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  • Writer's pictureParley Policy Initiative

Ukraine-Russia Ceasefire Negotiations: Chapter VI

This article looks at the sixth chapter of ceasefire negotiations between Russia and Ukraine that occurred from October 2022 to November 2022. For the latest on the ceasefire negotiations, see the running tracker here. Read about Chapter I, Chapter II, Chapter III, Chapter IV, and Chapter V.

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Chapter VI Summary: Russia's illegal annexation of Ukrainian territories set the parties to conflict on divergent paths. For Ukraine, the focus of its efforts intensified on the counteroffensive aimed at liberating occupied territories. For Russia, the goal shifted to ending the war by leveraging the oncoming winter. While Ukrainian forces liberated cities and villages, the Russian military turned its attacks towards Ukraine's energy infrastructure in hopes that the bitter cold would weaken resolve against the prospect of a protracted liberation campaign. Meanwhile, mediation efforts continued to enable POW exchanges and the staving off of a global food security crisis once again. This chapter ended with the agreement by Ukraine, Russia, Turkey, and the United Nations to extend the Black Sea Grain Initiative for another 120 days.

 

1 October:

  • A day after declaring that Donetsk was part of Russia’s sovereign territory, Ukrainian forces liberate the occupied city of Lyman in Donetsk oblast. President Volodymyr Zelensky states in his nightly address, “The Ukrainian flag is already in Lyman, Donetsk region…Ukraine will return its own. Both in the east and in the south. And what they tried to annex now, and Crimea, which has been called annexed since 2014…Our flag will be everywhere.”

  • The IAEA responds to the detention of Ihor Murashov, Director General of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. The agency publishes an update on the incident, indicating that its personnel are working to clarify the situation and gain Murashov's release. The statement also indicates that IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi is expected to travel to Kyiv and Moscow next week to establish a “nuclear safety and security zone” around the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant.

 

2 October:

  • Deputy Minister of Defense Hanna Mailar announces that since the start of the war, there have been 24 prisoner exchanges resulting in the return of 808 Ukrainians. She does not disclose the number of Russians that were repatriated but notes that Ukraine has been complying with the Geneva protocols in its treatment of all POWs.

  • Following the Ukrainian liberation of Lyman, Chechen Governor Ramzan Kadyrov speaks out against the Russian Defense Ministry's handling of the war. He decries that logistics issues that have failed to deliver reinforcements and supplies to the front and calls out nepotism among the military leadership. Kadyrov closes by giving his thoughts on the drastic steps needed to turn the war around:

 

3 October:

  • Occupation authorities release Director General of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant Ihor Murashov from captivity. He was detained on 30 September while en route to the facility. The Russian-backed officials threw Murashov out into territory controlled by the Ukraine side on the evening of October 3. Energoatom, the Ukrainian operator of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, notes that IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi took a personal role in securing Murashov's release.

Ihor Murashov (center) stands with Ukrainian forces after being recovered, 4 October 2022 (photo via Energoatom)


  • Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov responds to Chechen Governor Ramzan Kadyrov's remarks from the day prior: "Heads of regions have the authority to express their point of view and make assessments. These are, after all, the heads of entire Russian regions, including Ramzan Kadyrov, who, as you know, from the very beginning of the special military operation has done very much and contributed very much to the the campaign. And he continues to do so…[but] even in difficult moments, emotions should not cloud any assessments."

 

4 October:

  • The Turkish government reports that the amount of grain exported from Ukrainian ports under the Black Sea Grain Initiative has surpassed six million tons, with eight more ships departing from Ukraine today. Turkey continues to play host to the Joint Coordination Centre for the Black Sea Grain Initiative, serving as a key go-between for Ukraine and Russia.

 

5 October:

  • IAEA Director General begins his transit to Kyiv to negotiate implementation of a nuclear safety and security protection zone around the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant as soon as possible. The IAEA reports that its personnel deployed to the site have learned that the ZNPP operators plan to restart one of its six reactors which are currently all in cold shutdown. They also indicate that shelling near the facility continues, but the plant has not been affected.

  • Ukrainian Deputy and lead negotiator David Arakhamia announces that 11 allies have declared their support for Ukraine’s bid to gain accelerated accession to NATO: Canada, Croatia, Czechia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Slovakia, and Romania.

  • Vladimir Putin ratifies the annexation treaties for Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk, and Zaporizhzia. In response, Volodymyr Zelensky issues his own presidential decree, asserting that the decrees, laws, and other decisions from the Russian government related to Crimea, Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk, and Zaporizhzhia are null and void. The decree adds that the Treaty between Ukraine and the Russian Federation on the Ukrainian-Russian state border dated January 28, 2003 “cannot be terminated even as a result of a fundamental change in circumstances in accordance with Article 62 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of International Treaties of 1969.”

