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In The News

Fresh Troops Arriving As Final Battle For Kherson Appears Imminent

A missile attack early Friday kills four, as civilians try to evacuate the largest Ukrainian city under Russian occupation.

Fresh Troops Arriving As Final Battle For Kherson Appears Imminent

Mobilized Russian Army reservists

Cameron Manley, Bertrand Hauger and Emma Albright

The Ukrainian military's General Staff reports that up to 2,000 Russian troops have arrived in the wider occupied Kherson region to replenish losses and reinforce units on the southern front line. These troops are believed to be made up of men called up in Vladimir Putin’s “partial mobilization,” brought in for what many believe will be a major battle for the key port city and regional capital of Kherson.

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The Kremlin has accused Ukrainian forces overnight of targeting civilians evacuating from the Russian-controlled city of Kherson, after a missile attack killed at least four.

Captured by Moscow’s forces in the first days of the war, Kherson had a pre-war population of 284,000, making it the largest city Russia holds. The Ukrainian resistance movement in the city has been active, including reports of sabotage and assassinations of Russian-installed officials in Kherson.

Over the past 24 hours, Russian forces have launched at least three missiles and 24 airstrikes as well as shelled more than 15 settlements using multiple rocket launchers. Ukraine's military also downed 15 Russian drones and destroyed two anti-aircraft missile systems.

U.S. Thwarts Ploys To Send Military Tech To Russia

The U.S. Department of Justice announced charges against "nearly a dozen individuals and two companies" for participating in unlawful schemes to export military technologies to Russia — some of which have been recovered on battlefields in Ukraine.

One indictment accuses five Russian nationals and two Venezuelan oil brokers of setting up a network of shell companies to illegally send U.S. military technology to Russia and millions of barrels of Venezuelan oil to Russian and Chinese buyers, avoiding U.S. sanctions.

In cooperation with Latvian authorities, U.S. officials have also intercepted a piece of equipment originally manufactured in Connecticut, bound for Russia, that has applications “in nuclear proliferation and defense programs”. Four individuals — three Latvians and one Ukrainian citizen who resided in Estonia — face several charges for allegedly conspiring to smuggle the item, a high-precision grinding machine, to individuals in Russia, the Justice Department told CNN.

Iran Sending Drone Pilots To Train Russians Struggling To Use Them

Iran has sent a number of Revolutionary Guard Corps members to Russian-occupied Crimea with the intention of helping Moscow launch Shahed-136 kamikaze drones at Ukrainian infrastructure and civilians, U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said.

According to declassified U.S. intelligence reports, the Russians were struggling with the Iranian drones immediately after receiving them in August. "The information we have is that the Iranians have put trainers and tech support in Crimea, but it's the Russians who are doing the piloting," Kirby said.

The European Union, meanwhile, has approved sanctions against Iran for selling its munitions to Russia. The U.S. has also warned about implementing sanctions against "all involved" in supplying Russia with Iranian-made kamikaze drones.

Zelensky Says Ukraine Not Behind Crimea Bridge Attack

Crimea bridge explosion

Alyona Popova/TASS

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told the Canadian CTV news outlet that Ukraine "definitely did not order [the Crimea bridge explosion], as far as I know," Zelensky said. The President added that Russian domestic conflicts could have been the cause of the explosion.

A day after the explosion on Oct. 8, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin accused "Ukrainian intelligence" of damaging the bridge connecting Russian-occupied Crimea and Russia over the Kerch Strait.

In his overnight address, Zelensky also accused Russian forces of having mined the Kakhovka dam at a hydroelectric plant, on the Dnipro river in southern Ukraine. Zelensky also used his address to ask the West to help prevent Russia from destroying the dam, which would cause significant flooding to the region.

Tracking Rising Tensions In Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan And Other Soviet Republics

Russia has always claimed to be a kind of sheriff on the territory of the former USSR, a zone the country considers as its "privileged interests," reports Vazhnyye Istorii.

