Latest news from Russia and the war in Ukraine

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Russia fortifying occupied areas in attempt to block future Ukrainian advances, UK says

Russia has started building defensive structures around the occupied city of Mariupol in southern Ukraine, according to the British Ministry of Defence.

Two factories are producing concrete pyramidal anti-tank structures, known as “dragon’s teeth”, for this purpose, he said in an intelligence update on Tuesday.

“Dragon’s teeth were probably installed between Mariupol and Nikolske village, and from northern Mariupol to Staryi Krym village,” the ministry said. Mariupol is a key part of Russia’s “land bridge” between Russia and Crimea, a key logistical communication route, and was hotly contested in the early months of the war.

Russian troops eventually occupied the entire city following a siege of a Ukrainian stronghold in the city’s Azovstal steelworks.

A Russian soldier walks amid rubble in the eastern part of Mariupol where heavy fighting between Russian/pro-Russian forces and Ukraine on March 15, 2022.

Maximilian Clarke | SOPA Pictures | Light flare | Getty Images

Dragon teeth were also sent for the preparation of defensive fortifications in occupied Zaporizhzhia and Kherson, the ministry noted.

“Russia is strengthening its lines in all areas of occupation. On October 19, 2022, the owner of the Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, claimed the construction of a fortified “Wagner line” of defenses in the Luhansk oblast occupied by Russia,” he said.

“This activity suggests that Russia is making a significant effort to prepare defenses in depth behind its current front line that could prevent any rapid Ukrainian advance in the event of a breakthrough.”

—Holly Ellyatt

Sullivan confirms US is in talks with Kremlin officials over nuclear threat

Jake Sullivan, White House National Security Adviser, in Washington, DC on April 14, 2022. Sullivan met with Oscar Stenstrom, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to the Prime Minister of Sweden, to discuss the situation regarding security in Europe in view of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Al-Draco | Bloomberg | Getty Images

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan confirmed on Monday that lines of communication between the United States and Russia remain open, confirming a report that the United States recently held talks with the Kremlin. in an effort to ease tensions around the potential use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine. .

Speaking at an event at the Economic Club of New York on Monday, Sullivan did not say he had engaged in direct talks himself, but noted that he had repeatedly said that ” we have channels to communicate with the Russian Federation at higher levels,” Reuters reported. .

The comment came after the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday that Sullivan had held undisclosed talks with senior Russian officials in an attempt to defuse tensions over the possible use of nuclear weapons. Concerns have grown in recent months that Russia may use nuclear weapons in Ukraine in a bid to gain the upper hand in the war and defend four regions it illegally annexed in September.

The WSJ newspaper quoted US and Western officials as saying Sullivan recently had confidential conversations with Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov and Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev that have not been publicly disclosed.

—Holly Ellyatt

Ukrainian forces are gradually repelling the Russians, says Zelenskyy

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the country’s armed forces were advancing in some parts of the country.

“In general, along the front, our forces are in a state of active defense – in parts of the east and south we are gradually pushing back the enemy. We are gradually advancing,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address. Monday. .

He said the Donetsk part of Eastern Donbass “remains the epicenter of the occupiers’ greatest madness” and that Russian soldiers were dying “by the hundreds” every day.

A view of the damage after the November 5, 2022 bombardment in Donetsk, Ukraine.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Zelenskyy said Russian forces struck more than 50 settlements on Monday, including those in Donbass, Zaporizhzhia, Kherson, Mykolaiv, Kharkiv and Dnipropetrovsk regions. He said Ukraine had been boosted by the delivery of more air defense systems after NASAMS and Aspide missile systems from Kyiv allies arrived in Ukraine yesterday.

Ukraine has demanded more air defenses as it faces an escalation of drone and missile attacks by Russia targeting its energy infrastructure.

“As of today, we can say that the recent escalation of Russian terror by missiles and drones has only caused the world to react – to respond with new aid to Ukraine. We will do everything to ensure that “As many countries as possible are joining this aid,” Zelenskyy said. said.