 

6 October:

  • IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi meets President Volodymy Zelensky in Kyiv. The two discuss the situation at Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant and negotiate a potential way ahead. The IAEA issues a readout of the meeting with the following key points:

  • Ownership of the plant: They discussed how to handle the issues surrounding Russia's purported annexation of Zaporizhzhia.

  • Establishment of a demilitarized zone: Grossi presented his proposal for the establishment of a "nuclear safety and security protection zone" around the plant and agreed to meet after Grossi's forthcoming trip to Russia to negotiate with the Kremlin.

  • Undue pressure on ZNPP staff. They discussed the occupation authorities' attempts to force the Ukrainian Energoatom employees to sign new employment contracts with the Russian state company Rosatom to keep their jobs. Grossi asserted, "This is a particularly dangerous moment for the safety and security of the ZNPP. Staff at the plant are being forced to make a hugely difficult decision for themselves and their loved ones. The enormous pressure they are facing must stop.”

  • Attacks around Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant: The two talked about recent shelling around the facility, noting that the attacks were happening between the nuclear power plant and the nearby town of Enerhodar.

Volodymyr Zelensky meets Rafael Grossi to discuss the situation at Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, 6 October 2022 (photo via Twitter @rafaelmgrossi)

 

7 October:

  • The Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of POWs issues an appeal via social media for people not to discuss captured personnel online, explaining that it can lead to mistreatment for prisoners and can negatively impact negotiations for their release. The HQ states the following:

The Coordinating Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War emphasizes that drawing attention to specific prisoners in the media, spreading their personal data and giving them publicity complicates the process of returning these soldiers home. After all, in such a case, the Russians realize the value of a specific defender for Ukrainian society, raise the "price" for his release, or even disrupt the exchange of prisoners.

  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan speaks with Vladimir Putin over the phone. He states that Turkey is still willing to mediate a resolution of the war and that he invited Putin to meet face-to-face in the next three or four days. The day prior, Erdoğan had stated that "even the worst peace is better than war."

 

8 October:

  • Energoatom, the Ukrainian operator of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, announces that the last remaining external power line to the reactors was cut by shelling around the plant [note: the IAEA later affirms this announcement]. Energoatom releases the following statement:

Tonight at 00:59 am, due to another shelling by russian troops, the last 750kV ZNPP – Dniprovska transmission line linking the facility to the power system was damaged and down. As a result, Zaporizhzhya NPP was completely de-energized. Diesel generators started automatically. The available supplies of diesel fuel for their operation in such mode will be enough for 10 days. Repair and restoring the lines linking the ZNPP with the power system are required. All the plans to start up of ZNPP power units are unrealistic in conditions of shelling and damaged lines.

  • A truck bomb detonates on the Crimean (Kerch Strait) Bridge, completely downing a section of the 19 kilometer bridge that Russia constructed after its annexation of Crimea in 2014. The bridge was a main conduit from Russian territory to Crimea, and occupation authorities are unsure when transit across the roads or rail lines will resume.

A truck carrying explosives blows up the Crimean Bridge, 8 October 2022

 

9 October:

  • Ukrainian Deputy and lead negotiator David Arakhamia comments on Romanian Minister of Defense Vasile Dîncu's petition for the Ukraine's partners to negotiate with Vladimir Putin. Dîncu's call is just one of several voices suggesting that now is the time to end the war. In response, Arakhamia lays out an indispensable interest for Ukraine that must be satisfied before the government will be ready to return to the negotiating table with the Russians:

The Minister of Defense of Romania calls on Western countries to negotiate with Russia for the sake of peace. We, in turn, are ready for negotiations with Western countries, but regarding our as soon as possible accession to NATO. This is the only topic on which we can have a conversation at this time, and Russia is superfluous in these negotiations. Collective security and strong Armed Forces of Ukraine are the only guarantee of peace on the European continent. Therefore, the negotiating efforts of the West should be directed in this direction.

  • In the early hours of the morning, Russian forces unleash missile strikes against civilian population centers in Zaporizhzhia oblast. This is one of the provinces that Russia claimed to have annexed last month.

Images depicting the aftermath of Russian missile strikes against Zaporizhzhia, 9 October 2022 (photos via the Ukrainian Presidential Office)

 

10 October:

  • Ukraine's Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense announces that Russia had been planning its missile strikes since early October, countering the notion that they were conducted in response to the bombing of the Crimean Bridge. The Directorate reports:

According to the military intelligence of Ukraine, the Russian occupying forces received instructions from the Kremlin to prepare massive missile strikes on the civilian infrastructure of Ukraine on October 2 and 3. Military units of strategic and long-range aviation received orders to prepare for the task of massive missile attacks. The objects of critical civil infrastructure and central areas of densely populated Ukrainian cities were identified as targets. On October 8, seven Tu-160 strategic bombers were transferred from the Engels airfield to the "Olenya" airfield and equipped with Kh-101 cruise missiles. 6 cruise missile carriers with 40 Kalibr missiles were deployed on the external raid of Sevastopol.

