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In The News

Putin’s Martial Law Dismissed As “Propaganda Show,” “Desperate Tactic”

Russia's martial law for the occupied territories of Ukraine is a "pseudo-legalization of looting of Ukrainians' property," said another official in Kyiv.

Putin’s Martial Law Dismissed As “Propaganda Show,” “Desperate Tactic”

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Cameron Manley, Sophia Constantino and Bertrand Hauger

Russian President Vladimir Putin is fast-tracking the imposition of martial law in the four occupied territories of Ukraine — Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia — which he now considers annexed parts of Russia.

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But Kyiv and its Western allies are reacting with disdain more than fear or worry. Residents of Kherson have reported receiving mass text messages warning the city would be shelled and informing them that buses would be leaving from the port from 7 a.m. on Thursday. Andriy Yermak, chief of staff to the Ukrainian president, described Russian announcements as “a propaganda show,” adding that the population transfers amounted to “deportations”


In announcing the martial law on Wednesday Putin said "Heads of regions will be given additional powers to ensure security." According to the decree, proxy leaders in the occupied territories will have the power to tighten their control over public transport and critical infrastructure facilities, as well as ban people from leaving, or alternatively, deport them.

In response to Putin's announcement, Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to the Ukrainian President's Office, said that it "does not change anything" for Ukraine. "This 'martial law' should be considered only as a pseudo-legalization of looting of Ukrainians' property," Podolyak said.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, in an official statement, said that Vladimir Putin's goal in his imposition of martial law was to "suppress the resistance of the residents (of these oblasts) who oppose the Russian occupation.

Reacting to Russia's declaration, U.S. State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel said that the decree has "no legal claim whatsoever” adding that Putin is “resorting to desperate tactics to try and enforce control in these areas.”

Battle For Kherson On El Correo’s Front Page

Spanish daily El Correo features Ukrainian fighters as the “battle for Kherson” unfolds.

Ukraine Says Kherson Can Be Taken, But Only With More International Aid

In order to reach the city of Kherson and eventually reclaim it from Russian occupation, Ukrainian army officials say they need more military aid. On Wednesday, Russian-installed leaders in Kherson began a massive relocation of around 60,000 people amid warnings over its ability to defend itself against a Ukrainian counteroffensive.

“We are in high spirits, but we are lacking in equipment to move forward,” said a Ukrainian army commander. “So we are accumulating the hardware from our international partners [and] then we will advance because we are trying to protect our soldiers and they are prepared for us.”

Kherson, being one the four partially-occupied Ukrainian provinces that Russia annexed, it is also very strategically placed. It includes both the only land route to the Crimean Peninsula, where Russia gets its supplies. In the last few weeks, Ukrainian forces have pushed through Russia’s front lines in the region which makes this their biggest advance in Southern Ukraine since Russia invaded the country on February 24.

Zelensky Tells Ukrainians To Be Frugal, As Russia Keeps Targeting Power Infrastructures

Power plants shelled in Ukraine

Aleksandr Gusev/SOPA/Zuma


Russia's intense bombardment of Ukrainian electricity infrastructure continues, with a total of three power plants destroyed by Russian strikes in Ukraine in just one day, Volodymyr Zelensky said in his evening address. Zelensky told Ukrainians to greatly limit their electricity consumption, starting right away. "In this way, the disruptions of electricity supplies will be shorter," he said.

Regular blackouts will become a more and more realistic scenario if consumption is not reduced accordingly, warned Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the President's Office.

Spain’s Defense Ministry announced its support as Ukraine faced these difficult periods of power outages as a result of the bombardment by Russia’s missiles and kamikaze drone attacks, committing four sets of 400-kilowatt and one set of 150-kilowatt electricity generators to Ukraine.

Russian Missiles Hit School Near Zaporizhzhia

In the morning of October 20, Russian forces launched a rocket attack on a school in the settlement of Komyshuvakha in the Zaporizhzhia region, Deputy Head of the President's Office Kyrylo Tymoshenko reported in a Telegram post. There is currently no information on damages and casualties.

