Russian flag disappears from Kherson, no evidence of dirty bombs says IAEA, Google taxes

4 November 2022, 02:56 PM

Your slice of the top headlines in Ukraine. Daily. Friday, November 4th, 2022.

•  The Russian flag has seemingly disappeared from the administration building in Kherson Oblast, but it may be a trap.

That’s a theory floated by Ukraine military spokesperson Natalia Humeniuk, who says the disappearance of the flag, and the seeming withdrawal of Russian forces from a number of checkpoints in Kherson Oblast, are provocations meant to trick an expected Ukrainian offensive into lowering its guard. Instead, the military believes that the Russians are preparing for urban combat – not withdrawing.

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•  The IAEA has found no evidence of dirty bomb production at any of the sites that Russia claimed were developing them.

The agency said its team had unfettered access to conduct in-depth inspections of the facilities Russia claims were being used by Ukraine to develop a “dirty bomb” nuclear device. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba thanked IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi for the agency’s cooperation in quickly and transparently disproving Russian allegations.

•  Meanwhile, the UN Security Council has rejected a Russian call to investigate spurious allegations of “bioweapons labs.”

•  At least 1,402 Russian military officers have been killed in Ukraine.

That number was provided by open source investigators, the Ukrainian military said. “According to OSINT (open-source intelligence) researchers, 1,402 Russian officers were ‘de-Nazified’ in Ukraine – that's a rate of 5.7 per day,” the military said. “Notably, senior officers make up 26% of total losses.”

•  The duly-elected president of Belarus, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, says that its unlikely that the Lukashenko regime will order his regime’s military to enter open conflict with Ukraine.

"Back then (in February) it was already clear that Belarusian forces didn't want to fight against Ukrainians,” Tsikhanouskaya explained. ”Besides, they also realized they had had no combat experience, so they would be used as cannon fodder.”

•  The Swiss government will send Ukraine nearly $100 million in aid to repair damaged energy infrastructure.

This winter aid action plan includes the purchase of generators and spare parts, and contributing to the repair of rail tracks (for the transport of heavy goods such as grain). Switzerland will also provide humanitarian aid to those worst affected by the war in Ukraine, helping them to prepare for winter, for example, by replacing windows, providing insulation and food, etc.

•  The Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant has again been disconnected from the external power grid.

As a result of Russian shelling on Nov. 2, the last two high-voltage lines of Zaporizhzhya NPP that connected it with the Ukrainian power system have been damaged. All 20 backup diesel generators were switched on. There is enough fuel for the operation of the diesel generators in complete de-energization mode at ZNPP to last 15 days, Energoatom said.

•  Russians are still attempting to switch the ZNPP to their grid, in order to supply occupied Donbas and Crimea.

•  Google has paid over $86 million into the state coffers since the beginning of the year.

The sum is due to the so-called “Google tax”, based on a new law on taxing tech giants, which came into force this January. The largest amounts came from Apple, Netflix, and Taxamo Checkout. On a separate note, an MP noted that adult subscription site Onlyfans is one of the most disciplined payers, contributing a total sum of $890,000.

•  Ukraine’s National Agency on Corruption Prevention has said that the appointment of former Minister of Regional Development, Oleksiy Chernyshov, to the head of Naftogaz is illegal.

According to the NACP, the appointment would violate the Law on Prevention of Corruption. NACP Head Oleksandr Novikov emphasized that the Cabinet of Ministers, of which Chernyshov is a member, has long been performing the functions of Naftogaz general meetings and the company’s supervisory board. At the same time, the norms of the Law on the Prevention of Corruption explicitly ban officials and civil servants from taking up employment with legal entities if these companies were under their control or supervision.

•  The world's largest container operator, Maersk, has decided to liquidate its Russian subsidiary.

The decision to liquidate the company was made by Maersk’s sole shareholder, Denmark’s Maersk Line Agency Holding A/S. According to the SPARK-Interfax analytical system, the company's revenue as per Russian Accounting Standards in 2021 amounted to RUB 845.9 million (approximately $13.61 million at the official exchange rate).

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