Day 297 of the Invasion of Ukraine: The Conflict is expected to Drag On for a Long Time
Here are the highlights of events related to the war in Ukraine over the past 24 hours:
Ukraine's air defense intercepted 60 of the 76 missiles fired by Russia on Friday
Russia has launched one of the most massive attacks against Ukraine since it launched a bombing campaign against the country's energy grid two months ago.
According to the Ukrainian command, the enemy fired 76 rockets during the past 24 hours, nine energy facilities were hit. Ukrainian air defense intercepted 60 of the missiles.
This morning, authorities in the self-proclaimed DPR announced that Ukrainian forces had shelled the Ukrainian city of Donetsk. At least 10 explosions went off in the center of Donetsk, TASS reported. According to the city's mayor, Alexei Kulemzin, eyewitnesses reported a large crater on a boulevard and destroyed houses near a shopping center. There is also information about damage to two residential buildings. Emergency services have arrived at the scene.
Ukraine's second-largest city, Kharkiv, was left without electricity and heating for hours on Friday after the latest wave of Russian strikes targeting power plants across the country. The mayor of Kharkiv said the city had suffered "colossal" damage. By the evening, electricity was restored to 55% of the residents.
However, the operator of the Ukrainian electricity grid, Ukrenergo, warned that due to the scale of the damage, it would take longer to restore supplies. Priority will be given to "critical infrastructure - hospitals, water supply and heating facilities, sewage treatment plants".
The alarm was raised yesterday throughout Ukraine. Commander-in-Chief General Valery Zaluzhnyi said that air defense intercepted 60 of the 76 missiles fired.
Moscow's attacks also cut power in the northeastern Sumy region, which borders Russia, and in the central cities of Poltava and Kremenchuk. 15 rockets were reported fired at Zaporizhzhia in the south.
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said several areas of the capital had been hit. The water supply is affected, and the city metro lines are currently not working.
A direct hit to an apartment block in the city of Kryvyi Rih caused the death of 3 people, and 13 others were injured.
Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal described the latest wave of strikes as "another attempt to commit genocide against the Ukrainian people".
The strikes came after the EU announced a ninth wave of sanctions against Russian officials and companies.
Almost 200 individuals and legal entities were added to a blacklist for asset freezes and visa bans.
Meanwhile, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said that the Russian leadership is preparing for a protracted war in Ukraine. He called on all NATO member states that support Kyiv to continue providing weapons to the Ukrainian army until Russian President Putin realizes that he is unable to win on the battlefield. According to him, there are still no signs that Putin has given up on his goal of gaining control of Ukraine.
A difficult night in Ukraine after latest attacks on energy infrastructure
Heavy night in Ukraine, the city of Kharkiv is without electricity and water after yesterday's Russian strikes. The mayor of the city warned that huge damage had been done to the energy system.
In order to normalize the power system, there are blackouts across the country.
Authorities in Kyiv said it would take time to repair the damage. For now, priority is being given to restoring power supply to hospitals, water supply facilities, thermal power plants and water treatment plants.
Stoltenberg: The conflict in Ukraine can drag on for a long time
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg fears that the conflict in Ukraine could drag on for a long time, but will most likely "end at the negotiating table." He expressed this opinion in an interview with AFP.
"We should not underestimate Russia. Russia plans to fight a long war. We see that they are mobilizing more forces, that they are ready to take more losses and that they are trying to get access to more weapons," Stoltenberg said.
He expressed confidence that the conflict would end at the negotiating table, adding that any solution would confirm Ukraine's status as a "sovereign independent state."
The NATO Secretary General also reiterated that the "fastest way to achieve" a settlement of the conflict is "to provide them [Kyiv] with military support."
Putin inspected the headquarters of the armed forces involved in the war
Russian President Vladimir Putin has familiarized himself with the work of the joint headquarters of the armed forces participating in the special military operation in Ukraine, said the spokesman of the head of state Dmitry Peskov, TASS reported, quoted by BTA.
"President Vladimir Putin worked throughout Friday at the joint headquarters of the troops participating in the special military operation (SVO). - The head of state got acquainted with the work of the headquarters, listened to a report on the progress of the SVO, and also held a meeting and separate meetings with the commanders.”
Russia will not use biological weapons in the war in Ukraine, commented a high-ranking Russian diplomat at a press conference in Geneva, quoted by AFP.
Konstantin Vorontsov, deputy director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's non-proliferation and arms control department, dismissed concerns that Russia could use such weapons.
"This is not a topic of conversation at all," he told reporters.
Russia is "fully committed to its obligations" under international treaties that prohibit their use.
"We have no programs in the military field related to biological weapons - All our activities in the biological field are entirely for peaceful purposes and nothing more."
Vorontsov was speaking on the sidelines of the review meeting of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), which takes place every 5 years and is due to end today after three weeks of work.
The Convention prohibits the development, production and stockpiling of this entire category of weapons of mass destruction. However, the absence of a verification mechanism has been its major weakness and a contentious issue for two decades.
Greece is considering whether to give Ukraine S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems
Athens is considering the possibility of providing Ukraine with S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems, announced Greek Defense Minister Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos.
