We've wrapped up our live coverage for today. Find more news on the war in Ukraine here, or scroll through the updates below.
October 22, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news
By Matt Meyer
Ukrainian military: Looting has increased in Kherson as Russia orders evacuations and pulls back troops
From CNN's Stephanie Halasz and Denis Lapin
The Ukrainian military has received increased reports of looting and robbery in the Russian-controlled city of Kherson, officials claimed in a statement Saturday.
“The number of cases of looting and illegal actions in Kherson has increased," the Ukrainian General Staff of the Armed Forces said in a statement. "Occupants seize cars from the local population and try to leave the city using the ferry crossing near Antonivskyi bridge."
Earlier Saturday, the Russian-backed administration told civilians to evacuate to the eastern bank of the Dnipro River. Ukraine's counteroffensive is approaching, though the Kyiv government dismisses Russian claims of danger to citizens as unfounded "hysteria."
Russian troops repositioning: Ukraine's military also claims Russian forces are in retreat from the Kherson region, leaving two settlements about 100 kilometers (roughly 60 miles) northeast of the city, Charivne and Chkalove. Officers and medical personnel have evacuated from Beryslav, east of Kherson city, as well, the Ukrainian military said.
CNN has not independently verified the military's claims on crime in Kherson or the Russian military's movements.
Russia says Ukrainian shelling killed two civilians in a settlement near the border
From CNN's Josh Pennington
Two civilians died in Russia’s Belgorod region — near Ukraine’s eastern border — after Ukrainian forces shelled the area, a local official said.
The mayor of Belgorod, Vyacheslav Gladkov, also claimed the attack knocked out power for thousands of residents in the area.
“In Shebekino, the shelling resulted in the loss of power for nearly 15,000 people. It will take five to six hours to restore power,” he wrote on Telegram.
Shebekino is a Russian settlement outside Belgorod city, located just a few kilometers north of the border with Ukraine.
CNN has not independently verified Gladkov's report.
Russia is battering Ukraine's power grid ahead of winter. Experts in Kyiv say the strategy is clear
From CNN's Tim Lister, Julia Kesaieva and Denis Lapin
More than military bases or transport hubs in recent weeks, Russia has bombarded Ukraine's electricity distribution and heating networks.
With winter weeks away, Russian missile and drone strikes are hitting thermal power stations, electricity substations, transformers and pipelines. The result: rolling power cuts, disabled water pumping stations and widespread internet outages.
"This is a terrorist act planned with the help of competent Russian energy experts, which aims to shut down the energy system of Ukraine. That is, to achieve a complete blackout in the country," Oleksandr Kharchenko, CEO of the Energy Research Center in Kyiv, said Friday.
A strategy emerges: As Russian forces endured losses in September and into this month, pundits appeared on state media urging that Ukraine be plunged into a dark, freezing winter in revenge. That now appears to be the goal.
The casualties are relatively few but the damage inordinate. Power infrastructure is an obvious, static target that is hard to defend without an extraordinary array of area defenses, which Ukraine has been begging for from its Western allies.
Maksym Timchenko, the CEO of energy company DTEK, noted in a recent interview that Russia has been very selective in their targeting. He told Ekonomichna Pravda that the strikes were aimed not at generating capacities but the cogs of distribution: switchgears and transformers, or output equipment at thermal power plants.
"I think the Russian military is advised by their power engineers and they explain how to cause maximum damage to the power system," he said.
Ukrainian authorities are clearly struggling to keep up with an ever-longer list of needed repairs this month, and some infrastructure is beyond repair.
Photos show fiery aftermath of Russian strike on power plant in northwestern Ukraine
Thick plumes of black smoke billowed from a power plant in the northwestern city of Rivne Saturday, after Ukrainian officials say Russian missiles hit the facility.
Similar scenes played out across the country as the state-owned utility, Ukrenergo, scrambled to restore service. The agency compared Saturday's barrage to the consequences of attacks on Oct. 10 through 12, saying the strikes were some of the most destructive this month.
If the Kremlin strategy of targeting civilian infrastructure continues, Ukrainians could be in for a long, dark winter, the country's infrastructure minister told CNN Friday.
Iran once again denies supplying drones to Russia as Ukraine pursues criminal charges
From CNN's Aliza Kassim, Stephanie Halasz and Viktoria Butenko
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian denied US and Western allegations that Iran is supplying Russia with drones, echoing denials from other officials in Tehran and in Moscow.
"We condemn the allegations of giving drones to Russia in the Ukraine war. We are against war anywhere in the world," Abdollahian said Saturday, according to Iran's semi-official Tasnim News Agency.