EU Leaders Meet To Find Way Out Of Energy Crisis

European Union leaders are gathering for a two-day summit in Brussels to discuss joint plans to solve the energy crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Zelensky is expected to join them online from Kyiv to ask for the EU to keep providing support for his country, as winter looms.

Members of the bloc have been arguing about how to tackle the energy crisis and combat high prices, including by introducing capping prices on gas.

Chechnya Leader Kadyrov’s Children Start Fighting

Screenshot of video

Kadyrov's telegram channel


The head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov had already boasted that his three children, Akhmat (born in 2005), Zelimkhan (2006) and Adam (2007) began fighting on the frontline, raising questions about their age and his own attention-seeking behavior.

Now the Chechen leader has offered more details, saying his children provided fire cover for Russian soldiers during “fierce battles,” pushing back the Ukrainian counterattack. Kadyrov described the frontline activities of his sons in his Telegram channel.

U.S. Accuses Iran Drones Being Used Against Civilians, Tehran Denies Supplying

During a U.N. Security Council meeting on Wednesday, the U.S., U.K. and France have accused Iran of selling drones to Russia, violating U.N. legislation against the transfer of drones.

Russia and Iran have both said that the drones were not sold by Iran to Russia, and were not used in the series of drone strikes on Ukrainian civilians this past week. Sergiy Kyslytsya, Ukraine's U.N. ambassador, requested that U.N experts visit Ukraine to inspect the drones used in the attacks, which have caused about 30% of Ukraine's power to shut down.

Berlusconi: War Is Zelensky’s Fault

A new audio recording is prompting even more criticism for Silvio Berlusconi, a day after revelations that the former Italian Prime Minister was back to enjoying the company of his old friend Vladimir Putin. The new recording that leaked after a private conversation with his lawmaker allies justifies Putin’s all-out invasion of Ukraine saying the Russian leader’s hand was forced by Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky, who had “tripled” attacks on the pro-Russian forces occupied territories.

Sakharov Prize Awarded To The People Of Ukraine

​The European Parliament awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to the Ukrainian people “for “​protecting democracy, freedom and rule of law" amid Russia’s invasion.

Named after Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov, the prize was created in 1988 to highlight outstanding contributions to human rights work and the defense of freedom of thought. It was previously awarded to the likes of Nelson Mandela, ​​Aung San Suu Kyi, Malala Yousafzai, and last year, to Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Prigozhin’s Death, A Perfect Consolidation Of Power For Vladimir Putin

Two months after his failed coup, the Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin has reportedly died on Wednesday in a plane crash. Many questions remain unanswered, but one thing is for sure: we know who is bound to benefit the most.

Wreckage at a crash site.

Wreckage at the crash site of an Embraer-135 plane near the village of Kuzhenkino, in the Tver region, Russia.

Vitaly Shustrov/TASS via ZUMA
Benjamin Quénelle

-Analysis-

MOSCOW — Yevgeny Prigozhin's days were numbered. Exactly two months after his iconic "rebellion," a spectacular but futile insurrection that humiliated and weakened Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin, the 62-year-old paramilitary leader Wagner died on Aug. 23 in a plane crash that looks quite clearly like an assassination.

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Neither the Kremlin nor any other Russian political authority has officially confirmed it, but the state media made it pretty clear, right after the downing of the Embraer Legacy private jet that was scheduled to fly from Moscow to St. Petersburg.

According to the national air transport agency, on board the private jet that crashed near the village of Kuzhenkino in the Tver region, leaving no survivors, was the former friend and personal chef who Putin had called a “traitor” on June 24, and who had since been living on borrowed time, flying back and forth to Russia despite his pariah status.

" Yevgeny Prigozhin, leader of the Wagner group, hero of Russia and true patriot of his homeland, was killed as a result of the actions of traitors to Russia. But even in hell, he'll be the best!” reacted his supporters on Grey Zone, a Telegram channel reputedly close to Wagner on social media.

Putin so far has not commented on the apparent death of his former ally. And yet...

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