Ukraine war updates: Russia hits power grid, Iran accused of stepping in (Oct. 24)

Monday marks eight months since Russia launched its large-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24. As the week begins, here’s a look ahead and a roundup of key developments from the past week.

What to watch this week

The United States, France and Britain are dismissing Russia’s recent accusation that Ukraine could be planning to use a so-called dirty bomb — an explosive laced with nuclear material — in its own territory.

On Tuesday, U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner appears back in court for an appeal against her nine-year sentence in Russian prison.

Also this week, Germany hosts conferences on rebuilding and doing business in Ukraine, with Ukraine’s prime minister and the European Commission president due to attend.

What happened last week

Russian President Vladimir Putin decreed martial law in Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine, Oct. 19, while also raising security threat levels in Moscow and Russian border areas.

Earlier in the day, Kremlin-installed authorities asked civilians to evacuate Kherson, in southern Ukraine, ahead of an anticipated advance by Ukrainian forces. Kherson is one of the Russian occupied territories the Kremlin claimed to annex last month. By the weekend, as many as 25,000 people had evacuated, Reuters reported citing a Kremlin-appointed official in Russian media.

Iranian military personnel are directly engaged in Crimea helping Russia conduct drone attacks on Ukraine, the White House said Oct. 20. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said Russia has purchased dozens of drones from Iran and Iranian forces are helping hit infrastructure, civilians and military targets across Ukraine.

Ukraine’s government post then deleted a tweet wishing to return former Prime Minister Boris Johnson to office in the United Kingdom. Before Johnson exited the race, the official Kyiv account had posted a meme saying “Better Call Boris” with a doctored image from the TV show Better Call Saul.

Russian strikes caused the worst damage to Ukraine’s power grid since the war began, cutting off electricity to more than 1.4 million households in the country.


In Ukraine, trend lines point to escalation, not an endgame.

Young Ukrainians volunteer to clean up destroyed homes — and try to make it fun.

Ukrainians keep a wary eye on U.S. midterm elections, fearing a loss of support.

What are the suicide drones bombarding Ukraine, and where did Russia get them?

Ukraine’s power grid sustains record damage in Russian strikes.

Russia’s nuclear arsenal is huge, but will Putin use it?

What the rhetoric used by Zelenskyy and Putin can tell us about the war in Ukraine.

Support for Ukraine becomes the focus of Italy’s politics.

Russian tactics in Ukraine are similar to those in Syria.

Special report

Russia’s war in Ukraine is changing the world: See its ripple effects in all corners of the globe.

Earlier developments

You can read past recaps here. For context and more in-depth stories, you can find more of NPR’s coverage here. Also, listen and subscribe to NPR’s State of Ukraine podcast for updates throughout the day.

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