In 2020 we began to see how the instability and simmering conflicts in the ex-Soviet republics could converge and take a bloody turn: Hostilities resumed between Armenia and Azerbaijan, Belarus bubbling, with popular protests against strongman Alexander Lukashenko, border skirmishes turned deadly between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan; another coup d'état took place in Kyrgyzstan in October.

Fast-forward to today: We are seeing how Russia's war with Ukraine has worsened the region's security.

Read the Vazhnyye Istorii piece in English via Worldcrunch.

Putin Makes Appearance At Training Of Mobilized Soldiers

Russian President Visits Airborne Training Base

Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin Pool/Planet Pix/Zuma

Russian President Vladimir Putin, accompanied by Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu, arrived in the Ryazan region, where he performed checks on the training and preparation of mobilized men.

Putin also visited a multifunctional shooting complex, where mobilized men practice various methods of firing under the guidance of commanders and instructors with combat experience.

Vladimir “The Cold Warrior” On German Front Page

Berlin-based daily Der Tagesspiegel features an ominous-looking Vladimir Putin on its front page today, a day after “the cold warrior,” as it nicknames the Russian president, declared martial law in the four Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine.

Estonia Calls For Tribunal To Hold Russia Accountable

The European Union needs to begin preparing for a special tribunal to rule on Moscow's invasion of Ukraine and possible war crimes there, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas declared on Friday.

"We definitely have to discuss the legal response to the crimes of aggression that have been committed in Ukraine (...) that can only be addressed by a separate tribunal," she said on her way to the second day of an EU summit.

Meanwhile Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins said the EU must stay united in its support for Ukraine and should also start holding Russia accountable for its criminal activities in the war.

“Russia’s war is becoming ever more brutal, now blatantly aimed not only at the Ukrainian military but at Ukrainian citizens and their civilian infrastructure,” Karins said.

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The Unsustainable Future Of Fish Farming — On Vivid Display In Turkish Waters

Currently, 60% of Turkey's fish currently comes from cultivation, also known as fish farming, compared to just 10% two decades ago. The short-sightedness of this shift risks eliminating fishing output from both the farms and the open seas along Turkey's 5,200 miles of coastline.

Photograph of two fishermen throwing a net into the Tigris river in Turkey.

Traditional fishermen on the Tigris river, Turkey.

Dûrzan Cîrano/Wikimeidia
İrfan Donat

ISTANBUL — Turkey's annual fish production includes 515,000 tons from cultivation and 335,000 tons came from fishing in open waters. In other words, 60% of Turkey's fish currently comes from cultivation, also known as fish farming.

It's a radical shift from just 20 years ago when some 600,000 tons, or 90% of the total output, came from fishing. Now, researchers are warning the current system dominated by fish farming is ultimately unsustainable in the country with 8,333 kilometers (5,177 miles) long.

Professor Mustafa Sarı from the Maritime Studies Faculty of Bandırma 17 Eylül University believes urgent action is needed: “Why were we getting 600,000 tons of fish from the seas in the 2000’s and only 300,000 now? Where did the other 300,000 tons of fish go?”

Professor Sarı is challenging the argument from certain sectors of the industry that cultivation is the more sustainable approach. “Now we are feeding the fish that we cultivate at the farms with the fish that we catch from nature," he explained. "The fish types that we cultivate at the farms are sea bass, sea bram, trout and salmon, which are fed with artificial feed produced at fish-feed factories. All of these fish-feeds must have a significant amount of fish flour and fish oil in them.”

That fish flour and fish oil inevitably must come from the sea. "We have to get them from natural sources. We need to catch 5.7 kilogram of fish from the seas in order to cultivate a sea bream of 1 kg," Sarı said. "Therefore, we are feeding the fish to the fish. We cannot cultivate fish at the farms if the fish in nature becomes extinct. The natural fish need to be protected. The consequences would be severe if the current policy is continued.”

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