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Vladimir Putin asserts that both countries are “sharing a sorrow” and that Russia is not to blame for the conflict in Ukraine. The Russian president stated that he still views Ukraine as a “brotherly nation” in a televised talk with senior military leaders.

He asserted that rather than being the outcome of Russian policy, the conflict was “the product of the policy of third countries.” Outside of Russia, the theory—which contends that Western expansion is the reason—has consistently been refuted. President Putin asserted that the West had “brainwashed,” beginning with Ukraine, the post-Soviet republics.

He said: “For years, we tried to build good-neighbourly relations with Ukraine, offering loans and cheap energy, but it did not work.

“There’s nothing to accuse us of. We’ve always seen Ukrainians as a brotherly people and I still think so.

“What’s happening now is a tragedy, but it’s not our fault.”

President Putin’s persistent worries appear to be related to Nato’s expansion since the Soviet Union’s fall in 1991.

Although the Kremlin has long contended that NATO’s admission of former Soviet allies as members endangers the alliance’s security, Nato’s primary purpose was to thwart Russian expansion following World War Two.

Following the fall of pro-Kremlin Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014 as a result of months of public unrest, tensions between the Kremlin and the West grew.

Military personnel vowed to continue the alleged “special military operation” through 2023 during the speech. The amount of money Russia was willing to spend was unbounded, President Putin added.

Sergei Shoigu, Russia’s minister of defence, suggested raising the minimum age requirement for conscription.

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Both sides of the conflict have launched attacks on southern Ukraine, with Russia firing drones at Odessa and Kiev retaliating near Melitopol. The Ukrainian army claimed to have shot down 10 drones on Saturday, but an additional five struck electrical infrastructure, knocking out electricity for about 1.5 million people.

Later, the exiled mayor of Melitopol, a Ukrainian, claimed that an attack had been conducted on the city under Russian control. There is a large fire seen in pictures posted by a Russian official there. According to Ukrainian officials, Russia used drones built in Iran in its drone strike on the Ukrainian port city of Odesa.

“The situation in the Odesa region is very difficult,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly video address. “Unfortunately the hits were critical, so it takes more than just time to restore electricity. It doesn’t take hours, but a few days.”

Moscow has been employing heavy missile and drone assaults against Ukraine’s energy infrastructure since October.

Ivan Fedorov, the exiled mayor, claimed that scores of “invaders” had been slain while pro-Moscow officials in Melitopol claimed that a missile attack had killed two persons and injured ten others.

“Air defence systems destroyed two missiles, four reached their targets,” Yevgeny Balitsky, the Moscow-appointed governor of the occupied part of the Zaporizhzhia region, said on the Telegram messaging app.Oleksiy Arestovych, a presidential counsellor, described Melitopol, which Russia has held since March, as essential to the defence of the south.

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The US claims that there is now a full-fledged defence alliance between Russia and Iran. According to John Kirby, a spokesperson for the US National Security Council, Russia is providing an unheard-of amount of military assistance.

The US is aware of rumours that the two nations are thinking about producing lethal drones together, he continues. It comes despite initial denials from Tehran after Ukraine charged Iran with providing Russia with “kamikaze” drones used in fatal assaults on October 17.

Later, the Middle Eastern nation acknowledged providing Moscow a small number of drones “several months” prior to the conflict. Volodymyr Zelensky, president of Ukraine, responded by claiming that this was untrue and that many more Iranian drones were in use.

In the early hours of Saturday, the Ukrainian air force claimed to have shot down 10 of the 15 such drones being deployed to strike southern regions. The majority of his territory experienced power outages, according to the governor of Odesa.

Australia has issued sanctions on three Iranian individuals and one Iranian company for providing drones to Russia for use against Ukraine.

Speaking on Friday, Mr. Kirby asserted that a joint drone-production venture between Iran and Russia would be detrimental to Ukraine, Iran’s neighbours, and the global community.

“Russia is seeking to collaborate with Iran in areas like weapons development, training,” he said, adding that the US fears that Russia intended to “provide Iran with advanced military components” including helicopters and air defence systems.

“Iran has become Russia’s top military backer…” he said. “Russia’s been using Iranian drones to strike energy infrastructure, depriving millions of Ukrainians of power, heat, critical services. People in Ukraine today are actually dying as a result of Iran’s actions.”

UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly responded to Mr. Kirby’s remarks by claiming that Iran had turned into one of Russia’s primary military allies and that their alliance was endangering international security.

Iran has sent hundreds of drones to Russia as part of the “sordid negotiations” between the two nations, he claimed. Australia’s foreign minister, Penny Wong, issued the following statement on Saturday: “The sale of drones to Russia is proof of Iran’s contribution to the weakening of international security. This listing emphasises that individuals who give Russia material help will suffer the repercussions.”

Following the murder of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in jail earlier this year, she also announced actions against 19 additional people and two companies, including Iran’s Morality Police, for the cruel treatment of anti-government protestors.

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US intelligence agencies predict that the combat in Ukraine will continue to wane through the upcoming winter. However, according to US head of intelligence Avril Haines, there hasn’t been any indication of Ukrainian forces’ resistance weakening.

Both sides, according to her, would endeavour to “refit, replenish, and reconstitute” for any springtime counteroffensive. The crucial energy infrastructure of Ukraine had already been attacked by Russia.

Even though Russia has lost more than half of the territory it had conquered, the war in Ukraine is already in its ninth month. The majority of the combat is presently taking place near the eastern Ukrainian cities of Bakhmut and Donetsk, Ms. Haines stated at a defence symposium in California.

She said fighting had slowed down following Russia’s withdrawal of troops from the west of the Kherson region last month.

“We’re seeing a kind of a reduced tempo already of the conflict… and we expect that’s likely to be what we see in the coming months,” she said.

She said both Ukraine and Russian militaries would be looking to prepare for any counter-offensive after the winter.

“But we actually have a fair amount of scepticism as to whether or not the Russians will be, in fact, prepared to do that,” she said.

“I think more optimistically for the Ukrainians in that time frame.”

According to Ms. Haines, US intelligence believes that Russian President Vladimir Putin is now unaware of the full extent of his military’s difficulties.

“We observe ammo shortages, morale problems, supply problems, logistics, and a host of other issues that they are dealing with.”

On the other hand, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Saturday that a price ceiling imposed on Russian oil exports by his Western partners was “weak” and that it was not “severe” enough to harm the Russian economy.

The cap, which is set to take effect on Monday, aims to prevent nations from paying more than $60 (£48) a barrel for Russian crude oil that is transported by sea.

Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Kremlin, stated that although Moscow had planned for the action, it would not sell its oil under the quota.

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A senior Ukrainian official claims that Russia’s strikes on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure constitute genocide. The prosecutor-general told the BBC that attacks on important buildings were intended to subdue Kyiv by targeting “the entire Ukrainian nation.”

An attempt to exterminate a group of people is referred to as a genocide. Russia denies having such objectives. Following persistent Russian strikes, millions of people in Ukraine are experiencing power outages in the chilly weather.

The task of re-connecting houses without electricity is ongoing. Following the city’s liberation by Ukrainian forces earlier this month, officials claim that Kherson has finally received a complete resupply.

According to President Volodymyr Zelensky, usage limitations continue to apply to residents of 14 areas, including the capital city of Kiev. According to the UN Genocide Convention’s definition, genocide comprises “the purpose to eliminate, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group.”

Forcibly removing that group’s children or killing or seriously injuring its members are two examples of actions that may qualify. Andriy Kostin, the prosecutor general of Ukraine, stated in his BBC interview that 11,000 Ukrainian children had been forcibly transported to Russia in addition to the attacks on the electricity grid.

Since Russia started its full-scale assault on February 24, Mr. Kostin claimed that his office has been looking into reports of more than 49,000 war crimes and crimes of aggression.

In other news, the leader of Ukraine’s state nuclear business Energoatom claims there are indications that troops from Moscow may be getting ready to depart the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power facility.

The plant was captured by the Russians in March, and both sides have accused one another of bombarding it, raising concerns of a potentially disastrous nuclear explosion. Petro Kotin, however, issued a warning because there was currently no proof of a Russian departure.

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“We share your pain,” Russian President Vladimir Putin has told a group of mothers of Russian soldiers who have been fighting – and some of whom have been killed – in Ukraine.

“Nothing can replace the loss of a son”, he said in his opening remarks, before the footage on state TV was cut.

