According to a report, the Russian Navy discussed nuclear strikes on three German targets over the radio. And the Russians have apparently stopped attacking Ukrainian military bases. All current voices and developments on the Ukraine war can be found in the ticker.
More on the course of the war in Ukraine
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. According to this, Putin wanted to run for his party again and lead his campaign with anti-Western narratives. There shouldn’t be a liberal opponent in 2024, and the informant from “Meduza” wasn’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 usual 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.
2:15 p.m .: Kremlin boss Putin has appointed the Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko to the Russian advisory board “Social Chamber”. This is reported by opposition media such as “Nexta.tv”. The fatality: Yaroshenko was sentenced to 20 years in prison in the USA in 2011 for drug smuggling. He was released in a prisoner swap this April. In any case, the presidential decree does not refer to Yaroshenko as a drug smuggler, but as a human rights activist.
1:25 p.m .: Despite the sanctions imposed, 31,000 EU companies are still controlled by Russians. This is revealed by the EU Commission in its new report on the risks of money laundering and terrorist financing. Accordingly, most Russians circumvent the sanctions through letterbox companies. Read more here: New EU report unveiled – Despite sanctions, Russians control more than 31,000 companies in Europe
1:40 a.m.: After Russian allegations about Ukrainian plans to build a “dirty bomb”, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will carry out an “independent review” of two facilities in Ukraine this week at the request of Kiev. IAEA chief Rafael Grossi said Thursday the agency’s inspectors would “conduct independent reviews at these sites” to detect any “diversion of nuclear material.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin had previously called for an IAEA mission to Ukraine. Moscow has been accusing Ukraine of working on a so-called dirty bomb for days. According to Russian information, it is to be manufactured in two Ukrainian facilities. Ukraine and its Western backers vehemently deny the accusation. Kyiv warns that Russia itself could plan to use such a weapon.
The IAEA confirmed on Thursday that it had examined one of the two locations a month ago. “No undeclared nuclear activities or materials” were found.
A dirty bomb is a conventional explosive device that releases radioactive, chemical, or biological material when it detonates.
Friday, October 28, 01:02: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy compared his country’s fight against the aggressor Russia with the resistance against the Nazis in World War II. Like Nazism, Russia is pursuing the same goals. “The form of evil has changed, but the essence is unchanged,” said Zelenskyj in a video message distributed in Kyiv on Friday night. Russia has gone from being a neighbor to an aggressor and a terrorist – and is guilty of war crimes.
Standing next to a shot down combat drone, Zelenskyy said that peaceful cities were repeatedly being bombarded with bombs and rockets. In the past two days alone, there have been 30 Russian attacks with Iranian drones, 23 of which have been shot down. Russia mines or seizes power plants, steals crops to threaten the planet with hunger. It abducts people, including children.
Referring to the Second World War and the Ukrainians’ fight against the Nazis, Zelenskyy said that “evil had risen again from the ashes after 80 years”. He lamented that since the war began on February 24, the aggressor Russia had fired 4,500 rockets at Ukraine and carried out a total of 8,000 airstrikes.
Zelenskyy emphasized that the Ukrainian resistance is strong. The country will not be broken. The head of state expressed confidence that the invader would capitulate and be put to flight. Russia will also pay reparations; and the occupied territories of Kherson, Luhansk, Donetsk and the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea would be free again.
“Russia’s only tactic is terror,” said Zelenskyy. That can only lead to defeat. In view of the power cuts as a result of the destroyed energy infrastructure, he said that life without light is not dark, but rather without freedom. The Ukrainians would also overlook the harsh winter. “We are not afraid of the dark,” Zelenskyj said.
9:37 p.m .: Yevgeny Prigozhin is the founder of the notorious mercenary group Wagner and also known as “Putin’s cook”. The entrepreneur recently attracted attention with harsh criticism of Russia’s war strategy and called for a change.
Now journalists from the US broadcaster CNN are reporting an email that Prigozhin apparently wrote to the reporter Sebastian Shukla. In it he practically admits that he also sends sick soldiers to the front. “There are no restrictions in Russian legislation for patients with hepatitis C or HIV infection,” the CNN reporters quote.
And further: “I see nothing immoral in soldiers who have hepatitis C and HIV killing other soldiers without knowing whether they were carriers of the virus while they were alive.”
5:55 p.m .: In a speech to a pro-Kremlin think tank, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke out surprisingly clearly against the use of nuclear weapons. According to journalist Max Seddon, Putin said Russia does not need the use of such weapons. “It makes no sense politically and militarily,” Putin said. At the same time, according to the Anadolu news agency, he also made it clear: “As long as nuclear weapons exist, there is the possibility of using them.”
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