EU’s adopts 8th sanctions package, Reznikov doubts Russian nuke threats, and new NBU chief nominated
Your slice of the top headlines in Ukraine. Daily. Friday, October 7th, 2022.
• The EU has adopted an eight package of sanctions against Russia.
One of this package’s defining features is a ban on the transportation of oil to third countries at a price above a newly established price cap. The package also includes individual sanctions against individuals related to the staged referendums that preceded Russia’s claimed annexation of occupied Ukrainian territories, export restrictions on coal and coal products, import restrictions worth nearly EUR 7 billion, and a ban on EU nationals holding executive or board positions in some state-owned Russian enterprises.
• A rocket attack on the city of Zaporizhzhia kills at least two.
Seven rockets, believed to be fired from a Russian S-300 ground-adapted missile system, struck the city’s residential district, burying a number of people under the rubble and killing one woman on the spot. The blasts also injured a three year old child, who has been hospitalized for their wounds. In total, at least 10 people were injured by the Russian attack.
• Russia has requested that an upcoming UN vote to condemn the claimed annexation of Ukrainian territories be secret instead of public.
Typically, UN resolutions are public – that is, each voting member publicly records their vote or abstention. However, Russia is attempting to persuade the international body to switch to a secret ballot for this particular vote, in order to, as it claims, avoid pressure from “Western lobbying” which may cause “difficulties” if positions are expressed publicly. Diplomats said the General Assembly would likely have to vote publicly on whether to hold a secret ballot.
• Ukrainian defense minister Reznikov is skeptical of the nuclear threats issued by Russia.
Nobody knows currently in what condition Russian nuclear weapons are and how they will work in case of use, Reznichenko said in a recent interview with Forbes Ukraine, noting that the last time Moscow conducted tests was in the 1990s. According to the Ukrainian official, the state of nuclear weapons in Russia is quite questionable. Reznikov cited data from the second president of Ukraine, Leonid Kuchma, who claimed that the term of validity of all nuclear capabilities, including Russia’s, expired in 1997. Therefore, the use of such weapons "will have unpredictable consequences".
• Thousands of newly-mobilized Russian conscripts complain of “barbaric conditions” at their mustering points.
In a video posted on one Russian Telegram channel on Oct. 5, a man can be seen saying that about 500 newly conscripted Russians currently staying in Belgorod Oblast have not been not assigned to any unit, and have lived "in barbaric conditions" for a week. He adds that none of them know where they are going, and the weapons they’ve been issued with aren’t listed in the armory rolls. He also complained about the officers' "barbaric attitude”. As noted by Mark Krutov, a correspondent for RFE/RL's Russian Service, some men on this video have patches of the Wagner Group and most of them wear balaclavas. He says these videos are being actively shared by pro-Wagner Telegram channels. The journalist also speculated that the video could have been staged.
• Moscow has signaled its willingness to restart pumping gas to Europe - through the surviving line of Nord Stream-2.
"As for the second line [of Nord Stream 2], it is ready, built, and if the necessary legal decisions are made by European colleagues regarding its certification and lifting of restrictions, I think that Russia could provide appropriate supplies through this pipeline in a short time," Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak stated. Russia is suspected of sabotaging both lines of Nord Stream 1 and one of the lines of Nord Stream 2, making this recommendation highly suspect, at best.
• Former NBU chief Shevchenko has been charged with embezzlement related to his previous post at Ukrgasbank.
According to investigators for Ukrainian anti-corruption bodies, $5.5 million was stolen from state-owned Ukrgasbank via fictitious contracts closed with often-fabricated “agents”, supposedly responsible for bringing in new large clients to the bank. The monthly fees to these so-called “agents” totaled up to $5.5 million from 2014 to 2020 – the same period that Shevchenko spent at the bank as chairman of the board. The investigation does not relate to Shevchenko’s actions at the NBU, prosecutors stressed.
• Meanwhile, President Zelenskyy has nominated the former head of Oschadbank, Ukraine’s other state bank, Andriy Pyshnyy, to take over Shevchenko’s reins at the NBU.
• The day’s long read: Could the 1999 apartment bombings be repeated in 2022?
Andreas Umland asks whether Putin may be willing to stage a repeat of the 1999 apartment bombings in Russia, an event that many suspect was deliberately conducted by the FSB in order to justify a second war against Chechen liberation forces and boost Putin’s personal popularity.
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