Energy supply crunch in Kyiv and surrounding regions; Russia fired missile near unarmed RAF jet – UK

Energy supply crunch in Kyiv and surrounding regions; Russia fired missile near unarmed RAF jet – UK
Ukrainian workers repair damaged residential buildings in Kharkiv, northeastern Ukraine, 19 October 2022. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Sergey Kozlov)

Almost eight months into Russia’s invasion, Ukrainians were warned of rolling blackouts due to damage to the country’s power infrastructure from missile attacks.

“Controlled limits” were placed on electricity consumption in Kyiv and several northern and central areas of Ukraine on Thursday.

The UK defence secretary said a Russian warplane in late September fired a missile “in the vicinity of” an unarmed Royal Air Force (RAF) jet flying in international airspace over the Black Sea.

Weeks after Russia and Belarus announced the formation of a new joint force, and days after the force started to assemble in Belarus, Ukraine’s army faces rising military threats from the north. Russian servicemen, equipment and aircraft are flooding into Belarus.

Key developments

On the ground

Russia launched three missiles, delivered 20 air strikes and used multiple-launch rocket systems as many as 10 times on Thursday, Ukraine’s General Staff said. Of 20 Iranian drones launched on Thursday, Ukrainian forces shot down 15.

Russia hit Mykolaiv and the surrounding region with C-300 missiles on Thursday morning, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the president’s office, said on Telegram.

Ukrainian forces repelled Russian assaults near nine settlements in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, including Bakhmut, Ukraine’s General Staff said. Russia hit an industrial facility and energy infrastructure in the Kryvyi Rih district of the Dnipropetrovsk region overnight.

Zelensky met Goldman Sachs executives in Kyiv

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met Goldman Sachs Executive Vice-President John Rogers and its president of global affairs and co-head of the Office of Applied Innovation, Jared Cohen, in Kyiv, according to his press office. The group discussed the possibility of Goldman Sachs helping to attract investments for Ukraine, including cyber-defence.

“I highly appreciate when such people are not scared and come to Ukraine to support us,” Zelensky said. “And it is very important to share true information about the situation in Ukraine, Russia’s attacks and their consequences via smart people.”

The visit took place as Russia intensified air raids to destroy Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.



Ukraine limits electricity supply in Kyiv, seven regions 

Ukraine’s national grid operator Ukrenergo said it had been forced to temporarily introduce “controlled limits of electricity consumption” after usage levels “rose sharply” at a time citizens have been asked to conserve as much as possible, according to a statement on its Telegram channel.

The limits are in place for Kyiv and its surrounding regions, as well as for  Kharkiv, Sumy, Chernihiv and Zhytomyr in the north, and the central regions of Poltava and Cherkasy.

Putin practises sniper shooting with reservists 

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday visited a training centre for mobilised reservists, where he shot a sniper’s rifle several times, state television reported. Dressed in civilian clothes, Putin spoke with one of the reservists briefly and hugged him, the footage showed.

Putin last week said his recent order to call up 300,000 reservists for what he calls a “special operation” in Ukraine would wrap up soon and won’t be extended.

The order spurred an exodus of draft-age men from the country, hurting consumer confidence and business activity, but will probably weigh on the economy for months to come, including by worsening an already acute labour shortage.

Ukraine sees growing threat of Russian offensive from north  

Ukraine’s armed forces see a rising threat of a fresh new military offensive from the north, where Russian and Belarusian troops have assembled a “joint force,” spokesperson Oleksiy Hromov said on Thursday at a video briefing.

Turkey wants another Russian-built atomic plant

Turkey asked Russia to build its second nuclear power plant, in the latest sign of closer economic ties even as the US and its allies try to isolate the Kremlin for its invasion of Ukraine.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made the request in talks last week in Kazakhstan with Vladimir Putin, their fourth meeting in four months, according to people familiar with the situation.

Russia snubbed at atomic energy summit in Washington

Russia will lose its place on stage at an atomic energy summit in Washington next week, as US authorities seek ways to limit the influence of Kremlin-controlled nuclear fuel and technology suppliers on the global market.

The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed that executives from Rosatom and Russia’s industry regulator were dropped from the agenda. White House officials have been considering for months ways to reduce the Kremlin’s influence on global nuclear markets.

Ukrainians stock up on power banks, generators

Demand for power banks, generators and candles jumped in the week since Kremlin forces launched widespread attacks on power infrastructure, said, one of Ukraine’s biggest online sellers.

“The demand for electric generators rose fivefold, and the average check grew to 20,000 hryvnia ($541),” the retailer said in an emailed comment.

Gas cylinders, headlamps and camping stoves are also in demand, along with thermal underwear. In September, radiation meters and preventative medicine were the most-coveted items, said.

Push for new EU sanctions on Russia

Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and Poland proposed broadening EU sanctions on Russia by adding a ban on cooperating with Moscow on nuclear energy, according to a document seen by Bloomberg News. The nations also want to ban the sale of real estate to Russian citizens and companies and limit the concessions that Belgium previously won on the import of steel products from Russia.

The ninth sanctions package should broaden the ban on information and communication technology services to include computer software and extend the scope of a ban on business services to cover marketing and opinion poll services, according to the document.

“Schemes involving marketing and leasing services are regularly used in Russia as a cover-up to facilitate flows of a large scale providing funds for the military sector,” the countries said.

Ukraine expects electrical equipment next week

Generators, components and spare parts needed to replace equipment damaged by recent Russian strikes are expected to start arriving in Ukraine next week from Italy, France, Lithuania, Finland, Germany and Poland, Ukraine’s foreign minister said.

