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Ukraine and Russia: What You Need to Know Right Now

Published: October 19, 2022
A man walks with his bicycle through a shopping street destroyed by Russian strikes, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in the recently retaken town of Kupiansk, Ukraine on October 18, 2022. (Image: REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne)

MOSCOW (Reuters) — Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered all of his country to support the war effort in Ukraine on Wednesday, Oct. 19 as the Russian-appointed administration of Kherson prepared to evacuate the only regional capital Moscow has captured during its invasion.

On the ground

  • A Russian missile strike hit a major thermal power station in the city of Burshtyn in western Ukraine, the region’s governor said, the latest in a wave of attacks on critical infrastructure ahead of winter.
  • President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who said this week that 30 percent of Ukrainian power stations had been hit by strikes, met senior officials to discuss security at such facilities and the possibility of a breakdown in the energy system.
  • In a package of moves apparently intended to counter battlefield defeats by Ukrainian troops, Putin announced a new special coordinating council to work with Russia’s regions to boost Moscow’s war effort.
  • He also declared martial law in four partially occupied regions of Ukraine that Russia claims as its own and restricted movement in and out of regions near Ukraine.
  • The situation in areas Russia claims to have annexed was “tense”, with Moscow’s troops in some areas under continuous attack, said Sergei Surovikin, a Russian general appointed this month to take charge of its forces.
  • Russian-installed authorities in the region of Kherson plan to evacuate around 50,000-60,000 people over the next six days.

Diplomatic efforts

  • A Russian lawmaker urged state institutions to stop using WhatsApp messenger and the industry ministry sought to promote domestically produced software as Russia tries to wean itself off Western technology.
  • Israel offered to help Ukrainians develop alerts for civilians under air attack, signaling a softening in its policy of non-military intervention after Kyiv appealed for counter-measures against Iranian-made drones used by Russia.
  • European Union governments have provisionally agreed to impose sanctions on eight people and entities over the alleged use of Iranian-made drones in Russian strikes on Ukraine.
  • The EU Commission head called Russia’s attacks on power stations and other infrastructure in Ukraine “acts of pure terror” that amount to war crimes.
  • The United States, Britain and France plan to raise alleged Iranian arms transfers to Russia at a closed-door U.N. Security Council meeting on Wednesday, diplomats said.

‘We hope it will end’

“Today, we had three Russian shells come in and one house was completely destroyed,” said 61-year-old farmer Vladimir Dinachenko, who lives near the front line in southern Ukraine. “But three is a good day. One day we had 36 … We’re tired of this. We hope it will end in a couple of weeks.”

By Reuters. (Compiled by Andrew Cawthorne and Philippa Fletcher)