  • Ukrainian Presidential Advisor and negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak responds to Lukashenko's announcement of a joint deployment: "Lukashenko continues to sell its sovereignty to [the Russian Federation]. The application to place [a Russian] contingent in Belarus under false pretenses – formalization of occupation. assesses risks and ready for any threat. Situation is under control, currently no sign of repeated invasion from Belarus."

  • Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko announces that Belarusian forces have begun a joint deployment with Russian forces in Belarus. He notes that the decision came following a face-to-face meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on 7 October. Key comments from Lukashenko are included below:

  • Lukashenko's statement to the media: "In the wake of escalations on the western borders of the Union State, we agreed on deploying a regional group of forces of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus. All these moves are consistent with our documents...Now that the level of danger has reached this point, we will begin deploying a group of forces of the Union State…I must inform you that the deployment of this group has begun. It has been in progress for two days already, I believe. My order was given for us to start forming this group."

  • Lukashenko's directions to his Defense Minister: "A second conflict is what we do not need. As you know, they [the Russians] have their own problems now. That is why, do not count on a large number [from the contingent] of the Russian Armed Forces but this group will number more than one thousand-strong…Be ready in the near future to take these people and put them where they need to be, according to our plan, without overdoing it and inflaming the situation."

  • Russia launches dozens of cruise missiles at Kyiv in the worst barrage of Ukraine's capital city since March. The missiles land seemingly indiscriminately on non-military targets. This prompts sweeping outrage and denouncement from Ukraine and its partners.

  • Technicians at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant restore the high-voltage transmission line. The facility had been running on backup diesel generators for two days following shelling that severed its last external power line. Ukrainian operator Energoatom reports that radiation levels remain within normal limits. They add, "However, the [R]ussian military continues to carry out provocations and shelling of Europe's largest nuclear power plant, bringing the world closer to a nuclear and radiation disaster over and over."

 

11 October:

  • Ukrainian Deputy and lead negotiator David Arakhamia comments on Russia's missile strikes against civilian population centers, giving no indication that Ukraine is prepared to return to ceasefire talks until its interests are met: liberation of occupied territory; punishment for war criminals; and war reparations. He states the following: "Our citizens were not afraid.  In general, there is no such caliber that would force Ukrainians to give up resistance. No one came forward to ask for negotiations. Although this is exactly what the Russians were counting on. Our plans have not changed. Ukraine will fight for the liberation of all its territories and people. And the terrorist state will answer for all crimes and pay for everything it destroyed. We know from history that missile terror is one of the dictator's last arguments. Before his defeat, Hitler bombed London, Milosevic - Zagreb, Putin is bombing Kyiv and Zaporizhzhia. If Russia decides to follow the same path, then nothing good awaits them."

  • Russia and Ukraine conduct another negotiated prisoner exchange. Ukraine's Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of POWs announces that 32 Ukrainian personnel were returned in the exchange for an undisclosed number of Russians. The HQ notes that preparations for the next exchanges are ongoing.

Ukrainian POWs muster after being released, 11 October 2022 (photo via the Coordination HQ for Treatment of POWs)


  • Russia and Ukraine conduct another negotiated remains repatriation. The Ministry for Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories announces that the bodies of 62 fallen Ukrainian soldiers, some of whom perished in Olenivka, stating, "Today, Ukraine returned the bodies of the heroes. The negotiations were difficult, but thanks to the painstaking work of the entire team of the Commissioner for Missing Persons Oleg Kotenko, it was possible to return our soldiers, in particular, soldiers from the long-suffering Olenivka."

 

12 October:

  • The UN General Assembly passes resolution A/ES-11/L.5, "Territorial integrity of Ukraine: defending the principles of the Charter of the United Nations." 143 states vote in favor, with 5 against and 35 abstentions.

  • Ukraine and representatives from nearly 50 countries gathered for another meeting of the "Ukraine Defense Contact Group" (aka "Ramstein 6") prompting new pledges for financial aid and provision of defense equipment.

Multinational representatives gather for another meeting of the "Ukraine Defense Contact Group," 12 October 2022 (photo via Twitter @SecDef)


  • Energoatom, the Ukrainian operator of Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, announces that at 0859 hours, Russian rockets damaged the external power line to the facility, causing the plant to have to resort to diesel backup generators once again. Energoatom adds that when personnel attempted to deliver diesel fuel to refill the generators at 1000, Russian occupation forces would not grant them access to the facility. They assert, "The occupiers continue to neglect the nuclear and radiation safety of the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, threatening the world with a radiation disaster." [Note: The operators were able to restore external power about twelve hours later.]