“The equipment will help to ensure the uninterrupted functioning of Ukrainian households, hospitals and schools,” Dmytro Kuleba said in a statement.

Separately, on Twitter, Kuleba welcomed the EU’s moves against Iran for its provision of drones used by Russia in recent attacks on energy infrastructure and other targets.

Ukraine sanctions thousands of Russian citizens, companies

Ukraine sanctioned 1,374 Russian companies and companies affiliated with Russia, and 2,507 individuals, mainly Russian citizens, in decrees signed on Wednesday.

Billionaire Roman Abramovich was sanctioned, with the proviso that the measures only take effect after an exchange of prisoners and bodies of deceased soldiers between Ukraine and Russia is complete.

Among others, Ukraine sanctioned billionaire Mikhail Fridman; Petr Aven; Eugene Kaspersky, CEO of the cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab, and the daughter of President Vladimir Putin, Ekaterina Tikhonova.

UK says Russia fired missile near RAF jet in September

A Russian aircraft released a missile on 29 September near an unarmed British plane patrolling in international airspace over the Black Sea, UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told Parliament during an update on the situation in Ukraine.

The UK temporarily suspended patrols after the “potentially dangerous” incident and raised its concerns with Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu. Russia, in a response on 10 October, blamed a “technical malfunction” by its fighter jet, Wallace said. After consulting with allies, “I have restarted routine patrols but this time escorted by fighter aircraft,” he added.

Russia’s Defence Ministry didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Ukraine keeps key rate steady

Ukraine’s central bank kept its benchmark borrowing rate unchanged at 25% as the body’s new governor presses ahead with negotiations with the IMF on a financial lifeline for the war-battered economy.

“Continued cooperation with international partners remains an important factor in maintaining the Ukrainian economy during the full-scale war and postwar recovery,” the Kyiv-based bank said in a statement.

Russia controls only 1.8% of Kharkiv region, says official

Russia retains control over 1.8% of the area around Kharkiv in the east of Ukraine, Kharkiv Governor Oleh Syniehubov said on Telegram.

“Since September, our military has expelled the occupiers from 544 settlements in the region. Only 1.8% of the region’s territory remains under temporary occupation — that’s 32 settlements,” said Syniehubov.

Ukraine’s armed forces and local authorities have formed three lines of defence in liberated areas, he said. Kremlin troops continue “limited assaults” in a bid to recapture lost territory, according to the Institute for Study of War.

Germany probes fire at refugee shelter

German authorities are investigating a suspected arson attack at a former hotel housing Ukrainian refugees in the eastern state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said in a tweet that if arson is confirmed the perpetrators would “be prosecuted with the utmost severity”. Emergency services rescued the residents and no one was harmed, she said.

Italy’s coalition roiled by Berlusconi lauding Putin

Giorgia Meloni, the right-wing leader poised to be Italy’s next prime minister, said she’d give up on her fledgling coalition if her allies can’t commit to supporting Ukraine along with Italy’s European Union and Nato partners.

Meloni commented after audio surfaced of coalition partner Silvio Berlusconi saying he had rekindled his friendship with Russian President Vladimir Putin and laying the blame for Russia’s invasion on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

EU adopts sanctions against Iran for drone sales to Russia

Bloomberg reported the measures targeting three Iranian generals and Shahed Aviation Industries, a company responsible for the design and development of the Shahed series of Iranian drones that have been supplied to Russia and are currently being used in Ukraine. Iran denies sending weapons to Russia.

EU splits on forming war crimes tribunal

Some EU member states are wary about setting up a war crimes tribunal for atrocities committed in Ukraine, following what some said were mixed experiences of the court set up to deal with such crimes committed during the 1990s in the former Yugoslavia, according to a person familiar with the issue.

An early version of the EU summit conclusions contained a reference suggesting a special tribunal to investigate crimes of aggression be formed, but the reference to the “special tribunal” was removed in a subsequent draft after opposition from a few countries. Some nations are not pushing to have it restored.

Nato chief calls on Iran to refrain from backing Russia

While Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said “every indication points to Iran supplying Russia with drones”, he declined to confirm reports the country was also sending missiles to Russia, saying he wouldn’t go into specific intelligence.



Sweden to work with Turkey on support for Nato bid

Sweden’s new Cabinet will “redouble efforts” to work with Turkey to allay its concerns so that it’s able to ratify the Nordic country’s accession to Nato, Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson told reporters in Brussels. He added that he’s prepared to visit Ankara as soon as possible, with preparations for the trip already being made.

EU leaders to discuss Ukraine’s emergency needs 

European Union leaders meeting in Brussels will discuss how to help Ukraine’s emergency energy needs following Russia’s attacks on critical infrastructure this month, according to people familiar with the matter.

The issue was a late addition to the agenda for the summit starting on Thursday, the people said. Kyiv has provided a list of its most urgent needs, covering dozens of items such as circuit breakers, disconnectors, transformers and relay protection automation devices.

Zelensky urges citizens to conserve power

Zelensky urged Ukrainians to use as little electricity as possible on Thursday after electrical grid operator Ukrenergo warned of rolling blackouts because of damage to power infrastructure from Russian missile attacks.

“It is very important energy is consumed with awareness tomorrow,” Zelensky said in his nightly address. “We are preparing for all possible scenarios in light of the approaching winter season. We proceed from the fact that Russian terror will be directed at energy facilities until, with the help of our partners, we can shoot down 100% of the enemy’s missiles and drones.”

All regions in Ukraine may face four-hour cutoffs between 7am and 10pm, a necessary step because of a shortage of power generation, Ukrenergo said. DM


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