The foreign minister's remarks came as the Security Service of Ukraine announced criminal proceedings to identify anyone involved in supplying Iranian drones and short-range ballistic missiles to Russia.
“Those who help Russia launch strikes at peaceful Ukrainian towns and villages must also bear responsibility for Russia’s war crimes," the security service said in a statement. "Because you cannot knowingly sell a sharpened knife to a maniac and then be surprised that he kills people."
Despite Russia’s attempts to disguise the (Iranian) Shaheds as Gerans (Russia-branded drones), we will prove their Iranian origin," the acting head of the security service, Vasyl Maliuk, said. "We are working to tear masks off all war criminals and punish them."
Some background: A growing number of countries and international organizations have condemned Russian-Iranian coordination on drone strikes.
Earlier this week, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said the US has “abundant evidence” that Russia is using Iranian drones, specifically to target Ukrainian civilians and critical civilian infrastructure. The White House added claims that Iran’s military gave Russians hands-on training with the weapons.
The European Union and the United Kingdom have rolled out sanctions on the manufacturers of Iranian drones.
Damage from Saturday's bombardment is some of the worst this month, Ukrainian utility says
From CNN's Stephanie Halasz and Denis Lapin
The damage from Saturday's wave of attacks on Ukrainian power facilities is similar — or could be worse — than Russian attacks earlier in the month, the state-owned energy agency said.
On its Telegram channel, the utility Ukrenergo compared the barrage's impact to the consequences of attacks on Oct. 10 through 12, which reduced the country's power-generating capacity by about 30%.
“Power supply restrictions have been imposed in Kyiv, Kyiv (region), Chernihiv, Cherkasy, Zhytomyr, Sumy, Kharkiv, Poltava, Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kirovohrad regions,” the utility wrote Saturday.
“The restrictions are necessary to reduce the load on the networks and avoid repeated accidents after the power grids were damaged by terrorist missile attacks.”
Repairs are underway across the country. In one southern city, Mykolaiv, power has now been restored, its mayor said on his Telegram channel.
"Gradually, light appears in different districts of the city," Oleksandr Senkevych said. "I thank the power engineers for their work.”
Earlier Saturday, a representative for the Ukrainian president's office said more than 1.5 million energy subscribers were without power after the attacks.
Kherson resident describes a ghost town of exhausted people
From CNN's Olga Voitovych and Tim Lister
A resident of Russian-occupied Kherson city told CNN the situation there is tense, with people "emotionally exhausted" and the streets empty by mid-afternoon.
CNN reached the woman through a third party and spoke with her shortly before the Russian-appointed administration in the city ordered civilians to leave — the latest evacuation notice over the oncoming Ukrainian counteroffensive.
Previously the authorities recommended people leave; Saturday’s announcement appeared to go beyond that.
“Unfortunately, many residents of Kherson had to consider leaving the city," the woman, who CNN is not identifying for security reasons, said Friday. "Everyone had their own reasons, worries and fears. But I am 100% sure that no one wanted to go."
She said Kherson has become a ghost-town. Tens of thousands of its residents have left since the Russian occupation began in March.
"In the evening, you can see a large number of high-rise buildings in which a maximum of two or three windows are lit," the woman told CNN. "During the day, you can meet people mostly near the market. But at 3 or 4 p.m. the streets are empty and there is no one at all."
The woman said she was not considering leaving.
"To be honest, this question infuriates me ... This is my land. Kherson is my home," she said. "We took part in rallies against the occupiers from the first days of the war; we fought as hard as we could. This struggle is still going on."
The woman also insisted that most people left in the city understood the Ukrainian military "will never harm the population and there will be no shelling of civilians."
Ukraine's government has accused Russia of generating “hysteria” to compel people to leave.
Ukraine's military says it knocked 18 cruise missiles out of the sky during Russian attacks on infrastructure
From CNN’s Victoria Butenko in Kyiv
The Ukrainian military said it destroyed over a dozen Russian cruise missiles during a string of attacks on energy infrastructure across the country Saturday.
The country's air force said “18 enemy cruise missiles were destroyed by aviation, anti-aircraft missile units and mobile fire groups."
“In addition, the Russians attacked from ships in the Black Sea with Kalibr cruise missiles. A total of 16 starts,” the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine wrote online.
CNN cannot independently confirm the Ukrainian military’s claims.
Several rockets flying toward Kyiv Saturday were shot down by air defense forces, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said in a separate statement.
Widespread power outages: A series of attacks across Ukraine Saturday left residents in parts of Odesa, Cherkasy, Kropyvnitsky, Rivne, Khmelnytskyi and Lutsk without electricity, according to officials in each region.
Ukraine has faced a wide assault on critical infrastructure and power sources since Oct. 10.