 

13 October:

  • During a video teleconference, Ukrainian officials issue a demand to the International Committee of the Red Cross, insisting that the ICRC must gain access to the Olenivka POW detention center by 17 October. Andriy Yermak, head of Ukraine's Presidential Office, posts the following commentary following the meeting:

I emphasized that the question of the conditions in which Ukrainian prisoners are kept and what they face in places of detention on the territory of the Russian Federation and on the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine is extremely important today. I don't understand why the Red Cross mission has not yet arrived in Olenivka during this entire period. There is no time to wait because human lives are at stake…Therefore, we call for the Red Cross mission with international media representatives to arrive in Ukraine no later than three days later, even if no confirmation is received from Russia by this time. And we are sure that Russia is not interested in the truth being known. We call for a mission to be sent to the front line until Russia issues these permits.

  • Russian Security Council Deputy Secretary Alexander Venediktov delivers key diplomatic signals via a state media interview. His key points are included below:

  • On Russia's willingness to end the war: "Russia is also a supporter of an early diplomatic solution to the problem. Unlike some other states, we do not want to solve everything by force, we do not call for the destruction of the enemy, we do not seek to ‘tear them to shreds’. No, we want to coexist peacefully not only with Ukraine but with the whole Europe,"

  • Labeling Ukraine as the holdout for ceasefire talks: "Now it is difficult to identify priority tasks in case of the negotiations between the presidents because we generally do not yet see Kiev’s desire to hold any talks. On our part, we are ready for negotiations,"

  • On tempering nuclear threats: "Strategic planning documents are not a menu in a restaurant that can be reprinted every week. Their development is based on a variety of scenarios, every little thing is calculated, every detail is verified, so changing the situation does not mean automatically adjusting doctrines. This also applies to the state policy framework in the field of nuclear deterrence."

 

14 October:

  • In response to the Ukrainian request, the International Committee of the Red Cross issues a formal statement, indicating that its teams have been ready to visit Olenivka and other POW detention centers for months but that they there are political and practical barriers. The ICRC renews its call for the parties to conflict to permit access, as prescribed under the Geneva Conventions. The full statement is included below:

 

15 October:

  • The Kremlin threatens not to extend the Black Sea Grain Initiative. The deal that successfully mitigated a global food security crisis is currently set to expire in November unless the parties agree to renew it. Russian officials have complained that there has not been enough relaxation of prohibitions against Russian fertilizer and grain exports and Russia's First Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Dmitry Polyansky renews this argument: "I wouldn't want to get ahead of myself right now, but to be honest, I wouldn't bet much on extending this deal right now in the situation we find ourselves in...I don't know if the Secretary General will eventually be able to do something, I’m talking about a qualitative breakthrough in terms of grain and fertilizer exports. So far, indeed, there is less and less time, there are very few practical results."

 

16 October:

  • Ukrainian Minister of Infrastructure Oleksandr Kubrakov meets Turkish Minister of Defense Hulusi Akar to discuss the Black Sea Grain Initiative. They affirm that to date, a total of 345 ships have delivered 7.7 million tons of grain from Ukrainian ports since implementation began. Both ministers declare their intent to extend implementation of the agreements beyond the 22 November termination date. Kubrakov states via social media: "All parties will do their best to prevent the food crisis."

Oleksandr Kubrakov and Hulusi Akar meet, 16 October 2022 (photo via Twitter @tcsavunma)

 

17 October:

  • For the fourth time, Energoatom (the Ukrainian operator of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant) announces that Russian bombardment has caused external power loss to the nuclear facility. They attribute this loss of power to the Russian forces' strikes against energy substations across the country, noting that even disruptions at substations as far as 160 to 200 kilometers from the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant could cause disruption to the plant's external power sources. Energoatom announces that shelling of a substation in the Dnipropetrovsk region caused the shutdown of the only working 750 kV line, forcing the nuclear power plant onto backup diesel generators once again.

 

18 October:

  • Energoatom, the Ukrainian operator of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, reports that Russian occupation authorities have illegally detained two additional staffers from the plant. They announce via social media: "Yesterday, October 17, Russian nuclear terrorists detained Oleh Kostyukov, the head of information technology service at the Zaporizhzhya NPP, and Oleh Osheka, the power plant's Assistant Director General and took them to an unknown destination. Currently, nothing is known about their whereabouts and state."

