Ukraine and its Western partners say the warnings from Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu could be a "false flag" operation used to divert attention from its own potential use of banned weapons.
In a flurry of phone calls to his Western counterparts, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the war was moving towards “uncontrolled escalation.”
Shoigu told French, U.S. and UK defense ministers that Moscow was worried that Ukraine could use a "dirty bomb," without providing evidence to support this suggestion. A dirty bomb is a weapon that combines conventional explosives and uranium.
The claim that Ukraine would use such a weapon was quickly refuted by the U.S., Ukraine and the United Kingdom as a possible so-called false flag operation by Russia to try to later blame Kyiv for their own attack. “We reject reports of Minister Shoigu’s transparently false allegations that Ukraine is preparing to use a dirty bomb on its own territory,” National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky also brushed off the latest claims about Kyiv’s military plans. “If Russia calls and says that Ukraine is allegedly preparing something, it means one thing: Russia has already prepared all this,” Zelensky said. “I believe that now the world should react as harshly as possible.”
Russian Troops Dig In To Defend Kherson
Though Russia has insinuated that they are planning to withdraw from Kherson, there are increasing signs that Moscow is sending new military units there in preparation for defense of the occupied city.
A statement made by the Russian occupation "authorities" in the Kherson region says, "For all men who want to stay in Kherson, despite the increased security threat due to the actions of Ukrainian nationalists, an opportunity has been created to join the territorial defense units of the city."If Ukraine takes control of the Kakhovka Dam, now the only fully-functioning transport artery in the area, Russia could find themselves possibly forced to retreat from the area. The United States believes that there is a "window of opportunity" for the reconquest of Kherson sometime by early December.
Ukraine Says Israel Is Providing Intel On How To Shoot Down Iranian Drones
A Ukrainian government official said Israel has been providing Ukraine with intelligence for targeting Iranian drones.
Though Israel has repeatedly denied Ukraine’s request for air defense weapons, the anonymous Ukrainian source said Israel is passing on information on early warning systems.
In the past month alone, Ukraine has shot down 233 Iranian kamikaze drones, though Tehran denies that they’ve provided the weapons to Russia. Advisor to the Minister of Defense of Ukraine Yuriy Sak said he thinks that Iran is using Ukraine as “testing ground to see weaknesses, improve them, and sooner or later they will use them against Israel."
Russia Keeps Pounding Ukraine’s Energy Grid
Attacks on power plants in Kyiv
Russia launched new, wide-scale missile attacks on Ukraine’s civilian energy sites, causing power outages nationwide through the weekend. Ukrainian authorities reported that nearly 1.5 million households across the country have been left without energy. According to the Associated Press, the strikes have so far left residents without electricity in parts of Odessa, Cherkasy, Kropyvnitsky, Rivne, Khmelnytskyi and Lutsk.
In a video update this weekend, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that power had been restored in multiple areas where it had been cut off. With Putin's attacks on infrastructure, the risk is not merely the cost of energy, but that it might be completely cut off. In a Ukrainian winter – four full months of frost, snow, and wind – places where heat is shut for an extended time pose legitimate life and death circumstances, especially for the sick and elderly.
French President Urges Russian Orthodox Church To Resist Kremlin Pressure
French President Emmanuel Macron accused the Orthodox Church of being manipulated by Russian authorities to justify their war in Ukraine and urged it to resist such pressure. "We know well how the Orthodox religion today is being manipulated by those in power in Russia to justify their actions," Macron said. "Resistance is needed here."
The remarks were made during Macron’s keynote speech at the international “The Cry For Peace” conference organized by the Sant' Egidio Community, a worldwide peace and charity group based in Rome.The Russian Orthodox Church's number two, Metropolitan Anthony, sat in the front row of the conference hall with other religious leaders as Macron spoke.
Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, has given enthusiastic backing to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which the patriarch views as a bulwark against a West he calls decadent.
Russian TV Pundit Fired After Saying Ukrainian Children Should Be Drowned
Well-known pro-Kremlin commentator Anton Krasovsky was fired from the Russian TV channel RT after he called on viewers to drown Ukrainian children on live broadcast.
"You have to drown these children. [...] This is our method! If they say that the Muscovites occupied Ukraine — immediately throw them right into the river," Krasovsky said.
In June of this year, the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine initiated a criminal case on calls for genocide against Krasovski. According to the agency, he "called for the physical elimination of Ukrainian people, setting the Russian audience against the Ukrainians.”
New Report Shows Extent Of Russian Sexual Violence On Ukrainians
A new report shows the extent of crimes of sexual violence committed by Russian troops in Ukraine after the full-scale invasion in late February. Ukraine is working to prove the systemic nature of such crimes at the national level and in the International Criminal Court.
“There are no gender or age restrictions for war criminals: women, men, the elderly, and children are victims," said Iryna Didenko, the prosecutor in charge of sexual violence cases at the Prosecutor General's Office of Ukraine.
About half of the victims refuse to testify for fear of being once again at the mercy of the Russian military if their city falls under occupation again.
Currently, the Prosecutor General's Office, MPs, law enforcement agencies, and international experts are preparing amendments to the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code to abolish the limitation of pre-trial investigation and to be able to imprison criminals for life.
Meet Arthur Turaev, The “Sex Symbol” Of The Ukrainian Forces
Arthur Turaev hails from Mykolaiv, the Ukrainian-held city in the south that has been withstanding heavy Russian strikes in recent days. Turaev’s dashing looks have made the 27-year-old member of the Ukrainian Armed Forces an Instagram and TikTok sensation over the past eight months.
In an in-depth interview with The New Voice of Ukraine, Turaev talks about how he first enrolled in the Ukrainian military as a volunteer during the 2014 war in Donbas, rising to surprising online fame at the start of Russia’s invasion earlier this year, and getting married in the middle of it all.