Scholz gathers European figures to focus on aid; US, UK and France reject ‘dirty bomb’ allegations

Scholz gathers European figures to focus on aid; US, UK and France reject ‘dirty bomb’ allegations
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (left) and Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal (right) attend the 5th German-Ukrainian Business Forum in Berlin, Germany, 24 October 2022. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Christian Marquardt / Pool)

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is convening a conference on Tuesday with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and senior European figures as Kyiv’s allies work to create a more reliable funding path next year.

The foreign ministers of the US, UK and France rejected Russia’s allegation that Ukraine is preparing to use a so-called dirty bomb on its own territory, and urged Moscow not to use the claim as a pretext to escalate the eight-month war.

The world would “see through” any attempt by Russia to do so, the ministers said in a joint statement on Monday. They said they remained committed to the continued support of Ukraine’s efforts to defend its territory for as long as it took.

Key developments

On the ground

Ukrainian forces repelled Russian attacks near 11 settlements in the Kharkiv and Donetsk regions over the past day, and shot down 12 Shahed-136 drones, Ukraine’s General Staff said. As of October 22, Russian troops have used 330 such drones, of which about 222 were shot down, while about 30% reached their targets, Kyrylo Budanov, the head of Ukrainian military intelligence, told Ukrainska Pravda.

Germany to provide more air defence systems to Ukraine, says PM

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said Germany would supply three more Iris-T air defence systems to Ukraine soon. “Iris-T has been extremely effective in protecting Ukrainian sky,” he said on Twitter after meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. There was no immediate confirmation from Germany.



Russian crude shipments sink ahead of EU sanctions

European Union sanctions aimed at Russia’s crude exports may be starting to have an impact already, six weeks before they’re due to come into effect. Seaborne crude shipments from Russia fell to a five-week low in the seven days to 21 October, dragging the four-week average down, too.

EU plans new steps to enforce Russia sanctions

The EU said it would create two new mechanisms for member states to share real-time information on sanctions as the bloc steps up its efforts to fight the circumvention of penalties imposed on Russia. The bloc’s financial services commissioner, Mairead McGuinness, said the EU would also hold a conference soon on how to close sanctions loopholes.

Ukraine should be an EU member, says Scholz

“Ukraine is part of the European family,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said at the German-Ukrainian Business Forum in Berlin. “We want Ukraine to become part of the European Union.”

Companies that invest in the reconstruction of Ukraine should know that they’re investing in a future member, he added. At the same time, he called on Kyiv to intensify its fight against corruption as a precondition for membership.

Ukraine ex-central bank chief put on wanted list

Ukrainian investigators added former central bank governor Kyrylo Shevchenko to their wanted list, as they probe his alleged involvement in embezzlement.

The case relates to his time as former chief executive officer of the state-run Ukrgazbank and he’s being investigated along with several other lenders’ managers, according to the National Anti-Corruption Bureau’s website. Shevchenko worked for the bank between 2014 and July 2020. Investigators say he and his two deputies were behind the siphoning of money out of the bank via payments to “pseudo intermediaries”.

Shevchenko, who is currently abroad for treatment reasons, said in a text message that he would publicly comment later on the matter. Previously, he denied any wrongdoing, calling the probe “political pressure”. He stepped down as central bank chief, citing health reasons, in early October.

Romanian defence chief quits after Ukraine remarks 

Romanian Defence Minister Vasile Dincu resigned after implying that Ukraine may have to cede territory to Russia as part of potential talks aimed at ending the war.

The public comments drew a rebuke from Romania’s president, Klaus Iohannis, who said only the government in Kyiv can decide with whom to negotiate. 

Dincu had raised the prospect of Russia-Ukraine talks overseen by Nato. He cited the “impossibility” of working with the head of state in a resignation letter on Monday.



Iran ‘strongly denies’ that military trainers are in Crimea 

Reports that Iran sent military trainers to Crimea to support Russian drone strikes are “fake” and created to distract from the West’s “destructive role” in the war, Nasser Kanaani, the spokesperson for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, said during a press conference.

White House says Iran sent trainers to aid Russian drone strikes

Ukraine far from ‘apocalyptic’ power outage scenario  

Ukraine’s power grid operator NPC Ukrenergo doesn’t see the worst scenario coming as a result of repeated Russian air strikes on the nation’s energy infrastructure — despite widespread electricity cut-offs across the country.

The company has been regularly limiting power supply to ease pressure on the grid since Russia began on 10 October to target Ukraine’s energy facilities. Power cut-offs were scheduled for seven regions, including the capital, Kyiv, on Monday.

Ukraine has 24 “oblast” regions, as well as Kyiv city and Russian-seized Crimea. DM


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