Kyiv reels as 'massive' wave of missile strikes hit Ukrainian cities; wheat prices rise as grain deal stalls

This was CNBC's live blog tracking developments on the war in Ukraine on Oct.31, 2022. See here for the latest updates. 

Russia unleashes a barrage of air strikes against civilian infrastructure in Ukraine
Russia unleashes a barrage of air strikes against civilian infrastructure in Ukraine

A series of missile strikes hit major Ukrainian cities on Monday morning, with the capital Kyiv and cities to the northeast and south being targeted, according to regional officials.

Kyiv's Mayor Vitali Klitschko said on Telegram that part of the capital had been "cut off" by the strikes, which he said had hit critical infrastructure facilities. "There is no water supply in some areas," he said.

Meanwhile, global wheat prices have started to rise following Russia's withdrawal from the Black Sea grain export deal last weekend.

Russia announced Saturday that it was suspending its involvement in the Black Sea Grain Initiative that was brokered in July and which allowed vital agricultural products to be exported from several Ukrainian ports.

The UN and Turkey, which help broker the deal, said they were working with Russia and Ukraine to help move ships stuck within the maritime corridor being used in the initiative.

NATO's Stoltenberg speaks with Finnish president as the Nordic country prepares to join the alliance

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said he spoke with Finland's President Sauli Niinisto as the Nordic country prepares to join the world's most powerful military alliance.

"We addressed Russia's war on Ukraine and Finland's path to NATO. Finland is already more secure, and your membership will make us all safer & stronger. We look forward to having you as full members of our alliance soon," Stoltenberg wrote on Twitter.

Niinisto confirmed the call in a separate tweet adding that his country looks forward to "the future role of Finland as a NATO ally."

He said the two spoke about the ratification process of adding Finland to the alliance and shared updates on Russia's war in Ukraine.

— Amanda Macias

Biden slams oil companies for 'their war profiteering' amid energy crisis triggered from Russia's war in Ukraine

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks while launching a new plan for Americans to receive booster shots and vaccinations against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), onstage in an auditorium on the White House campus in Washington, October 25, 2022.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

President Joe Biden again placed blame for soaring gas prices on Russia's war in Ukraine before outlining steps his administration has taken to address mounting energy costs for American consumers.

"Putin's invasion in Ukraine in March sent gas prices soaring literally around the world and because of the actions we've taken since then," Biden said, adding that prices have since lowered.

"This difference makes a difference in a difficult time," Biden said. "Not everyone's stepped up. The oil industry has not," Biden added, slamming oil companies for "their war profiteering."

— Amanda Macias

'We are losing time,' U.N. official warns as Ukrainian agriculture exports come to a halt

A picture shows a view of the stern of the grain-laden Syrian-flagged ship Laodicea, docked in Lebanon's northern port of Tripoli, on July 30, 2022. A Lebanese prosecutor ordered "the seizure of the ship until the investigation is completed", instructing the police to consult the Ukraine embassy after it claimed that the grain cargo was loaded from a region occupied by Russian forces.
Fathi Al-masri | AFP | Getty Images

Martin Griffiths, the U.N.'s under-secretary-general for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, dismissed Russian allegations that the Black Sea Grain Initiative was being used by the West to give Ukraine a "military operational advantage."

"We are losing time, the shipping industry is wasting money and we are delaying food delivery when millions are hungry and can't pay their bills," Griffiths told the U.N. Security Council.

"We are encouraged by Russia's assurance that it is not pulling out of the initiative and it is only temporarily suspending activities in the implementation," he added.

Griffiths urged all parties that are signatories of the Black Sea Grain Initiative to resolve outstanding issues in order to restart Ukrainian agriculture exports.

The Black Sea Grain Initiative, a United Nations-backed deal brokered in July, eased Russia's naval blockade and saw the reopening of three key Ukrainian ports. The first vessel left Ukraine's port of Odesa on Aug. 1 carrying more than 26,000 metric tons of corn. Since then, nearly 400 ships carrying a total of 9 million metric tons have departed Ukraine's ports.

On Saturday, Moscow suspended its participation in the deal, which was set to expire next month, citing retaliation for Kyiv's "act of terrorism" against Russian warships.

