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Russo-Ukrainian war, day 615: Spain and Belgium buy more Russian gas despite war

Spain and Belgium boosted purchases of Russian natural gas by up to 50% despite the invasion of Ukraine, where most citizens want to delay elections until after the war.
Russo-Ukrainian war, day 615: Spain and Belgium buy more Russian gas despite war

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Military

ISW: Ukraine makes confirmed advances near Bakhmut and in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast. Geolocated footage shows Ukrainian forces advancing northeast of Kurdyumivka and west of Robotyne, even as Russia tries to halt their push near Bakhmut itself.

Media: Ukraine expects to receive F-16 fighter jets in spring 2024. Kyiv expects to receive the first F-16 fighter jets in spring 2024 but the exact date of the transfer remains unknown, said the spokesman of Ukraine’s Air Forces, Yurii Ihnat, as per UkrInform.

As of 31 Oct 2023, the approximate losses of weapons and military equipment of the Russian Armed Forces from the beginning of the invasion to the present day:

      • Personnel: 300810 (+870)
      • Tanks: 5211 (+21)
      • APV: 9804 (+29)
      • Artillery systems: 7227 (+25)
      • MLRS: 844 (+10)
      • Anti-aircraft systems: 562 (+3)
      • Aircraft: 321
      • Helicopters: 324
      • UAV: 5440 (+21)
      • Cruise missiles : 1546 (+2)
      • Warships/boats: 20
      • Submarines: 1
      • Vehicles and fuel tanks: 9590 (+35)

Intelligence and technology

Ukraine to boost domestic weapons production, Defense Minister says. Rustem Umerov met with the Minister of Strategic Industries of Ukraine to discuss how to ramp up domestic weapons production for the Ukrainian army and reduce dependence on Western military aid.

British intel: Russian General takes over Kherson command amid intensified fighting. Teplinsky’s appointment is an indication of Ukrainian increased pressure on Russian forces that currently hold the areas, the UK intel concluded

International

US charges trio for smuggling electronics to Russia’s military. A US citizen and two Canadian nationals have been arrested and charged with conspiracy and smuggling critical technologies to Russia vital for advanced military hardware.

Ukraine receives $2.8 bn in October foreign aid. Such financial aid helps Ukraine pay for urgent budget needs like social protections, humanitarian aid, and salaries for employees in the education and healthcare sectors.

Media: Ukraine stands out as Israel’s strongest supporter in Europe, Israeli ambassador claims. Ukraine is the most supportive country toward Israel in Europe, Israeli Ambassador to Ukraine Michael Brodsky told Ynet.

Humanitarian and social impact

25 Ukrainians killed in Hamas-Israel war, Israeli Ambassador says. Most of the Ukrainian victims will be buried in Israel.

Russian kamikaze drone strikes evacuation bus in southern Ukraine. Two civilians were wounded by a drone attack in the Kherson Oblast.

UN report confirms Russian missile killed 59 civilians in Ukraine’s Hroza. A UN investigation found that the Russian army was responsible for the missile attack on a cafe in Hroza, a village in eastern Ukraine, where people were attending a memorial service on 5 October 2023.

Russian occupiers include history propaganda lessons in school curriculum in Luhansk Oblast. In schools of the temporarily occupied territories of Luhansk Oblast, invaders have introduced additional lessons on “Russian History of the 21st Century” for students of ninth grade, Luhansk Regional Military Administration says.

Russia damaged thermal power plant in Donetsk Oblast, leaving locals without electricity. Ukraine races to repair and maintain energy amidst ongoing Russian attacks, investing $550 ml to prepare Ukraine’s energy system for the autumn-winter period of 2023-2024

Poll: 62% of Ukrainians prioritize elections only after war’s end. The poll also shows that Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s approval dipped slightly to 82% in September from 86% in April 2023, but remains high.

Polish carriers threaten to close all Ukraine border crossings. Polish truckers plan a 2-month strike due to “increased competition from Ukrainian hauliers” after Ukraine lifted permit requirements in 2022. Ukraine has already initiated a meeting with Poland and the European Commission.

Spain and Belgium increased Russian natural gas imports by up to 50%. EU countries keep on expanding their LNG infrastructure, even though demand for LNG and gas is expected to decline, the report showed.

FATF faces criticism from Ukraine for delay in implementing measures against Russia’s financial threats. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) did not announce measures to counter Russia’s risks to the global financial system during its plenary last week, said the Ministry of Finance of Ukraine.

New developments

Mystery blast at Russian explosives plant. A powerful explosion occurred at the Solikamsk Ural Plant, a major producer of explosives and chemicals for the Russian army.

Ukrainian veteran completes US Marine Corps Marathon after losing leg fighting Russian occupiers. Ukrainian veteran Roman Kashpur, who lost his leg fighting on the front line and now wears a prosthesis, has completed the Marine Corps Marathon in New York to share a message of hope with other Ukrainian soldiers wounded in battle.

UNESCO mission initiates assessment of damage to cultural heritage in Chernihiv Oblast caused by Russian troops. This week, the UNESCO mission will assess the damage caused by Russian attacks on cultural heritage sites in Chernihiv, according to the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine.

Media: Canada bans Russian antivirus program due to security risks. Canada has banned the Russian antivirus program Kaspersky and the Chinese messaging application WeChat on government-issued mobile devices due to security risks, as per Reuters.

Media: Polish government warns of escalating propaganda pressure from Russia and Belarus. The propaganda apparatus of Russia and Belarus has intensified aggressive informational activities aimed at Poland, said the Government Commissioner for Information Security of Poland, Stanislav Zharin, as per Polish Radio.

Activists in Chicago call on an American company to cease operations in Russia. On 29 October, the Ukrainian-American community in Chicago gathered to call on Mondelēz International to join other responsible US businesses, which have already stopped operations with or in Russia, refusing to finance Russia’s war against Ukraine.

Ukraine’s resistance center says Tatarstan takes control over occupied cities of Luhansk Oblast. The Kremlin has granted Russia’s Republic of Tatarstan full authority over the agglomeration of temporarily occupied cities in Luhansk—Sievierodonetsk, Lysychansk, and Rubizhne, the National Resistance Center said.

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