Authorities in Kyiv preparing generator-powered ‘heating stations’

Authorities in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv are preparing more than 1,000 heating points throughout the city in case its district heating system is disabled by continued Russian attacks, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said on Wednesday.

Missile and drone attacks have damaged 40% of Ukraine‘s energy infrastructure and have already briefly left large parts of Kyiv without power and water, prompting power rationing.

On Wednesday, Klitschko wrote on messaging app Telegram that city authorities were considering different scenarios due to missile attacks.

“The worst one is where there will be no electric power, water or district heating at all,” he said. “For that case, we are preparing over 1,000 heating points in our city.”

The locations will be equipped by generators and have a stock of necessities such as water, he said.

While urging Ukrainians who have already left the country to stay abroad for the winter, the government has accused Russia of provoking a new humanitarian crisis by forcing even more people to flee, scared by the prospects of having to survive with no power or heating during the cold season.

Key events

Oleksiy Kuleba, governor of Kyiv, has given an update on the energy situation in the region, sayign that 16,000 homes remain without electricity.

In a message on Telegram, he told residents that “our power engineers have been working non-stop for the third day. During the day, we will restore electricity for all subscribers.”

He also asked that people prepared themselves for power outages as stabilisation shutdowns will take be taking place.

A driving force behind the offensive in Bakhmut, the site of the fiercest fighting in the Donetsk region, is the Wagner mercenary group, say war observers and Ukraine troops.

The shadowy force was founded by Kremlin-linked businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin.

The 61-year-old has taken an increasingly prominent role in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – leading some to question if he might harbour personal political ambitions.

Ukrainian officials say Prigozhin has been sending thousands of soldiers recruited in Russian prisons to the front line, with the promise of a salary and an amnesty.

Several Ukrainian soldiers in Bakhmut told AFP these alleged ex-convicts are used as a type of “human bait”.

“It starts at around 6:00 pm, when it’s getting dark,” said Anton, a 50-year-old Ukrainian soldier from the 93th brigade who was resting after an injury.

“These soldiers – with no experience – are sent towards our guns and stay there for a few minutes,” Anton, nickname “Polyak”, told AFP.

He estimated seven or eight were sent every night.

“Their job is to advance towards us, forcing us to fire on them, to reveal our positions,” said Sergiy, a major in the 53rd brigade.

“After that, they fire artillery or send more experienced commandos towards our positions.”

The Guardian’s Patrick Wintour reported this week that the leaders of the Wagner Group, the Russian mercenary group answerable to Vladimir Putin, now have as much political influence in the Kremlin as the foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, and the defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, according to a prominent Russian dissident and former political prisoner.

You can read more about Wagner here:

BHP executive James Agar told a major mining summit in Sydney, Australia, on Wednesday that the picture is mixed for the industry, with tight labour and energy markets the immediate challenge.

Like the broader economy, the mining industry has been experiencing a combination of “good” or demand-led inflation and rising costs from “bad” bottleneck inflation, AAP reports.

“The balance between the two has been skewed heavily towards the ‘bad’ since the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” he said. “The energy crisis in Europe is profound and will continue to drive volatility in energy markets.”

Australia is profiting from elevated prices for top commodities as war in Ukraine cuts Russian exports of gas, oil and critical minerals.

Investors already looking to replace China as a supplier are flocking to Australia. Saudi Arabia, one of more than 100 countries represented at the event, has sent its largest-ever delegation to the conference to tap local expertise.

Dan Sabbagh

Dan Sabbagh

It had all the thrill of a daring commando raid, filmed live. But Saturday’s dawn raid on Russia’s Black Sea fleet at Sevastopol was not carried out by elite soldiers, but by 16 drones, nine in the air and seven at sea – prompting questions as to whether the attack represented a revolutionary moment in the history of warfare.

Three years ago, it was Dominic Cummings, before his eventful tenure at Downing Street, who wrote “a teenager will be able to deploy a drone from their smartphone to sink one of these multibillion-dollar platforms”, a reference to the Royal Navy’s two new aircraft carriers, built at a total cost of £6.4bn. That time, he may have been right.

Certainly, as the war has run on Ukraine had found a way to threaten and even inflict serious damage on Russia’s Black Sea fleet – having already sunk its Moskva flagship by long-range missile in April. Now its attack craft appear to be ingenious, but ultimately simple suicide drones.

Of particular interest is the drone boat, which caused a buzz among naval analysts when one was found by the Russians washed up on Omega Bay, outside the entrance to Sevastopol harbour, last month. The same craft is thought to have been used at the weekend to ram into the Russian frigate seen briefly on the footage leaked to a Ukrainian journalist.

UN says no grain ships to depart Wednesday, will resume Thursday

Ships loaded with grain departed Ukraine on Tuesday despite Russia suspending its participation in a UN-brokered deal that ensures safe wartime passage of critical food supplies meant for parts of the world struggling with hunger. But despite grain-laden ships leaving Ukraine this week, the UN announced that such vessels would not travel on Wednesday, raising fears about the future of the initiative.

Amir Abdulla, the agreement’s UN coordinator, later tweeted: “We expect loaded ships to sail on Thursday.”

Exports of grain and foodstuffs from #Ukraine️ need to continue. Although no movements of vessels are planned for 2 November under the #BlackSeaGrainInitiative, we expect loaded ships to sail on Thursday.