  • President Volodomyr Zelensky reports the extent of damage to Ukraine's energy infrastructure that Russian forces have inflicted in just the past week. He posts via social media: "Another kind of Russian terrorist attacks: targeting energy [and] critical infrastructure. Since Oct 10, 30% of Ukraine’s power stations have been destroyed, causing massive blackouts across the country. No space left for negotiations with Putin's regime."

  • Ukraine and Russia conduct another negotiated prisoner exchange, securing the release of 108 female soldiers and civilians. During the exchange, Ukrainian officials hold their first face-to-face engagement with Russia's Commissioner for Human Rights, Tatyana Moskalkova. This direct contact is significant since up to this point, prisoner exchanges had been largely mediated by International Committee of the Red Cross officials.

Ukraine and Russia conduct a prisoner exchange at an undisclosed location, 18 October 2022 (photos via Andriy Yermak and the Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of POWs)

 

19 October:

  • Vladimir Putin signs a decree imposing martial law in the illegally annexed territories of Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk, and Zaporizhzhia. This serves to reinforce Russia's claims over the occupied areas while offering a pretext for Russian occupation authorities to re-allocate local finances and resources for the war effort.

 

20 October:

  • The Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine's Ministry of Defense reports that the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant is under threat of destruction. The Directorate notes that Russian forces mined the dam back in April, but added explosives to the locks and supports and parked two vehicles full of explosives on the dam. In response to this information, President Volodymyr Zelensky issues the following statement:

Now everyone in the world must act powerfully and quickly to prevent a new Russian terrorist attack. Destroying the dam would mean a large-scale disaster. Of course, we understand that the occupiers do not care what happens to the territory of Ukraine. With this terrorist attack, they can destroy, among other things, even the possibility of supplying water from the Dnipro River to Crimea. In the event of the destruction of the Kakhovka HPP dam, the North Crimean Canal will simply disappear. And if Russia is preparing such a terrorist attack, if it is seriously considering such a scenario, it means the terrorists are clearly aware that they will not be able to keep not only Kherson, but also the entire south of our country, including Crimea.

  • Reports emerge that Russian forces are preparing to withdraw soldiers and civilians from Kherson and Zaporizhzhia. The UK Ministry of Defence identifies that Russian military leadership has signaled its intent to withdraw from areas west of the Dnipro River. Meanwhile, Ukrainian nuclear operator Energoatom posts on social media imagery and reporting that occupation authorities had begun looting property and packign buses and trucks from Energodar, the town outside of Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant.

Russian soldiers loot the Skifsky Hotel in Energodar, 19 October 2022 (photo via Energoatom)

 

21 October:

  • Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu speaks with U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. Neither sides' readouts of the call contained any details beyond the acknowledgment that the two discussed the ongoing war.

 

22 October:

  • Russia circulates a letter among the UN Security Council asserting that Ukraine is preparing to destroy the Kakhovka dam. Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya states the following:

The Zelensky regime is taking advantage of the license to commit any kind of crime issued by its Western sponsors in order to persistently target civilian infrastructure facilities located on its former territories. The Ukrainian Armed Forces have been shelling the city of Novaya Kakhovka in the Kherson Region for five months. They fire up to 120 rockets every day, mostly using US-made HIMARS systems and deliberately targeting the Kakhovka dam as they seek to destroy it to make the water level rise and flood nearby areas. If such a scenario is implemented, thousands of civilians may die and thousands of homes will be damaged. Today, we circulated a letter to the UN Security Council, calling on the UN leadership to prevent this heinous provocation.

 

23 October:

  • Through of series of diplomatic contacts, the Russian government begins to spread claims that the Ukrainian government intends to detonate a "dirty bomb" in the near future [note: a dirty bomb is a conventional explosive that contains radioactive material with the intent of spreading the radiation when it detonates]. Ukrainian officials immediately conduct their own contacts and social media blitz to refute those accusations. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba states the following:

Russian lies about Ukraine allegedly planning to use a ‘dirty bomb’ are as absurd as they are dangerous. Firstly, Ukraine is a committed NPT member: we neither have any ‘dirty bombs’, nor plan to acquire any. Secondly, Russians often accuse others of what they plan themselves.

 

24 October:

  • Russian officials indicate that discussions on demilitarization of Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant are taking place. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov explains in an interview with domestic media: "The security zone [for Zaporizhzhia] is a different matter; its parameters are being discussed. We believe a certain process of coordination, including the diplomatic one, for parameters of such security zone with the Agency [IAEA[ is not merely possible--it is required." However, he clarifies that Russia does not intend to remove its forces from the power plant: "Agreements on demilitarization are impossible as a matter of principle--we are bound to protect the plant, provide its security."

 

25 October:

  • Ukraine and Russia conduct another negotiated remains repatriation. Ukraine's Ministry for Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories announces that Ukraine received the bodies of 25 fallen soldiers in exchange for an undisclosed number of Russian remains.

