In Russia, searches for VPN networks are increasing – according to media reports, an indication that the propaganda is crumbling. Russia is also suspending the grain deal with Ukraine. All current voices and developments on the Ukraine war can be found in the ticker.
More on the course of the war in Ukraine
9:20 a.m .: According to British military experts, Russia often sends reservists to the front with poor equipment in the war against Ukraine. “In September, Russian officers expressed concern that some newly mobilized reservists arrived unarmed in Ukraine,” said a report released by the Defense Ministry in London on Monday. Accordingly, photos also suggest that reservists were equipped with outdated weapons that should hardly be usable anymore due to poor storage.
Monday, October 31, 7:12 a.m .: Is there a change in mood in public opinion in Russia? As the “Kyiv Post” reports, people in the giant empire are increasingly Googling the terms “mobilization”, “Ukrainians”, “Ukraine state in Europe” and “VPN”. The newspaper evaluated the most frequently searched words in the Russian “Google Trends”.
The term VPN stands for “virtual private network”, which encrypts Internet traffic on unsecured networks and hides the IP address. A VPN connection makes it possible to access websites that are blocked in Russia, for example, but are freely accessible in other countries. For example, Russians can read Western reports on the Ukraine war. In Russia itself, only Kremlin propaganda is reproduced.
The analysis also shows that Russians are increasingly searching for the term “retreat”. Yandex, the most frequently used search engine in Russia, also registered an increase in searches for “how to surrender”. In contrast, searches for “demilitarization” on Yandex and Google in Russia reached 1.5 million queries in mid-February before falling to 69,000 in September.
8.45 p.m .: According to the police in Helsinki, weapons delivered to Ukraine have already fallen into the hands of Finnish criminals. These are, for example, assault rifles, said Chief Commissioner Christer Ahlgren from the National Investigation Bureau to Finnish radio Yle. “Weapons destined for Ukraine have also been found in Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands,” he was quoted as saying on Sunday.
The European police organization Europol warned in the summer that criminals could target weapons and ammunition, which Kyiv receives in large quantities as foreign military aid. “We have indications that such weapons are also finding their way to Finland,” said Ahlgren.
The smuggling routes are established. The arms trade is partly run by international biker groups, which the police classify as organized crime. The rocker group Bandidos MC, for example, has representatives in every major Ukrainian city, Ahlgren said. The gateways to Finland are the ports, which are less monitored than the airports.
Ahlgren recalled the experiences of the police after the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s. From there, smuggled weapons reached many countries. “Ukraine has received large amounts of weapons and that is good. But we will be dealing with these weapons for decades to come. That’s the price we have to pay,” the senior police officer said.
2:58 p.m .: After repeated offers from Moscow to negotiate in the war, Kyiv has called a complete Russian troop withdrawal as a prerequisite. “The only realistic proposal should be an immediate end to the Russian war against Ukraine and the withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukrainian territory,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleh Nikolenko said on Sunday. He was reacting to new statements by Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who confirmed Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin’s offer to Ukraine for negotiations.
If Russia really wants negotiations, it must stop destroying the country’s energy infrastructure so people don’t freeze to death in winter, Nikolenko said. Anyone who wants to negotiate should not shoot at residential areas in Ukraine, mobilize 300,000 reservists for the fight and not – as has been the case since Saturday – block the country’s grain exports.
Against the background of the defeat of the Russian army, Lavrov was throwing smoke screens, the diplomat said. As long as Russia commits crimes in Ukraine, Ukraine’s answer can only be that the battle will be decided on the field. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy rejected talks with Putin by decree.
Sunday, 2:06 p.m .: Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has asked Russia to comply with its obligations under the agreement on Ukrainian grain exports across the Black Sea. “Millions of people are starving around the world and Russia is once again compromising the safety of grain ships. That has to stop,” said the Greens politician on Sunday in Berlin. “Whether families in Lebanon, Niger or Bangladesh can pay for their next meal must not depend on the Russian president’s war plans.”
Baerbock pointed out that dozens of ships are currently on their way to bring grain from Ukraine to other countries. “We call on Russia not to endanger the safety of these ships and to keep its promises to the international community again.” Ukraine.
