Zelenskyy fires ambassador in Astana, conscription abolished, and ZNPP power restored
Your slice of the top headlines in Ukraine. Daily. Thursday, October 20th, 2022.
• President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has dismissed Ukraine’s ambassador to Kazakhstan.
The sacking of Petro Vrublevskyy, the ex-ambassador in question, came after Astana complained of his comments on killing Russians – the Kazakh government called these comments unacceptable in light of the large ethnic Russian minority in the country. Despite this, the Kazakh government did not yield to Russian pressure to expel the diplomat, but simply asked Kyiv to replace him.
• Ukraine has abolished military conscription in wartime.
Additionally, the new law abolishing conscription will convene conscription committees to evaluate existing draft rolls, with the aim of removing individuals unfit for duty from the registry. This step will likely accelerate Ukraine’s transition to a mostly professional (contract) military. Zelenskyy has earlier cancelled the planned mobilization of new conscripts for the autumn, and postponed the demobilization of conscripts drafted last year.
• External power supply has been restored to the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant.
This once again allows the plant to draw on Ukraine’s power grid for maintenance of cooling systems for the plant’s six reactors. The latest disconnection was the third times in ten days that Russian shelling had cut the plant off Ukrainian energy and onto backup diesel generators: it’s likely to occur again, given Russia’s strategy of focusing on degrading Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.
• Russia has banned over a million of its citizens from leaving the country during its so-called “partial mobilization” period.
According to Russia news outlet Astra, relying on Russian FSB Border Service data, a little over 1 million Russian nationals have been forbidden from leaving Russian territory. While Russia has officially not commented on the policy, it’s existence makes sense given the high amount of Russians that have already fled abroad to avoid mobilization: Forbes Russia estimated that about 700,000 Russians have done so.
• Russian occupation authorities are preventing relatives of fallen Ukrainian defenders in Mariupol from burying the bodies of their loved ones.
According to Mariupol mayoral advisor Petro Andryushchenko, the Russians have ensured that the corpses of Ukrainian soldiers still litter the streets, despite removing the bodies of civilians. Andryushchenko noted that the relatives of five soldiers killed in action who went to the occupied city to arrange burials had been prevented from retrieving their bodies by the invaders.
• Additionally, Russian occupiers continue to conduct cultural genocide in the territories under their control, robbing museums and burning Ukrainian-language literature and textbooks.
• The Ukrainian government has established a post-war recovery fund consisting of seized Russian assets in Ukraine.
The fund is meant to finance the reconstruction and replacement of damaged and destroyed elements of Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure and housing, as well as temporary housing for internally displaced people. The European Investment Bank estimates that post-war Ukrainian reconstruction could cost between $750 billion and $1 trillion.
• The day’s long-read: How can Ukraine get through winter with its power grid intact – expert interview
NV speaks to the director of the Energy Research Center, Oleksandr Kharchenko, on how Ukraine’s energy sector is dealing with Russian assault amid preparations for a cold winter.
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