  • Russian state media reveals the contents of a letter that Russia's Permanent Representative to the UN Vasily Nebenzya delivered to Secretart General Antonio Guterres. The letter warned of Ukraine's intent to detonate a dirty bomb, noting that if it happens, Russia will regard the incident as nuclear terrorism. The letter goes on to claim that Ukraine is doing this with the knowing support of western partners, while asserting that "the Russian Federation has not intended, nor intends to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine."

 

26 October:

  • Ukraine and Russia conduct another negotiated prisoner exchange. Ukraine's Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of POWs reports that 10 more soldiers return home in exchange for an undisclosed number of Russian prisoners.

Ten soldiers return to Ukrainian custody in the most recent prisoner exchange, 26 October 2022 (photo via the Coordination HQ for the Treatment of POWs)

 

27 October:

  • IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi briefs the UN Security Council, offering an update on the situation in Ukraine. His key points are summarized below:

  • On Russian claims of a Ukrainian dirty bomb: Grossi states that the IAEA is conducting an independent verification of Russian claims related to a "dirty bomb" at two locations in Ukraine. He notes that the purpose of this week’s safeguards visits is to detect any possible undeclared nuclear activities and materials related to the development of “dirty bombs," adding that the IAEA inspected one of the two locations a month ago and found no undeclared nuclear activities or materials there.

  • On the situation at Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant: Grossi also discusses the situation at Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, reiterating his point that the only safeguard for the plant is the establishment of a "nuclear safety and security protection zone." He identifies that while negotiations for the establishment of such a zone continue, there are now additional Russian technical staff working at the plant. Grossi asserts that although Russia has announced that it has taken control of the facility, he considers it to be a Ukrainian power plant.

Rafael Mariano Grossi addresses the United Nations, 27 October 2022 (photo via Twitter @rafaelmgrossi)

 

28 October:

  • Energoatom, the Ukrainian operator of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, announces the results of a two-week campaign to compel employees at the plant to sign contracts with a shell company for the Russian energy company Rosatom. In the end, around 100 out of 6700 employees signed the contracts.

 

29 October:

  • In his nightly address, President Volodymyr Zelensky comments on the news that the Russian side was pulling out of the Black Sea Grain Initiative:

Today, a rather predictable statement came from Russia – a statement that they are finally canceling the grain export initiative. But in fact, this is not their decision today. Russia began deliberately aggravating the food crisis back in September, when it blocked the movement of ships with our food. From September to today, 176 vessels have already accumulated in the grain corridor, which cannot follow their route. Some grain carriers have been waiting for more than three weeks. This is an absolutely deliberate blockade by Russia. This is an absolutely transparent intention of Russia to return the threat of large-scale famine to Africa and Asia...I emphasize: this decision was made by Russia apparently in September. Only this queue of ships with food at sea can testify to this. It is also important that Russia attacked our Naval Forces at least twice during the grain initiative. Precisely by those forces that guarantee the safety of the grain corridor. A strong international response is needed now. Both at the UN level and at other levels. In particular, at the level of the G20. How can Russia be among the G20 if it is deliberately working for starvation on several continents? This is nonsense. Russia has no place in the G20.

  • Ukrainian forces conduct a coordinated drone strike on Russia's Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol. In response, the Russian government announces that it is suspending its participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative. The Kremlin delivers a letter to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres notifying him of this decision and calls for an emergency UN Security Council meeting on 31 October to discuss the "terrorist attack" on Sevastopol.

  • Ukraine and Russia conduct another negotiated prisoner exchange. 52 Ukrainian soldiers, sailors, and civilians are returned for an undisclosed number of Russian prisoners. Among the returnees were those captured in Mariupol, Azovstal Steel Complex, Bucha, Snake Island, and Chernobyl.

Prisoners are released into Ukrainian custody, 29 October 2022 (photo via Ukraine's Coordination Headquarters for Treatment of POWs)

 

30 October:

  • The Turkish Ministry of National Defense issues a press release following Russia's announced suspension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative. The main points of the press release are summarized below:

  • 9.3 million tons of grain have been shipped from Ukrainian ports since the signing of the Initiative in July.

  • Russia notified Turkey and the United Nations that it was temporarily suspending the grain initiative due to the attacks carried out in Sevastopol on 29 October.

  • Russian staff remain at the Joint Coordination Center in Istanbul, but the center will not process the movement of additional ships from Ukraine. Grain-laden ships that have already been approved will proceed as previously authorized.

  • Turkish Minister of National Defense Hulusi Akar continues to negotiate and coordinate with relevant stakeholders.

 

31 October:

  • IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi announces that IAEA safeguards inspectors had started verification activities at two locations in Ukraine, following a request from the Ukrainian government. He notes that he will provide his initial conclusions from these activities later this week.

