The Russian military expects a massive offensive by Ukraine to liberate the occupied city of Cherson. “The situation on this section of the front is difficult,” the new commander of Russian troops in Ukraine, Sergei Surovykin, said on television Tuesday evening. It was an unusual move by the army general, who even looked as if Russia might consider pulling out of the city. “Hard decisions” may be needed, Surovikin said.
Ukraine continues to shell residential buildings and city infrastructure. Artillery attacks made Ukraine’s crossing of the Dnipro River impassable. This complicates the delivery of the city.
“We will act carefully and in good time, we will not rule out difficult decisions,” Surovikhin said. This passage in particular has been interpreted as a sign of possible retreat. Vladimir Zalto, head of Russia’s occupation administration in Kherson, said civilians in some regions on the northern right bank of the Dnipro should be evacuated.
The city of Cherson fell into Russian hands in March as the Ukrainian regional capital. President Vladimir Putin announced the annexation of the region to Russia in October. Ukraine’s military has been on the move for weeks. Russian soldiers on the right bank are mostly cut off.
After several setbacks for the Russian military, Putin appointed Surovikhin as supreme commander of all troops in Ukraine in early October. “We and the Ukrainians are one people, and we want Ukraine to be only an ally with Russia, independent of NATO and the West,” the Russian general said on television. He sees the “criminal regime” in Kiev as an enemy that is pushing Ukrainians to their deaths on Western orders. After months of Russian attacks, many Ukrainians can no longer imagine friendship with their neighbor. Zelensky demands security guarantees to protect his country from Russia.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky hit out at Moscow in an evening speech after the Russian military fired Iranian-made drones at Ukraine on Tuesday: he called the use of weapons from Tehran a declaration of the Kremlin’s bankruptcy. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in Berlin that Ukraine could soon be able to defend itself against drone attacks from abroad with anti-aircraft weapons. For the occupied country, Wednesday marked the 238th day of war since the February Russian invasion.
“Russia’s call for aid to Iran is the Kremlin’s admission of military and political bankruptcy,” Zelensky said in Kyiv. Russia has spent decades investing billions of dollars in its military-industrial complex, but now it must rely on “pretty simple drones and missiles” from Tehran.
Bombing Ukraine with this swarm of drones could give the Russians tactical confidence. “It doesn’t help them strategically anyway,” Selensky said. The President thanked all the air defense personnel who shot down the missiles and drones.
In the past few days, the Russian military has shot down Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones not only in energy supplies in Ukraine, but also in cities. Both Moscow and Tehran deny an arms deal with drones.
To defend against drones, NATO has committed Ukraine to devices that disrupt their electronics – known as jammers. At a defense conference in Berlin on Tuesday, the NATO secretary general also withdrew other anti-aircraft weapons from several countries for Ukraine. “I think the systems we provide make a big difference,” he said. “Ukrainians can shoot down many incoming missiles and drones.” Ukraine’s equipment will continue to be improved in the future.
At the Russian-occupied Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine, employees have been kidnapped again, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in Vienna. The deputy manager and two employees of the nuclear power plant were recently arrested. While the manager has been released, the others are yet to be released, it said. The head of the plant was previously temporarily detained by the Russian side. He was released in early October. Several IAEA experts continue to monitor the situation at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.
While tech billionaire Elon Musk has pledged to continue funding satellite internet for Ukraine, the US Department of Defense is negotiating with other providers on a permanent solution. So far, Musk’s space company SpaceX has not been paid to operate Starlink Internet service in Ukraine, a Pentagon spokesman said in Washington.
The Department of Defense is talking with SpaceX and other companies about how to best use satellite Internet. After the Russian attack, SpaceX activated the Starlink satellite Internet service in Ukraine and provided the necessary receiving systems. Communication is important to civilians and the Ukrainian military. Last week, Musk briefly threatened to end Starling’s funding for Ukraine.
This is important on Wednesday
Russia’s President Putin has been consulting with his Security Council on securing the vast empire’s borders and migration policy.