Ukraine: Ship blast near Romania, US accused of stoking war, Zelenskyy faces Russia at UN

Explosion on ship heading for Ukraine

A blast has torn through a ship sailing to Ukraine near Romania, announced the authorities who are now searching for possible mines.

“A boat flying the flag of Togo... reported an explosion in the engine room” in the early hours of the morning, the Romanian Ministry of Transport said in a statement.

The boat was near the port of Sulina, in the territorial waters of Romania. It was waiting to be able to use the Ukrainian Bystroe Canal.

The Romanian Naval Authority said there are no indications that the 90-metre-long vessel was hit by a mine.

The Danube Delta, which flows into the Black Sea, has become a vital crossroads for boats wanting to reach or leave Ukraine since Russia recently reimposed its naval blockade.

Riverways have become a lifeline for Kyiv to export its cereal crops and import consumer goods.

All 12 crew members were safely brought to shore and taken to hospital. One was treated for minor injuries.

Naval authorities have dispatched a minesweeper and specialist divers to the scene, while helicopters are standing by to intervene if necessary, the Romanian Defence Ministry said.

Dangers posed by sea mines have increased significantly, with some 80 devices discovered in Romanian territorial waters since the start of the Russian invasion in February 2022.

US accused of stoking Ukraine war by Iran

Iran’s president Ebrahim Raisi accused Washington of fuelling bloodshed in Ukraine, during a lengthy speech to the UN general assembly on Tuesday.

Raisi also claimed any Iranian-made drones hitting Ukrainian cities had been sold before the war started, against accusations Tehran is aiding Moscow's deadly campaign.

The hardline Iranian leader said he was in favour of peace in Ukraine, on the same day that Tehran hosted a Russian defence delegation led by defence minister, Sergei Shoigu.

“If they have a document that Iran gave weapons or drones to the Russians after the war, then they should produce it," he said.

“We are against the war and we are ready to mediate in order to end it, but the taxes of the American people are spent on war-making and filling the pockets of arms factories from the place of arms sales in this field."

Zelenskyy faces Russia at UN Security Council

Ukraine's president is due to address the UN Security Council on Wednesday, facing permanent member Russia for the first time since the war began.

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine grinds on, Volodymyr Zelenskyy continues his diplomatic offensive in New York where world leaders are gathered - though China's Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin are notably absent.

He is among the first to speak during this monster special meeting, which has been carefully calibrated and will include more than sixty speakers.

This is the first time since the start of Russia's invasion in February 2022 that Zelenskyy will speak in person at the UN Security Council, a body paralyzed at this time due to the Russian veto.

It is not clear whether Russia's representative - top diplomat Sergey Lavrov - will attend Zelenskyy's speech in person or send a representative himself.

Deaths after Russian strike in eastern Ukraine

Eight people died on Tuesday in a Russian strike against Kupiansk, a town some 10 km from the frontline in eastern Ukraine.

“Unfortunately, two more bodies of civilians were found,” bringing the total number of those killed to eight, six men and two women, said Kharkiv Governor Oleg Synegubov on Telegram.

Two of the dead civilians were volunteers responsible for evacuating people from the combat zone, he added.

In August, the Ukrainian authorities urged the population living near Kupiansk to evacuate, as Russian forces try to recapture the area.

Russian troops are preparing to “renew” their attacks in the Kupiansk and Lyman regions, General Oleksandr Syrsky, the commander of Ukrainian ground troops, warned on Monday.

Behind Moscow's bombing campaign lies a clear objective of spreading terror, according to Dr Jade McGlynn, Research Fellow in War Studies at King's College London.

"The ultimate intention is to break the will of the population so that they will at some point give in and accept Russia," she told Euronews in Spring, claiming the drone campaign was "directed" by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"Putin believes the West will give up and Ukrainians will just be grateful for an end to the terror."

Russia claimed on Wednesday to have destroyed four Ukrainian drones overnight over the border region of Belgorod and Orel in the country's west.