Russia announced on Saturday the suspension of an agreement concluded in July mediated by Turkey and the UN. It had ended the months-long blockade of Ukrainian grain exports across the Black Sea following the Russian war of aggression. Russia justified this with Ukrainian drone attacks on its Black Sea fleet on the Crimean peninsula, which Moscow has annexed in violation of international law since 2014.
5:06 p.m .: Russia has suspended the agreement to transport Ukrainian grain from Black Sea ports after the drone strikes in Crimea. The reason for this was the “terrorist attacks” on the Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, the Ministry of Defense said in Moscow on Saturday. The Ministry accused the British Navy of having given the instructions for shelling the peninsula with drones. According to Russian information, a minesweeper was also damaged.
Russia has been threatening for weeks with a possible halt to the grain deal that has brought Ukrainian food back onto the world market since the summer. In the past few days, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has complained that Russia is blocking the passage of ships laden with grain. He stressed the importance of these shipments in fighting world hunger.
Although the war continues to hamper exports, Zelenskyi recently said that Ukraine has exported almost eight million tons of food by sea since the Grains Agreement came into force. 60 percent of the amount went to Africa and Asia.
Most recently, Russia had threatened to stop the grain deal and block the Ukrainian ports again because, in Moscow’s view, promises made to Russia were not being kept. In addition, the explosives used in the attack on the Crimean bridge were said to have been smuggled out of Ukraine by sea. After the attack, Russia massively intensified the rocket attacks on Ukraine – and especially on the energy infrastructure.
In July, Russia, mediated by the United Nations and Turkey, agreed to grain exports, but always threatened to scrap the four-month agreement.
3:49 p.m .: Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko accuses the Russian President of targeted terror against the Ukrainian population. Kremlin ruler Vladimir Putin is aiming his rockets at the critical infrastructure in Ukraine – there is a lack of energy and functioning heating systems, said Klitschko on Friday, who was connected to the CSU party conference in Augsburg. “He wants our people to freeze to death.”
After months of demands for weapons, Klitschko is now asking for blankets and generators for his population. Ukrainians would “freeze to death” if the West didn’t send aid immediately, Klitschko told the British Telegraph. In the coming days, it would drop to -20 degrees Celsius in some regions.
“We are fighting for our survival at the moment,” emphasized the mayor of the Ukrainian capital. “We ask for peace, but at the moment we have no other option than defense.” Therefore, he is grateful for the support of the partners.
Saturday, October 29, 11:45 a.m.: Preparations for the 2024 presidential elections have already begun in the Kremlin. This is reported by the Russian-language news portal “Meduza” and cites sources close to the Kremlin. Accordingly, Putin wanted to stand again for his party and lead his campaign with anti-Western narratives. There shouldn’t be a liberal opponent in 2024, and the informant from “Meduza” isn’t even quoted “for the show”.
How successful the election campaign will be for the current head of the Kremlin remains questionable. The reason: the partial mobilization, the war goals in Ukraine that have not yet been achieved and the economy in Russia, which has been depressed by Western sanctions, depend on the leadership of the Kremlin. However, it is unlikely that the election will be postponed.
7:15 p.m .: In April, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) told the “Spiegel”: “I’m doing everything to prevent an escalation that will lead to a third world war. There must be no nuclear war.”. The newspaper now reports that the statement may have been preceded by information from several Western secret services. According to this, several sources from security circles confirmed to Der Spiegel that Western secret services had intercepted radio messages from the Russian Navy from a maneuver in the Baltic Sea at the end of last year. There was talk of nuclear strikes against Germany. And three targets were named: Berlin, the US air base in Ramstein and the Büchel air base, where the Americans store their atomic bombs.
According to the report, security experts rate the radio messages differently. On the one hand, it was said that it was common for the use of nuclear weapons to be discussed and trained in a military exercise – this also happened during NATO maneuvers. A real danger does not have to be associated with it. Other observers believe it is possible that the Russians knew they were being bugged and therefore deliberately named the targets in order to intimidate and stoke fear in the West.
2:48 p.m .: In the past few weeks, reports have accumulated that the Russian army is running out of missiles. Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Yurii Ihnat said Friday afternoon that the Russians have changed tactics in Ukraine. Accordingly, they would lack the high-precision weapons to attack Ukrainian military bases. The Russian army stopped doing that.
Ihnat names the famous Iskander missiles, precise short-range missiles. Because the Kremlin ran out of these, Putin would now try to buy missiles from Iran and North Korea, the spokesman said.
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