Live Update: Russia’s “Special Operation” In Ukraine; Day 573

Zelensky arrives in New York in advance of UN appearance

President Volodymyr Zelensky says he has arrived in New York in advance of his appearance at the United Nations General Assembly and meetings in Washington, DC.

In a post on Telegram, the Ukrainian president stated he has already visited Ukrainian servicemen being treated for war injuries in the United States.

He added his schedule included talks with US President Joe Biden, members of Congress and military and business officials.

Ukraine commander hails recent gains in the east but says overall situation in area “remains difficult”

Ukraine’s Commander of Land Forces, Oleksandr Syrskyi, released a video hailing the soldiers who recaptured the villages of Klishchiivka and Andriivka near the embattled eastern city of Bakhmut, saying their advance had succeeded in breaking a Russian defensive line.

“I am on the front line with our soldiers who are holding the line and continuing to move forward. I thanked them for their steady advance and the liberation of Klishchiivka and Andriivka from the occupiers,” Syrskyi stated in a video posted on Telegram on Monday.

“As a result of the successful actions of our troops, the enemy’s defense line was broken, which it tried to close by throwing all available reserves into the battle,” Syrskyi wrote on Telegram in a separate post, adding that Russian forces had not given up trying to recapture the lost territory, conducting “numerous counterattacks from different directions.”

He cautioned more widely that the “overall situation in the eastern sector remains difficult.”

“The enemy does not abandon its intentions to resume offensive actions in the Kupiansk and Lyman directions,” he stated, referencing two towns both held by Russia for six months before being liberated by Ukraine almost exactly a year ago.

Moscow denounces EU travel restrictions on Russians as ‘absurd’

Moscow has denounced EU restrictions imposed on Russian citizens entering the bloc, including a ban on bringing some personal items, as “absurd” and aimed at harming ordinary Russians.

Moscow’s foreign ministry said the rules “go beyond the point of absurdity” and were aimed at “causing harm specifically to ordinary Russians and at making it impossible for Russian citizens to enter the European Union”.

It accused the bloc of trying to build a “new Iron Curtain” and warned Russians to weigh the “risks” before travelling there.

“The desperate desire of the current EU leadership to erect a new Iron Curtain in Europe is now completely obvious, limiting as much as possible the possibilities of communication between people,” it added.

Travel from Russia to the West has become far more difficult since Moscow launched its offensive on Ukraine.

Germany pledges more than $400 million additional aid to Ukraine – but no long-range Taurus missiles

Germany will provide Ukraine with an additional 400 million euros ($427 million) worth of weapons and aid, according to Defense Minister Boris Pistorius.

“We are supplying additional ammunition: explosive ammunition, mortar ammunition, mine rockets,” he said in an interview with prominent German newspaper BILD, published Monday.

“But we also have our eye on the approaching winter: We will send clothing, but also electricity and heat generators. In total, the package will be worth 400 million euros,” Pistorius added.

The package will not include long-range Taurus missiles, the minister said, as the government has not yet decided whether to send them to Kyiv.

Ukrainian officials had urged Germany to provide them with the Taurus weapons for the country’s self-defense. Germany, however, is hesitant about delivering long-range cruise missiles fearing they could be used for attacks on Russian territory.

Energy company CEO: Ukraine needs air defense to protect power stations from Russia’s looming winter attacks

Ukraine’s largest private energy company is preparing for winter, anticipating that Russia will attack the country’s energy infrastructure as power needs spike during extremely difficult cold weather, its CEO said Monday.

Ukrainian military intelligence has indicated Russia is preparing for winter attacks on energy infrastructure again, DTEK CEO Maxim Timchenko.

“They are stockpiling missiles for it,” he told CNN on his visit to New York ahead of this week’s UN General Assembly session.

To prepare for these anticipated attacks, Ukraine needs air defense to protect all power stations, Timchenko said. Without it, all infrastructure restoration and protection in place will be of no use.

He acknowledged that while a Patriot Missile System at every power station was the ideal, it was unlikely to happen. So he hopes that Ukraine can have these air defense systems protecting a larger area which includes the stations.

Russia has strategically shelled Ukraine’s power infrastructure, temporarily but repeatedly cutting off electricity, heat and water to millions. This campaign left Ukraine’s energy grid teetering on the brink of collapse, forcing constant repair work which involved scouring the world to find compatible parts.

DTEK’s infrastructure has also come under fire. Five of its thermal power turbines were destroyed considerably since the war began. Two of them were restored, Timchenko told CNN, adding that two others will be restored in 2024. However, one was attacked and destroyed beyond restoration, he said.

The answer to preventing this damage, Timchenko says, lies in building renewable energy infrastructure because it’s harder to destroy.

A thermal power generation system producing 200 megawatt of power, for example, requires a big turbine and one boiler to burn coal and gas. “It’s usually the size of a room. If it’s hit by a missile, then it’s all destroyed in one moment,” he explained, adding that depending on the level of damage, it could take a month or a year to restore.

“The same capacity of 300 megawatt, if it’s wind, you build 15 turbines 100 meters from each other. If you destroy one, the others still operate.”

The company is working on building a 500-megawatt wind power plant to boost the country’s energy sector following Russian air strikes.

The launch of Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022 had suspended the project that had been underway for seven months prior, because it was about 100 kilometers (or about 62 miles) from the front lines. But in May 2022, officials decided it was time to continue to the project despite Russian missiles flying overhead, and construction began in August 2022.

“It is a good indication of the bravery and courage of the Ukrainian people, but also that investment can be made in Ukraine even during war,” Timchenko stated.

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