Key developments on Oct. 31:
- PM: Russia damages 18 ‘critical’ infrastructure sites in 10 regions across Ukraine
- National police: 13 people injured during Monday rush-hour attack
- Russian missile debris falls in Moldova, Russian diplomat expelled in response
- 12 cargo ships leave Ukrainian ports despite Russian blockade
Russia launched missile and drone strikes targeting energy sites in 10 regions on Oct. 31, causing sporadic power and water outages across the country.
Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said that 18 "critical, civilian infrastructure sites" were damaged. The attacked sites include three major hydroelectric power plants in central and southern Ukraine, as well as an industrial enterprise in Kryvyi Rih, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast.
A total of 13 people were wounded nationwide, according to the National Police.
Kyiv Oblast Governor Oleksiy Kuleba said "critical infrastructure facilities" on the outskirts of Kyiv were hit, and two people were injured.
Parts of Kyiv were left without electricity and water due to the strikes. Mayor Vitali Klitschko said 350,000 homes were cut off from electricity, and 80% of Kyiv's households were left without water as of noon.
According to the Ministry of Digital Transformation, the Russian attack cut off 450 cellular bases in Kyiv from electricity, causing mobile communication disruptions throughout the day.
The Oct. 31 strikes are Russia's third massive Monday rush-hour attack, likely aimed at imposing fear and uncertainty among Ukrainians.
Russian attacks on Oct. 10 and Oct. 17 caused massive power shortages across Ukraine, damaging around 30 percent of Ukraine's energy infrastructure.
Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba condemned Russia for targeting civilian infrastructure once again.
"Russia does this because it still has the missiles and the will to kill Ukrainians," Kuleba said
Debris from one of Russia's missiles, shot down by Ukraine's Air Force, landed in Moldova near the border with Ukraine, damaging several buildings in a border village.
Moldova condemned the Russian strikes, yet Moldovan Deputy Foreign Minister Sergiy Diaconu said his country would treat the incident as "an accident" since "it wasn't a direct strike."
Moldova expelled a Russian diplomat following the attack.
Grains stuck in Ukraine
Negotiations are underway to reverse Russia’s decision to withdraw from the Black Sea grain deal over the weekend. Russia announced it was suspending its participation in the deal that allowed Ukrainian grain exported from the Black Sea ports after the Oct. 29 drone attack on Sevastopol, which it blames on Ukraine.
Turkey and the United Nations are in talks with the Russian delegation to resume the deal, but no results have come out yet, according to Ukraine’s infrastructure ministry. The Russian defense ministry said its minister Sergei Shoigu and his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar talked over the phone to discuss the grain deal, but the statement did not disclose more details.
However, it’s not clear whether Russia is enforcing its pull-out from the UN-brokered grain deal. On Oct. 31 alone, 12 ships carrying 350,000 tons of agricultural products left Ukrainian ports using a “humanitarian corridor” negotiated by the U.N. and Turkey, according to Ukraine’s infrastructure ministry. Among them was a ship with Ukrainian wheat for Ethiopian residents who are on the verge of famine, it added.
The landmark agreement reached in July had allowed Ukraine to ship more than 9 million tons of grain and foodstuff by creating a protected maritime corridor on the Black Sea.
Earlier on Oct. 29, the Russian defense ministry suspended its part in the deal after what are presumably Ukrainian drone attacks on Sevastopol in occupied Crimea. Ukraine denied being involved in the attack, with President's Office Head Andriy Yermak accusing Moscow of inventing “fictitious terrorist attacks on its own facilities.”
Ukraine is one of the world’s largest grain exporters, and it has been relying on the Black Sea as a key route to ship agricultural products to Europe and the developing world.
In Donetsk Oblast, Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said that the heaviest fighting is still raging near the city of Bakhmut. He added that Russian forces are attempting to advance toward Avdiivka and shelling continues non-stop.
“The Russian occupation troops do not stop the offensive,” Kyrylenko said on TV, adding that they are suffering heavy losses and don’t have “significant successes.”
In the easternmost Luhansk Oblast, Governor Serhiy Haidai said Ukraine’s military had repelled attacks near the villages of Bilohorivka, Mykolaivka, and Novoselivske in the largely occupied region.
On the southern front, Russia is preparing to evacuate its individual units and military equipment from the right bank of the Dnipro River where occupied Kherson sits, according to the southern military command of Ukraine’s Armed Forces.
Russian forces are defending the captured territories in Kherson Oblast and the situation is “steadily tense,” their report said.
Casualties and attacks
Russia launched 10 airstrikes across Ukraine on Oct. 31, according to Ukraine’s General Staff.
Donetsk Oblast Governor Kyrylenko reported on Oct. 31 that four people were killed in the embattled town of Bakhmut over the past day. He added that a body of a civilian was found in the liberated city of Sviatohirsk.
In Ukraine’s northeast, Kharkiv Oblast Governor Oleh Synyehubov said a 16-year-old boy was hospitalized near Izium on Oct. 30 due to continued Russian shelling.
In central Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, Governor Valentyn Reznichenko said Russia had heavily shelled Marganets, a small city near Nikopol, using Grad rocket launchers overnight, killing a 31-year-old woman. Another woman was hospitalized.
Reznichenko added that almost 30 residential buildings, including high-rise ones and single-family houses, were damaged in the city, and power lines were “mutilated.”