  • Turkish Minister of National Defense Hulusi Akar speaks with Sergey Shoigu about Russia's decision to suspend its participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative. Akar reminds his counterpart of the humanitarian value of the agreement and urges the Russian government to return to implementation.

Hulusi Akar speaks with Sergey Shoigu, 31 October 2022 (photo via the Turkish Ministry of National Defense)

 

1 November:

  • Ukrainian Minister of Infrastructure Oleksandr Kubrakov announces that ships will move under the Black Sea Grain Initiative again starting 3 November. He posts the following: "Black Sea Grain Initiative continues. On Thursday, November 3rd, 8 vessels with agricultural products are expected to pass through the grain corridor. We got confirmation from ⁦UN. Also, inspections will be carried out in the Bosphorus tomorrow."

  • President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan holds a telephone discussion with Vladimir Putin. During the call, Erdoğan affirms the importance of the Black Sea Grain Initiative and asserts that he will ensure that the Turkish government will solve implementation problems. [Note: The Russia side affirms that they have received written guarantees from Ukraine that its forces will not stage attacks via the grain corridors.]

 

2 November:

  • Russian shelling damages the external power supply to the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. As a result, the high-voltage transmission lines linking the plant to the Ukrainian power system fail, and at 23:04 hours, the power plant is forced back onto diesel generators.

 

3 November:

  • Ukraine and Russia conduct another negotiated prisoner exchange under a 107-for-107 formula. Ukraine's Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of POWs notes that 74 were captured at the besieged Azovstal steel complex.

  • The IAEA announces that it has completed its field inspections at Ukrainian sites that Russia claimed was housing "dirty bombs." The inspectors could not find any evidence of undocumented nuclear material or explosives. The full press release is below:

  • Energoatom, Ukraine's operator of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, announces that Russian authorities are using the damage to Ukrainian high-voltage transmission lines as a cover for redirecting external power supplies to Russian energy networks. They are reportedly working to connect to power lines that extend through Crimea and the Donbas region.

  • Seven ships loaded with 290,000 tons of agricultural products leave the ports of Odesa, Chornomorsk, and Yuzhne under the auspices of the Black Sea Grain Initiative. This is the first coordinated movement of vessels since Russia’s suspension of participation in the initiative on 30 October.

 

4 November:

  • U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan makes a surprise visit to Kyiv. There, he meets with President Volodymyr Zelensky and other senior Ukrainian officials, pledging another $400 million in military aid.

Jake Sullivan meets with his Ukrainian counterpart Andriy Yermak, 4 November 2022 (photo via Andriy Yermak)

 

5 November:

  • The IAEA reports that external power has been restored to the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. The plant had been on diesel generators following Russian shelling, but operator were able to reconnect the facilities to the Ukrainian power grid.

  • The State Border Service of Ukraine announces that 19 Ukrainian border guards have been released from captivity. The Ukrainian government offers no additional details on the circumstances that contributed to their return.

 

6 November:

  • Ukrainian Presidential Advisor Mykhailo Podolyal points out Russia's attack strategy heading into winter: "Let's be honest: RF tries to commit 'energy genocide', but Kyiv and Ukraine will stand. Simple protection plan: air defense, infrastructure facilities protection, consumption optimization. State effectively copes with these challenges. We work on solution together with partners."

 

7 November:

  • During his nightly address, President Volodymyr Zelensky alludes to the news that the United States has quietly urged Ukraine to pursue negotiations with Russia to end the war. Zelensky reiterates Ukraine's interests in any ceasefire negotiations with Russia: "Into such negotiations, which we have repeatedly proposed, and to which we always received insane Russian responses with new terrorist attacks, shelling or blackmail.

  • Russian independent news outlet Meduza reports that two naval vessels that had been blocked from passing through the Bosporus Strait by Turkish authorities are returning to Vladivostok. The report stated that the missile cruiser VARYAG and the anti-submarine ship ADMIRAL TRIBUTS were spotted off the coast of Singapore, en route back to Vladivostok. Those and other ships of the Pacific Fleet have been waiting for permission from Turkey to enter the Black Sea through the Bosporus Strait.

 

8 November:

  • In an interview with Reuters, Deputy Infrastructure Minister Yuriy Vaskov states that Ukraine offered an extension of at least one year to Turkey and the UN. He notes that the Ukrainian proposal also included provisions for expanding the Initiative to include the ports of the southern Mykolaiv region. Those ports accounted for 35% of Ukrainian food exports prior to Russia's invasion in February 2021.

