Day 238 of the Invasion of Ukraine: Russians evacuate thousands from KhersonUkraine | October 19, 2022, Wednesday // 10:52| views
Here are the highlights of events related to the war in Ukraine over the past 24 hours:
The occupation authorities frantically evacuate thousands from the city of Kherson
The commander of Russian forces in Ukraine admits that the situation in the southern city of Kherson is "difficult" and its residents must be evacuated, the BBC reported.
General Sergei Surovikin said Ukrainian troops using HIMARS missiles were hitting infrastructure and housing in the city. He spoke on Russian state television.
"The Russian army will first of all ensure the safe evacuation of the population of Kherson," he said.
Volodymyr Saldo, collaborationist mayor of Kherson, says righthand bank of Dnieper is being evacuated in anticipation of a “large-scale offensive” by Ukrainian forces supposedly to include attacks on upstream dams. These civilians will be given safe passage “deeper into Russia.” pic.twitter.com/uaueW5l2IX— Kevin Rothrock (@KevinRothrock) October 18, 2022
His rare acknowledgment of major issues was echoed by a senior local official.
The Russian-appointed administrator of Kherson, Kiril Stremousov, has warned residents of the Black Sea city that "in the very near future" Ukrainian troops will launch an offensive against the city.
"Please take my words seriously - I'm talking about the fastest possible evacuation," he wrote on Telegram.
In a late-night address posted on Telegram, Russian-installed Kherson official Kirill Stremousov calls for people to "evacuate the city as quickly as possible" and says Ukraine "will begin an offensive on the city of Kherson very soon" pic.twitter.com/NBOvy1zJCo— Francis Scarr (@francis_scarr) October 18, 2022
And he added that the people on the western bank of the Dnieper River are most at risk.
This was also confirmed in a video message by the regional governor appointed by Russia, Vladimir Saldo.
Kherson was the first major city to fall into the hands of the Russians back in February.
However, over the past few weeks, Ukrainian forces have gradually regained the territory around it. They pushed Russian troops up to 30 km south along the Dnieper, threatening to trap them.
"In general, the situation in the area of the special military operation can be defined as tense," General Surovikin said.
Kherson is the only Ukrainian regional center that the Russians captured in their invasion. The Kremlin declared the city and three other Ukrainian regions part of Russia after unrecognized "referendums" in the occupied territories in September.
Two Russian bombers are intercepted over Alaska
US fighter jets intercepted two Russian bombers near the US state of Alaska on Monday, US officials said, as quoted by Reuters.
Two US Air Force F-16 fighter jets intercepted and escorted two Russian Tu-95 bombers after the Russian planes entered Alaska's air defense identification zone on October 17.
The North American Aerospace Command (NORAD) noted that it does not view this as a threat or a provocation, and also routinely monitors the movement of foreign aircraft and escorts them out of the air defense identification zone when necessary.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the two bombers made a 12-hour flight over the Pacific Ocean, the Bering Sea and the Sea of Okhotsk according to a prearranged schedule "over neutral waters" and in accordance with the rules of international aviation.
According to the military, the two bombers were escorted by Pacific Fleet MiG-31 long-range interceptors.
The strategic missile carriers "Tu-95MS", "Tu-160" and long-range bombers "Tu-22M3" are the air component of the Russian nuclear triad, writes the Russian agency "Interfax".
The use of Iranian drones in Ukraine enters the UN, the EU is preparing sanctions
The United States, Britain and France plan to raise the issue of Iran's military drone exports to Russia at a closed-door UN Security Council meeting on Wednesday, diplomats said, after Kyiv accused Moscow of using them to strike civilian targets, reported " Reuters".
Separately, Ukraine has invited UN experts to inspect what it says are downed drones of Iranian origin used by Russia in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which approved the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
Meanwhile, the Brussels publication "Politico" reported that by the end of the week, the EU will impose sanctions on individuals and companies related to the export of drones to Moscow.
Russia launched dozens of kamikaze drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, into Ukraine on Monday, hitting energy infrastructure and killing five people in the capital, Kyiv.
Ukraine claims that these are Iranian-made Shahed-136 attack drones that explode when they reach a target. On Tuesday, Kyiv severed diplomatic relations with Iran over its use.
Tehran denies supplying the drones to Moscow, as does the Kremlin, which it uses against Ukraine.
The New York Times reported, citing US government sources, that Iran had sent instructors to occupied Ukraine to help the Russians overcome problems with the handling of drones they bought.
In an article published on Tuesday, the newspaper said the Iranian instructors were working from a Russian military base in Crimea, where many of the drones are based. According to the New York Times, they are members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, an elite part of Iran's military that Washington considers a terrorist organization.
MEPs want Russia to be declared a terrorist state
The vast majority of MEPs who participated in the extraordinary debate on Russia at the plenary session in Strasbourg demanded that it be recognized not only as a sponsor of terrorism, but also as a terrorist state.
Some of them even demanded that all Russian diplomats be expelled from Europe. Others called for Iran, which is an ally of Russia, to be included in this category.
Pole Andrzej Halicki from the European People's Party (EPP) called on national parliaments and member states to act in this direction.
"I hope that the European Parliament will speak with one voice, regardless of our party affiliation, and force the Council of the EU and the Commission to act", he added and gave the example of the killing of civilians in Ukraine, the mass graves, the kidnappings, the bombing of hospitals.
Cities such as Mariupol, Volnovaha and Popasna were completely destroyed, mass graves were discovered in some such as Buca, recalled the Lithuanian Petras Austrevicius from the liberal group "Renew Europe".
"At this very moment, Russia is carrying out massive missile strikes against civilians in Ukraine and its critical infrastructure. It is enough to recall the attacks on the railway station in Kramatorsk and the theater in Mariupol, when there were clear indications that there were children there," he said.
The term "sponsor of terrorism" exists in the American, but not in the European legislation, countered the Irish MEP Clare Daly from the radical left.
And she continued:
"If you want us to name countries that sponsor terrorism, let's do it. European sponsorship of Israeli terrorism in Palestine, Western sponsorship of Saudi terror in Yemen, the Daesh product (Islamic State) of French-American-British-Turkish sponsorship in Syria and Iraq. US-backed terrorism against the Cuban revolution continued for decades. Contras in Nicaragua. Remember Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia - horror after horror, terror after terror.”
Daly is well known in Bulgaria, where she came in the summer of 2020 to support the protests against the government of Boyko Borissov.
"We have just heard Putin's words," she said addressing the Irish-Lithuanian Rasa Jukneviciene of the EPP.
“The media would never have invited an al Qaeda spokesperson after 9/11. That's why I don't understand what the spokesmen of the Russian embassies do almost every day on our televisions," said the French Nathalie Loiseau of RE.
The European Parliament will vote on a resolution in a month in Strasbourg, at the session from 17 to 21 November.
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