Russia-Ukraine war latest: what we know on day 238 of the invasion | Russia
The new commander of Moscow’s army in Ukraine announced that civilians were being “resettled” from the Russian-occupied southern city of Kherson, describing the military situation as “tense”. “The enemy continually attempts to attack the positions of Russian troops,” Sergei Surovikin said in his first televised interview since being appointed earlier this month, adding that the situation was particularly difficult around the occupied southern city of Kherson.
Kyiv has recently introduced a news blackout in the south of the country, leading to speculations that it was preparing a new major offensive on Kherson. “When the Ukrainians have a news blackout it means something is going on. They have always done this before when there is a big offensive push on,” Michael Clarke, a former director general of the Royal United Services Institute, told Sky News.
People in four towns in the Kherson region were being moved in anticipation of a “large-scale offensive”, the Russian-installed head of Kherson, Vladimir Saldo, said in a video address. Kirill Stremousov, the Russian-installed deputy administrator of the Kherson region, echoed the message on Telegram late on Tuesday: “The battle for Kherson will begin in the very near future. The civilian population is advised, if possible, to leave the area of the upcoming fierce hostilities.”
Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said on Thursday that Russia no longer sees a need to maintain a diplomatic presence in the westthe Daily Beast reports. “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,” Lavrov said, according to the Russian news agency Tass.
Military advisers from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps were on Ukrainian soil at a Russian military base in occupied Crimea, the New York Times reports. The Iranians were reported to have been deployed to help Russian troops deal with problems with the Tehran-supplied fleet of Shahed-136 drones, rebranded as Geran-2 by the attackers.
Iran has deepened its commitment to supplying arms for Russia’s assault on Ukraine by agreeing to provide a batch of medium-range missilesas well as large numbers of cheap but effective drones, according to US and Iranian security officials.
Russian airstrikes have destroyed 30% of Ukraine’s power stations since 10 October, causing massive blackouts across the country, said Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
Russian strikes hit a power plant in Kyiv, killing three people, as well as energy infrastructure in Kharkiv in the east and Dnipro in the south. A man sheltering in an apartment building in the southern port city Mykolaiv was also killed and the northern Ukrainian city of Zhytomyr was without water or electricity.
Ukraine’s foreign minister said he was proposing a formal cut in diplomatic ties with Tehran 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. Ukrainian intelligence said 1,750 drones, each costing only £20,000 to manufacture, have been delivered. They can be fired from mobile trucks and, despite their slow speeds, are hard to detect until the last minute.
Nato said Ukraine would receive anti-drone defence systems in coming days. Jens Stoltenberg, Nato’s secretary general, said member countries would “step up” and deliver more air defences to help stabilise the situation.
Russia’s Duma has indefinitely stopped broadcasting live plenary sessions to protect information from “our enemy”, a leading lawmaker said.
Joe Biden is expected to announce Wednesday that he is releasing more oil from the US strategic reserve as part of a response to recent production cuts announced by nations in OPEC+.
Zelenskiy urged his troops to take more prisoners, saying this would make it easier to secure the release of soldiers being held by Russia.
The west should listen carefully when President Vladimir Putin talks about using nuclear weapons but should remember that it is more useful for him to threaten their use than to go ahead, the head of Norway’s armed forces told Reuters.
Ukraine’s state nuclear energy company accused Russia of “kidnapping” two senior staff at the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in southern Ukraine. Energoatom said Russian forces on Monday “kidnapped” the head of information technology, Oleg Kostyukov, and the plant’s assistant general director, Oleg Osheka, and “took them to an unknown destination”.
Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader in the US House of Representatives, warned on Tuesday that Congress would not “write a blank cheque to Ukraine” if his party wins next month’s midterm elections. Hours later, however, another senior Republican, Michael McCaul, said that he thought the Ukrainians should “get what they need” – including longer-range missiles than those the Biden administration has so far been prepared to supply.