Ukraine latest news: $100k reward for capture of 'Butcher of Slovyansk' (2023)

Key points
  • Number of dead in Kyiv after drone attack rises to four|Kyiv hit by 'kamikaze drones'
  • Ukraine offers $100,000 for capture of 'Butcher of Slovyansk'
  • Russian journalist accused of spreading 'fake news' flees the country
  • Ukrainian musician killed by Russian troops after refusing to take part in concert
  • Iran 'planning to send ballistic missiles to Russia'
  • Hope that Musk's Starlink may continue to help Ukraine - but tone of billionaire's tweet adds to confusion
  • Podcast:Burning playgrounds and blocked escape routes - the moment Russia brought terror to Kyiv
  • Updates from John Sparks in eastern Ukraine and Dominic Waghorn in Moscow

21:13:41

Ukrainian president to publish book of his wartime speeches

A collection of wartime speeches by Volodymyr Zelenskyy, featuring an introduction written by the Ukrainian president, is set to be published before Christmas.

Entitled A Message From Ukraine, the book will include a preface by Arkady Ostrovskym, the Economist's editor for Russia and Eastern Europe.

"Supporting Ukraine is not a trend, a meme or a viral challenge," the Ukrainian president said in a statement.

"It is not a force to rapidly spread across the planet and then just as rapidly disappear.

"If you want to understand who we are, where we are from, what we want and where we are going, you need to learn more about who we are.

"This book will help you do just that."

Set to be published on 6 December, all proceeds from the booke will go to United24 - a charity initiative for Ukraine set up by Mr Zelenskyy.

Mr Zelenskyy said he has chosen 16 speeches he hopes will help readers "understand Ukrainians: our aspirations, our principles, and our values".

The former actor and comedian was elected in 2019.

He found himself suddenly transformed into a wartime leader after Russia's invasion in February, with his impassioned and defiant stance bringing comparisons to Sir Winston Churchill, among others.

19:13:25

Biggest prisoner swap of the Ukraine war takes place - seeing more than 100 Ukrainian women freed

The biggest prisoner swap of the Ukraine war so far has taken place today, with Moscow and Kyiv exchanging a total of 218 detainees.

Among the prisoners were 108 Ukrainian women, 12 of which were civilians, the head of the Ukrainian president's staff, Andriy Yermak said.

"It was the first completely female exchange," he wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

He added that 37 of the women had been captured after Russian forces took over the giant Azovstal steelworks in the battered port city of Mariupol in May.

Separately, Ukraine's interior ministry said some of the women had been in jail since 2019, after being detained by pro-Moscow authorities.

The Russian Defence Ministry said 110 Russians were freed, including 72 civilian sailors who had been held since February.

18:13:04

Power to Europe's biggest nuclear plant cut off due to Russian shelling

Europe's biggest nuclear plant's external power supply has been cut off once again due to shelling by Russian forces, Ukrainian energy authorities have said.

The Zaporizhzhia plant, which has become a focal point during the war in Ukraine, has been under Russian control since March and sits near the frontline in territory Putin claims to be annexed by Russia.

Ukraine's nuclear energy company Energoatom claimed a Russian attack struck a substation that supplies power to the plant on Monday.

While the plant's six reactors have been shut down due to the fighting, it needs power supply to ensure critical safety systems remain operational.

Even while shut down, cooling water has to be circulated around the reactor fuel to prevent it melting down.

The storage ponds also need topping up to prevent spent fuel overheating and potentially releasing radioactivity.

Those power supplies have been repeatedly taken offline, forcing the plant's operator to temporarily use diesel generators to run the safety systems.

Energoatom has repeatedly called for a demilitarisation of the plant and the withdrawal of Russian forces that surround it.

17:59:39

Fireball engulfs apartment building as Russia jet crashes in residentia

A Russian warplane has crashed in a residential area of a port town in the south of the country after suffering an engine failure, the military has said.

The Su-34 bomber went down in the port of Yeysk on the Sea of Azov after one of its engines caught fire during takeoff for a training mission, the Russian Defence Ministry said.

All the crew members bailed out safely, but fuel exploded on impact, causing a huge fireball which engulfed several floors of an apartment building.

At least two people were killed in the blaze, and some 15 people were injured,the Emergencies Ministry said.

A total of 17 flats were affected by the fire, and emergency services have been working to put out the flames, local authorities said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin was immediately told about the crash and ordered health and emergencies ministers - along with the local governor - to head to the site, the Kremlin said.

For context: Yeysk, a city of about 90,000, is home to a big Russian air base.

The Su-34 is a supersonic twin-engine bomber equipped with sophisticated sensors and weapons.

It has been a key strike component of the Russian air force.

The aircraft has seen wide use during the wars in Syria and Ukraine.

16:40:18

Can the Iranian Shahed 136 drone be identified in Ukraine?

By Jack Taylor, forensic journalist

The EU has said it is seeking concrete evidence of Iran being involved with Russian attacks in Ukraine, after it was claimed that Iranian Shahed 136 drones were used inKyiv on Monday.

