US President Joe Biden called key allies on Tuesday to “coordinate” support for Ukraine, the White House said. Western allies have raised concerns on the subject after Republican hardliners in Congress derailed US funding for Kyiv. The news came as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited frontline areas in eastern Ukraine. Read our liveblog to see how the day’s events unfolded. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).
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8:18pm: Russia summons Moldova ambassador in media row
In mid-September, Moldova expelled the country chief of Russia’s state news agency Sputnik, accusing the outlet of spreading “propaganda and disinformation”.
The Russian foreign ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that the expulsion of Moldova’s Sputnik bureau chief was part of an ongoing campaign of “politically motivated persecution” of Russian-language media in Moldova.
Moscow said that a number of people who are involved in restricting “freedom of speech and the rights of Russian journalists in Moldova” will be banned from entering the country.
8:15pm: Russia says it shot down Ukrainian missile off Crimea coast
The Russian Defence Ministry said on Tuesday evening it had shot down a Ukrainian missile off the Crimea coast.
According to the statement, Russian air defence systems downed a Ukrainian Neptun missile over the north-western part of the Black Sea off the coast of the Crimean peninsula.
7:50pm: US aid for Ukraine to last ‘couple of months’ without funding, White House says
US aid for Ukraine‘s fight against Russia will run out in “a couple of months” if Republican hardliners fail to pass new funds for Kyiv, the White House said Tuesday.
“You’re talking perhaps a couple of months or so, roughly,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told a briefing.
7:30pm: White House warns ‘time is not our friend’ on Ukraine aid
“Time is not our friend. We have enough funding authorities to meet Ukraine’s battlefields needs for a bit longer, but we need Congress to act,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said.
President Joe Biden told US allies in a call earlier Tuesday that he was “confident that we’re going to continue to have bipartisan and bicameral support” for aid, Kirby added.
6:50pm: Ukraine’s troops advance on southern front, top general says
One of Ukraine’s top generals said on Tuesday that his forces were advancing in the south, one of two theatres of their counteroffensive to evict Russian occupation forces, but offered few details of their gains.
“In the Tavria sector, there has been an advance by the defence forces,” General Oleksander Tarnavskyi said in a post on Telegram, using the military’s name for the southern front.
Tarnavskyi, head of the southern group of forces, said troops had conducted 1,198 assignments in the past 24 hours, with Russian forces sustaining losses of 261 men and a further 10 being taken prisoner.
The General Staff of the Ukrainian armed forces, in its evening report, said offensive operations were proceeding in the east and south, with little elaboration.
It reported Russian air strikes in southeastern Zaporizhzhia region, the focus of the drive south to the Sea of Azov. The report also said Ukrainian forces had repelled Russian attacks in areas of Donetsk region already recaptured by Kyiv and around the long-contested town of Maryinka further west.
Military analysts have spoken in the past week of Ukrainian forces consolidating positions around the village of Verbove on their southward drive.
5:59pm: PM Sunak reaffirms UK support to Ukraine
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told G7 and NATO leaders on Tuesday that Britain was prepared to support Ukraine with military, humanitarian and economic assistance “for as long as it takes,” his office said in a readout of a call.
“He (Prime Minister Rishi Sunak) outlined the UK’s ongoing military, humanitarian and economic assistance to Ukraine and stressed that this support will continue for as long as it takes,” a Downing Street spokesperson said in a statment.
US President Joe Biden convened the call amid concerns that support for Kyiv’s war effort against Russia was fading, especially in the United States, where Congress excluded aid to Ukraine from an emergency bill to prevent a partial government shutdown.
5:11pm: Biden assured partners of continued support for Ukraine, Poland’s Duda says
“He assured us that support for aid given to Ukraine continues, especially military aid. He said he would secure this support in Congress,” Andrzej Duda told a news conference.
4:50pm: Biden calls US allies on support for Ukraine, White House says
“President Biden convened a call this morning with allies and partners to coordinate our ongoing support for Ukraine,” the White House said in a statement, adding that it would give details of the call later.
