Ukraine war live updates: Crimean bridge closed as blasts reported; Russia says it has ‘no other options’ but to win the war

Ukraine war live updates: Crimean bridge closed as blasts reported; Russia says it has ‘no other options’ but to win the war

Putin impressed North Korea’s Kim with his limousine

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Aurus Senat limousine.

Mikhail Svetlov | Getty Images News | Getty Images

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was reportedly impressed with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s limousine Thursday, having been shown its interior as the leaders met yesterday.

State television footage showed Putin inviting Kim to see inside his Russian-made limousine on Wednesday after the leaders had inspected the Vostochny space rocket launch facility.

Putin gestured to Kim to get into his presidential Aurus Senat limousine parked outside the complex, walking round to the other side of the vehicle to get in. A smiling Kim was seen before the limo left the facility.

The Aurus Senat is an armored luxury vehicle, developed in Russia over the last decade. Putin was first seen in the limousine in 2018.

Kim reportedly drove to the space center in Maybach limousine, brought on board his armored train in which he traveled from Pyongyang. Kim is known to have a penchant for cars and it’s believed his collection has been smuggled into the country, given sanctions prohibiting luxury goods from being exported to North Korea.

— Holly Ellyatt

Russian influence over Ukraine’s energy supply ‘severely diminished,’ UK says

An employee stands in the control room of the Rivne Nuclear Power Plant, in Varash, Rivne region, on September 10, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Roman Pilipey | Afp | Getty Images

Russia’s influence over Ukraine’s energy supply has waned dramatically as Kyiv has looked to diversify its supply during the war, Britain’s Ministry of Defense said Thursday.

In its latest intelligence update on Twitter, the ministry noted that Ukraine’s nuclear power plant operator Energoatom announced last weekend that it had a successfully refuelled a reactor at its Rivne Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) using Western-produced nuclear fuel assemblies.

The announcement was significant, the U.K. said, given that all of Ukraine’s NPPs have reactors based on Soviet designs and, until February 2022 when Russia invaded, it relied on its neighbor for nuclear fuel.

“Since Russia’s full-scale invasion, Ukraine has accelerated plans to diversify its supply,” the ministry said, noting that “Energoatom’s success in sourcing and installing Western fuel is a major waypoint in Ukraine’s long-term decoupling from Russia, whose influence over Ukraine’s energy supply is severely diminished.”

Nuclear energy supplies approximately half of Ukraine’s electricity.

— Holly Ellyatt

Crimean bridge closed after blasts reported

Cargo ships and car ferries cross the Kerch Strait, an area of “dark activity,” according to marine technology company Windward.

Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Traffic was suspended for four hours across the Crimea bridge this morning, Russian news agencies reported, after an overnight drone attack.

No reason was given for the suspension and traffic has now resumed, RIA Novosti reported. The bridge, which connects the occupied peninsula with the Russian mainland, has been attacked several times during the war.

Russia’s Ministry of Defense said earlier that 11 Ukrainian drones had been shot down over Crimea, although it’s unknown whether it was connected to the bridge closure. Ukraine has not commented on the incident.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian news out Suspilne reported that several powerful explosions were heard in Yevpatoria, home to a number of Russian military units, in Crimea.

Local residents reported that a group of attack unmanned aerial vehicles was involved and that an air defense system was likely hit in the area, according to news agency Ukrinform.

The latest incident follows what’s seen as the biggest attack on the home port of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet since the start of the war. The fleet, based in Sevastopol in Crimea, was targeted yesterday. Ukraine said it seriously damaged two Russian military vessels and port infrastructure in Sevastopol.

Ukrainian military intelligence official Andriy Yusov told Reuters that a large landing vessel and submarine had been hit in the strike, and later described the damage as “considerable” in televised comments. Russia said Ukraine had attacked the shipyard with cruise missiles and uncrewed speedboats. It downplayed the extent of the damage, however.

— Holly Ellyatt

Attacks on Danube ports have reduced grain export potential, Ukraine says

The grain export potential from ports on the Danube has been reduced by almost 500,000 metric tons per month, according to Ukraine’s deputy prime minister.

Attacks on major ports in places such as Izmail and Reni have destroyed crucial routes for agricultural exports.

Oleksandr Kubrakov wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, that it “threatens food shortages in countries that depend on Ukrainian agricultural products.”

— Hannah Ward-Glenton

Zelenskyy says there will be results — and the enemy will feel them

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Wednesday that “there will be results” and “the enemy will feel them,” according to a Google-translated Telegram post on his official channel.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Global Images Ukraine | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Zelenskyy didn’t provide any further details from the cabinet meeting.

— Hannah Ward-Glenton

Russia has ‘no other options’ but to win the war, defense minister says

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Moscow has “no other options” but to win the war in Ukraine, in an interview with state media outlet Russia-1, as translated by NBC.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu smiles while visiting the Army 2023 Exhibition on August 14, 2023 in Kubinka, Russia.

Contributor | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Kim Jong Un to visit Russian military factories, state media reports

Kim Jong Un is set to visit factories in far eastern Russia, President Vladimir Putin said, according to a translated Telegram post by Russian state media site RIA.

The factories in Komsomolsk-on-Amur produce civilian and military equipment, the report said.

Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s leader, prepares for his departure to North Korea at the railway station in Vladivostok, Russia, on Friday, April 26, 2019.

Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The North Korean leader will also visit Vladivostok, a city known for its historical military importance. No timeline was given for the visit.

— Hannah Ward-Glenton

Putin and Kim praise alliance stretching back to Cold War era

Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during their meeting at the Vostochny Cosmodrome in the Amur region on Sept. 13, 2023.

Vladimir Smirnov | Afp | Getty Images

Putin and Kim have praised their countries’ longstanding alliance as they met in Russia’s Far East on Wednesday.

Putin has promoted Russia’s longstanding alliance with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in a bit of a 20th-century history lesson on Soviet-North Korean relations.

Putin noted that the Soviet Union was the first state to recognize the DPRK “as the sole legitimate authority in all of Korea” in 1948.

He also noted that the USSR had helped the DPRK during the three-year Korean War that started in 1950. Given their shared Communist ideology, Soviet forces supported the Korean People’s Army during the war.

Kim, meanwhile, has praised bilateral ties with Russia, saying the relationship with Moscow is a priority for Pyongyang. He said Russia is now defending its sovereignty and that the DPRK has always supported decisions by the Russian Federation.

Having thanked Putin for inviting him to Russia, Kim said their talks can cover a variety of issues, from the economy to cultural ties. 

— Holly Ellyatt, Grigorii Chipurin

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