Here is the situation as it stands on Wednesday, October 19.
- The new commander of Russian forces in Ukraine made a rare acknowledgement of the pressures they are under from Ukrainian offensives to retake southern and eastern areas that Moscow claims to have annexed just weeks ago.
- The situation in areas Russia claims to have annexed was “tense”, with Russian troops in some areas under continuous attack, said Sergei Surovikin.
- The Russian-appointed governor of Kherson on Tuesday announced the evacuation of four towns in the region.
- Russian air attacks have destroyed 30 percent of Ukraine’s power stations since October 10, causing massive blackouts across the country, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.
- Russian attacks hit a power plant in Kyiv, killing three people, and energy infrastructure in Kharkiv in the east and Dnipro in the south. A man sheltering in an apartment building in the southern port city of Mykolaiv was killed, and the northern Ukrainian city of Zhytomyr was without water or electricity.
- Both sides traded blame for the overnight shelling of Russian-held Enerhodar – the town where many of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station employees live.
- International Atomic Energy Agency chief Rafael Grossi expects to return “soon” to Ukraine, he told Reuters, amid negotiations to establish a security protection zone around the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.
- Ukraine’s foreign minister said he proposed a formal cut in diplomatic ties with Iran after a wave of Russian attacks using what Kyiv says are Iranian-made drones.
- Iran has denied supplying drones, and Russia has denied using them.
- Britain, France and the United States plan to raise alleged Iranian arms transfers to Russia at a closed-door UN Security Council meeting on Wednesday.
- NATO said Ukraine would receive anti-drone defence systems in the coming days.
- Russia’s Duma has stopped broadcasting live plenary sessions to protect information from “our enemy”, a leading MP said as parliament’s lower house debated Ukraine.
- Estonian lawmakers adopted a statement that declares Russia a “terrorist regime” and condemns its recent annexation of four Ukrainian territories.
- Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said Russia doesn’t need a diplomatic presence in the Western states. “There is neither point nor desire to maintain the previous presence in Western states. Our people work there in conditions that can hardly be called human … they face threats of physical assaults. [M]ost importantly, there’s no work to do since Europe decided to shut off from us … You can’t force love,” news agency TASS quoted Lavrov as saying.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies