Russia increases weapon production as conflict continues with rumours of weapons shortages and production delays, Russian President Vladimir Putin introduced a new commission on bypassing bureaucracy and creating more weapons for their military efforts.
Experts have argued that the slow nature of the missiles Russia has been using to attack infrastructure reflects how their reserves are no longer as adequate as they could be.
More here on Russia’s new weapons production.
United Nations aid chief Martin Griffiths says he is “relatively optimistic” that a UN-brokered deal that allowed Ukraine grain exports from Black Sea ports would be extended beyond mid-November.
Griffiths travelled to Moscow with senior UN trade official Rebeca Grynspan earlier this month for discussions with Russian officials on the deal, which also aims to facilitate exports of Russian grain and fertiliser to global markets.
The Swedish Armed Forces have returned to the site of the Russian Nord Stream gas pipeline leaks in the southern part of the Baltic Sea to further investigate the suspected blasts.
“The Swedish Armed Forces are this week carrying out complementary seabed surveys at the gas leaks with minesweepers. The investigations are carried out on their own initiative and are not part of the criminal investigation,” the armed forces said on Twitter.
A Swedish navy spokesperson added that the new survey was expected to be completed this week.
“This is truly out of national military interest,” he said.
“I can’t comment on what we are looking for, why we are there, but we had the need to come back to do an additional search.”
World leaders have called the damage to the pipes, discovered last month in Danish and Swedish economic zones, an act of sabotage, without saying who could be responsible.
Ukraine’s Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov says he did not believe Russia would use nuclear weapons.
Putin has repeatedly warned that Russia has the right to defend itself using any weapons in its arsenal, which includes the world’s largest nuclear stockpile.
“My personal opinion is that Putin won’t use nukes,” Reznikov told a news briefing when asked about the issue.
Russia’s setbacks in the war in Ukraine have increased Western concerns that Putin might use a tactical nuclear weapon.
At least 70,000 people have left Kherson in the space of a week, a Moscow-installed regional official said.
“I’m sure that more than 70,000 people left in a week since the crossings were organised,” Vladimir Saldo told a regional TV channel after efforts to move residents to the Russian-controlled areas on the left bank of the Dnieper River.
He added that this number might be more extensive as people could have used their own boats to cross the river instead of organised ferries.
Residents were urged to leave areas of the right bank, including the region’s central city Kherson, as Russian troops face an advancing counteroffensive from Ukraine’s forces.
Ukraine’s counteroffensive against Russian forces in the Kherson region is proving more difficult than in the northeast due to wet weather and the nature of the terrain, Ukraine’s defence minister has said.
Oleksii Reznikov told a news conference that Russian forces were using water supply channels as trenches in the occupied Kherson region.
Russia’s air attacks on civilian infrastructure raise the cost of Ukraine’s recovery and will need close to $4bn a month to keep power and water supplies going, the head of the International Monetary Fund has said.
Speaking to the Reuters news agency, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said the institution was focused on helping Ukraine keep afloat while working on a longer-term programme.
“We still hope that we can stay within these parameters of [$] 3-4 billion, but what changed since we had this discussion is Russia’s terrible bombing of civilian infrastructure,” she said.
“Just to get electricity back and water supply back we are moving towards the upper range of [$] 4 billion … Just imagine a worst-case scenario.”
Georgieva also signalled that China should be allowed to join an international platform that the European Commission wants to set up this year for Ukraine.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES