Here is the situation as it stands on Wednesday, October 26.
- A senior Ukrainian official predicted “the heaviest of battles” to come for the partially Russian-occupied strategic southern province of Kherson and said Moscow’s military is digging in to face advancing Ukrainian forces.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy reiterated a pledge to retake the city of Kherson, the loss of which would be a big setback for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who wants to speed up decision-making in the military campaign in Ukraine.
- Putin has also urged his government to cut through bureaucracy to crank out enough weapons and supplies to feed his troops in Ukraine.
- Russia took its accusation that Ukraine was preparing to use a dirty bomb – an explosive device laced with radioactive material – to the United Nations Security Council, voicing its concerns during a closed-door meeting of the 15-member body.
- Kyiv says it fears Moscow’s dirty bomb allegation is a pretext for a “false-flag” operation.
- Pope Francis on Tuesday led leaders of world religions in a peace appeal to politicians to avert the threat of nuclear war over Ukraine.
- Russia has notified the United States about planned annual exercises of its nuclear forces, which Washington said lowers the risk of miscalculation at a time of “reckless” Russian nuclear rhetoric.
- New British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak agreed in a phone call with US President Joe Biden on the importance of supporting Ukraine. Sunak also spoke with Zelenskyy.
- A group of liberal US Democrats withdrew a letter to the White House urging a negotiated settlement to the Ukraine war after blowback from within their own party.
- A Russian court dismissed US WNBA basketball star Brittney Griner’s appeal against a nine-year sentence for possessing and smuggling vape cartridges containing cannabis oil.
- The European Commission urged European Union countries and companies to donate more money and equipment to support the energy sector in Ukraine, more than a third of which has been destroyed by Russian missile and drone strikes.
- Ukraine’s external financing needs will be about $3bn a month through 2023 in a best-case scenario, but could rise as high as $5bn, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said.
- The White House has welcomed moves by Saudi Arabia to help Ukraine in its war with Russia as Biden ponders how tough to react to the Saudis for joining an oil output cut.
Source: News Agencies