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UKRAINE UPDATE: 7 OCTOBER 2022

Nord Stream hit by ‘gross sabotage’, Sweden suspects; Russia launches rocket attacks against Zaporizhzhia

Nord Stream hit by ‘gross sabotage’, Sweden suspects; Russia launches rocket attacks against Zaporizhzhia
A handout photo made available by the presidential press service shows Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (left) meeting with the IAEA in Kyiv, Ukraine, 6 October 2022. (Photo: EPA-EFE / presidential press service / handout)

The investigation into damage to the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines ‘strengthened the suspicion of gross sabotage’, Sweden’s security service said. ‘Detonations’ in the Swedish economic zone caused the pipelines’ extensive damage, it added.

Moscow’s forces launched multiple rockets against the city of Zaporizhzhia, about 52km from the namesake atomic plant, on Wednesday night. Targets included residential apartment blocks, a hospital and other civilian objects, with fatalities reported. More explosions were reported on Thursday morning.  

Russia’s top energy official, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak, said a price cap on its exports would backfire and might lead to a temporary cut in production. Novak reinforced the Kremlin’s warning that his country won’t sell oil to any countries that adopt the cap. The Kremlin said the production cut isn’t a sign of solidarity.  

Key developments 

 On the ground

Ukraine’s forces have advanced in the eastern Kharkiv region by 55km liberating 93 settlements within the last two weeks, according to General Staff officials, and liberated several small towns in Luhansk, a region mostly controlled by Russia, said Governor Serhiy Haiday. 

Ukraine’s General Staff said Moscow’s troops are still trying to disrupt Kyiv’s counteroffensive while continuing attempts to conduct offensive actions in the Bakhmut and Avdiivka directions. Kyiv’s forces are advancing further in the Russia-occupied Kherson region. By now Russia has used more than 80 drones, but 60% of them were shot down, according to Gen Staff. 

Two missiles were launched by Russian jets from Belarusian air space, for the first time since late August, and both hit the area near Shepetivka in central Ukraine, hundreds of kilometres from the front line. 

Areas south of the Dnipropetrovsk region were shelled with multiple launch rocket systems and heavy artillery. In the Donetsk region, 14 civilians were killed as of this morning. 

Kremlin lets state media tell some truth  

With its troops losing ground almost daily, the Kremlin has told some of its state media to start admitting some of the failings of President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, worried that its relentlessly upbeat propaganda was fuelling growing public doubts.

“We have to stop lying,” Andrey Kartapolov, a former general who now heads the Defence Committee in the lower house of Parliament, said on a popular online talk show this week. “Our people aren’t stupid.” 

Ex-banker Pyshnyi top candidate for Ukraine central bank 

The nomination of Andriy Pyshnyi, formerly the chief executive officer of government-controlled lender Oschadbank and a politician, is to be submitted to Parliament on Friday. He is the top candidate to take over Ukraine’s central bank after Governor Kyrylo Shevchenko unexpectedly resigned this week. 

US giving Ukraine $55m for winter 

The new funding will be administered via the USAid Energy Security project, its administrator, Samantha Power, said in Kyiv, according to the agency’s website. The aid package will help support the reparation and maintenance of pipes and other equipment to deliver heating nationwide.

Seven million Ukrainians will benefit from the assistance for homes, hospitals, schools and businesses. Power generators, alternative fuel and shelters will also be provided, including for the socially vulnerable and for internally displaced people. 

Putin critic charged with state treason, Tass says 

Russian opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza has been charged with state treason for allegedly working for a Nato state, the Tass state news service reported, a move that threatens him with up to two decades in prison.

Kara-Murza has been in detention since April, charged with spreading disinformation about the Russian army in Ukraine. 

Kara-Murza twice suffered near-fatal poisonings. According to an investigation by the Bellingcat group, the same Russian intelligence agents accused of poisoning opposition leader Alexei Navalny in 2020 also tailed Kara-Murza.

Sweden says detonations damaged Nord Stream pipelines 

The Swedish Security Service stated that detonations caused the damage to the Nord Stream pipeline system in the country’s exclusive economic zone.

The completed investigation has “strengthened the suspicions of serious sabotage,” the Security Service said in a statement

Opec+ decision not a sign of solidarity, Kremlin says 

The Opec+ decision to cut production isn’t a sign of solidarity with Russia, but is aimed at stabilising the oil market, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in response to a question about US criticism that the deal reflects closer ties between Moscow and Saudi Arabia.

 

 

 

Ukraine accuses central banker of embezzlement 

Ukraine’s anti-corruption bureau said it sent a notice of suspicion in a corruption case to a suspect at the central bank, days after Governor Kyrylo Shevchenko resigned for what he called health reasons. 

Authorities didn’t name Shevchenko in their statement, about an individual involved in an alleged scheme to siphon funds from state-run Ukrgazbank from November 2014 until March 2020. But Shevchenko was a senior official at that time and details provided matched his career history. 

Read more: Ukraine central banker quits, adds to war’s economic turmoil 

Kyiv opens thousands of Kharkiv war-crime cases 

Ukrainian prosecutors have opened more than 5,000 criminal cases related to actions committed by Russia’s army in the Kharkiv region, an official said. 

As the area is being liberated and stabilised by Ukraine’s army, prosecutors are logging more actions considered to be direct violations of international conventions, laws and the customs of warfare, Dmytro Chubenko, spokesman for the region’s prosecutor’s office, said on television. 

The cases being brought “mostly concern shootings, removal of property, bullying and abduction of people”, Chubenko said. 

 

 

 

Zelensky urges American states to condemn Russia 

Volodymyr Zelensky, in a video address, called on the Organization of American States (OAS) to offer united support of Ukraine and condemnation of Russian policy. 

“The greater the support for those who fight for freedom and independence, the stronger freedom will be in general in the world and the faster we will go all the way to freeing our land from the Russian invaders,” Ukraine’s president said. 

The OAS, currently meeting in Lima, Peru, historically representing mainly Latin American countries, recently suspended Russia’s observer status.

Ukraine’s energy minister joins calls for sanctions on Rosatom  

Herman Halushchenko joined his foreign ministry colleagues in urging sanctions against Rosatom and Russia’s nuclear industry for Moscow’s attempts to “legally consolidate” its occupation of the Zaporizhzhia atomic power plant. 

The actions of Russia, and in particular the decree of Putin on a separate legal entity for the operation of the facility, are a gross violation of international law and the basic principles of nuclear safety, protection and guarantees, Halushchenko said in a statement.  

“Trying to take control over Zaporizhzhia NPP, Russia is stealing nuclear and radioactive materials located on the territory of the power plant,” Halushchenko said. 

Depleted Russian forces face a dilemma, UK says  

Moscow’s troops face new problems as Ukrainian units advance in the south, pushing the front line there forward “by up to an additional 20km,” the UK defence ministry said. 

“Russia faces a dilemma: withdrawal of combat forces across the Dnipro makes the defence of the rest of Kherson oblast more tenable; but the political imperative will be to remain and defend,” the UK said.  

Since the Kremlin has committed most of its “severely undermanned airborne forces” to the defence of Kherson, it’s likely to fill gaps in Donbas with recently mobilised reservists, the UK said. DM

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