Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky described the Russian attack on the Ukrainian village of Hroza that killed 51 people as proof that Russia was “absolute evil.” He said Russian forces “couldn’t have been unaware of where they were striking.” The attack, which struck a grocery store and a cafe, was one of the war’s deadliest missile strikes, The Washington Post reported.
In Washington, President Biden is preparing a “major speech” on Ukraine, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters. The remarks come after Biden acknowledged concern that disarray in Congress in the wake of Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) ouster from the House speakership could impede future U.S. aid to Ukraine. “It does worry me,” he told reporters this week.
Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.
The attack in Hroza is “incredibly horrifying for the people of Ukraine,” Jean-Pierre said. She said the Russian attack showed why the United States should continue to support Ukraine. Imagine “just walking to the grocery store with your kids, trying to figure out what is it that you’re going to make for dinner, and you see an explosion happen where bodies are everywhere,” she said.
Hand grenade fragments were found in the bodies of Wagner Group mercenary leader Yevgeniy Prigozhin and his deputies, who died in a plane crash in August, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in remarks Thursday, citing the results of a Russian investigation. The wreckage showed no “external impact” on the aircraft, he said, in an apparent denial that the Kremlin had ordered the outspoken mercenary leader shot down. Western analysts say Putin probably ordered Prigozhin’s death.
Slovakia’s outgoing government will not provide additional weapons to Ukraine, said Ludovit Odor, the country’s prime minister, according to Slovakia’s Tasr news agency. The announcement came days after the party of a populist, pro-Russian politician, Robert Fico, came out on top of a parliamentary election. Fico has said he would seek to continue humanitarian aid to Ukraine.
Russia has successfully tested an experimental nuclear-powered cruise missile, Putin said. The missile, known as the Burevestnik in Russia and as Skyfall by NATO, is believed to be able to carry a nuclear warhead and can fly farther and for longer periods than other missiles due to its nuclear propulsion, the Associated Press reported. Putin first mentioned the weapon in 2018.
Zelensky expressed thanks for additional air defense systems from European allies after he attended the European summit in Granada, Spain. “We will have more air defense systems — there are clear agreements. This is crucial as we approach winter. Spain, Italy, France, Germany and the United Kingdom — thank you!” he said without elaborating on which country was providing what type of air defenses and how many of them. A senior Ukrainian official earlier said Spain had promised Ukraine “a new package of defense support,” including “additional air defense equipment, artillery and anti-drone systems.”
Zelensky said he is confident the United States will weather its ongoing “political storm” and urged Europe to stand with Washington to protect “our common values and liberty.” Addressing the leaders in Granada, the Ukrainian president said he is “confident in America” and its institutions, and he reiterated the bipartisan support he witnessed during his trip to Washington in September.
As U.S. support for Ukraine wobbles, European Union takes up membership question: Even in the best of times, expanding the E.U. to include Ukraine and others would be a costly, complex and politically perilous process, report Emily Rauhala, Beatriz Ríos and Robyn Dixon. The war in Ukraine multiplies the difficulties. Joining the bloc takes years. Countries such as Serbia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Albania and Bosnia have been in membership talks for years. Turkey, which applied to join in 1987, remains a candidate.
Over the past year, Ukraine has worked closely with E.U. officials to undertake reforms that would start to bring it in line with what is required. The E.U. will decide whether to open accession talks with Kyiv in December.