— Amanda Macias

Power, water restored in Kyiv following missile strikes, but emergency restrictions remain

Kyiv in near-darkness after a military strike that partially brought down power infrastructure on Oct. 31, 2022.
Sergei Supinsky | AFP | Getty Images

Kyiv's electricity provider DTEK, Kyivski Elektromerezhi, said power is now restored in Kyiv following Russia's missile strikes this morning.

"We have restored power supply to consumers and water utility facilities that were left without power due to the Russian terrorist attack on the city's critical infrastructure facilities on the morning of October 31," reads a post from DTEK's official Facebook page.

However, following instructions from electricity transmission system operator, Ukrenergo, emergency power supply restrictions will be in effect in Kyiv, leaving some without electricity "in accordance with the needs of the power system," DTEK reported. Power will be fully returned once the system is stabilized and on the instruction of Ukrenergo, according to the provider.

This morning's missile strikes hit 18 facilities, the majority of which were energy-related, leaving 80% of Kyiv's residents without water or power.

— Rocio Fabbro

Ukraine says it shot down nearly all of Russia's early morning missile strikes

Smoke rises after a fire broke out at a factory following an airstrike by Russian forces that hit Ukraine's Kramatorsk in Donetsk Oblast as Russia-Ukraine war continues on October 27, 2022.
Metin Aktas | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Ukraine's Air Forces said it has shot down about 44 of the approximately 50 recorded Russian missiles that rained down across Ukrainian cities this morning.

Last week, Ukrainian military spokesman Yuriy Ihnat said the country's air force has shot down more than 300 Iranian Shahed-136 "kamikaze" drones since Russia introduced the new weapons on the battlefield. Ihnat has previously hailed Western air defense systems in countering Russian missile strikes.

In recent weeks, Moscow has carried out several devastating missile and drone strikes against what Kyiv said were civilian targets and critical infrastructure such as energy facilities.

Iran and Russia's representatives at the United Nations have sharply denied reports that Tehran supplied Moscow with a fleet of drones for use in Ukraine. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied that it uses Iranian-made drones to target residential and other high civilian areas.

— Amanda Macias

U.S. Embassy in Kyiv takes shelter after barrage of Russian missile strikes

The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv said it was taking shelter after a barrage of Russian missile strikes pounded major Ukrainian cities.

"Like millions of Ukrainians, our U.S. Embassy in Kyiv team is once again taking shelter as Russia continues its callous and barbaric missile strikes on the people of Ukraine in an effort to leave the country cold and dark as we approach winter," U.S. Ambassador Bridget Brink wrote in a tweet.

Ukraine's Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said Russia's shelling of various regions in Ukraine appeared to target civilian energy infrastructure.

"Missiles and drones hit 10 regions, where 18 facilities were damaged, most of which are energy-related," he wrote on Telegram. He added that 80% of Kyiv was without power.

— Amanda Macias

Biden lost temper with Zelenskyy in June phone call

U.S. President Joe Biden holds a video conference event with electric battery industry grant winners, related to recent infrastructure initiatives, from the White House in Washington, October 19, 2022.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

It's become routine since Russia invaded Ukraine: President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speak by phone whenever the U.S. announces a new package of military assistance for Kyiv.

But a phone call between the two leaders in June played out differently from previous ones, according to four people familiar with the call. Biden had barely finished telling Zelenskyy he'd just greenlighted another $1 billion in U.S. military assistance for Ukraine when Zelenskyy started listing all the additional help he needed and wasn't getting. Biden lost his temper, the people familiar with the call said.

The American people were being quite generous, and his administration and the U.S. military were working hard to help Ukraine, he said, raising his voice, and Zelenskyy could show a little more gratitude.

A spokesperson for the National Security Council declined to comment on the story. A spokesperson for Zelenskyy didn't respond to a request for comment. 

Read the full story on NBC News.

Blinken speaks with Chinese counterpart about Russia's war in Ukraine

Taiwan was the focus of the 90-minute, "direct and honest" talks between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the margins of the U.N. General Assembly in New York.
Stefani Reynolds | Afp | Getty Images

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with his Chinese counterpart about Russia's war in Ukraine, the State Department confirmed in a statement.

Blinken spoke with People's Republic of China State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.

"The secretary raised Russia's war against Ukraine and the threats it poses to global security and economic stability," Price said.

