Rolling blackouts in Kyiv, massive morgue in Mariupol, and NV goes to the Kherson front
Your slice of the top headlines in Ukraine. Daily. Monday, October 24th, 2022.
Weekend Catch-up Edition:
Due to concerted Russian attacks on Ukraine’s electric infrastructure, a number of oblasts have restricted power usage, and have urged residents to cut down on operating appliances when and where possible. This may pose difficulties for residents of the capital, especially, whose blackouts begun on Oct.21 – as despite a sharp drop in temperatures, centralized heating has not been turned on, and many Ukrainians often rely on electric heaters and air conditioning to make up the shortfall.
- Ukraine’s SBU has arrested a number of top officials from the engine manufacturer Motor Sich, including its president.
Two of the officials, the company’s ‘honorary president’ Vyacheslav Boguslayev, and the head of Motor Such’s Department of Foreign Economic Activity, have both been identified in suspects in a treason case, the SBU says. According to the security service, the officials are responsible for selling Russian military aviation, specifically helicopters, with engines and maintenance materials.
- NV did a profile on Boguslayev, the ‘honorary president’, discovering that his influence over the industrial concern is far from honorary.
- Russia has opened an enormous morgue in occupied Mariupol to cope with the skyrocketing mortality rates in the city.
Mariupol’s city council reports that the morgue covers a 7,000 square meter area. The mortality rates are likely caused by the lack of food, healthcare, and adequate shelter, coupled with the dropping temperatures – Mariupol residents are said to have to cook on the street, collect water from puddles, and eat ‘humanitarian aid’ provided by the Russian occupation authorities, which is often expired and unsafe for consumption.
- Meanwhile, law enforcement working in the liberated town of Lyman in Donetsk Oblast have discovered a mass grave containing the bodies of 111 civilians and 35 Ukrainian soldiers.
- Russia is amassing a ‘shadow fleet’ of oil tankers to circumvent trade and sanctions restrictions on oil exports.
In a new report by Bloomberg, the publication spoke to representatives of tanker companies and researchers, who told reporters that it was clear ‘undisclosed buyers’ had been buying up ships for a fleet over the past six months. In total, these ‘undisclosed buyers’ – suspected of being Russian representatives – have purchased 240 oil tankers.
The agency says there’s no obvious reason for the hike, as only a single producer has reported a loss of capacity due to the war, and the spike is far above what inflation and the consumer price index would suggest. Additionally, the cost of chicken feed remains low, sparking suspicion of collusion among market players
- Russian oligarch Mikhail Fridman has asked the Monaco authorities to unfreeze his accounts in order to recapitalize the Ukrainian Alfa-Bank.
Alfa-Bank is Ukraine 7th largest bank in terms of total assets, and Fridman is a major shareholder, openly owning 32.68% of Alfa-Banks shares. However, sanctions on Fridman within Ukraine and abroad have frozen much of his assets – including his accounts in Monaco. He’s currently attempting to recapitalize Alfa-Bank to the tune of $1 billion, though regulatory and sanctions hurdles have made this a complicated process.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russia of holding top 150 Ukrainian ships in an act of “deliberate obstruction”, saying that the aggressor country was hoping to spark another food crisis. “The situation around the grain ex-port initiative is becoming ever more tense in recent weeks,” said Zelenskyy, and noted that export shipments had already dropped by 3 million tons due to the backlog.
- The day’s long-read: Artillery, tanks, and ordinary life in the combat zone of the Kherson Front – NV report
NV correspondent Anthony Bartaway travelled to the front lines of the southern front between Mykolaiv and Kherson to see how the Ukrainian military, and local residents, have managed with eight months of unceasing warfare.
Despite eight years of war with Russia, and a multitude of reforms, Ukraine’s court system stubbornly resists change. A flurry of lawsuits against Privatbank by its former owners, who are suspected of perpetrating a $4.5 billion fraud against the bank, has shown major gaps in the court system’s ability to fairly judge cases. NV spoke to a number of legal experts about the deficiencies in Ukraine’s justice system which have been exemplified during the proceedings against Privatbank.
- From the opinion pages: What awaits Kherson and how Putin is changing tactics
Director of military programs at the Razumkov Center Mykola Sungurovsky talks about what Russia hopes to achieve in Kherson, and what Ukraine needs to do to counter these plans.
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