Salem Radio Network News Wednesday, February 1, 2023

World

Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now

(Reuters) – Ukraine said its forces have retaken more settlements in Kherson, one of four partially Russian-occupied regions that President Vladimir Putin formally incorporated into Russia in Europe’s biggest annexation since World War Two.

BATTLEFIELD REPORTS

* A Russian rocket strike destroyed a five-storey apartment block in the southern Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia, killing at least one woman and leaving other residents trapped under rubble, the regional governor said.

* The bodies of two Russian soldiers lay bloating in trees on opposite sides of the road, close to the blasted hulks of the cars and the van in which Ukrainian army officers said the dead men’s unit was retreating into the eastern town of Lyman.

* Dozens of firefighters doused blazes in a town near Kyiv following multiple strikes caused by what officials said were Iranian-made loitering munitions, often known as “kamikaze drones”.

Reuters was not immediately able to verify the battlefield reports.

NUCLEAR ANNEXATION

* Putin signed laws admitting the Donetsk People’s Republic, the Luhansk People’s Republic, Kherson region and Zaporizhzhia region into Russia in the biggest expansion of Russian territory in at least half a century.

* He also said Russia would stabilise the situation in the regions, indirectly acknowledging the challenges it faces to assert its control.

* Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy accused Russia on Thursday of “nuclear blackmail” over its seizure of the Zaporizhzhia power plant in southern Ukraine.

* The Kremlin said it was preparing to welcome the head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), to Moscow soon.

NEW SANCTIONS

* Russian President Vladimir Putin said he expected sanctions pressure on the Russian economy to intensify, in televised remarks from a meeting with government officials.

* The European Union gave its final approval for a new batch of sanctions, the bloc’s executive arm said. They include more limits on trade with Russia in steel and tech products, and an oil price cap for Russian seaborne crude deliveries through European insurers to align the EU with Washington.

ENERGY

* A crime scene investigation of the damages on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines has strengthened suspicions of “gross sabotage”, Swedish security police.

* Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said Russia may cut oil production to offset negative effects from price caps imposed by the West over Moscow’s actions in Ukraine.

* Europe may limp through the cold winter months with the help of brimming natural gas tanks despite a plunge in deliveries from Russia only to enter a deeper energy crisis next year, the head of the International Energy Agency said.

DIPLOMACY

* The Kremlin denied reports that 700,000 Russians have fled the country since Moscow announced a mobilisation drive to call up hundreds of thousands to fight in Ukraine.

* U.S. intelligence agencies believe parts of the Ukrainian government authorised a car bomb attack near Moscow in August that killed Darya Dugina, the daughter of a prominent Russian nationalist, the New York Times reported.

(Compiled by Robert Birsel)

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