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Russia Evacuates Kherson — What It Says About Kyiv's Counteroffensive

The southern city, which fell to Moscow's forces in the first days of the war, could become the clearest symbol of the success of Ukraine's autumn drive to retake territory.

Russia Evacuates Kherson — What It Says About Kyiv's Counteroffensive

Evacuation of Kherson residents to left bank of Dnieper River

Anna Akage, Shaun Lavelle and Bertrand Hauger

"Dear residents! Ukrainian army will be shelling residential areas…" Such read the message early Wednesday from Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of the Russian occupation administration of the Kherson region, calling for the evacuation of up to 60,000 people.

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Stremousov’s evacuation orders is an acknowledgement of the ongoing loss of territory of pro-Russian forces in the southern region, following a similar announcement Tuesday by the new commander of Russian troops in Ukraine, General Sergey Surovikin, who warned that Kyiv was taking aim at the region’s nearby hydroelectric power plant.

Ukraine commanders stated that they had no plans to shell targets where civilians were at risk. Still, a major attack to retake the city of Kherson appears increasingly likely.

Kherson was the first major city captured by Russia after the invasion in February. The Black Sea port city of 285,000, which is largely Russian-speaking, has lost much of its population since March. The oblast of Kherson was one of the four regions annexed by Moscow after a sham referendum last month, but Ukrainian troops continue to reconquer territory around the city as part of what has been a successful counteroffensive this fall.

The Ukrainian Center for Counteracting Disinformation reported that the disinformation was aimed at sowing panic and deporting as many Ukrainians as possible under the guise of "evacuation."

Earlier, Vitaly Klim, head of Ukraine’s Mykolayiv Regional Military Association, warned that Russian troops were fortifying positions, and also could begin to shell Kherson.

Russia Continues Strikes On Ukraine’s Infrastructure, Masses Without Power

Russia has continued to attack Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities with a wave of Iranian-made kamikaze drones, aimed at critical infrastructure. Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians are reported to be without power or water.

At least eight people were killed in Ukraine’s capital yesterday and four in the eastern city of Sumy . Moscow also continued its attacks on critical infrastructure in Kyiv, Dnipro in central Ukraine, and Sumy.

Since Oct. 10, Russia has been carrying out a series of rocket attacks on Ukraine’s infrastructure. Some 30% of the country’s power plants have been destroyed and Ukrainian, with President Volodymr Zelensky warning the country that all regions should prepare for power outages.

In an interview with a Ukrainian news outlet, the executive director of Ukraine’s DTEK electricity company Dmytro Saharuk called the actions terrorism. “The enemy knows where to hit. They are probably being consulted by Russian energy experts.” He also said that Putin had 29 facilities in Ukraine in mind to target.

Ukraine’s Daily Life In The Dark On ABC’s Front Page

“Putin switches off Ukraine ahead of winter,” read Spanish daily ABC’s front page, as large swathes of the country are left without power after Russia destroyed an estimated 30% of all Ukrainian power stations.

After Russian Missile Scare, Moldova To Buy Air Defense Systems

A week after Russian missiles aimed at Ukraine passed through Moldovan air space, the country announced it will invest in new air defense weapons. Igor Grosu, head of Moldova’s parliament, announced the decision late Tuesday.

Three Russian cruise missiles aimed at Ukraine crossed Moldova’s airspace on October 10, sparking a debate over the past week if the country should equip itself with expensive state-of-the-art air defense systems. Defense Minister Anatolie Nosatii had noted that military spending was already higher for next year.

Bordering southwest Ukraine with a breakaway pro-Russian enclave of Transnistria, Moldova is seen as one of the countries most at risk of being drawn into the war.

Russia Says It Thwarted Ukrainian Attempt To Retake Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant

Russian serviceman is seen at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant

Sergei Malgavko/TASS

Russian state-owned news agency RIA Novosti has reported a failed attempt by Ukrainian armed forces to recapture the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

Vladimir Rogov, a member of the Russian-installed administration in the region, is quoted as saying that 30 boats carrying Ukrainian troops on the Dnipro River attempted to land in Enerhodar, the settlement attached to the nuclear power plant, before being successfully pushed back. Rogov says the situation is now “under control.”