Reports that the mothers were carefully picked for the conference have gone unremarked by the Kremlin. The backlash against Mr. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has been mounting.

Mothers of serving soldiers are openly complaining about the fact that their boys are being sent into fight with inadequate equipment and training, particularly as winter approaches.

Following a number of significant military defeats in recent months, some have also claimed that the Russian military is using civilians who were forcibly mobilised as “cannon fodder.”

In a rare acknowledgment, the Kremlin acknowledged that its efforts to mobilise army reservists had been flawed in September.

The most senior US general, Mark Milley, estimated earlier this month that since the war started on February 24, around 100,000 Russian and 100,000 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed or injured. Mr. Putin was pictured seated at a huge table with a group of 17 mothers at the meeting on Friday at his state estate outside of Moscow. Some of them donned mourning accessories like dark headscarves.

The president stated, “I want you to know that I personally, and all the leadership of the country, we share your anguish.

He continued, warning them not to trust “fakes” and “falsehoods” about the raging battle depicted on TV or the internet, saying, “We’ll be doing everything so you won’t be feeling forgotten.”

Soon after Mr Putin launched the full-scale invasion, Russian authorities brought in tough censorship laws against the media, criminalising “dissemination of false information” about its armed forces.

Media outlets face fines or even closure for calling it a war – the Kremlin describes the invasion as a “special military operation”.

That means balanced news can be difficult to get in Russia, leading some people to use virtual private networks (VPNs) to bypass the biased state-run media coverage.

On Friday, President Putin also said he had wanted to meet the mothers to hear from them first-hand about the situation on the ground.

And he revealed that from time to time he was speaking directly to Russian soldiers on the battlefield, describing them as “heroes”.

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According to rescue officials, a newborn baby has been killed in a Russian missile attack on a maternity centre in southern Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia area. A doctor and the baby’s mother, who was the only woman in the building at the time, were extricated from the wreckage.

Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, charged that Russia had brought “horror and bloodshed” to his nation. An important nuclear reactor is located in the Zaporizhzhia region, which has been the target of numerous Russian strikes.

The hospital’s maternity wing was hit by Russian missiles overnight, according to Ukrainian emergency services, in the town of Vilnyansk, which is still under Ukrainian control. Although Ukraine controls the territory, the entire Zaporizhzhia region has been annexed by Russia as a result of phoney referendums held in September.

Earlier on Wednesday, Kupiansk, a town in the Kharkiv region that was retaken by Ukrainian forces in September, was the target of bombardment that resulted in the deaths of two civilians, according to Ukrainian officials.

President Zelensky accused Russia of trying to “accomplish with violence and murder what it was unable to do for nine months” on the battlefield in remarks made following both attacks.

Throughout the nine-month conflict, Russia has attacked a number of hospitals, including one in Mariupol that resulted in the deaths of three people, including a toddler, in March. At the time, Russia claimed that the strike had been faked.

The World Health Organization has documented 703 attacks on health infrastructure since Russia’s invasion began on 24 February – it defines an attack as involving violence as well as threatened violence against hospitals, ambulances and medical supplies.

Russian commanders were probably use unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) built in Iran, the UK Ministry of Defence claimed on Wednesday, to “prioritise medical facilities as targets of opportunity and hit them with guided missiles if found.”

Russia has taken control of several areas of the larger Zaporizhzhia region, including the nuclear power facility, which was seized by Russian forces weeks after the invasion started. Zaporizhzhia and other Ukrainian territory were acquired by Russia in September, although they were repelled on the battlefield in the south, particularly in the Kherson region. Across the Dnipro River, the two armies are facing one another.

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An upbeat activity has taken the place of visceral relief in the week after Russia withdrew from the southern city of Kherson.

Crowds of people form long lines around the city’s central square while an acoustic band plays Western covers.

Residents can obtain a hot beverage or first aid in tents. Like bees surrounding honey, a large crowd gathers near cell phone masts.

Kostiantyn tells me that “we’re peaceful now” as he stands in line to donate food while carrying his daughter on his shoulders. “No power or water is okay.”

In March, a few days after its forces invaded Ukraine, Russia seized control of the port city. Although it was the first provincial capital Russia had managed to take since February, its armed forces were compelled to leave last week.

Olena, who admitted to adjusting to the Russian occupation, was also delighted to chat. She claims that the Ukrainian forces “calm us down.”

