A Ukrainian drone dropped explosives on a substation in a Russian village close to the border on Friday, cutting off the power supply to a hospital, the regional governor said. Follow our live blog for the latest developments on the war in Ukraine. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).
7:48am: Putin tasks ex-Wagner commander Troshev with overseeing volunteer fighters
Russian President Vladimir Putin met Andrei Troshev, formerly a top Wagner mercenary commander, to discuss how voluntary fighting units are used in the Ukraine war, the Kremlin said on Friday.
"At the last meeting we talked about you overseeing the formation of volunteer units that can carry out various tasks, first and foremost of course in the zone of the special military operation," Putin was quoted as saying, using Moscow's official term for the war in Ukraine.
Troshev, also known by the nom de guerre "Sedoi", or "grey hair" in Russian, is now working for Russia's defence ministry, RIA Novosti news agency quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying on Friday.
The meeting underscored the Kremlin's attempt to show that the state had now gained control over the mercenary group after a failed June mutiny by Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, who was killed in a plane crash in August.
6:47am: Russia says it downed 11 Ukrainian drones overnight
6:33am: Ukrainian drone hits Russian power substation, says governor
A Ukrainian drone dropped explosives on a substation in a Russian village close to the border on Friday, cutting off the power supply to a hospital, the regional governor said.
In Belaya, less than 25 kilometres (16 miles) from the border, "a Ukrainian drone dropped two explosive devices on a substation", Kursk regional governor Roman Starovoyt said on the messaging platform Telegram.
"One of the transformers caught fire. Five settlements and a hospital were cut off from power supply. Fire crews rushed to the scene," he added.
"Power will be restored as soon as it is safe to do so."
Key developments from Thursday, September 28:
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that Ukrainian forces are "gradually gaining ground" in their counteroffensive against Russia during an unannounced visit to Kyiv on Thursday. The Western alliance chief also said that Ukraine is "closer to NATO than ever before".
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said an escalating grain exports dispute between Kyiv and Warsaw was detrimental to both his country and Poland in an interview published Thursday.
Russia is set to hike defence spending by almost 70 percent in 2024, a finance ministry document published Thursday showed, as Moscow pours resources into its war in Ukraine.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP, and Reuters)