 

9 November:

  • Russian military leadership publicizes its decision to withdraw forces from the Kherson region. During a scripted broadcast, operational commander General Sergey Surovikin briefs Minister of Defense Sergey Shoigu on the decision to pull troops out of Kherson beyond the Dnipro River. They justify the withdrawal as a means to preserve life and free up forces for maneuverability.

  • Kirill Stremousov, the number two leader of Russian-back civil-military administration in occupied Kherson, is confirmed to have been killed. Kherson authorities claim that he died in a car accident. Vladimir Putin confers upon Stremousov a posthumous Order of Courage.

  • Russian state media reports on a draft UN General Assembly resolution proposing the creation of an international mechanism for war reparations for "damage, loss, or injury arising from the internationally wrongful acts of the Russian Federation in or against Ukraine." This resolution could reach the General Assembly for voting on or about 14 November.

 

10 November:

  • Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov confirms that Vladimir Putin will not travel to Bali for the G20 summit. Previously, many had hoped that the multilateral forum could serve as a venue for peace talks between Zelensky and Putin.

 

11 November:

  • UN and Russian delegates meet in Geneva to negotiate extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths and Secretary-General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development Rebeca Grynspan led the UN delegation, while Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin represented the Russian Federation. The Russia side contends that not enough is being done to enable Russian food and fertilizer exports under the Initiative as a consequence of international sanctions.

  • Ukraine and Russia conduct another negotiated prisoner exchange and remains repatriation. 45 Ukrainians are released from captivity and two bodies returned home in exchange for an undisclosed number of Russians.

  • Partisans in Melitipol attempt to assassinate the Russian-backed Deputy Culture Minister of the Zaporizhzhia region. They planted explosives outside his home, detonating it when he opened his door. The official survives the attack.

  • Ukrainian forces liberate multiple cities in Kherson and Mykolaiv oblasts, most notably the city of Kherson. This is both a symbolic and strategic victory for Ukraine.

 

12 November:

  • The World Food Programme announces that it has chartered its first shipment of Russian fertilizer for delivery to Africa. The WFP will facilitate the donation of 260,000 metric tons of fertilizer from the Russian fertilizer company Uralchem-Uralkali to African countries. While this action provides essential products for aid recipients, it also addresses Russia's ongoing concerns that its grain and fertilizer products are not being shipped via the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

 

13 November:

  • Ukrainian Deputy and Lead Negotiator David Arakhamia comments on recent discussions related to peace talks between Ukraine and Russia:

Before the liberation of Kherson, there was a lot of talk about negotiations. There were even some skeptical publications in the Western media. I am sure that after the successes in the South, they are no longer relevant. Our President Volodymyr Zelensky clearly announced the conditions under which it is possible to talk about something with Russia. This is the restoration of territorial integrity, compensation for all damages, punishment of all war criminals, effective guarantees that this will not happen again. An important factor is the electoral cycles of both our allies and the occupier. But our position does not change from this. Ukraine will sit down at the negotiating table when our conditions are met.

 

14 November:

  • The UN General Assembly on Monday adopts a resolution that calls for establishment of mechanisms for Russian war reparations to Ukraine. 94 countries voted in favor of the resolution, with 14 against and 73 abstentions. [Note: securing war reparations is a long-standing interest from the Ukraine side in ceasefire negotiations.]

  • Ukrainian Presidential Advisor and negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak comments on the prospects for negotiations:

Winter, climate peculiarities, the information campaign about "diplomatic settlement" as a hidden capitulation, [Russia's] endless whining about "negotiations and the need to take a break" have no effect on [President Zelensky's] program of Ukraine de-occupation. [Ukraine's] Armed Forces confirm it.

  • President Volodymyr Zelensky travels to the recently liberated city of Kherson. There, he gives a speech in which he discusses the conditions for peace:

We are moving on. We are ready for peace, but peace for our entire country. This is the territory of our entire state. We respect international law and the sovereignty of every state, and now we are talking about the sovereignty of our state. That is why we are fighting against Russian aggression...We are not interested in the territory of other countries. We are only interested in the de-occupation of our country and our territories.

President Zelensky visits Kherson, 14 November 2022 (photos via Ukraine's Presidential Office)

 

15 November:

  • Two missiles land in Poland, killing two civilians. Initially, the missiles are presumed to be from Russian forces, but further assessment indicates that they were likely Ukrainian air defense missiles that missed their targets.

 

16 November:

  • The IAEA announces that Ukraine’s Khmelnytskyy Nuclear Power Plant lost all access to the electricity grid for more than 9 hours due to military attacks in the country, forcing it to temporarily rely on diesel generators for back-up power. Russian forces continue their attacks on Ukraine's energy infrastructure.

 

17 November:

  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announces that the Black Sea Grain Initiative has been extended for 120 days following quadrilateral negotiations held in Turkey.

 

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