—Holly Ellyatt

Order book of 77 ships waiting to transport agricultural products from Ukraine

Vessels, including those carrying grain from Ukraine and awaiting inspections, are anchored off the coast of Istanbul on November 02, 2022 in Istanbul, Turkey.

Chris McGrath | Getty Images

The organization overseeing the export of Ukrainian agricultural products said there was a backlog of 77 ships waiting to be loaded with goods.

The Joint Coordination Center also said that about 15 loaded ships are waiting to be inspected in Turkish territorial waters.

The Black Sea Grain Initiative, an agreement brokered in July between Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the United Nations, eased the Russian naval blockade and saw the reopening of three key Ukrainian ports. Since the signing of the agreement with, more than 10 million metric tons of grain and foodstuffs have left for destinations around the world.

Kyiv has previously blamed Moscow for delaying inspections and delaying vessel movements.

—Amanda Macias

Biden has ‘no intention’ of meeting Putin on the sidelines of the G-20

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a news conference after a trilateral meeting with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in Sochi, Russia October 31, 2022.

Sergei Bobylev | sputnik | via Reuters

The White House has said the Biden administration does not plan to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the upcoming G-20 summit.

“He has no intention of meeting with President Putin,” White House press secretary Karine Jean Pierre said during a daily press briefing when asked if there was preparations for a bilateral agreement.

She added that Ukraine should also be able to attend G-20 meetings in Indonesia, whether Putin attends or not.

“We have been very clear about how we see this invitation,” added Jean Pierre.

—Amanda Macias

White House says Russian influence in US elections is ‘well-known and well-documented’

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre holds the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, September 23, 2022.

Evelyn Hockstein | Reuters

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin complaints that Russia intervened and continues to intervene in the US elections was not surprising.

“These comments tell us nothing new or surprising, as we all know,” Jean-Pierre told a press briefing. “It is well known and well documented in the public domain that entities associated with Yevgeny Prigozhin have sought to influence elections around the world, including in the United States.”

According to Jean-Pierre, Prigozhin “is a known bad actor who has been sanctioned by the United States, the United Kingdom, but also the European Union”.

“We also know that part of Russia’s efforts includes promoting narratives aimed at undermining democracy and sowing division and discord. It’s no surprise that Russia highlights its attempted efforts and fabricates… a story about her successes on the eve of an election,” she said in light of Tuesday’s midterm elections.

Prigozhin is a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Earlier this year, the US State Department offered a $10 million reward for information about Prigozhin and other Russian entities and individuals who knowingly interfered in US elections.

—Rocio Fabbro

Ukraine suffers power outages amid intense Russian military attacks

A cafe without electricity in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv after three Russian missiles fired at energy infrastructure on October 11, 2022. The mayor of Lviv said a third of homes were without electricity .

Yuriy Dyachyshyn | AFP | Getty Images

Ukraine’s state-owned electricity operator announced power cuts in Kyiv and seven other regions of the country following Russia’s devastating strikes on energy infrastructure.

The move comes as Russian forces continue to pound Ukrainian towns and villages with missiles and drones, inflicting damage on power plants, water supplies and other civilian targets, in a fierce war that is approaching. of his nine months.

Ukrenergo, the sole operator of Ukraine’s high-voltage transmission lines, initially said in an online statement that scheduled power outages would take place in the capital and greater Kyiv region, as well as in several surrounding areas – Chernihiv, Cherkasy, Zhytomyr, Sumy, Poltava and Kharkiv.

Later today, however, the company released an update stating that outages scheduled for a specific number of hours are not enough and instead there will be emergency outages, which could last indefinitely. .

Ukraine has been grappling with power outages and water supply disruptions since Russia began unleashing massive barrages of missiles and drones on the country’s energy infrastructure last month.

— Associated Press

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