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France 24

One killed in Ukrainian strike on Russian border region of Belgorod

Women look at a house destroyed by recent Ukrainian strikes in the town of Valuyki, near the border with Ukraine in Russia's Belgorod region, on July 5, 2023. © Stringer, AFP

Ukrainian shelling on the Russian border region of Belgorod killed one person on Saturday morning, local authorities said. The news comes after Russian forces carried out an overnight missile strike on Ukraine's southern Odesa region, damaging port infrastructure, the Ukrainian authorities said. This live blog is no longer being updated. All times are Paris time (GMT+2). 

This live blog is no longer being updated. For more of our coverage on the war in Ukraine, please click here.

03:29am: Russia to seek return to UN rights body despite Ukraine war

Russia, which was ousted from the UN Human Rights Council after its forces invaded Ukraine, will attempt a return to the body on Tuesday -- an uncertain move that will provide a gauge of its international support.

The UN General Assembly will vote that day to elect 15 new members to the Geneva-based UN body, for terms running from 2024 to 2026.

Moscow's candidacy has drawn skepticism, and the vote will come just days after a Russian missile attack on the Ukrainian village of Groza killed more than 50 people in a scene of carnage.

"We hope UN members will firmly reject (Russia's) preposterous candidacy," a State Department spokesperson told AFP on condition of anonymity.   

"Members of Russia's forces have committed violations of international humanitarian law, including war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine," the spokesperson added.

01:02am: Ukraine's Zelenskyy calls for world solidarity with Israel

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on world leaders on Saturday to show solidarity and unity in supporting Israel and condemning the "terrorist attack" by Palestinian Islamist group Hamas.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed "mighty vengeance" after a surprise assault by Hamas killed more than 200 people in the deadliest day of violence in Israel in half a century.

Zelenskyy, whose army has been fighting a war Russia launched against it 19 months ago, said that Israel - just like Ukraine - has "every right" to protect itself.

"Let the value of human life and the intolerance of terror be the principles that will finally unite the whole world,"

Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address.

5:16pm: Putin ally suggests postponing March presidential election, or excluding rivals

Ramzan Kadyrov, head of Russia's Chechnya region and close ally of President Vladimir Putin, proposed on Saturday that a presidential election due next March should either be postponed due to the war in Ukraine or limited to one candidate – Putin.

The state-run RIA news agency said Kadyrov had spoken on Saturday at a rally in the centre of the Chechen capital Grozny, put at 25,000 people, to mark Putin's birthday.

"I propose now, while the 'special military operation' is under way, to unanimously decide that we will have one candidate in the elections – Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin," Kadyrov was quoted as saying.

"Or temporarily call off the elections, because there's no one else who could defend our country today," added the Chechen strongman, a Putin protege who has raised his public profile since the war began.

Putin has dominated Russia for more than two decades and, having suppressed all significant political opposition, would be all but certain to win an election and, as widely expected, extend his stay in the Kremlin to 2030.

The Kremlin leader, who turned 71 on Saturday, has said he will not announce if he will run before parliament calls the election, which by law it is due to do in December.

3:53pm: Putin launches Russian gas shipments to Uzbekistan

Russian Vladimir Putin on Saturday announced the start of gas supplies to Uzbekistan via Kazakhstan, a boost for Russia's industry hit by a flurry of Western sanctions over the offensive in Ukraine.

Moscow relies heavily on energy revenues but has seen export plummet amid since the  offensive.

"This is the largest trilateral energy project" between the three ex-Soviet countries, Putin said, after formally launching the shipment.

He was hosting a meeting in Moscow with his Uzbek and Kazakh counterparts, Shavkat Mirziyoyev and Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.

Putin added that the leaders would during the afternoon discuss further cooperation in the energy sector as a whole.

3:06pm: Car bomb kills official in Russian-held Ukrainian town, governor says

A party official in the Russian-held town of Nova Kakhovka in Ukraine's Kherson province was killed by a car bomb on Saturday, the provincial governor said. Vladimir Malov, executive secretary of the town branch of Russia's governing United Russia party, died in hospital, Vladimir Saldo said in a post on his Telegram channel.

He said it had been a "terrorist attack", meaning one orchestrated by Ukraine. There was no immediate comment from Kyiv.