— Amir M. Abdulla (@AmirMAbdulla) November 1, 2022

Three ships carrying 84,490 metric tons of corn, wheat and sunflower meal left Ukraine through a humanitarian sea corridor set up in July, while 36 other vessels cleared inspections near Turkey to head to their final destinations, the UN said. The corridor, brokered by Turkey and UN, was seen as a breakthrough to ensure Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia would receive grain and other food from the Black Sea region during Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Russia cited allegations of a Ukrainian drone attack against its Black Sea fleet in announcing over the weekend that it was suspending its part in the grain deal. The Russian defence ministry said on Monday that ship traffic from ports in southern Ukraine was halted, calling the movement “unacceptable”.

A total of 14 ships sailed that day, including one chartered by the UN World Food Programme to bring wheat to Ethiopia, which along with neighbouring Somalia and Kenya, is badly affected by the worst drought in decades. The UN has warned that parts of Somalia are facing famine and thousands of people have died there.

Russia calls vote on unfounded Ukraine biological weapons claims

The UN Security Council scheduled a vote Wednesday on a resolution that would establish a commission to investigate unfounded Russian claims that Ukraine and the United States are carrying out “military biological” activities that violate the convention prohibiting the use of biological weapons, the Associated press reports.

Russia circulated a 310-page document to council members last week alleging that this biological activity is taking place in Ukraine with support from the US Defence Department. The document included an official complaint to the Security Council, allowed under Article VI of the 1972 biological weapons convention, and a draft resolution that would authorise the Security Council to set up a commission comprising the 15 council members to investigate Russia’s claims.

Russia’s initial allegation of secret American biological warfare labs in Ukraine, made soon after its invasion, has been disputed by independent scientists, Ukrainian leaders and officials at the White House and Pentagon.

An Associated Press investigation in March found the claim was taking root online, uniting Covid-19 conspiracy theorists, QAnon adherents and some supporters of former President Donald Trump.

Authorities in Kyiv preparing generator-powered ‘heating stations’

Authorities in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv are preparing more than 1,000 heating points throughout the city in case its district heating system is disabled by continued Russian attacks, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said on Wednesday.

Missile and drone attacks have damaged 40% of Ukraine‘s energy infrastructure and have already briefly left large parts of Kyiv without power and water, prompting power rationing.

On Wednesday, Klitschko wrote on messaging app Telegram that city authorities were considering different scenarios due to missile attacks.

“The worst one is where there will be no electric power, water or district heating at all,” he said. “For that case, we are preparing over 1,000 heating points in our city.”

The locations will be equipped by generators and have a stock of necessities such as water, he said.

While urging Ukrainians who have already left the country to stay abroad for the winter, the government has accused Russia of provoking a new humanitarian crisis by forcing even more people to flee, scared by the prospects of having to survive with no power or heating during the cold season.

Welcome and summary

Hello and welcome to today’s live coverage of the war in Ukraine. My name is Helen Sullivan and I’ll be with you for the next while.

Authorities in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv are preparing more than 1,000 heating points throughout the city in case its district heating system is disabled by continued Russian attacks, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said on Wednesday. The locations will be equipped by generators and have a stock of necessities such as water.

More on this shortly. In the meantime, here are the other key recent developments:

  • Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has met with Kadri Simson, European Union commissioner for energy affairs, telling her that Russian forces have “seriously damaged” about 40% of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, in particular thermal power plants and hydroelectric power plants. Because of the attacks, Ukraine has been forced to stop exports of electricity to Europe.

  • A long-term defence is needed for Ukraine’s grain export corridor and the world must respond firmly to any Russian attempts to disrupt it, Zelenskiy has said, as more ships loaded despite Moscow suspending its participation in the UN-brokered deal.

  • Zelenskiy said ships were moving out of Ukrainian ports with their cargo thanks to the work of Turkey and the UN, the two main brokers of the 22 July grain export agreement.

  • In an interview with Sky News, Boris Johnson said that he did not think Vladimir Putin would use a nuclear weapon in Ukraine and doing so “would immediately tender Russia’s resignation from the club of civilised nations”.

  • The Russian occupying government in the Kherson oblast has moved its administration further south to Skadovsk, the general staff of the Ukrainian armed forces has said. Russia told civilians on Tuesday to leave an area along the eastern bank of the Dnieper River, a major extension of an evacuation order that Kyiv says amounts to the forced depopulation of occupied territory.

  • Russian forces launched four missile and 26 airstrikes, and carried out 27 multiple launch rocket system attacks on more than 20 settlements, the general staff of the Ukrainian armed forces said.

  • The Ukrainian armed forces said its attack on Russian ammunition depots in the Zaporizhzhia oblast on 29 October destroyed five units of military equipment, killed 30 Russian personnel and wounded at least 100.

  • The UK’s defence secretary, Ben Wallace, gave evidence to the international relations and defence committee in the UK parliament, addressing why he thinks Russia’s plans for a swift invasion failed. He also spoke of future Nato deployments.

  • The Ukrainian government accepted the resignation of Yuriy Vitrenko as chief executive of the state energy company Naftogaz. In a statement on the Telegram messaging app, Naftogaz said Vitrenko would remain in the role until 3 November, but gave no further details.





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