The Kremlin alleges that the United Kingdom "directed and coordinated" explosions on the Russia-Europe Nord Stream gas pipelines as the Ukraine conflict enters its 251st day.

Russian-installed authorities in Kherson, fearing a major Ukrainian counterattack, reported relocating 70,000 residents and expanded an evacuation area to people living within near the Dnieper River.
Russian-installed authorities in Kherson, fearing a major Ukrainian counterattack, reported relocating 70,000 residents and expanded an evacuation area to people living within near the Dnieper River. (AA)

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Russia reinforces military as Kherson battle looms

Russia has reinforced its fighting force with an annual fall draft of 120,000 men, and doubled the number of civilians it’s trying to evacuate in anticipation of a major Ukrainian push to recapture the strategically vital southern port city of Kherson.

As Ukrainian forces advance to the north and east of the strategic city, Russian-installed officials there have evacuated tens of thousands of civilians in recent weeks.

Compounding the uncertainty are claims and counter-claims by both sides in the eight-month-old conflict, a nearby dam could be destroyed, potentially triggering floods downstream.

Power, water restored in Kiev after Russian strikes

Water and power supplies were fully restored in Kiev a day after Russian missile strikes, as grain exports from Ukraine continued despite Moscow pulling out of a deal to let ships through.

Russian authorities meanwhile announced that tens of thousands more civilians would be "evacuated" from the Russian-occupied southern Ukrainian region of Kherson amid a counter-offensive by Kiev.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovich said Monday's bombardment was "one of the most massive shellings of our territory by the army of the Russian Federation".

No grain ship movement planned in Black Sea on Wednesday

There are no plans for grain-laden vessels to move in the Black Sea on Wednesday, the Joint Coordination Centre, the body overseeing a deal to export Ukrainian foodstuffs, said.

"The UN Secretariat at the Joint Coordination Centre reports that the Ukrainian, Turkish and United Nations delegations agreed not to plan any movement of vessels in the Black Sea Grain Initiative for 2 November," it said Tuesday, referring to the deal brokered by Türkiye and the UN.

"The JCC can best deliver on its mandate with the full and active participation of all four delegations," the centre said in a statement. 

US 'concerned' about possible Iran missiles for Russia

The White House said Iran was willingly taking part in killing Ukrainians by providing drones to Russia for the war and voiced concern it would also ship missiles to Moscow.

By arming the Russians, the Iranian regime "is involved in killing innocent Ukrainians," White House national security spokesperson John Kirby said.

"At its core, this is a regime in Tehran that is openly and willingly making themselves an accomplice to the murder of innocent Ukrainian people on Ukrainian soil."

Putin ally Prigozhin praises Ukraine's Zelenskyy as 'strong, confident' leader

Yevgeny Prigozhin, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the founder of the Wagner private military group, has praised Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as a strong and confident leader who should not be underestimated.

His comments underlined Prigozhin's rising public profile and growing confidence in speaking out on sensitive issues around the war in Ukraine in defiance of the standard Moscow line. 

EU energy chief arrives in Kiev to boost support for Ukrainian energy sector

The EU's top energy official arrived in Ukraine's capital Kiev to gather support for the Ukrainian energy sector, hit multiple times by Russian attacks.

"I am in Kiev today to help scale up support to the Ukraine energy sector. Ukrainian energy infrastructure is under targeted attack by Russia - a cruel and inhumane tactic to cause human suffering as the winter is approaching.

The EU stands by Ukraine to help them until they prevail," EU Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson said on Twitter. 

Putin to Erdogan: Resumption of grain deal can be considered after Sevastopol attack probe

President Vladimir Putin told his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a phone call that Russia could consider resuming a deal allowing grain exports from Ukrainian seaports only after the completion of an investigation of drone attacks on the Crimean naval port of Sevastopol.

The export deal was agreed upon by Russia and Ukraine and brokered by Türkiye and the United Nations in July to ease a world hunger crisis caused in part by Moscow's offensive on Ukraine, a major grain producer, and an earlier blockade of its ports.

Kremlin accuses UK of 'coordinating' Nord Stream blasts

The Kremlin has accused the United Kingdom of "directing and coordinating" explosions on the Nord Stream gas pipelines.

"Our intelligence services have data indicating that British military specialists were directing and coordinating the attack," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told journalists. "There is evidence that Britain is involved in sabotage, in a terrorist attack on vital energy infrastructure, not just Russian, but international."