Washington has repeatedly warned Beijing, the world's second-largest economy, against providing financial aid to Moscow to help Russian President Vladimir Putin blunt global sanctions.

— Amanda Macias

Sanctions and Russian exodus drive demand for jet fuel in Central Asia

Russians are seen attempting to leave their country to avoid a military call-up for the Russia-Ukraine war as queues have formed at the Kazbegi border crossing in the Kazbegi municipality of Stepantsminda, Georgia on September 27, 2022.
Mirian Meladze | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Central Asian demand for jet fuel is soaring as the region has become a key air traffic hub, taking over from sanctions-hit Moscow and as it handles an influx of Russians fleeing military service.

Demand jumped after Russia and the West closed their air space to each other's aircraft after Moscow sent its troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24.

It was further boosted after President Vladimir Putin declared a "partial mobilization" on Sept. 21 and Russians fled the country in huge numbers, with more than 200,000 leaving for Kazakhstan alone.

Industrial data seen by Reuters showed supplies of jet fuel from Russia to Central Asia rose in January to September to 385,590 tonnes from 194,444 tonnes in the same period in 2021.

Central Asia, along with Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, has become an alternative route for Russians trying to get to Europe, in the absence of direct flights from Russia to the EU. The region's airports have also increased Russian freight turnover and boosted servicing and fueling of Russian aircraft.

— Reuters

21 ships dedicated to the Black Sea Grain Initiative await further instruction after Russia's decision to withdraw from humanitarian food program

Ships, including those carrying grain from Ukraine and awaiting inspections are seen anchored off the Istanbul coastline on October 14, 2022 in Istanbul, Turkey.
Chris Mcgrath | Getty Images

The organization overseeing the export of grain from Ukraine said that there are 21 vessels awaiting to leave the besieged country.

The Joint Coordination Center in Istanbul, which oversees the export of agricultural products from Ukraine, said that the ships have a capacity of more than 700,000 metric tons. One ship is chartered by the World Food Program and is carrying 30,000 metric tons of wheat destined for the Horn of Africa.

Before the war, Ukraine and Russia accounted for almost a quarter of global grain exports until those shipments came to a severe halt for nearly six months.

The Black Sea Grain Initiative, a United Nations-backed deal brokered in July, eased Russia's naval blockade and saw the reopening of three key Ukrainian ports. The first vessel left Ukraine's port of Odesa on Aug. 1 carrying more than 26,000 metric tons of corn. Since then, nearly 400 ships carrying a total of 9 million metric tons have departed Ukraine's ports.

On Saturday, Moscow suspended its participation citing retaliation for Kyiv's "act of terrorism" against Russian warships.

— Amanda Macias

Norway raises military alert in response to Ukraine war

Norway will put its military on a raised level of alert from Tuesday as it sharpens security in response to the war in Ukraine, the Nordic country's prime minister said, Reuters reported.

Norway is now the biggest exporter of natural gas to the European Union, accounting for around a quarter of all EU imports after a drop in Russian flows.

Houses by the sea in Norway
Ryhor Bruyeu | EyeEm | Norway

"This is the most severe security situation in several decades," Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere told a news conference.

"There are no indications that Russia is expanding its warfare to other countries, but the increased tensions make us more exposed to threats, intelligence operations and influence campaigns."

The armed forces will spend less time training and more time on operational duties, and the Home Guard, a rapid mobilization force, will play a more active role, Defense Minister Bjoern Arild Gram said.

— Reuters

More than 6,400 people have died in Ukraine, U.N. says

A communal worker carries a cross during the funeral of Mykhaylo Matyushenko, a colonel of Armed Forces of Ukraine, who was shot down in the sky over the Black Sea on June 26, 2022, at the Heroes Alley of the cemetery of Bucha, Kyiv region on October 3, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Sergei Supinsky | AFP | Getty Images

The United Nations has confirmed 6,430 civilian deaths and 9,865 injuries in Ukraine since Russia invaded its ex-Soviet neighbor on Feb. 24.

The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said the death toll in Ukraine is likely higher, because armed conflict can delay fatality reports.

The international organization said most of the civilian casualties recorded were caused by the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area, including shelling from heavy artillery and multiple launch rocket systems, as well as missiles and airstrikes.