“Now we can identify who and where is shelling. We are finally free if it is the Ukrainians who make us pleased.” We appreciate your efforts in aiding humanity. They are clearly urgently required after Russia’s eight-month blockade of Kherson.

For the estimated 75,000 residents who opted to remain in Kherson, however, much more is required for this city to recover its footing. But it is gradually reestablishing contact with Ukraine. Now, trucks rather than tanks enter the city on deteriorated roads. Additionally, train service has been restored between Kyiv and Kherson. Lorries instead of tanks now move into the city along damaged roads. Train services between Kyiv and Kherson have also resumed.

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Since Saturday night, more than a dozen significant explosions have been noted close to a sizable nuclear power facility in south Ukraine that is under Russian occupation.  Rafael Grossi, the chief of the UN’s nuclear watchdog, issued an urgent plea for an end to the violence at Europe’s largest nuclear power station, Zaporizhzhia.

“Whoever is behind this, it must stop immediately,” he said. “You’re playing with fire!” On the front lines of the conflict, the factory is located beside the River Dnipro.

The military of Russia said that Ukrainian soldiers on the other side of the river had shelled the territory it controlled. The Ukrainians, who have previously indicated that Russian soldiers shell the area itself despite having their own troops there, have not yet responded.

Before the latest explosions this weekend, which persisted until Sunday morning, the area surrounding the facility, including the nearby Russian-occupied town of Enerhodar, had been subject to constant attack for months.

From their windows, observers from Mr. Grossi’s company, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), saw some of the explosions.

The IAEA team reported damage to various buildings, systems, and equipment at the site, but none that was “essential for nuclear safety and security” at this time, according to information provided by officials at the plant under Russian administration. There were no casualty reports.

“The news from our team yesterday and this morning is extremely disturbing,” Mr Grossi said. “Explosions occurred at the site of this major nuclear power plant, which is completely unacceptable.”

He called once again for the two warring sides to agree and implement a nuclear safety and security zone around the plant as soon as possible.

“I’m not giving up until this zone has become a reality,” he said. “As the ongoing apparent shelling demonstrates, it is needed more than ever.”According to a Rosenergoatom official reported by Russian state media, 15 rounds were fired at the plant’s facilities, landing close to a building that stores recently used nuclear fuel and a facility for storing dry nuclear waste, but no radioactive emissions were found.

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In his first trip to Kyiv as prime minister, Rishi Sunak met with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky and committed £50 million in defence assistance.

According to No. 10, the meeting was organised to demonstrate “continuing UK support” for Ukraine.

Following the meeting, Mr. Zelensky posted on Telegram, “We discussed the most significant topics, both for our countries and for world security.”

He continued, “We are stronger, and we will get the desired outcomes.

Mr. Sunak, who assumed his position last month, described his visit to Kyiv as “very humbling” and promised that the UK would continue to support Ukrainians in their struggle.

During the meeting with Mr Zelensky, he said the UK would provide a major new package of air defence to help protect Ukrainian civilians and the country’s national infrastructure from Russian strikes.

As a result of frequent Russian aircraft raids on Kyiv and other parts of the country, Ukraine has recently asked for assistance from Western countries.

125 anti-aircraft guns, technologies to combat lethal drones supplied by Iran, several radars, and anti-drone electronic warfare capacity are included in the £50 million defence aid package.

It follows the announcement of more than 1,000 additional anti-air missiles made earlier this month by UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace.

Earlier that week, only days after being ordered to evacuate its forces from Kherson, Russia launched one of its heaviest missile barrages against Ukraine.

Strikes occurred all over the nation, from Chernihiv in the north to Lviv in the west, including in Kyiv.

That attack coincided with the G20 summit in Bali where, in a virtual speech, Mr Zelensky said he was “convinced now is the time when the Russian destructive war must and can be stopped”.

By sending skilled army physicians and engineers to the area to provide specialised support, Mr. Sunak indicated that the UK will also boost the training offer to the Ukrainian armed forces.

The British prime minister visited Kyiv and paid his respects at a war memorial and a memorial for those who perished in the Holodomor famine. He then spoke with first responders at a fire station. Mr. Sunak also observed drones of Iranian manufacture that had recently been used to target and bomb civilians in Ukraine.

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