Latest Updates on Conflict in Ukraine: Missile Interception, Nuclear Plant Damage, Recruitment, and Anti-Semitism

2023-10-25 20:14:00

Day 609: About 1,000 civilians still in the heavily contested city of Avdiivka. Another CEO of a Russian oil company dies. All information in the news blog.

The most important things at a glance

Russia: Intercepted US missiles handed over to Ukraine

9:55 p.m.: According to information from Moscow, Russian air defense shot down two longer-range ATACM missiles fired by Ukraine at Russian targets. The Russian Defense Ministry reported the shooting in one of its regular reports on the war in Ukraine, which Moscow describes as a “special military operation.” No further details are given. The information cannot be independently verified. According to state media, it was the first launch of its kind. Ukraine had requested the missiles from the USA because of their longer range.

Zelenskyj calls for more military aid for anti-aircraft defense

9:24 p.m.: After damage to buildings at the Ukrainian Khmelnytsky nuclear power plant, President Volodymyr Zelensky has called for more weapons aid to ward off Russian air strikes. “This attack on the nuclear power plant is another reminder to all our partners of the importance of strengthening Ukraine’s air defense,” Zelensky said in his video address on Wednesday evening. The attack also shows how easily Russia can still circumvent sanctions and incorporate Western parts into its drones and missiles.

A Russian drone attack on Wednesday night injured 16 people in the western Ukrainian region of Khmelnytskyi. According to the Ukrainian Ministry of Energy, the pressure wave from explosions near the nuclear power plant caused the windows of several administrative buildings to burst.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed the damage. “This incident once again underlines the very precarious situation of nuclear security in Ukraine as long as this tragic war continues,” said IAEA Director Rafael Grossi in Vienna. It wasn’t just windows and buildings that were damaged. Due to power outages in the area, radiation measuring stations around the nuclear power plant would have had to work with emergency power at times.

Russia plans to recruit 385,000 new soldiers this year

6.45 p.m.: According to official figures, the Russian armed forces have recruited 385,000 new soldiers this year amid the war of aggression against Ukraine. Of these, 305,000 soldiers signed a contract directly with the Russian Defense Ministry, said former President Dmitry Medvedev in a video published on the Telegram online service on Wednesday.

The other 80,000 are “volunteers”. This term is usually used in Russia for fighters of paramilitary groups. The recruitment of new soldiers should continue next year, said Medvedev, currently number two on the Russian Security Council. Accordingly, a new army corps, seven divisions, 19 brigades, 49 regiments and a flotilla are to be formed. Here you can read more about it.

The information from the Kremlin cannot be independently verified. In the past, reports of illegal recruitment, mobilization in prisons and the recruitment of minors abroad raised doubts among international observers about Russia’s ability to recruit more soldiers for its war against Ukraine.

Russia had mobilized around 300,000 reservists from September 2022 because of the conflict with Ukraine. Despite heavy losses, the Russian leadership subsequently refrained from further mobilization. Instead, Moscow is relying on a major recruitment campaign to attract new soldiers. According to Ukrainian information, Russia has around 400,000 soldiers deployed in eastern Ukraine. The Russian leadership does not provide precise information on the number of soldiers deployed or the number of soldiers killed.

Ukraine: Russia incites young people to commit anti-Semitism in Ukraine

6.40 p.m.: The Ukrainian secret service (SBU) accuses Russia of inciting minors in Ukraine to commit anti-Semitic crimes. This emerges from a statement from the Ukrainian secret service. According to this, the Russian secret service has founded a Telegram channel with right-wing extremist and anti-Semitic content and is actively recruiting young people there for anti-Semitic acts.

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