Russian missile programming team identified, worst winter in history awaiting Ukraine

26 October 2022, 03:16 PM

Your slice of the top headlines in Ukraine. Daily. Wednesday, October 25th, 2022.

•   Open source investigative outlet Bellingcat identifies over 30 Russians involved in military missile programming.

In a joint investigation with independent Russian news outlet The Insider and German newspaper Der Spiegel, the trio discovered a secret unit within the Main Computer Center of the Russian Armed Forces, comprised of over 30 military engineers that program the cruise missiles that rain on Ukrainian civilians and defenders every day.

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•   30 members of the U.S. House of Representatives sign an open letter to President Joe Biden urging the U.S. to establish “direct negotiations” with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.

The letter, which employs incredibly vague wording, acknowledges the principle of “nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine”, yet calls for negotiations despite acknowledging that good faith negotiations with the dictator are impossible. The letter was undersigned by members of the U.S. Democratic Progressive Caucus, a grouping of the more left-wing members of the Democratic Party. The letter faced heavy criticism for its wishy-washy, substance-less approach, and was withdrawn shortly after its publication, with Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal saying that it was “released without by staff without vetting.”

•   Ukraine calls on the Russian Red Cross to be excluded from the International Committee of the Red Cross.

According to Ukrainian human rights ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets, he believes this is needed following the revelation that the Russian Red Cross has been fundraising to support the families of Russian servicemembers currently invading Ukraine. The revelation drew condemnation from the Ukrainian chapter of the Red Cross as well, calling the Russian chapter’s work a violation “the principle of neutrality.”

•   Ukraine is facing its “worst winter in history”.

National fossil fuel concern Naftogaz head Yuri Vitrenko stated that due to Russian attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure, power and heating will be spotty in the coming heating season. He revealed that about 40% of Ukraine’s power generation system has been damaged or destroyed by Russian attacks, and refineries have been struck especially hard.

•   President Volodymyr Zelenskyy calls for a “financial Ramstein” to help restore Ukraine’s war-damaged economy.

This “financial Ramstein”, referencing the NATO base in Germany where Ukraine’s partners often gather to discuss military aid, would be a “financial coordination platform that will unite and direct all the efforts aimed at rebuilding our country after hostilities,” according to the President. Ukraine has developed a transparent plan of priority steps in reconstruction, and “this is what Ukraine literally needs to survive,” he said, noting that the country needs $17 billion for “critical immediate reconstruction.”

•   Dozens of Kadyrovites have been killed by Ukrainian forces after a strike on a base in Kherson Oblast.

The military says that over 40 Kadyrovites were killed, and more than 60 injured, in the ranged strike on the base, posting video and photo footage of the event. Kadyrovites are the personal troops of Chechen warlord Ramzan Kadyrov, and have a reputation for incredible cruelty and wanton disregard for civilian life.

•   Meanwhile, Belarusian troops were spotted near the occupied city of Melitopol. It’s widely believed that Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko is unwilling to commit troops to Ukraine, for fear of sparking a mutiny at home.

•   The arrested ‘honorary president’ of the Motor Sich engine manufacturing concern had Russian citizenship and access to state secrets.

The Schemes investigative journalism project revealed that Vladyslav Boguslayev, recently charged with treason, has had Russian citizenship since at least 2000. Motor Sich spokesperson Ruslan Pydorych denied the reports, saying this was “the first time” he had heard about it. However, the tax number associated with Boguslayev’s passport can be found on the Russian Tax Service’s website.

•   Iranian drones contain components sourced from Austria, South Korea, and Malaysia.

Even U.S. and Japanese parts were found in downed drones, the Ministry for Internal Affairs revealed. Rotax, an Austrian engine manufacturer, confirmed that while one of its engines was indeed found in an Iranian drone, the company “has not authorized and has not given any authorization to its distributors to supply military UAV manufacturers in Iran or Russia.”

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•   Ukraine currently has no plans to import electricity from Europe.

European energy prices are just too high, said the chairman of Ukraine’s power grid operator, Ukrenergo. But it has the capacity to import up to 500 megawatts from Europe if needed, he added. The war has disrupted some of Ukraine’s usual foreign power supply lines – notably from Belarus. This, in addition to Russian-caused damage to the grid, has caused Ukraine to suffer from “a shortage of capacity”.

•   Ukraine’s central bank is still waiting on paperwork from Alfa-Bank for its potential $1 billion recapitalization.

The National Bank of Ukraine said that once it does, it will review the documents for their compliance with legal standards and norms. This recapitalization for Ukraine’s 7th-largest bank would be provided by unfreezing some of the Monaco-stored assets of its sanctioned owner, Russian oligarch Mikhail Fridman. The bank has subsequently said the plan for the additional capitalization was not related to Fridman’s personal interests.

•   Ukraine has gained control of nine Russian vessels worth $13.5 million.

The vessels were seized under sanctions imposed in criminal proceedings conducted by the Ukrainian State Bureau of Investigation. The owners of the vessels paid large amounts of taxes to the Russian budget, thereby funding the Kremlin’s war of aggression against Ukraine, Ukraine’s government said.

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