Huge blast erupts as Ukrainian council building in Energodar struck by missile
Ukraine has vowed it will “not succumb to peace by coercion” while threatening to hit back even harder if Putin blows up a hydroelectric dam in the Russian-occupied Kherson region.
Andriy Yermak, head of the Ukrainian president’s office, tweeted that Moscow has resorted to the plot because “nuclear blackmail did not work”.
President Zelensky claims the Kremlin has planted mines at the frontline dam, which risks wiping out a 400km-long (250 miles) canal network.
“Russia is preparing [to attack] at the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant. According to our information, the aggregates and dam of the Kakhovka HPP were mined by Russian terrorists.
“If the dam is destroyed… the North Crimean canal will simply disappear.”
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E3 seeks UN probe of Russia’s alleged use of Iranian drones
Britain, France and Germany have called for a UN probe of accusations Russia has used Iranian-origin drones to attack Ukraine, allegedly violating UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2231.
“We would welcome an investigation by the UN Secretariat team responsible for monitoring the implementation of UNSCR 2231 and stand ready to support the work of the Secretariat in conducting its technical and impartial investigation,” the three nations, a group collectively known as the E3, said in a letter circulated to UN Security Council members and seen by Reuters.
EU to give €18bn to Kyiv next year to help run Ukraine
The EU will give Kyiv €1.5bn (£1.3 bn) a month in 2023 to help run Ukraine as it fights back Russia’s invading troops, the head of the bloc’s executive said on Friday.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen spoke after the 27 national EU leaders discussed supporting Ukraine during the second day of their summit in Brussels on Friday.
She said that the EU has so far given Ukraine €19 bn (£16.7 bn) this year but that the summit looked at 2023.
“It is very important for Ukraine to have a predictable and stable flow of income,” she said, adding that Kyiv estimated its monthly needs at 3-4 billion euros “for the basics”.
She told a news conference the EU would finance 1.5 billion euros per month of that, with the rest expected to come from the United States and international institutions.
“That will give a total of 18 billion for the next year - an amount Ukraine can count on and where there is a stable and reliable, predictable flow of income.”
Russia has hit at least half of Ukraine's thermal generation capacity and caused billions of dollars of damage in attacks since 10 October, but not all stricken power units have stopped working completely, Ukraine's energy minister said on Friday.
Herman Halushchenko told Reuters in an interview that 30-40% of overall national power infrastructure had been hit in attacks that he depicted as intended to destroy Ukraine's energy system -- a goal that he said had not been achieved.
"It's quite a lot of capacity. I can tell you that it's... at least half of thermal generation capacity, even more," he said, when asked about the scale of the damage.
"This week, they targeted a number of thermal generation (plants)," Halushchenko said, adding that Ukraine had lost 4000MW in generating capacity as a result of those attacks.
Russia stepped up its aerial attacks on Ukraine last week using missiles and drones to target Kyiv, other major cities and energy infrastructure.
"We see that they targeted a number of new (facilities), but also they shelled (facilities) which had been already shelled before to destroy them absolutely," Halushchenko said.
He said that electricity imports could be one of the options Ukraine pursues to get through the crisis, and that some traders had already started negotiations with suppliers.
Ukrainian minister sees no progress on deal for occupied nuclear plant
Ukraine's energy minister said on Friday he saw no signs of progress towards a deal involving Russia, Ukraine and the UN nuclear watchdog on resolving the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.
Russian forces have occupied the plant in southern Ukraine since shortly after Moscow's invasion of its neighbour eight months ago but it is still operated by its Ukrainian staff.
The situation at the plant is a source of international concern because of fears that repeated shelling of the plant's territory - for which Kyiv and Moscow blame each other - could lead to a nuclear accident.
Rafael Grossi, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, has held talks in Moscow and Kyiv in an effort to secure agreement on a safety and security protection zone around the plant.
Asked if he saw progress towards a deal, Ukrainian Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko told Reuters in an interview: "Not at this stage."
"I see that there were some messages from Rafael this week, that he again wants to discuss the framework of an agreement. I don't know, maybe something changed in the Russian position, but I do not believe (in) any possibility to agree with Russia," he said.
Asked at what point it would be too dangerous for Ukrainian staff to continue working at the plant, he said: "This point is a nuclear accident."
Such an evacuation could only happen "several hours before (a) real catastrophe," as Russia cannot substitute the thousands of Ukrainian staff at the plant, Halushchenko said.
IMF concludes mission on Ukraine, urges authorities to avoid eroding tax revenues
An International Monetary Fund team held productive discussions with Ukrainian authorities in Vienna this week and will continue work in coming weeks on Ukraine's request for enhanced program monitoring, IMF mission chief Gavin Gray said on Friday.
Gray said IMF staff met with Ukrainian authorities, and discussed its findings with Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko and Governor of the National Bank of Ukraine Andriy Pyshnyi.
He said Russia's invasion had caused tremendous human suffering and had a severe economic impact, with the fiscal deficit rising to unprecedented levels. But IMF officials were encouraging Ukraine to refrain from measures that erode tax revenues.
France's Macron to hold Moldova solidarity conference in Paris
France will invite the leader of Moldova to Paris in November to express France's solidarity for the country in the context of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, French President Emmanuel Macron said at an EU meeting on Friday.
"In November, we will organise a conference of support for Moldova in Paris," Macron told reporters.
Russia poised to largely skirt new G7 oil price cap
Russia can access enough tankers to ship most of its oil beyond the reach of a new G7 price cap, industry players and a U.S. official told Reuters, underscoring the limits of the most ambitious plan yet to curb Moscow's wartime revenue.
The Group of Seven countries agreed last month to cap Russian oil sales at an enforced low price by 5 December but faced consternation from main players in the global oil industry who feared the move could paralyse the trade worldwide.
Months of discussions between the United States and those insurance, trading and shipping firms have mollified concerns on their exposure to sanctions but all parties now realize Russia can largely skirt the plan with their own ships and services.
Ukraine troop pile on pressure in Kherson
Ukrainian forces continue to pile pressure on Russian positions in occupied Kherson, targeting resupply routes across the Dnieper river as Kyiv inches closer to a full-scale assault to retake the strategic southern port city.
As many as 2,000 Russian draftees have poured into the Kherson region "to replenish losses and strengthen units on the front line", according to Ukrainian army officials.
The Antonivskyi Bridge, which is on a main route from Crimea to Russian-held territories in southern Ukraine, was struck late on Thursday, said Natalia Humeniuk, a spokesperson for Ukraine's southern operational command - but only after the 10pm local curfew, to avoid civilian casualties.
‘No political wisdom’: Kremlin not confident about next British PM, whoever it might be
Russia, which was far from complimentary about outgoing leader Liz Truss, said on Friday that it did not believe anyone who has a part in choosing the new leader will exercise “political wisdom”, and took a swipe at the fact that the British people are not allowed to have their say in deciding who ends up in Number 10.
Read David’s full piece here:
Moscow also attacks the lack of an election to select new PM
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