— Amanda Macias

Intense fighting in the Kharkiv region, situation 'really tense'

Artillery craters scar the landscape on October 24, 2022 in Sulyhivka, Kharkiv oblast, Ukraine.
Carl Court | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Intense fighting is taking place in the Kharkiv region in northeastern Ukraine with the country's armed forces fighting to liberate 24 settlements, and facing active Russian resistance in the process.

"Our Armed Forces are actively fighting for the liberation of our territories. We still have an average of 24 settlements under occupation. I say 'on average' because the situation is really changing at the front," Oleg Synehubov, head of the Kharkiv Regional Military Administration, said during a nationwide telethon, news agency Ukrinform reported Monday.

Synehubov said Ukraine's forces were "making every effort to completely liberate the region as soon as possible" but that Russian units were "actively resisting and were not going to leave."

"The situation is really tense there," he added with both sides looking to reinforce their positions.

"Defense and fortification structures are being built. Let me remind you that we have a 315km border with the Russian Federation. The Russians are also reinforcing the positions from their territory. Indeed, construction is underway on fortified areas, concrete structures," Synehubov said.

—Holly Ellyatt

12 ships left Ukrainian ports, despite Russian suspension of Black Sea Grain Initiative

A road-and-rail bridge constructed to connect the Russian mainland with the Crimean peninsula, seen here in 2018.
REUTERS | Pavel Rebrov

Twelve ships carrying grain have left Ukraine's ports, despite Moscow's announcement that it would suspend its participation in the United Nations-backed Black Sea Grain Initiative.

A record 354,500 tons of grain were carried on the vessels leaving Ukrainian ports as part of the Black Sea grain deal, a spokesperson for Odesa's military administration said, according to Reuters.

In response to Russia's decision to halt participation in the deal, the U.N., Turkey and Ukraine reached an agreement on Sunday to unblock 16 grain ships in Turkish waters. This agreement resolves the Russian-imposed inspection backlog and helps stave off fears of a global food crisis.

The UN and Turkish delegations provided 10 inspection teams to inspect 40 ️ships, Oleksandr Kubrakov, Ukraine's Minister of Infrastructure, said in a tweet. The Russian delegation is aware of the new inspection plan, he added.

— Rocio Fabbro

Russian reservists likely to be using 'barely usable' weapons

Russian reservists deployed to fight in Ukraine are likely to be using weapons that are in a "barely usable condition" according to the U.K.'s Ministry of Defence.

Russia has deployed several thousand newly mobilized reservists to the frontline in Ukraine since mid-October, the ministry noted, and "in many cases they are poorly equipped."

"In September, Russian officers were concerned that some recently mobilised reservists were arriving in Ukraine without weapons," the ministry said in an intelligence update posted on Twitter.

Russian newly-mobilized reservists train at a shooting range in the course of Russia-Ukraine conflict in the Donetsk region, Russian-controlled Ukraine, October 10, 2022.
Alexander Ermochenko | Reuters

"Open source images suggest that those rifles which have been issued to mobilised reservists are typically AKMs, a weapon first introduced in 1959. Many are likely in barely usable condition following poor storage."

The AKM is an assault rifle that fires 7.62mm ammunition while Russia's regular combat units are mostly armed with 5.45mm AK-74M or AK-12 rifles, the ministry noted.

"The integration of reservists with contract soldiers and combat veterans in Ukraine will mean Russian logisticians will have to push two types of small arms ammunition to front line positions, rather than one. This will likely further complicate Russia's already strained logistics systems," the ministry noted.

— Holly Ellyatt

Russia says Black Sea grain shipments 'risky' without its security guarantee

An aerial view of "Glory" named empty grain ship as Representatives of Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations (UN) of the Joint Coordination Center (JCC) conduct inspection on vessel in Istanbul, Turkiye on August 09, 2022.
Ali Atmaca | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Russia said that it would be risky for Ukraine to continue exporting grain via the Black Sea now that Moscow had suspended its participation in a U.N.-brokered deal to facilitate shipments.

"In conditions when Russia is talking about the impossibility of guaranteeing the safety of shipping in these areas, such a deal is hardly feasible, and it takes on a different character - much more risky, dangerous and unguaranteed," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

Peskov blamed the actions of the Ukrainian side for disrupting the deal. Russia said on Saturday it was suspending its participation after an attack on its Black Sea fleet.

