Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now
A powerful explosion seriously damaged Russia’s road-and-rail bridge to Crimea, hitting a prestige symbol of Moscow’s annexation of the peninsula and the key supply route to Russian forces battling to hold territory captured in southern Ukraine.
The blast on the bridge over the Kerch Strait, for which Russia did not immediately assign blame, prompted gleeful messages from Ukrainian officials but no direct claim of responsibility.
* Russia’s Defence Ministry named Air Force General Sergei Surovikin as the overall commander of Russian forces fighting in Ukraine, Moscow’s third senior military appointment in the space of a week.
* Overnight shelling cut power to Ukraine’s Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, which needs cooling to avoid a meltdown, forcing it to switch to emergency generators, Ukraine’s state nuclear company and the U.N. atomic watchdog said.
* A U.S. Navy reconnaissance aircraft flew near the site of the Sept. 26 rupturing of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in the Baltic Sea hours after the first damage emerged, according to tracking reviewed by Reuters, a flight Washington said was routine.
* Russian President Vladimir Putin marked his 70th birthday on Friday with little fanfare as signs grew that key parts of his Ukraine invasion were unraveling to trigger unprecedented criticism at home.
* Ukrainian authorities found a mass grave in the recently recaptured eastern town of Lyman, regional Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said on Friday. The Ukrinform news agency quoted a senior police official as saying the grave contained 180 bodies.
* The United States sees no reason to change its nuclear posture and does not have indications that Russia is preparing to imminently use nuclear weapons, the White House said on Friday, a day after President Joe Biden referred to the threat of a nuclear Armageddon.
* NATO must do more to protect itself against Russia and President Vladimir Putin, German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht said, because we “cannot know how far Putin’s delusions of grandeur can go.”
* Putin signed a decree on Friday establishing a new operator for the Exxon Mobil Corp-led Sakhalin-1 oil and gas project in Russia’s Far East, the oil giant’s largest investment in Russia.
* To reverse the economic shock caused by the war Ukraine’s government is pinning its hopes on the entrepreneurial resolve of small businesses, along with the return of millions of refugees – and large-scale international financial aid.
* The International Monetary Fund said on Friday its executive board approved Ukraine’s request for $1.3 billion in additional emergency funding to help sustain its economy as it battles Russia’s invasion.
* U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and his team are working to expand and extend a deal allowing Ukrainian Black Sea grain exports, which could expire in late November, a U.N. spokesman said on Friday.
NOBEL PEACE PRIZE, HUMAN RIGHTS
* Jailed Belarusian activist Ales Byalyatski, Russian organization Memorial and Ukrainian group Center for Civil Liberties won the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday The prize will be seen by many as a condemnation of Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.
* A U.N. human rights body passed a motion on Friday to appoint a new independent expert on alleged human rights abuses in Russia, accusing Moscow of creating a “climate of fear” through repression and violence. (Compiled by William Mallard and Frances Kerry)
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