The Ukrainian power plant operator Enerhoatom has reported suspicious activity at the Russian-occupied Zaporizhia nuclear power plant. Russia starts nuclear tests and warns the USA beforehand. All reports on the Ukraine war here in the ticker.

10:30 p.m .: Russia starts its annual nuclear exercises on Wednesday. The US website “CBS News” cites two US officials as saying that Russia informed the USA. The exercise is a “routine”. Western officials had previously warned against the tests amid increased Russian rhetoric about the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine.

“It’s an extra challenge. Because we really need to be sure that what we’re seeing is actually an exercise and not something else,” Reuters news agency quoted an official as saying.

Russia’s “Grom” or “Thunder” nuclear exercise mostly involves large-scale maneuvers by strategic nuclear forces, including missile launches, according to a senior Security Council spokesman. “I suspect there is a very high probability of a nuclear test in the Arctic, probably to demonstrate their new technology,” British military expert Justin Crump told the BBC.

At a press conference in Brussels, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg assured that the alliance would monitor Russia’s annual nuclear exercises very closely, as it has done for decades.

7:07 p.m .: The Ukrainian power plant operator Enerhoatom has reported suspicious activity in the Russian-occupied Zaporizhia nuclear power plant. Assume that Russia is planning a terrorist attack there using nuclear material and radioactive waste, according to a statement from Enerhoatom. Russia has previously claimed that Ukraine is building a “dirty bomb” to frame an attack on Russia.

The Russian military has been carrying out unauthorized work on spent nuclear fuel storage tanks over the past week, Enerhoatom said. Neither Ukrainian technicians nor observers from the International Atomic Energy Agency were allowed into the area of ​​the plant. There are 174 casks with nuclear fuel elements on the site.

“174 containers are stored at the site, each of them containing 24 bundles of spent nuclear fuel. The destruction of these containers by detonation will lead to a radiation accident and radiation contamination of several hundred square kilometers of the surrounding area.” Enerhoatom asked the IAEA to clarify what was happening at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.

Earlier on Twitter, William Alberque, a Berlin-based expert at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, warned that if there was a “dirty bomb,” there was a good chance the source of the radioactive material could be traced. Therefore, in the event of such an attack, Russia cannot blame Ukraine.

5:37 p.m .: Russia’s leadership says it wants to send more units to border regions near Ukraine and better equip the new recruits in the future. “In several regions, especially those close to the border like Belgorod, additional response measures are needed, which we are working out with both the regions and the government,” Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said at a government meeting on Tuesday. Sobyanin was declared regional coordinator in the war by Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin earlier this week. Putin’s second coordinator for the military operation, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, promised more money for equipment.

Eight months after the start of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, Moscow is increasingly complaining about the shelling of its own territory. Against this background, Sobyanin is now calling for security measures to be increased along the border. However, he did not name any concrete measures.

According to Prime Minister Mishustin, the cabinet has directed additional money to procure equipment for the soldiers. “We must ensure that our defenders do not feel a lack of equipment,” Mishustin said at the government session chaired by President Putin. Complaints have been mounting in recent weeks that many of the soldiers called up by Putin have had to obtain their own equipment because the army stocks had no or only insufficient equipment. The videos of rusty radios, worn backpacks and missing thermal underwear spread on social networks are considered increasingly problematic for the combat morale of the Russian troops.

3:34 p.m .: The Russian mercenary group Wagner is notorious – and could increasingly take over control in the Ukraine war. Because its founder, the businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, who is close to the Kremlin, is gaining more and more power in view of the disagreements in the Kremlin and the criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s warfare. The US think tank Institute for the Study of War is now reporting that Prigozhin is currently building a military structure alongside the Russian armed forces that could threaten Putin’s rule.

Prior to this, Prigozhin, also known as “Putin’s cook”, is said to have recently complained to the President about the actions of the Russian military. The Washington Post reports, citing two US officials familiar with the matter.

Russian military bloggers reported that Prigozhin is therefore promoting the formation of a volunteer battalion. The recruits are recruited by former Federal Security Service (FSB) officer Igor Girkin. Girkin is considered a Russian ultra-nationalist who, among other things, was involved in the 2014 annexation of Crimea.

The cooperation between the two could fuel a nationalist electorate, speculate Russian military bloggers. Previously, Girkin had hardly been able to set up a volunteer battalion because he lacked the resources. Prigozhin is supposed to deliver this to him now. According to the analysts of the ISW, hardliner Prigozhin himself hopes that this will give him more support from the population for his goal of “war to victory”.

Surf tip: Putin’s shadow army – mercenary group Wagner: What you should know about the killers

12:49 p.m .: According to a report by the “BBC”, Russian troops in occupied Mykolayiv willfully cut off the water supply. As military and UN experts reported to the British news channel, on April 12, Putin’s army destroyed the water pipes in the city – where the underground pipes emerge from the surface. Satellite images should also prove this.

“I believe the destruction was caused by the deliberate placement of an explosive charge directly under or on the pipe, in the most vulnerable spot,” military forensics expert Chris Cobb Smith told the BBC. 40 million liters of water ran out for eight hours before the supply was shut off. Since then, the residents no longer have clean drinking water and have to get their water from distribution points.

9.45 a.m .: A bomb exploded in the Russian-occupied city of Melitopol in southern Ukraine on Tuesday morning. This was announced by the city administration according to reports from Russian news agencies. The explosive device in a car was detonated at a business center where the local radio station is also based. Five people, including radio employees, were injured.

Melitopol serves as the occupation’s administrative headquarters for the Zaporizhia Oblast, which Russia has declared annexed. The actual regional capital, Zaporizhia, is still in Ukrainian hands.

The occupation administration spoke of a terrorist attack. That was not proven. At the same time, it is known that Ukrainian forces are continuing to fight in occupied territories using partisan tactics. Russian agencies reported that there had already been seven explosions in Melitopol during the night from Ukrainian fire.

The report of the Ukrainian general staff said on Tuesday morning that in the past 24 hours many sections of the front had been shelled by Russian artillery. There were fighting near Bakhmut and Avdiivka in the Donbass. The Russian troops continued to prepare for a defense of the city of Cherson they occupied. The military information could not be independently verified.

Tuesday, October 25, 8:14 a.m.: According to a brief report by British intelligence, the losses of 23 Russian Ka-52 Hokum attack helicopters have been confirmed since the beginning of the war of aggression. That’s a quarter of the fleet’s Ka-52 helicopters in service with the Luftwaffe. In total, Russia lost 50 helicopters in combat.

Russian attack helicopters have been particularly damaged by Ukrainian man-portable air defense systems, while the helicopters often fly their missions without the cover of fighter jets – contrary to Russian military doctrine. Russia has not yet managed to gain sovereignty over the airspace. This would allow them to provide close air support at the front lines. In addition, artillery ammunition is slowly becoming scarce. Due to these factors, the Russian commanders are probably increasingly relying on high-risk helicopter attacks. They are one of the last few options for close support of fighting troops on the ground.

You can read more reports on the Ukraine conflict on the following pages.