3:06pm: Two more vessels head to Ukrainian Black Sea port of Odesa, local lawmaker says
Two vessels sailing under the flags of the Marshall Islands and Cameroon are heading towards the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Odesa, a local Ukrainian lawmaker reported on Tuesday.
The lawmaker, Oleksiy Honcharenko, did not provide any details other than names – EQUATOR and MARANTA – but posted images of vessels on the Telegram messaging app.
A senior member of the government said on Sunday that five other ships were on their way to Ukrainian Black Sea ports using a new corridor opened for predominantly agricultural exports following Russia’s decision to quit a UN-brokered wartime deal on safe shipments.
2:01pm: Ukraine’s Zelensky visiting eastern front line
“Today we are visiting our brigades performing combat missions in one of the hottest areas (of the front) – Kupiansk-Lyman,” Zelensky said in a statement on social media.
Today, we are visiting our brigades that are fighting in one of the hotspots, the Kupyansk-Lyman direction where Russian occupiers constantly try to attack our positions. The 103rd Territorial Defense Brigade, the 68th “Oleksa Dovbush” Jeager Brigade, and the 25th “Sicheslav”…
— Volodymyr Zelenskyy / Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa)
12:05pm: Russia vows no new mobilisation
“There are no plans for an additional mobilisation” of Russian men to fight in Ukraine as more than 335,000 have signed up so far this year to fight in the armed forces or voluntary units, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu told top generals in a meeting broadcast on state television Tuesday.
“The armed forces have the necessary number of military personnel to conduct the special military operation,” he said, adding that, since the start of the year, “more than 335,000 people have entered military service under contract and in volunteer formations”.
In September alone, more than 50,000 people signed up, he said.
Putin has repeatedly said there is no need to repeat the mobilisation, which some Russian officials say was a mistake as it prompted so many to leave.
11:57am: Ukraine moves toward flexible currency to improve economy
Ukraine’s central bank said it would allow controlled currency fluctuations starting Tuesday, easing wartime restrictions to boost the economy.
At the beginning of the war Kyiv suspended all currency trading, and set a fixed exchange rate to defend its currency – the hryvnia – and stabilise the markets.
“The National Bank of Ukraine is implementing managed exchange rate flexibility, which will strengthen the stability of the foreign exchange market and the economy,” the central bank said in a statement.
With inflation slowing down and international reserves “sufficiently high for a long time” it said the time was now right to act.
The hryvnia had been pegged at around 29 to the dollar at the beginning of the war, but it devalued in July 2022 to around 36.
11:33am: Russia’s Gazprom says European energy security system unstable
Russian energy giant Gazprom said on Tuesday that Europe, which used to be its main source of revenue, is short of natural gas and may face challenges, more than a year after the Nord Stream pipelines were damaged by mysterious blasts.
Gazprom’s gas exports almost halved last year to 100.9 billion cubic metres (bcm) due to political fallout with Europe over Ukraine and after the undersea Nord Stream pipelines, the largest single gas exporting route for Russia to European market, were blown up in September 2022.
“The fact that the systemic deficit has not gone away is manifested not only by the higher price level in 2023 compared to the pre-Covid years, but also by the persistence of a stable contango in the natural gas market,” Sergei Komlev and Alexander Shapin, Gazprom’s senior managers, said in an inhouse magazine.
Contango is a market structure in which longer-dated futures trade at a premium that encourages traders to keep the commodity in storage for more profitable resale in the future.
“This price behaviour means that, according to market participants, the energy security system in Europe, built in an emergency mode, is unstable and faces new challenges,” the Gazprom managers said.
11:31am: Ukraine aims to borrow $700 million from World Bank to support agriculture
Ukraine’s government started talks with the World Bank on Tuesday on a $700 million loan for emergency support to the agricultural sector this year and next, the farm ministry said.
The funds were required for small farmers and agricultural and food producers, the ministry said in a statement on the Telegram messaging app.
The agricultural sector is a key driver for Ukraine’s economy but has been hit hard by Russia’s invasion.
11:30am: Kyiv, Warsaw agree to speed up Ukrainian grain transit
Warsaw and Kyiv announced on Tuesday they had agreed to speed up the transit of Ukrainian cereal exports through Poland to third countries, a first step in resolving their “grain war”.
The three-nation agreement between Poland, Ukraine and Lithuania means that Ukrainian grain exports – destined for markets in Africa and the Middle East in particular – will be taken directly through Poland instead of first being checked at the Poland-Ukraine border.
“From tomorrow, grains that transit (to world markets) via Lithuania will undergo checks at a Lithuanian port and not at the Poland-Ukraine border,” Polish Agriculture Minister Robert Telus told journalists.
After Russia’s invasion prevented Ukraine using its traditional Black Sea routes to export grain to world markets, the crops were sent by land through the European Union. But because of logistical issues, grain began piling up in EU states neighbouring Ukraine and driving down local prices.
Brussels allowed several countries to impose a temporary embargo on Ukrainian grains.
But when it ended those restrictions, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia extended the ban, causing a diplomatic spat between Kyiv and its allies.
7:44am: Ukraine downs 29 Russia-launched drones, one cruise missile
Ukraine has destroyed 29 of 31 drones and one cruise missile launched by Russia overnight, most of them targeting the regions ofand , its air force said.
The attacks came in several waves and lasted more than three hours.
6:50am: Ukraine shells Russian village with cluster munitions, Russian official says
According to preliminary information, there were no casualties in the shelling of the village of Klimovo, Governor Alexander Bogomaz said on the Telegram messaging app.
The governor’s statement, which was made without providing any visual evidence, could not immediately be independently verified.
There was no immediate comment from Ukraine.
Ukraine has received cluster munitions from the United States, but has pledged to use them only to dislodge concentrations of enemy soldiers.
Russian officials in Bryansk and other regions bordering Ukraine have repeatedly accused Kyiv of an indiscriminate shelling by Ukraine’s armed forces.
3:44am: US aid cuts would be ‘devastating’ for Ukraine soldiers, experts say
Ukraine’s troops would soon run short of essential ammunition and equipment if Republican hardliners succeed in stopping US military aid, undermining operations on the ground and reducing their ability to defend against Russian strikes, experts say.
Top American officials have repeatedly insisted the United States would back Kyiv for “as long as it takes”, and Washington has committed more than $43 billion in security aid since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022 – over half the total from all Western donors.
But Republican opposition led Congress to remove new funding for Ukraine from a recent compromise bill to avoid a US government shutdown, highlighting that continued American support is not guaranteed.
“It would be devastating for the Ukrainians” if US aid is halted, said Mark Cancian, a senior advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
1:50am: Ukraine to build first underground school in Kharkiv, says official
Ukraine’s eastern metropolis of Kharkiv will build the country’s first fully underground school to shield pupils from Russia’s frequent bomb and missile attacks, the city’s mayor said.
“Such a shelter will enable thousands of Kharkiv children to continue their safe face-to-face education even during missile threats,” Mayor Ihor Terekhov wrote on the Telegram messaging app.
While many schools in the frontline regions have been forced to teach online throughout the war, Kharkiv has organised some 60 separate classrooms throughout its metro stations before the school year that started September 1, creating space for more than 1,000 children to study there.
Key developments from Monday, October 2:
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Monday told a joint press briefing with Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba that he had proposed a new €5 billion bilateral envelope to Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told a meeting of all 27 EU foreign ministers in Kyiv that victory “directly depends on our cooperation”.
Ukrainian grain exports have fallen to 6.68 million metric tons so far in the 2023/24 July-June season from 8.99 million tons in the same period of 2022/23, according to agriculture ministry data.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP, and Reuters)
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