KYIV, Ukraine — A senior Ukrainian military officer has accused Russia of planning to stage explosions at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and blame them on Ukraine in a false flag attack.

Gen. Oleksii Gromov, the chief of the main operational department of the Ukrainian military’s General Staff, pointed out at Russia’s unfounded allegations that Ukraine was plotting to detonate a radioactive dirty bomb as a possible signal that Moscow was planning explosions at the Zaporizhzhia plant, Europe’s largest.

Russia took control of the Zaporizhzhia plant in the opening days of the invasion. Russia and Ukraine have accused each other of attacking the plant, which has been shut after continuous shelling.

Gromov also charged Thursday that Russian forces could have staged a series of explosions at residential buildings in the city of Kherson before retreating from the city using scorched Earth tactics “to inflict a critical damage to the infrastructure of the areas being reclaimed by Ukraine.”

Moscow has repeatedly made the unfounded claim that Ukraine is preparing to use a “dirty bomb,” an explosive devise with radioactive material, on its own territory. Western officials have dismissed the claim as misinformation possibly designed as a pretext for Russia to justify its own military escalation.



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KYIV, Ukraine — The governor of Ukraine’s capital region on Thursday announced new rolling blackouts caused by Russian attacks on energy facilities.

Kyiv Gov. Oleksii Kuleba said that the region will have to order new power cuts and urged consumers to save power. He said authorities were still pondering over specifics of the blackouts needed to restore the damaged power facilities.

He said the latest Russian attacks on energy facilities in the region have inflicted a “very serious damage.”

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential office, said that rolling blackouts will also be introduced in the neighboring Chernihiv, Cherkasy and Zhytomyr regions.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said earlier that Russian attacks have already destroyed 30% of the country’s energy infrastructure.


MOSCOW — The Moscow-appointed authorities in the southern region of Kherson say that tens of thousands of people have been evacuated in the face of Ukraine’s offensive.

Kherson Gov. Vladimir Saldo said Thursday that over 70,000 residents of Kherson and nearby areas have moved to the left bank of the Dnieper river. The regional authorities have urged residents to evacuate as Ukraine has pushed its offensive to reclaim Kherson, which was captured by Russian forces during the first days of the conflict.

Regional authorities have also removed monuments to Russia’s 18th century military chiefs Alexander Suvorov and Fyodor Ushakov from the city. Saldo said that the remains of Grigory Potemkin, the Russian general who founded Kherson in the 18th century and was his governor, were also removed from the St. Catherine Church in Kherson and moved to safety.

Vice Gov. Kirill Stremousov said Thursday that the regional administration also has been evacuated from Kherson. Despite that, Stremousov said that Ukrainian attempts to advance on Kherson have been thwarted and insisted that Russian troops will keep their hold on the city.


MOSCOW — The head of the Crimean city of Sevastopol said a power plant just outside the city has come under a drone attack.

Mikhail Razvozhayev said early Thursday a drone hit a transformer and sparked a fire but didn’t affect the operation. Razvozhayev said that electricity supplies haven’t been interrupted.

Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014, has faced drone attacks and explosions from supporters of Ukraine.

In a major setback for Russia on Oct. 8, a powerful truck bomb blew up a section of a strategic 19-kilometer bridge linking Crimea to Russia’s mainland.


KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s presidential office said that that at least four civilians have been killed and another eight have been wounded in the latest Russian attacks across the country.

Kyiv region Gov. Oleksiy Kuleba said that a Russian drone attack early Thursday hit an energy facility, sparking a fire.

“The Russians are using drones and missiles to destroy Ukraine’s energy system ahead of the winter and terrorize civilians,” Kuleba said in televised remarks.

An energy facility was also struck by Russian rockets in the Zaporizhzhia region, according to local authorities.


CHISINAU, Moldova — Europe’s energy crisis, triggered by Russia slashing natural gas flows amid its war against Ukraine, has forced some people to turn to cheaper heating sources like firewood as the weather gets colder. But as more people stock up and burn wood, prices have skyrocketed, shortages and thefts have been reported, and scams are emerging.

Foresters are putting GPS devices into logs to track the valuable stocks, and fears are rising about the environmental impact of increased air pollution and tree-cutting.

In the former Soviet republic of Moldova, leaders worry that this winter could be devastating for many of its people because of the high cost of electricity and heat, with European natural gas prices roughly triple what they were in early 2021 despite falling from August’s record highs.

Europe’s poorest country, with pro-Western aspirations but part of its territory controlled by Russian troops, has seen Russian energy giant Gazprom slash natural gas supplies by 30% recently and threaten more cuts.

The clamor for firewood is not limited to poorer nations like Moldova but has surged across richer regions of Europe, too. Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic’s state-owned forests are seeing much stronger demand for the limited amounts of firewood they sell as part of their sustainable forest management.


MOSCOW — A Russian diplomat has strongly protested the use of Western commercial satellites in support of Ukraine and warned that they could be targeted.

Konstantin Vorontsov, a deputy head of the Russian delegation at a United Nations arms control panel, said in remarks delivered Wednesday that the use of U.S. and other Western commercial satellites for military purposes during the fighting in Ukraine is “extremely dangerous” and effectively means their involvement in the conflict.

Vorontsov warned that “the quasi-civilian infrastructure could be a legitimate target for a retaliatory strike,” adding that the Western action raises risks for stability of space assets serving civilian needs.


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