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In The News

Retaking Kherson, Ukraine’s Southern Counteroffensive Has Begun

Retaking Kherson, Ukraine’s Southern Counteroffensive Has Begun

Rocket attack aftermath in Ukraine

Bertrand Hauger, Anna Akage, Meike Eijsberg, Chloe Touchard and Emma Albright

Six months into the war, Ukrainian forces have launched a counteroffensive in southern Ukraine to retake Russian-controlled territory. According to an on-the-ground military source, contacted by CNN, “the operation began at night with massive shelling of Russian positions and the rear.” Ukraine has liberated four villages so far: Nova Dmytrivka, Arkhanhel's'ke, Tomyna Balka and Pravdyne, while Kyiv’s main target remains Kherson.

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Situated in the south of Ukraine, Kherson is a port city that serves as a bridge to and from Crimea. It was also the first major city in Ukraine to be occupied by Moscow’s troops. In recent days, the Ukrainian military has managed to cause damage to “bridges across the Dnipro," according to military officials in a Telegram post, making it “possible to cut off the Russian army from the supply of weapons and personnel from Crimea.”

Meanwhile, five people have been reported killed in the city of Kharkiv on Tuesday morning due to Russian shelling, according to Ukrainian regional governor Oleh Synehubov.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed in his nightly address on Monday to “chase” Russian troops to the border. Meanwhile, Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to the head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, said that the Ukrainian counteroffensive in the south of the country will be a "slow operation to grind the enemy."

Vladimir Leontiev, head of the Russian-backed administration of the Kherson region, says the situation in the area has been "tense" and there have been "around 15" missile strikes over the course of the past two days. Quoted by Russian state news agency TASS, Leontiev says "These are not single strikes, but a series of strikes. As such we can probably say that up to 100 missiles in total have hit the city."

New Satellite Images Show Zaporizhzhia Destruction As UN Experts Reach Kyiv

A team of 14 experts from the United Nations' nuclear watchdog arrived in Kyiv on Tuesday. They are planning a visit to the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine later this week. This comes after weeks of shelling at the plant that sparked global fears of a nuclear accident. The mission will be led by International Atomic Energy Agency chief, Rafael Grossi.

New satellite images from Maxar Technologies show four holes in the roof of a building close to where at least three Russian armored personnel carriers are being stored at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Vladimir Rogov, the Russian-appointed leader for the Zaporizhzhya region, claims that the holes were caused by Ukrainian military strikes. The Ukrainian government denies any involvement in such actions near the plant in recent weeks.

Meanwhile, the White House has said that Russia should agree to a demilitarized zone around the nuclear plant. According to White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby, a controlled shutdown of the plant would be the safest option.

Due to the counteroffensive the Ukrainian army has launched in the south of the country, thousands of people fleeing Russian-occupied territories have made their way to cities in the Zaporizhzhia area, as fears of shelling trump risks of radiation leaks from fighting at the plant.

Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Fears On Portuguese Front Page 

El Periodico

UN Nuclear Watchdogs In Spain's ABC


"The Whole Of Europe Would Be Affected" Says French Daily Libération


Russia Receives First Batch Of Drones From Iran

Iranian drones


The Russian army has received the first batch of drones from Iran, capable of carrying high-precision weapons. The number of military drones is unknown, although Moscow military sources claim there are "hundreds.”

The White House warned last month of the risk of Russia using Iranian drones in Ukraine, which Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian denied, saying that Tehran did not intend to sell drones to Moscow.

The use of Iranian drones, which can also be used for surveillance, could have a significant impact on the battlefield as they could prove instrumental in limiting the damage caused by Ukraine’s High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), provided by the United States and its allies.

Europe Torn On Tightening Russian Visas

The EU countries' defence ministers in Prague

Michal Kamaryt/CTK/Zuma

European Union foreign ministers are meeting in Prague today and tomorrow to discuss the process of issuing tourist visas for Russian citizens and whether to tighten it.

Germany and France have issued a joint warning against the ban on Russian visas, arguing that such a step would be counterproductive: “We caution against far-reaching restrictions on our visa policy, in order to prevent feeding the Russian narrative and trigger unintended rallying-around-the-flag effects and/or estranging future generations,” they said in a joint memo.