While Iran has denied supplying Russia with weaponry, can these drones be identified in Ukraine?

Intelligence analyst Forbes McKenzie told Sky News that the key characteristics of the Shahed 136 are the "delta wing shape, the push rotor at the back which propels the drone, and the winglets used to control direction".

A delta wing is shaped in the form of a triangle.

On the right, above, is a phototaken of a drone in use in Kyiv earlier today, while on the left is an existing photograph of the Shahed 136.

The rear motor, winglets, nose shape and delta wing shape all match. Multiple military experts have identified this drone as a Shahed 136.

These drones are designed to circle in the air, before quickly descending onto an identified target and exploding. That is why this style of drone is commonly known as a "kamikaze drone".

Ukrainian officials first claimed on 13 September that the Shahed 136 was being used by Russia.

Since then, they have continued to share photos claiming to show the wreckage of drones that have been destroyed.

One photo, released through Ukrainian channels, appears to show the debris from a Shahed 136 that was shot down over Mykolaiv Oblast. It shares the same distinctive delta wing shape.

Another photo shared byVitaly Kim, the governor of Mykolaiv Oblast,shows what he claims to be wreckage from more destroyed drones.

The writing seen is Russian and translates as Geranium 2, which is the reported Russian name for the Shahed 136.

What also appears to be a motor, similar to those used to propel the drone, can be seen too.

16:18:51

Call-up of reservists 'ends in Moscow'

The call-up of reservists to bolster troop numbers in Ukraine has reportedly ended in Moscow.

Russian news agency Interfax quoted Moscow Chief Draft Officer Maxim Loktev.

"Partial mobilisation measures have been completed in Moscow," he apparently said on Monday.

"The objectives set by the Russian presidential decree and assignments of the Russian Defence Ministry have been completed in full.

"Moscow's assembly points for mobilised citizens stopped receiving mobilisation resources starting at 2pm on October 17."

He added: "At the same time, Moscow's draft centres are continuing to receive requests from volunteers willing to go to the zone of the special military operation.

"Individual decisions will be made regarding those volunteers."

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said earlier on Monday that the "assignment of the Ministry of Defence" had been "fully completed".

16:02:27

Pictured: Cat rescued from rubble after residential building destroyed by Russian drone strike

Rescuers found a cat in the rubble after a residential building in Kyiv was destroyed in a Russian drone strike.

15:34:55

How vital is Starlink to Ukraine's war effort?

As we reported earlier, Elon Musk has said his SpaceX company will keep providing Starlink internet service in Ukraine - a day after saying he could not fund the project any longer.

Starlink first went online in Ukraine back in February, and official Oksana Markarova said it is now "the only connection that we have" in parts of the country.

But just how important is it to the war effort, and what would the consequences be if it went offline?

Dr Viktor Doychinov, a satellite communications researcher with the Bradford-Renduchintala Centre for Space AI, told Sky News that anything which enabled communications was "critical infrastructure".

"Starlink is a constellation of satellites - thousands of satellites going around the Earth all doing the same thing, providing wireless communications to people on the ground," he explained.

"It's like having all the base stations that normally provide mobile phone coverage up in the air, up in space, whizzing around the Earth."

Connecting to the satellites in the Earth's low orbit are receiver devices on the ground, which subsequently get users online.

Dr Doychinov said: "The equipment is portable, you can put it in your car or your truck, and go anywhere and still have internet. It's small, mobile, and has a high data rate."

The technology would likely prove "incredibly valuable" to troops in areas with poor mobile phone coverage or damaged infrastructure.

It could be used for "surveillance photos of the battlefield, video feed from drones, very quick and very responsive communication with commanding officers".

"Because Starlink is orbiting very close to Earth, the time the signal takes to go from your user terminal to the satellite, and back to the person you're talking to, is very short," he said.

"As long as you have clear sky above you, you can get connection to Starlink and from there to the wider internet. And as you move the equipment with you, you are far more resilient to any disruptions."

15:30:56

Ukrainian grain exports bounce back - but Russia hints extension of deal could be blocked

Ukrainian grain exports in thefirst 17 days of October were just 2.4% lower than in the sameperiod of 2021, according to agriculture ministry data.

That is despite the closure of several ports following the Russian invasion in February.

Exports initially plummeted, but three Black Sea ports were unblocked at the end of July.

A deal between Moscow and Kyiv was brokered by the United Nations and Turkey.

The ministry's data shows Ukraine has exported 2.12m tonnes of grain - mostly corn and wheat - so far inOctober.

That compares to 2.17m tonnes in the same period ofOctober 2021.

Russia, however, has cast doubt over whether the deal will be extended because of western sanctions imposed on it since it invaded Ukraine.

Its deputy defence minister, Alexander Fomin, told UN Under Secretary General MartinGriffiths that extending the agreement "directly dependson ensuring full implementation of all previously reachedagreements".

Russia says the impact of Western sanctions on logistics,payments, shipping and insurance prevents it from exportingfertilisers and chemicals including ammonia, and that easing thoserestrictions was a key part of the deal.

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