Zelenskyj calls for more military aid for anti-aircraft defense
Thursday, October 26th, 6:38 a.m.: After damage to buildings at the Ukrainian Khmelnytsky nuclear power plant, President Volodymyr Zelensky has called for more weapons aid to ward off Russian air strikes. “This attack on the nuclear power plant is another reminder to all our partners of the importance of strengthening Ukraine’s air defense,” Zelensky said in his video address on Wednesday evening. The attack also shows how easily Russia can still circumvent sanctions and incorporate Western parts into its drones and missiles.
A Russian drone attack on Wednesday night injured 16 people in the western Ukrainian region of Khmelnytskyi. According to the Ukrainian Ministry of Energy, the pressure wave from explosions near the nuclear power plant caused the windows of several administrative buildings to burst.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed the damage. “This incident once again underlines the very precarious situation of nuclear security in Ukraine as long as this tragic war continues,” said IAEA Director Rafael Grossi in Vienna. It wasn’t just windows and buildings that were damaged. Due to power outages in the area, radiation measuring stations around the nuclear power plant would have had to work with emergency power at times.
Kremlin order for media: No crime reports about war returnees
8:03 p.m.: Like the Russian exile medium “Meduza“ reports that future crime reports about war returnees will no longer be published in Russia.
Accordingly, there are two sources from Kremlin circles who told “Meduza” that there is now a new instruction to media loyal to the Kremlin: no more reports about crimes committed by ex-fighters.
Recently, there has been an increase in incidents in Russia in which people returning from war have committed crimes.
London: Fighting on the Dnipro River intensifies
10:18 a.m.: According to British assessments, fighting in Ukraine on the lower reaches of the Dnipro has recently increased. “Ukraine has given higher priority to operations in this area and is establishing small bridgeheads on the eastern bank, which it has controlled since the summer,” the British Ministry of Defense said on Wednesday.
Russia is probably prepared for these attacks since it withdrew its units from the western bank a year ago. “Initial indications suggest that Russia has a significant artillery capacity within reach of the river,” it said in London. The newly formed Russian 18th Army is in action.
Chancellor Scholz says Ukraine long-term support
8.40 p.m.: Chancellor Olaf Scholz has promised Ukraine long-term support from Germany, including in reconstruction. “Ukraine can rely on Germany,” said the SPD politician on Tuesday at the 6th German-Ukrainian Economic Forum in Berlin. Scholz and Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) pointed out relief for German companies when it comes to state investment and export guarantees.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj said in a video broadcast that Germany is a reliable partner for Ukraine. He pointed out great potential in economic cooperation. The top priority is to expand the defense sector.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Schmyhal emphasized the importance of a joint venture between the German arms manufacturer Rheinmetall and the Ukrainian state-owned company Ukrainian Defense Industry JSC, formerly called Ukroboronprom. This has now been registered with the responsible authorities. At a meeting with Scholz, Shmyhal also raised the issue of using frozen Russian assets to make reparations to Ukraine. “We must find ways together to make Russia pay for the crimes and destruction committed in Ukraine,” Shmyhal wrote on Telegram.
Representatives of German business emphasized the willingness of German companies to invest in Ukraine despite the Russian war of aggression. Many companies have a great interest in expanding partnerships with Ukrainian companies, said Peter Adrian, President of the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The deputy chairman of the Eastern Committee of the German Economy, Christian Bruch, said that despite the war, a dozen investment projects had already been started. “German companies are currently applying for investment guarantees from the federal government with 30 additional projects. Reconstruction has begun and German companies are getting involved.”
Telephone recording – High-ranking Putin loyalists are planning a huge missile attack on Kiev
1:42 p.m.: As “Bild” reports, a group of Russian officials and scientists are said to be planning a major attack on Ukraine. According to this, a civilian carrier rocket with a huge amount of explosives is supposed to crash into a large city in Ukraine instead of reaching orbit.
“Bild” refers to a telephone recording that the portal says it has. Dmitri Rogozin, the former head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, and Dmitri Baranov, head of the Roscosmos subsidiary “Progress Space Rocket Center”, will discuss the plan. The recordings are from January of this year.
However, both Rogozin and Baranov are currently not in contact with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Instead, Anton Waino, the head of the Russian presidential administration, is said to have forwarded the plans to Putin. This is said to have happened on January 16th. However, it is not known how Putin reacted to this idea.
One of the things mentioned in the phone calls is that such a plan would take a maximum of six months to implement. So far, after around nine months, nothing similar has happened. It is unclear whether and when what has been discussed will be implemented in Russia.
London: Russia uses punitive battalions for attacks in Ukraine
8:39 a.m.: According to British information, Russia has its attacks against Ukrainian positions carried out primarily by former prisoners and disgraced soldiers. The units called “Storm-Z” were probably initially planned as relatively elite groups that could take the tactical initiative, the British Ministry of Defense said on Tuesday, citing intelligence findings. “Since spring 2023 at the latest, the ‘Sturm-Z’ have become de facto penal battalions staffed with convicts and regular soldiers who have committed disciplinary violations.”
Several reports suggested that these units received little logistical and medical support but were nevertheless repeatedly pushed to attack. “Russian troops have often defended themselves effectively,” it said in London. “However, the existence of ‘Storm-Z’ highlights Russia’s enormous difficulties in assembling combat infantry capable of conducting effective offensive operations.”
Moscow is recruiting female soldiers for war in Ukraine
11:20 p.m.: According to media reports, Russia has started recruiting women for combat missions in its war against Ukraine. The independent Internet portal istories wrote on Monday that female snipers and drone operators were being recruited into the “Redut” mercenary unit, which is subordinate to the Russian Defense Ministry. So far, women in the Russian military have only been employed as medics and in the kitchen.
The female soldiers are offered a half-year contract with a monthly salary of around 2,200 euros. In the event of an injury, there is a bonus of 30,000 euros; in the event of death, around 50,000 euros should be paid out to the surviving dependents. Corresponding advertisements appeared on the Russian social network “Wkontakte”. A female recruit told stories that they were primarily looking for women who were already experienced in handling weapons. Beginners would be trained on the weapon within a month.
Russia has been waging a war of aggression against its neighboring country for 20 months. Losses on both sides are considered high. According to the British Ministry of Defense, Russia has so far suffered around 150,000 deaths or serious injuries.
Zelenskyj calls for continued support for Ukraine
10:53 p.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj wants to continue to use international conferences to promote support for his country in its defense against the Russian war of aggression. “The world’s attention to Ukraine, to the protection of freedom and international law must be maintained – we are doing everything we can to achieve this,” Zelensky said in his daily video address on Monday.
In his speech, Zelenskyj also focused primarily on the situation at the front and, among other things, praised the steadfastness of the Ukrainian soldiers in the Avdiivka sector of the front. Fighting has been going on for months over the small town in the immediate vicinity of the city of Donetsk, which has been controlled by Russian forces since 2014. In the past two weeks, the Russian military has significantly increased the pressure in the area. With an offensive, Moscow is trying to encircle the Ukrainian troops stationed there. So far, the Russians have not succeeded in doing this.