Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that civilians in the Kherson region of southern Ukraine should be “evacuated” from the conflict zone.
“Now, of course, those who live in Kherson should be removed from the area of the most dangerous actions, because the civilian population should not suffer,” Putin told pro-Kremlin activists as he marked the Day of the national unity of Russia.
Kherson is one of four Ukrainian provinces that Putin illegally annexed in September. His comments marked the first acknowledgment of a deteriorating situation in a region he declared part of Russia.
Russian officials based in Kherson have pleaded for civilians to leave the western part of the region, where Ukrainian forces regained ground those last weeks.
According to the Russian military, “more than 5,000” civilians were being displaced from Kherson every day.
Ukraine criticized the evacuations and accused Russia of carrying out Soviet-style “deportations” of its people.
Separately, Putin said Russia had drafted 318,000 people into its armed forces since announcing a partial mobilization in September.
The Russian president also signed a law allowing the mobilization of people who have committed serious crimes, the RIA news agency reported. The law excludes those convicted of child sexual abuse, treason, espionage or terrorism.
Here are the other headlines from the War in Ukraine on Friday, November 4:
Russia is trying to ‘freeze Ukraine into submission’ — Blinken
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken criticized Russia, saying it was trying to “freeze” Ukraine into submission.
Blinken had met with G7 foreign ministers who said Russia was trying to “terrorize the civilian population” of Ukraine with attacks on civilians and infrastructure, particularly energy and water facilities.
“President (Vladimir) Putin seems to have decided that if he cannot take over Ukraine by force, he will try to freeze it until it submits,” Blinken said after two days. of talks.
In addition to pledging to continue delivering arms to Ukrainian forces to fight Russian troops, G7 ministers pledged to help Ukrainians rebuild their water and electricity infrastructure.
Ukraine has ‘acute need for air defence’, says US adviser
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Ukraine desperately needs decent air defenses against Russian attacks on its critical infrastructure.
“We recognize the acute need for air defense at this critical time when Russia and Russian forces are raining Iranian missiles and drones on the civilian infrastructure of this country,” Sullivan told a news conference in Kyiv. .
US to fund Ukrainian air defense and armor renovation costs
The Pentagon has announced it will foot the bill for refurbishing Soviet-era T-72 tanks and HAWK surface-to-air missiles under a $400 million military aid package.
“The tanks are from the Czech Republic’s defense industry, and the United States is paying for 45 of them to be refurbished,” Pentagon deputy press secretary Sabrina Singh told reporters.
The Netherlands will honor this commitment, which means that a total of 90 T-72 tanks are to be refurbished.
The tanks will be equipped with advanced optics, communications and armor according to Singh.
On the question of why new tanks were not provided, Singh said that these were tanks that the Ukrainians knew how to use, adding that “the introduction of a new main battle tank is extremely expensive, takes time and would be a huge undertaking for the Ukrainian Forces.”
Some will be ready by the end of the year, while the others are expected to be delivered in 2023.
G7 rallies support for Kyiv in the face of Russian attacks
The richer democracies of the Group of Seven have agreed to coordinate their support for Ukraine’s critical energy and water infrastructure, the group’s foreign ministers said on Friday after a two-day meeting in Germany.
“Today we are establishing a G7 coordination mechanism to help Ukraine repair, restore and defend its critical energy and water infrastructure…We will stand firmly by Ukraine’s side for as long as it will have to,” the diplomats said in a statement, adding that the G7 countries have pledged to help Ukraine over the coming winter.
The foreign ministers also said that any use of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons by Russia would have serious consequences. They also renewed their call on Moscow to end its war in Ukraine. “Russia’s irresponsible nuclear rhetoric is unacceptable,” they said in a joint statement.
Russian airstrikes severely damaged more than a third of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. Rolling blackouts have been introduced in the country to save energy while engineers carry out repairs.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address that around 4.5 million people were left without power due to Russian attacks on the country’s energy grid.
France, Italy, Japan, Canada, the United States, Great Britain and Germany constitute the G7 group of wealthy democracies.
Visit of the German Minister of Justice to Kyiv
german minister of justice Marco Buschman arrived in Ukraine for his first visit to the country since its invasion by Russia in February.
“We support Ukraine today and we will continue to do so in the future,” the politician said upon his arrival in the Ukrainian capital.
In Kyiv, Buschmann and his Ukrainian colleague Denys Maliuska signed a work program on judicial cooperation for the next two years.
Germany wants to help Ukraine “to meet the standards of the rule of law in the European Union admission process”, Buschmann said.
The international prosecution of war crimes was also at the center of discussions between the two ministers.
Russia likely to use ‘barrier troops’ says UK MoD
Due to low morale and an unwillingness to fight, Russian forces likely began deploying “barrier troops” or “blocking units” to Ukraine, the UK Ministry of Defense said in its statement. latest intelligence update.
According to the ministry, these units threaten to fire on their own retreating soldiers in order to force the offensives.
“Recently, Russian generals likely intended their commanders to use weapons against deserters, possibly including authorizing fire to kill those defaulters after a warning was given,” the update said.
The tactic of shooting deserters likely speaks to the low quality, low morale and indiscipline of the Russian forces, the ministry added.
German Scholz urges China on Ukraine
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has asked Beijing to exert influence on Russia end the war in Ukraine.
He made the call during a one-day visit to China.
“We come together at a time of great tension,” Scholz said. “In particular, I want to highlight the Russian war against Ukraine, which poses many problems for our rules-based global order.”
The German Chancellor also said he and Chinese President Xi Jinping oppose the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine.
“Here in China, everyone knows that an escalation (of the war in Ukraine) would have consequences for all of us,” Scholz told reporters.
“That is why it is very important for me to emphasize that everyone is clearly saying that an escalation via the use of a tactical nuclear weapon is excluded,” he added. “I’m glad we at least reached an agreement on that.”
Although China did not approve of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it has deepened its ties with Moscow since the conflict began.
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dh/nm (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)