Live: Ukraine pledges to bolster its armed forces after Russian air strikes

Ukraine vowed to strengthen its armed forces after Russia launched its biggest aerial assaults on cities since the beginning of the war, forcing thousands to flee to bomb shelters and prompting Kyiv to halt electricity exports to Europe. Follow FRANCE 24’s live blog for all the latest developments. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).

11:22am: Rheinmetall to send tanks to Czechs in Ukraine chain swap scheme

German arms maker Rheinmetall will deliver Leopard 2A4 battle tanks and Buffalo armoured recovery vehicles to the Czech Republic as part of an international swap scheme to allow the flow of weapons to Ukraine, according to a company statement.

The first vehicle will be delivered in December, with all deliveries to be completed by the end of next year, according to a statement.

The Czech armed forces are to supply military equipment to Ukraine in exchange for replacement deliveries.

9:27am: France says Belarus could face more sanctions if it increases involvement

Belarus could face more sanctions if it gets more and more involved in the Ukraine conflict, said French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna.

The warning came a day after Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said he had ordered troops to deploy with Russian forces near Ukraine in response to what he said was a clear threat to Belarus from Kyiv and its backers in the West.

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The remarks from Lukashenko, who has held power in Belarus since 1994, indicate a potential further escalation of the war in Ukraine, possibly with a combined Russian-Belarus joint force in the north of Ukraine.

8:44am: Russian strikes hit Zaporizhzhia city

Russia targeted infrastructure facilities in Zaporizhzhia city early Tuesday, killing at least one person, according to Ukrainian officials.

The strikes hit educational and medical institutions as well as residential buildings, according to Ukraine’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.

7:58am: Kharkiv residents get back to work a day after Russian strikes

A day after multiple Russian missile strikes hit Kharkiv, FRANCE 24’s Catherine Norris Trent, reporting from the northeastern Ukrainian city, says life is returning to a new normal state.

“There’s not a sense that people are cowering in fear,” said Norris Trent. “There are cars on the street, people are heading to work. They’re telling us they have to get on with life as normal.”

Russian missiles targeted power stations on Monday, cutting electricity for several hours. But by nightfall, electricity was restored in many parts of the city, said Norris Trent.

7:18am: Russia suffers setback as UN rejects secret vote on Ukraine

The UN General Assembly voted to reject Russia's call for the 193-member body to hold a secret ballot on whether to condemn Moscow's annexation of four partially occupied regions in Ukraine.

The General Assembly decided, with 107 votes in favor, that it would hold a public vote – not a secret ballot – on a draft resolution that condemns Russia's "illegal so-called” referendums and the "attempted illegal annexation".

Here’s the breakdown of the procedural vote called by Albania for an open, public vote. Countries that approved an open vote include India and Brazil. Mali, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are among the 39 member states that abstained.

UNGA | India voted in favour of a procedural vote called by Albania to have an open vote on a draft resolution on Ukraine.

— Prasar Bharati News Services & Digital Platform (@PBNS_India) October 11, 2022

6:51am: G7 to hold crisis talks on Russia's bombing blitz in Ukraine

The US, France and other G7 powers hold crisis talks Tuesday on Russia's recent bombing blitz across Ukraine, with Britain's Liz Truss expected to insist they "must not waver one iota" in their support for Kyiv.

The meeting comes a day after Russian missiles rocked the Ukrainian capital for the first time in months, with President Volodymyr Zelensky warning Moscow that his country "cannot be intimidated".

Truss's office said the British prime minister would use the platform "to urge fellow leaders to stay the course".

German government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit has told reporters that Chancellor Olaf Scholz had spoken with Zelensky and assured him "of the solidarity of Germany and the other G7 states".

3:30am: UN ambassadors condemn Russian air strikes at General Assembly session

The UN General Assembly started debating Monday whether to demand that Russia reverse course on annexing four regions of Ukraine — a discussion that came as Moscow's most extensive missile strikes in months alarmed much of the international community anew.

The assembly's special session was planned before Monday's barrage, but countries spoke out on the widespread, Monday morning rush-hour attacks that killed at least 14 people and wounded scores.

Ukrainian Ambassador Sergey Kyslytsya said some of his own close relatives were imperiled in a residential building, unable to take cover in a bomb shelter.

“By launching missile attacks on civilians sleeping in their homes or rushing toward children going to schools, Russia has proven once again that it is a terrorist state that must be deterred in the strongest possible ways,” he said.

Russia said it targeted military and energy facilities. But some of the missiles smashed into civilian areas: a park, a commuter minibus, and more.

Russia has said it was retaliating for what it called a Ukrainian “terrorist” attack Saturday on an important bridge, and Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told the assembly that Moscow had warned that there wouldn't be impunity for such an act.

The bridge was “civilian infrastructure, critical infrastructure”, he told reporters outside the chamber.

Ukrainian officials haven’t confirmed that Kyiv was behind the bridge attack or other incidents of apparent sabotage but have said they welcome setbacks for Russia in all territory that it has claimed to annex.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres was “deeply shocked” by the Russian attacks and spoke Monday with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said UN spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric.

Various nations also deplored the bombardment. Turkish UN Ambassador Feridun Sinirlioğlu, whose country helped the UN broker a July deal to get Ukrainian and Russian grain exports flowing, called Monday’s attacks “deeply worrying and unacceptable”.

2:05am: Senior US senator wants 'freeze' on Saudi cooperation, blasts Riyadh

The Democratic chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee called on Monday for a freeze on cooperation with Saudi Arabia, including most arms sales, accusing the kingdom of helping underwrite the Russian war on Ukraine after OPEC+ announced last week it would cut oil production.

The Saudi-led OPEC+ cartel agreed to cut output by an amount equal to about 2 percent of global supply, curbing production in a tight market and raising the possibility of higher gasoline prices as Washington seeks to limit Russia's energy revenue after its invasion of Ukraine.

US President Joe Biden, a Democrat, rebuked the group's cut as "shortsighted" as the world deals with the impacts of Russia's war, the White House said.

Senator Bob Menendez called for aggressive action in another sign of the growing rift between the United States and Saudi Arabia.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and REUTERS)

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