Officials seen as supporting Russian rule in the parts of Ukraine that Moscow claims to have annexed since its full-scale invasion in February last year have often been targeted in assassination attempts, many of them fatal.

In July, Russia said it had thwarted a Ukrainian attempt to kill Sergei Aksyonov, the Russian-backed head of unilaterally annexed Crimea, arresting an agent before he could blow up Aksyonov's car.

13:44pm: Ukraine's Kharkiv region declares three days of mourning after deadly missile strike on Hroza

Ukraine's Kharkiv region declared three days of mourning after a missile hit the village of Hroza on Thursday, killling 52 people in the deadliest single attack against civilians to date since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion on February 22, 2022. Even though scenes of destruction have become all too familiar to people living near the front line, the shock remains immense. FRANCE 24's Ukraine correspondent Emmanuelle Chaze and producer Illya Diaduk report from Hroza and the wider Kharkiv region. 

10:19am: One killed in Ukrainian strike on Russian border region

Ukrainian shelling on the Russian border region of Belgorod killed one person on Saturday morning, local authorities said.

"This morning, the Armed Forces of Ukraine hit the village of Urazovo in the Valuysky district with Grad missiles," regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov wrote on Telegram, adding "one person died – a man who was on the street at the time of the shelling".

9:48am: US expulsion of Russian diplomats 'banal revenge', says ambassador

Washington's decision to expel two Russian diplomats in retaliation for a similar expulsion of US diplomats is "banal revenge", Russian ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov said Saturday.

In a statement on Telegram he said that at a meeting with the US side, "I asked my interlocutors to explain what exactly our comrades were accused of and I received no arguments ... Thus, this is, in fact, banal revenge, which does not do credit to American diplomacy."

On Friday the United States said it was expelling two Russian diplomats in response to Moscow kicking out two Americans last month.

Moscow said they were expelled for liaising with a Russian citizen who had formerly worked at the US consulate in the far eastern city of Vladivostok, Robert Shonov.

After a previous reduction of diplomats, Shonov started working as a contractor and the United States says he was hired for routine monitoring of publicly available Russian media. But Antonov said the two US diplomats expelled "were essentially interfering in internal affairs and attempting to undermine Russia's national security".

Relations between the United States and Russia have deteriorated sharply since Moscow's invasion of Ukraine last year. The United States has said it sees no point in senior-level talks except on isolated issues such as arranging prisoner swaps. 

7:35am: Russia hits Odesa grain facility in overnight missile strike

Russian forces carried out an overnight missile strike on Ukraine's southern Odesa region, damaging port infrastructure, Ukrainian authorities said early on Saturday.

Governor Oleh Kiper said four people were wounded in the strike, which hit a boarding house and a portside grain facility. He did not specify where the attack took place.

Ukraine's military said the strike involved supersonic Onyx missiles fired from Russian-occupied Crimea.

Russian forces have carried out regular missile and drone strikes on port infrastructure in recent weeks, making it difficult for major grain producer Ukraine to export its products.

Moscow pulled out of a deal in mid-July that had enabled Black Sea grain shipments and helped combat a global food crisis.

5:41am: Drone attack near Moscow thwarted by Russian defence forces, reports TASS

Russian air defence forces took down a Ukrainian drone near Moscow early on Saturday that appeared to cause no damage or injuries, Russian state-owned news agency TASS reported.

The attack, repelled over the Istra district northwest of the capital, was an attempt by Ukraine to attack Russian facilities, TASS reported, citing Russia's Defence Ministry.

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said preliminary reports showed no casualties or damage but that "emergencies services are working at the scene", TASS said, citing his channel on the Telegram messaging app.

Flight operations resumed at Moscow's Vnukovo and Sheremetyevo airports after being suspended, TASS said.

Key developments from Friday, October 6:

Russia unleashed new air strikes on Ukraine early on Friday, killing a 10-year-old boy in the northeastern city of Kharkiv and damaging grain and port infrastructure in the southern Odesa region, Ukrainian officials said.

The head of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO) said on Friday that for Russia to consider pulling out of the treaty would be "concerning" after Moscow indicated it was moving towards revoking its ratification.

Read yesterday’s live blog to see how the day’s events unfolded.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and Reuters)

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