The government of Greece has the opportunity to provide Ukraine with Russian-made air defense systems, but it wants compensation with American ones of a new type. This was stated by Minister Panagiotopoulos at a meeting with the leadership of the Ministry of Defense.
The S-300 missiles are located on the island of Crete, and Greece acquired them from Cyprus.
The opposition said such a replacement of Russian with American air defense systems required time and training, which would disrupt the rhythm of the defense force of the Greek islands in the Aegean Sea amid ongoing tensions with Turkey.
Military experts report that Kyiv urgently needs the Greek anti-aircraft systems to strengthen the defense of the energy infrastructure.
The EU sanctioned Valentina Tereshkova and Nikita Mikhalkov
The world's first woman cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova and legendary director and actor Nikita Mikhalkov are among the 141 persons included in the new EU sanctions list.
Yesterday, member states (the Council) unanimously approved the ninth package of sanctions against Moscow over the ongoing war in Ukraine.
As a member of the Duma, Valentina Tereshkova (85) voted on October 3 in support of the illegal annexation of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions and their incorporation into Russia. Thus, it has supported and implemented actions and policies that undermine the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine and contributed to the destabilization of that country.
In 2020, on Tereshkova's initiative, the Duma passed a law according to which Putin's previous mandates will be canceled after the new Russian constitution comes into force. Thus, he will have the right to be elected for a third consecutive term in 2024.
As a director, actor and public figure, Nikita Mikhalkov (77) actively supports the war in his public statements. He has been openly spreading Kremlin propaganda messages since 2014 and expressing support for the illegal annexation of Crimea and the recognition of the independence of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics (DPR and LPR).
He is the chairman of the Russian Fund for Culture, established by presidential decree. Mikhalkov calls the Ukrainian language a "disaster" for Russia because, according to his claims, it expresses hatred against the country and spreads Russophobia. The director calls for a complete end to the teaching of the Ukrainian language in Donbas schools.
He also supports the Kremlin's disingenuous messages about biological weapons in Ukraine and glorifies Russian prisoners fighting there.
This year, Nikita Mikhalkov was awarded the title of "Hero of Labor" at a ceremony in the Kremlin and gave a speech in support of the war.
Deputies from the Duma and the Council of the Federation, ministers and governors of various regions were also sanctioned.
Measures have been imposed against Senator Vladimir Chizhov. Only three months ago, he was the permanent representative of Russia in the EU and held this post for 17 years.
Among the designated members of the government are Tatyana Golikova (Deputy Prime Minister), Konstantin Chuichenko (Justice), Anton Kotyakov (Labor and Social Policy), Maksut Shalaev (Digital Development, Communications and Mass Communications), Alexander Kozlov (Natural Resources and Ecology), Valery Falkov (science and higher education), Sergey Kravtsov (education), Olga Lyubimova (culture), Alexander Kurochkin (civil protection, emergency situations and elimination of the consequences of natural disasters).
For the first time, Russian judges are also sanctioned. These are the chairman of the Constitutional Court (CC) Valery Zorkin and 9 magistrates from the same body. The Constitutional Court recognized as constitutional the "agreements" on the admission to the Russian Federation of the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions, as well as the DPR and the LPR. This decision artificially creates the appearance of legitimacy for Russia's invasion of Ukraine and aims to give these regions the characteristics of participants in international legal relations.
Sanctioned are members of the Russian Armed Forces and their units responsible for missile attacks on civilians, key civilian infrastructure, abductions and subsequent illegal adoptions of Ukrainian children. Those involved in the robbery of Ukrainian wheat were also punished.
The list includes Aishat and Karina Kadyrov - daughters of the pro-Russian Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov.
The EU also imposed sanctions on the parties "United Russia", the Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR), the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF), "New People" and "Just Russia-Parties-For-Truth".
However, there are no sanctions foreseen against parties in the EU maintaining contacts with the mentioned Russian formations, Council sources answered the question from Bulgarian media ClubZ. However, it is forbidden for anyone in Europe to provide them with economic or financial resources.
"As far as I know, a draft law on the regulation of European political parties is being prepared. However, this is something separate," shared one of the interlocutors.
But he recalled that the announcement of the circumvention of sanctions as a European crime is pending. And so any attempt to help the Russian parties will be cut off.
"And according to the eighth package of sanctions, you yourself can be included in the blacklist for providing financial support to individuals or legal entities that are subject to restrictive measures. And that is a very strong deterrent," he added.
Also, the licenses of 4 Russian programs - "NTV/NTV Mir", "Russia-1", REN TV and "Perviy Kanal" will be revoked. The blacklist includes media heads spreading Kremlin propaganda and disinformation, as well as the state media regulator Roskomnadzor.
Two more Russian banks have been sanctioned - Moscow Credit Bank and Far Eastern Bank.
The same fate befell defense sector companies that help the Russian military machine.
The rules for exports to Russia are being tightened. It has already become clear that the ban affects aircraft and drone engines. The list of goods expands to include generators, toy drones, laptops, hard drives, IT components, night vision and radio navigation equipment, cameras and lenses.
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