The latest developments from the Ukraine war.
Kyiv claims responsibility for car bomb assassination
Ukraine said it killed an MP and ex-military figure in the country's eastern Luhansk region - currently under Russian occupation - on Wednesday.
Ukrainian military intelligence (GRU) says they targeted Mikhail Filiponenko with a car bomb, as part of a "special operation to liquidate the executioner... carried out jointly with representatives of the Ukrainian resistance movement” in the area.
Filiponenko organised "torture chambers" for Ukrainian "prisoners of war and civilians" in the occupied region, "personally" participating in the torture, the GUR claimed on Telegram.
They repeated their threat to “retaliate” against “all war criminals and collaborators [with Moscow]”.
The local Lug-info media site reported Filiponenko's death earlier on Wednesday, saying he was a member of the local parliament and former leader of the Lugansk separatist army, which waged war against Kyiv from 2014.
Another MP in the region, Yuri Yurov, claimed on Telegram that Filiponenko was targetted by a car bomb in February 2022, but emerged alive "by a miracle".
The four Ukrainian territories Moscow claims to have annexed - Lugansk, Donetsk Kherson and Zaporizhia - are routinely hit by attacks, sometimes fatal, on officials within the Moscow-backed administration.
Several assassinations have been blamed on Ukraine by Russian authorities since their February 2022 invasion.
EU says Ukraine accession talks should start
European Union leaders should begin formal talks on Ukraine's accession once the country has finalised the necessary reforms, the European Commission said on Wednesday.
"In light of the results achieved by Ukraine... and of the ongoing reform efforts, the Commission has recommended that the Council opens accession negotiations," the EU executive announced in a long-awaited assessment.
With this recommendation, EU leaders could back the opening of Ukraine accession talks during the next European Council summit on 12 December, a decision which requires the unanimous blessing of all 27 member states.
This is the first time the European Commission has green-lighted formal accession talks before a country has fully met all pre-conditions.
However, Russia's ongoing war against Ukraine has injected a sense of urgency into the traditionally sluggish process of approving new EU members.
G7 vows to remain 'united' in support for embattled Ukraine
Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven nations said on Wednesday they would remain unified in their "firm support" for Kyiv as it battles Russia.
They maintained assistance would continue "even in the current international situation", referring to the war between Israel and Hamas that has gripped the world's attention.
Top diplomats of Canada, France, Italy, Germany, Japan, US and UK also expressed their desire to impose "severe sanctions" on Moscow, accelerate reconstruction efforts in Ukraine and "work towards a peace process", according to a press release from Japan's foreign ministry.
Ukraine increasingly fears its Western allies - whose support is key to their war effort against Moscow - are growing weary, while its summer counter-offensive has produced very limited results so far.
Kyiv will need further weapons and assistance from the West as the probability of a long war of attrition increases.
It is important for the G7 to make clear to the international community its commitment to Ukraine "will never run out of steam", even if a new conflict in the Middle East erupts, the Japanese minister of foreign affairs Yoko Kamikawa was quoted as saying in the press release.
US supports democracy in Ukraine amid election controversy
The United States said on Tuesday it backs a "strong" democracy in Ukraine, while seemingly recognising Volodymyr Zelenskyy's reluctance to hold elections early next year.
Elections have been suspended in Ukraine due to the state of martial law, imposed after Russia invaded the country in February 2022.
"This is not the time for elections," Ukraine's president said on Monday, trying to end a growing debate among leaders after more than a year and a half war.
If Russia had not invaded, legislative elections in Ukraine would have taken place in October this year, then a presidential election in March 2024.
Several obstacles face Ukraine holding a vote, including the millions of Ukrainian refugees abroad, mobilisation of soldiers on the front line and security concerns surrounding people visiting the ballot box.
However, some observers argue it is vital Ukraine demonstrates its democratic credentials, especially against an increasingly authoritarian Russia. Plus there are worries the suspension might set a precedent.
Asked about Zelenskyy's remarks, US State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel said the decision not to hold elections was "consistent with their constitution".
"It is important to remember that Ukraine is in this situation because Russia continues to wage a large-scale illegal war against Ukraine. The Ukrainian people are fighting for their survival," Patel told reporters, denouncing the “daily bombings of civilian infrastructure across Ukraine.”
“We have also made clear to our Ukrainian partners our commitment to supporting not only Ukraine in its fight, but also our commitment to supporting a prudent and constitutional approach to maintaining a strong democracy in times of war,” he said.