Kyiv has accused Moscow of "blackmailing the world with hunger."

— Reuters

80% of Kyiv's residents without water after missile strikes

Kyiv residents fill plastic containers and bottles at a water pump in one of the parks in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv on October 31, 2022.
Sergei Chuzavkov | AFP | Getty Images

As many as 80% of Kyiv's residents have been left without water following missile strikes on the city's energy infrastructure, according to Mayor Vitali Klitschko and the city's water supplier.

Klitschko said this was "due to the damage to a power facility" near the city by Russian missile strikes on Monday morning.

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko visits a checkpoint of the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces in Kyiv on March 6, 2022.
Valentyn Ogirenko | Reuters

Utilities company Kyivvodokanal, which supplies water to Kyiv, said it was working to restore water supply stations as soon as possible.

A wave of Russian missile strikes have hit Ukraine today following what Moscow alleges was a Ukrainian attack on its Black Sea fleet over the weekend.

More than 50 missiles fired at Ukraine, prime minister says

Ukraine's Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said that Russia's shelling of various regions in Ukraine on Monday morning has damaged civilian energy infrastructure.

"Missiles and drones hit 10 regions, where 18 objects [facilities] were damaged, most of which are energy-related," he said on Telegram.

"Hundreds of settlements in seven regions of Ukraine were cut off. The consequences could have been much worse. But thanks to the heroic and professional work of the Air Defense Forces, 44 of the more than 50 missiles fired at our territory were shot down," he added.

A series of missile strikes hit major Ukrainian cities on Monday morning, with the capital Kyiv and cities to the northeast and south being targeted. Much of Kyiv is without power and water following the attacks.

Kyivvodokanal, a utilities company supplying water for Kyiv, said Monday that 80% of the city's residents are currently without a water supply.

— Holly Ellyatt

Dnipropetrovsk region targeted with several strikes

A school lies destroyed after being hit by a Russian missile, on October 30, 2022 in Apostolove, Dnipropetrovsk oblast, Ukraine. Russia has said it's suspending involvement in a deal that allows Ukraine to export grain from its Black Sea ports after a drone attack on its Black Sea fleet.
Carl Court | Getty Images

Dnipropetrovsk in southeastern Ukraine has come under attack from Russian missiles this morning with the head of the regional military administration, Valentyn Reznichenko, saying there have been "several hits during the morning attack on the region."

"The Russians targeted energy infrastructure facilities in Dnipro and Pavlohrad. Serious destruction is recorded. All services are working on site."

Major cities, including Kyiv, have been hit by missile strikes Monday morning with critical energy infrastructure targeted again by Russian forces.

— Holly Ellyatt

Missile strikes hit major Ukrainian cities, including capital Kyiv

Russian missile strikes target Ukrainian cities, including capital Kyiv
Elmurod Usubaliev | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

A series of missile strikes hit major Ukrainian cities on Monday morning, with the capital Kyiv and cities to the northeast and south being targeted, according to regional officials.

Kyiv's Mayor Vitali Klitschko said on Telegram that part of the capital had been "cut off" by the strikes, which he said had hit critical infrastructure facilities. "There is no water supply in some areas," he said.

In his latest post he said engineers were working to restore electricity supply after damage to an energy facility that powers around 350,000 apartments in Kyiv. Local authorities have called on the city's residents to stay in bomb shelters until the air raid alert ends.

An advisor to Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy described the wave of missile strikes as "massive."

Elsewhere, the Mayor of Kharkiv in northeastern Ukraine, Igor Terekhov, said there had been two "arrivals" in the city that had hit critical infrastructure facilities in the city this morning.

Other strikes were reported in the city of Zaporizhzhia in the south of Ukraine, with the Secretary of the City Council Anatolii Kurtiev posting on Telegram that Russian forces had "attacked a critical infrastructure facility" causing power outages in the city. "Information about the victims and the extent of the damage is being clarified," he said.

The wave of missile strikes comes after Russia accused Ukraine on Saturday of carrying out a drone attack against its Black Sea Fleet off the coast of Crimea. Ukraine has not said whether it was responsible for the attack. 

— Holly Ellyatt

Wheat prices rise almost 6% af