Tuesday, 22 November 2022 05:45

What to know after Day 272 of Russia-Ukraine war

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WESTERN PERSPECTIVE

Ukraine urged residents of Kyiv and several other areas to limit electricity use as it seeks to recover from Russian strikes on the power grid while the elderly and vulnerable were preparing for a voluntary evacuation of war-ravaged Kherson.

LIFE IN UKRAINE

* Ukrainians are most likely to live with blackouts at least until the end of March, the head of a major energy provider said.

* As they head into a cold winter, residents of a bombed-out Ukrainian village say they appreciate a warm bath in a mural painted by graffiti artist Banksy. The mural shows a man scrubbing his back in a bathtub. CONFLICT

There are no immediate nuclear safety or security concerns at the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine despite shelling at the weekend that caused widespread damage, the U.N. atomic watchdog said after its experts toured the site.

* Moscow and Kyiv both blamed the other for the shelling of the facility.

* Russia's leading war hawks rallied behind the humiliating decision for Moscow's forces to retreat from the Ukrainian city of Kherson this month, but the commander who argued in favour of the move is now under growing pressure to prove it was worth it.

* The Kremlin said it was not discussing calling up more Russian soldiers to fight in Ukraine through a second round of mobilisation.

WAR CRIMES ACCUSATIONS * Ukrainian police and prosecutors have identified four places in Kherson where they suspect Russian forces tortured people before abandoning the city, the prosecutor general's office said.

* The United States is monitoring allegations that Ukrainian forces summarily executed Russian troops. Russia's defense ministry on Friday cited videos circulating on social media that allegedly showed Ukrainian soldiers executing Russian prisoners of war. The Kremlin said it would bring to justice those responsible.

RUSSIAN PERSPECTIVE

Russia is not seeking to depose the current Ukrainian government, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has revealed. He has also expressed confidence that Moscow will achieve its goals in the country, without specifying what they are.  

When asked by Russian journalists on Monday whether the Kremlin sees regime change in Kiev as one of its military campaign’s objectives, Peskov replied “No, the president has already spoken about that.” 

The official went on to stress that Russia was determined to achieve its goals in Ukraine, which can be done “by various methods and in various formats.” 

He also assured reporters that it was not a question of ‘if’ but ‘when’. 

Earlier, in an interview to AIF newspaper, Vice Speaker of Russia's Federation Council, Konstantin Kosachev, theorized that relations between Moscow and Kiev could only normalize after a change of leadership in Ukraine. He claimed that the current government in Kiev lacked flexibility and was bound by its previous actions and ideology. 

Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian president Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.” 

In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc.  

Russian President Vladimir Putin named the demilitarization and ‘denazification’ of Ukraine as the key objectives of the military campaign. He also spoke of the need to protect the Russian-speaking population of Donbass. 

Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked. Western countries supporting Kiev have repeatedly accused the Kremlin of seeking to topple Vladimir Zelensky’s government and replace it with a puppet regime.

**Mayor of the Russian city of Chita has announced his resignation, stating that he intends to sign up for military service in Ukraine as a volunteer.

“As an airborne trooper with combat experience and a citizen, I cannot stay away from the momentous fight that our homeland is fighting for its future,” Aleksandr Sapozhnikov wrote in a social media post on Monday.

Sapozhnikov has served as mayor of Chita, located around 350km southeast of Lake Baikal, since November 2019, when the local legislature elected him. Rumors that he was due to quit on Monday had been swirling in the local media since last week.

According to the official bio of the mayor, who is in his 40s, he served with the Russian airborne troops as a conscript between 1994 and 1996. During that time he fought in the North Caucasus conflict and was wounded. Later, he continued military service as a career officer, but resigned in 2009, citing health issues. He has held various public posts since 2014.

A number of Russian officials have volunteered to fight in Ukraine since the country launched a partial mobilization to bolster troop numbers. A former mayor of the southern city of Krasnodar, State Duma MP Yevgeniy Pervyshev, signed up in late October. Like Sapozhnikov, Pervyshev served as a conscript in the 1990s, and fought in Chechnya.

Former Russian space agency chief Dmitry Rogozin has become arguably the most prominent public figure to join the military since the Ukraine conflict started. The former Roscosmos chief is now leading a volunteer unit dubbed the Tsar Wolves in Donbass, providing military and technical assistance to troops.

** United Aircraft Corporation manufactured and delivered a batch of new Su-30SM2 fighter jets and Yak-130 combat trainers to the Defense Ministry, the Russian government said in a statement released on Monday.

"The Irkutsk Aviation Plant of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC, part of the state corporation Rostec) has manufactured and delivered new Su-30SM2 fighters and Yak-130 combat trainer aircraft to the Defense Ministry of Russia," the statement reads.

The Cabinet noted that the Su-30SM2 is an upgrade of the planes that are in service with the Russian Aerospace Forces and the Russian Navy.

"The new aircraft have received sophisticated onboard radio-electronic equipment. The upgrade carried out on an assignment from the Russian Defense Ministry has boosted the aircraft’s combat capabilities. In particular, the aerial target detection and identification range has been increased," the government explained, adding that the new fighters were capable of delivering strikes against aerial, ground and naval targets with new smart weapons from a distance of several hundred kilometers.

The Yak-130 two-seat combat trainer is used for the basic and advanced training of pilots to learn to operate modern and state-of-the-art combat aircraft, including generation 4++ and fifth-generation fighters.

 

Reuters/RT/TASS