Meanwhile, the head of Ukraine's state nuclear agency Energoatom says that an estimated 50 employees of the Zaporizhzhia plant are currently held hostages in the nuclear facility by Russian forces, AFP reports.

The Last (Swedish) Bastion Between Russia And The Baltics

More than 1,000 kilometers separate Gotland from the Ukraine war. Yet since February 24, nothing on the Swedish island is as it was before. With the start of Moscow's invasion, the decades-old abstract scenario of Sweden having to defend itself from the imposing Russian neighbor became a plausible future.

Nowhere in the country is this more evident than on the scenic Baltic island of Gotland, which occupies a key geographical position. If it were to fall into enemy hands, the Baltic states would be all but lost, and the Nordic Baltic states would be largely cut off from NATO aid by sea. Read more of the English edition of the reportage from Die Welt

Russia’s Duma Stops Live Broadcast To Avoid Sharing Intel With “Our Enemy”

Russia has halted broadcasts of live plenary sessions of the State Duma.

A leading lawmaker said on Tuesday as parliament’s lower house debated topics related to the war in Ukraine, that live sharing of plenary sessions should stop to protect information from reaching “our enemy,” Ukraine and its Western allies.

“Those questions that require sensitive discussion in a narrow professional circle should not be the property of our enemy,” Vladimir Vasilyev, parliament head of the ruling United Russia party.

Estonia Brands Russia A “Terrorist Regime”

Eighty-eight members of Estonia’s 101-seat legislature voted on Tuesday in favor of officially declaring Russia a “terrorist regime.”

“Putin’s regime, with its threats of a nuclear attack, has turned Russia into the biggest danger to peace both in Europe and in the whole world,” a statement adopted by the parliament said, in light of the country’s attack on Ukraine and the increasing threat of nuclear warfare.

Moscow Blocks Ukrainian Website Teaching Russians How To Surrender

Russian soldiers getting ready to go to Ukraine

Yelena Afonina/TASS

The Ukrainian state-run website Hochu Zhit (“I want to live”), which encourages Russian military members to surrender, has been blocked in Russia.

Since Oct. 4, the website has reportedly received more than 2,000 requests from members of the Russian military to safely surrender to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Access to the site was blocked at the request of the Prosecutor General’s Office of Russia, according to Roskomsvoboda, a non-governmental Russian anti-censorship media.

The Ukrainian state-run website promises to adhere to Geneva conventions for the treatment of prisoners of war if they apply to surrender via the site or its affiliated hotline. This hotline was announced by Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense two days after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the mobilization of 300,000 military reservists.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Why Russia Is Suddenly Deploying Air Defense Systems On Moscow Rooftops

Russia is increasingly concerned about security from the sky: air defense systems have been installed on rooftops in Moscow's government quarter. Systems have also appeared in several other places in Russia, including near Vladimir Putin's lakeside home in Valdai. What is the Kremlin really worried about?

photo of ice on the river in Moscow

Clear skies, cold reality along the Moskva River

Anna Akage


The Russian Defense Ministry has refused to comment. State Duma parliamentary officials say it’s a fake. Still, a series of verified photographs have circulated in recent days of an array of long-range C-400 and short-range air defense systems installed on three complexes in Moscow near the Kremlin, as well as on locations in the outskirts of the capital and in the northwest village of Valdai, where Vladimir Putin has a lakeside residence.

Some experts believe the air defense installations in Moscow were an immediate response to recent Ukrainian statements about a new fleet of military drones: The Ukroboronprom defense contracter said this month that it completed a series of successful tests of a new strike drone with a range of over 1,000 kilometers. Analyst Michael Naki suggests that Moscow’s anti-air defense systems were an immediate reaction to the fact that the drones can theoretically hit Kremlin.

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Yet the air defense installations in Valdai seem to have been in place since late December, following Ukrainian drone attacks on a military airfield deep inside Russia’s Sorotov region, 730 kilometers (454 miles) southeast of Moscow.

Others pose a very different rationale to explain Russia’s beefing up anti-air defenses on its own territory. Russian military analyst Yan Matveev argues that Putin demanded the deployment of such local systems not as defense against long-range Ukrainian drones, but rather for fear of sabotage from inside Russia.

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