Ukraine seeks Russia's expulsion from G20, says Putin's hands 'stained in blood'

Ukraine's Foreign Ministry spokesperson has said Russia should be expelled from the Group of 20 major economies and President Vladimir Putin’s invitation to a G20 summit in Bali next month must be revoked.

"Putin publicly acknowledged ordering missile strikes on Ukrainian civilians and energy infrastructure," spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko wrote on Twitter.

"With his hands stained in blood, he must not be allowed to sit at the table with world leaders. Putin’s invitation to Bali summit must be revoked, and Russia expelled from G20."

Russia extends evacuation zone in Kherson region

Russian-backed officials in Ukraine's Kherson region have said they will start evacuating citizens from the eastern bank of the Dnipro river, repeating claims rejected by Kiev that Ukraine could be preparing to attack the Kakhovka dam and flood the region.

In a post on Telegram, Vladimir Saldo, the Russian-backed head of the region, which is partially occupied by Russian forces, said he was extending an evacuation area in the region and - for the first time - asked civilians on the Dnipro river's eastern bank to leave their homes.

The new area will cover an additional 15 kilometre (nine miles) zone around the Dnipro river, which splits the Kherson region, to include another seven settlements, Saldo said.

Russia fines Wikimedia Foundation over Ukraine war entries

A Russian court has fined Wikipedia owner Wikimedia Foundation 2 million rubles ($32,600) over articles relating to the Ukraine war, the head of the foundation in Russia has told Reuters.

Stanislav Kozlovsky said the penalty was imposed for not deleting entries that Russia has demanded be removed. He said the foundation would appeal.

The two articles, in Russian, were titled "Non-violent resistance of Ukraine's civilian population in the course of Russia's invasion" and "Evaluations of Russia's 2022 invasion of Ukraine". Russia describes its war in Ukraine as a "special military operation".

Three more ships leave Ukrainian ports under deal despite Russian suspension

Three outbound vessels left Ukrainian ports by midday on Tuesday under the Black Sea grain export deal, the United Nations-led coordination centre said, the second day of sailings after Russia suspended participation in the initiative.

The statement said the ships' movement was agreed by the Ukrainian, Turkish and UN delegations at the Istanbul-based centre and the Russian delegation had been informed.

It said the UN coordinator for the grain initiative, Amir Abdulla, continued discussions with all three member state par ties in an effort to resume full participation at the centre that oversees safe passage of vessels.

EU presidency says sanctions may next target Belarus

The Czech prime minister, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, has said the bloc may look at further sanctions on Belarus over its role in the war in Ukraine. Minsk allows Russian troops to be stationed on Belarusian territory and stage attacks on Ukraine from there, although it insists it does not want to join the war directly.

"We are now looking at...the role of Belarus and the potential need to target it," Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala told reporters after returning from Kiev where members of his cabinet joined him in talks with Ukrainian counterparts.

"Certain sanctions against Belarus are already in place, but we can't have Belarus joining Russia's policy or Russia avoiding the impact of sanctions through countries such as Belarus," he added.

Water, power supplies restored in Kiev after missile strikes: Mayor

Water and electricity supplies have been restored in the Ukrainian capital Kiev, a day after being knocked out by Russian missile strikes, the city's mayor has said.

Vitali Klitschko said on social media there would still be planned power cuts in the city "because of the considerable deficit in the power system after the barbaric attacks of the aggressor".

The Ukrainian military said Russia had launched 55 cruise missiles and dozens of other munitions across the country on Monday. Presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovich on Tuesday called the bombardment "one of the most massive shellings of our territory by the army of the Russian Federation".

IAEA begins studying 'dirty bomb' claims in Ukraine

The UN's nuclear watchdog has said it had begun inspections in Ukraine as part of "independent verification" of Russian allegations Kiev is producing so-called dirty bombs.

"Director General Grossi said IAEA inspectors had begun – and would soon complete – verification activities at (the) two locations in Ukraine," the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a statement, adding that the watchdog's chief Rafael Grossi would "later this week provide his initial conclusions" about the inspections.

Grain deal not canceled but suspended — Putin

Russia is not ending its participation in a deal to export much-needed Ukrainian grain through Black Sea ports but rather is suspending it, President Vladimir Putin said.

"We are not saying that we are ceasing our participation in this operation. No, we are saying that we are suspending it," Putin told a televised news conference.

Putin said the Ukrainian drones had traveled through the same corridors the grain ships used. "And thus they created a threat both to our ships, which must ensure the safety of grain exports, and to the civilian ships that are engaged in this," he said.

For live updates from Monday (October 31), click here

Source: TRTWorld and agencies