In other news, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu spoke for the first time since May and a top Russian diplomat said the call was needed to eliminate misunderstandings, TASS news agency reported. The Pentagon declined to offer specifics beyond saying that Austin, who initiated the conversation, emphasised a need for lines of communication amid the war in Ukraine.
Russian troops spent weeks searching for Mariya, the 65-year-old common-law wife of a serving Ukrainian army officer.
Twice, she said, they ransacked her cottage in a village outside the town of Balakliya, Ukraine, and when they did eventually detain her months later, they tortured her repeatedly under interrogation, using electric shocks and threats of rape.
The recapturing by Ukrainian fighters of much of the Kharkiv region a month ago is now revealing what life was like for thousands of people living under Russian military occupation from the early days of the war. For many, there were periods of calm but almost no food or public services. For those like Mariya, accused of sympathising with or helping the Ukrainians, it was pure hell. (Read more)
Russian attacks on the Ukrainian power grid forced nationwide power cuts Thursday, deepening the misery of a people facing winter without enough light or heat, while Ukraine’s president accused Moscow of planning to blow up a dam, which would cause catastrophic flooding and knock out more power supply.
The government ordered Ukrainians to minimize electricity use from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., after 10 days of concerted missile and drone attacks on utilities that have left civilians struggling with rolling blackouts and scattered shortages of clean water. Ukrainian and United Nations officials have warned of a deadly humanitarian crisis for civilians in the coming cold months.
Speaking remotely by video to European Union leaders, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Thursday that “we have information” that Russian forces had mined the Kakhovka hydroelectric dam on the Dnieper River. If the dam were destroyed, he said, towns would be inundated and “hundreds of thousands of people could be affected.” (Read more)