Away from the battlefield, the Kremlin has repeatedly asserted, without evidence, that Kyiv is preparing to use a “dirty bomb”, a weapon that combines conventional explosives and radioactive materials. other western countries.
A U.S. official said Moscow’s allegations pose a risk that Russia itself is planning a radiation attack and could be a pretext to justify further escalation of the war as territorial retreat continues. .
In a statement on Tuesday, Ukrainian nuclear energy operator Energoatom issued a similar warning, citing the Russian military’s control of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in Enerkhodar. “Enagoatom assumes that such actions of the occupiers may indicate that they are preparing terrorist acts using nuclear material and radioactive waste stored at the ZNPP site. There are,” the statement said.
The new terror of a radiation attack of sorts is an ominous sense that Putin’s war in Ukraine is getting even more deadly and dangerous as he tries to redraw the facts on the ground before winter. Russia has launched a relentless bombing campaign against Ukraine’s energy system this month, using missiles and attack drones to apparently plunge the country into cold and darkness.
In Washington, President Biden came under pressure from some liberal Democrats in Congress to push negotiations with Russia alongside unprecedented U.S. financial and military support to Ukraine.Crimea invasion and seizure.
Putin failed in his initial plan to conquer Kyiv and overthrow the Ukrainian government, and Ukrainian officials are threatening to beat Russia on the battlefield, given Putin’s refusal to withdraw troops and end the war. He says he has no choice but to lose.
Biden and G7 leaders this month call for a “just peace” in Ukraine that includes restoring Ukrainian territorial sovereignty, guaranteeing future security, rebuilding that Russia may bear, and accountability for Russia’s war crimes supported the call of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
As Ukraine continues to rake in military gains, pro-Kremlin military bloggers and analysts said on Tuesday that Russia’s military, including Luhansk, the easternmost occupied region of Ukraine, where Russia had the strongest hold, had been forced to take over the Russian military. A new setback was confirmed.
“Ukrainian forces have resumed counteroffensives in the direction of Luhansk,” pro-Russian Wargonzo Project said in a daily military update, which said Ukrainian forces had taken control of a key highway between the towns of Svatove and Luhansk in Kreminna. added.
Russian coordinated attack exploits vulnerabilities in Ukraine’s power system
“Russian artillery is actively working on the left bank of the Zerevets River and is trying to stop the movement of reinforcements to the enemy, but the situation is very difficult,” Worgonzo added.
In the Donetsk region, the Wagner militia, controlled by St. Petersburg businessman Evgeny Prigozhin, appeared to be facing a backlash from Bakhmut. Military experts said the move to seize Bakhmut was of little strategic value, but Prigozhin appears to see the battle as an opportunity to seize a political prize, and regular Russian troops will be forced to take other steps. I lost my position in a combat zone.
Ukrainian forces have recaptured a concrete factory on the eastern outskirts of Bakhmut, the War Research Institute, a Washington-based think tank, reported in an update Monday. On Sunday, Prigozhin acknowledged Wagner’s slow pace of progress, saying he was only going “100 to 200 meters a day”.
“Our forces face the most intense enemy resistance at all times. We note that the enemy is well prepared, motivated, confident and working in harmony.” It won’t prevent our fighters from moving forward, but I can’t comment on how long that will take.”
The Washington Post also reported that Prigozhin recently personally vented to Putin about his army’s handling of the war in Ukraine.
In southern Kherson, one of the four regions Moscow claims to have annexed, Russian forces appeared to be preparing to defend the city of Kherson.
The Ukrainian military said in an operational update on Tuesday that Russian forces had set up “defensive positions” along the eastern bank of the Dnieper, leaving a small passageway for potential withdrawal from the western bank.
Speculation about whether Moscow is preparing to abandon the Kherson region has been rife for weeks after Ukrainian forces steadily advanced southward.
“I don’t know all the nuances and plans of the command, but from a military point of view, I do not rule out the surrender of Kherson. Defense at the moment could turn into a rout,” said popular One Russian military blogger, who goes by the name Zapiski Veterana, wrote in a Telegram post: “But if the decision to fight until victory was made in Moscow, I think there would be nothing tragic in Kherson’s surrender, because this war will be here for a long time.”
“Nevertheless, Russia’s position in northern Kherson is likely to be unsustainable,” said the War Research Institute, adding that Ukrainian forces would probably recapture the northern region of Kherson by the end of the year.
Kremlin-installed officials forced residents to evacuate the west bank of the Dnieper while claiming without evidence that Kyiv was preparing an attack on the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant and claims of “dirty bombs”. ing.
Mercenary captain vented to Putin over Ukrainian war failure
The United States, France and the United Kingdom have accused Moscow of using the dirty bomb claim as a pretext for escalation and have warned the Putin government will face additional punitive actions by the West.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said, “If he uses the so-called dirty bomb, it will undoubtedly be another example of his atrocities.”There will be consequences for Russia. We are very clear about it.”
On Tuesday, the Kremlin called Washington’s distrust of Russia’s allegations an “unacceptable frivolous approach.”
After bombing Ukrainian cities two weeks ago, Moscow systematically targeted its energy infrastructure to cut off access to electricity and heating.
In recent weeks, Ukrainian officials have been pressing European authorities for more sophisticated weapons, especially advanced air defense systems needed to fend off Russian air attacks.
The country is also facing an urgent funding shortage, and officials are wondering how Ukraine will secure enough funds to continue its brutal services in the brutal days, weeks and months ahead. The World Bank forecast in early October said that the Ukrainian economy would contract by 35% this year.
On Tuesday, Germany hosted a conference in Berlin on reconstruction in partnership with the European Union, but the conversation seemed premature, especially given Russia’s bombing campaign, which causes new damage and destruction every day.
Zelensky said Ukraine needs about $38 billion in emergency economic aid next year alone. This figure does not include the hundreds of billions of dollars that will probably be needed after the fighting is actually over.
Government officials regularly tout European Union support for Ukraine, but there are questions about short- and long-term follow-through.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, for example, has pledged to help Ukraine until 2023, but EU officials say that about $9 billion in loans pledged earlier this year will not reach Kyiv. I admit that I am late in getting to
US Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen has been pressuring her European counterparts to step up financial support for Kyiv in recent weeks, indirectly questioning their decision to provide loans rather than grants. .
“We are calling on our partners and allies to join us by rapidly fulfilling existing commitments to Ukraine and doing more,” Yellen said. to help start construction and recovery,” he said. this month.
In a video address at the European Council summit in Brussels last week, Zelensky accused European leaders of failing to provide much-needed economic aid quickly enough.
Liberals urge Biden to reconsider Ukraine strategy
“Thank you for the funds already allocated,” said Zelensky. “But the rest of his 6 billion in this package has yet to be decided, which is sorely needed this year.”
“Your power is your power,” he continued.
With existing needs unmet, some wonder how seriously the EU’s commitment to the Marshall Plan’s scale efforts should be taken, but it is unclear when this will come to fruition.
A Q&A issued by Germany’s G7 presidency ahead of Tuesday’s meeting noted that the event would not include a ‘pledge segment’. Instead, its aim is to “emphasize that the international community is united and resolute in its support for Ukraine.”
In private conversations, some EU diplomats questioned whether the bloc should allocate resources for the reconstruction of the country, which is still very much at war, especially given the energy and economic crisis in Europe itself. questioned about.
Indeed, as von der Leyen spoke in Berlin on Tuesday, the focus in Brussels was very much on efforts to find common ground among EU Member States on emergency energy measures.