region to Russia in October. Internationally, the illegal annexation is not recognized. The Russian soldiers on the right bank of the Dnipro are said to have been largely cut off.
News about the Ukraine war: Russia wants to resettle 50,000 to 60,000 soldiers from Cherson
The head of the Russian occupation administration of Kherson, Vladimir Saldo, meanwhile, announced the evacuation of civilians from the right bank of the Dnipro . Saldo spoke of “about 50,000 to 60,000” people who should be taken to the left bank or to Russia. This will take about six days. Boats are already waiting, said Saldo. According to the agency Tass , the people have already been informed of the plans by SMS.
News on the Ukraine war: Surovikin describes situation in Kherson as “difficult”
The new commander-in-chief of the Russian troops in Ukraine, Sergey Surovikin, had described the situation in the front section on the previous evening (October 18) as difficult. Ukraine is shelling houses and infrastructure in Kherson. Artillery hits made the crossings over the Dnipro River impassable. That complicates the supply. “We will act carefully and in a timely manner, and we will not rule out difficult decisions,” said Surovikin. This was taken as an indication of a possible withdrawal.