Others, in particular Northern member states, are in favor of a ban. “It is very provocative to me that you see Russian men on European beaches in Southern Europe and at the same time Ukrainian men between 18 and 60 years cannot even leave their country but have to fight for their freedom," Denmark's Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said last week.

France Grapples With Reduced Russian Gas Delivery, Germany Faces “Bitter Reality”

ENGIE headquarters in Paris' La Défense


Concerns about energy supplies for Europe’s upcoming winter are increasing as Russia’s Gazprom informed France’s ENGIE it is reducing its gas deliveries, starting today, due to a disagreement between the parties on the application of some contracts, the French energy company said.

Russian gas deliveries to ENGIE had already fallen significantly since the start of the conflict in Ukraine. But the French group said that it has already put in place measures to be able to supply its customers even in case of interruption of Gazprom's flows.

Germany, meanwhile, faces the “bitter reality” that Russia will not restore gas supplies to the country, the German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said. His comment comes in the wake of Gazprom announcing it would halt natural gas supplies to Europe for three days at the end of the month for unscheduled maintenance to the Nord Stream pipeline.

Russia’s Oil Output Exceeds Predictions, But Sanctions Will Make Things Harder

Russia oil platform


According to the latest report by the International Energy Agency, although Russian oil exports fell in July as compared to the start of the year, the decline is nowhere near the large slump some experts had predicted. But the consequences of West-imposed sanctions may change that scenario soon.

As the head of IEA Fatih Birol told Reuters, "in the absence of [western] companies, in the absence of the technology providers, in the absence of service companies, it will be much harder for Russia to maintain the production". He added that “Russia is not winning the energy battle here.”

First Ukrainian Grain Shipment Reaches Africa

MV Brave Commander


The MV Brave Commander, carrying the first Africa-bound grain shipment, has arrived in Djibouti two weeks after leaving the Ukrainian port of Pivdennyi. The United Nations World Food Programme's Executive Director David Beasley shared the news on Twitter.

The ship’s 23,000 tons of wheat is mainly directed to Ethiopia, as the country deals with its worst drought in 40 years. Over 20 million people face hunger in the Horn of Africa.

Ukraine has exported more than 1 million tons of grain since the naval blockade was lifted in July, and a UN-brokered grain deal was struck. Dozens of more shipments are on their way.

Hugh Bonneville Voices Documentary On Ukraine Monuments Destruction

British actor Hugh Bonneville, famous for his role in the TV drama Downton Abbey, has voiced the story of the cultural monuments that Russian troops damaged and destroyed in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city.

Bonneville narrated the first video of a series entitled "Postcards from Ukraine". Launched by the Ukrainian Institute with the support of USAID, the series aims at creating a record of the destruction of historical and cultural monuments around the country since the start of the Russian invasion in February.

More than 100 such “postcards” about cultural heritage sites from different regions of Ukraine will be released, both in Ukrainian and English, featuring Ukrainian and international celebrities.

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How A Xi Jinping Dinner In San Francisco May Have Sealed Mastercard's Arrival In China

The credit giant becomes only the second player after American Express to be allowed to set up a bank card-clearing RMB operation in mainland China.

Photo of a hand holding a phone displaying an Union Pay logo, with a Mastercard VISA logo in the background of the photo.

Mastercard has just been granted a bank card clearing license in China.

Liu Qianshan


It appears that one of the biggest beneficiaries from Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to San Francisco was Mastercard.

The U.S. credit card giant has since secured eagerly anticipated approval to expand in China's massive financial sector, having finally obtained long sought approval from China's central bank and financial regulatory authorities to initiate a bank card business in China through its joint venture with its new Chinese partner.

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Through a joint venture in China between Mastercard and China's NetsUnion Clearing Corporation, dubbed Mastercard NUCC, it has officially entered mainland China as an RMB currency clearing organization. It's only the second foreign business of its kind to do so following American Express in 2020.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that the development is linked to Chinese President Xi Jinping's meeting on Nov. 15 with U.S. President Joe Biden in San Francisco, part of a two-day visit that also included dinner that Xi had with U.S. business executives.

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