The Russian army on Saturday accused the UK of blowing up the Nord Stream gas pipelines last month, directly accusing a leading Nato member of sabotaging critical Russian infrastructure.
The defence ministry did not provide any evidence for its claim but said that, “According to available information, representatives of this unit of the British Navy took part in the planning, provision and implementation of a terrorist attack in the Baltic Sea on September 26 this year – blowing up the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines.”
It said the same British military specialists had also helped Ukraine plan a drone attack on Moscow’s Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol that took place in the early hours of Saturday morning. Russian officials have described that attack as “massive” but the extent of the damage remains unclear.
Britain’s defence ministry declined immediate comment.
Russia has previously blamed the West for the explosions last month that ruptured the Russian-built Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines on the bed of the Baltic Sea.
But Russia has not previously made specific accusations about who was responsible for the damage to the pipelines, previously the largest routes for Russian gas supplies to Europe.
Follow the latest updates below.
Moscow ‘likely’ planning expedited withdrawal from Kherson city, says MoD
Moscow is “likely” planning an expedited withdrawal from Kherson city, according to the latest intelligence update from the UK Ministry of Defence.
It notes that the remains of the 18th century Russian statesman Prince Grigory Potemkin had been removed from Kherson cathedral, according to the Russian-appointed governor of Kherson, Vladimir Saldo. He also said that more than 70,000 civilians had now left Kherson city.
“In the Russian national identity, Potemkin is heavily associated with the Russian conquest of Ukrainian lands in the 18th century and highlights the weight Putin almost certainly places on perceived historical justification for the invasion,” the MoD update states.
“This symbolic removal of Potemkin and the civilian exodus likely pre-empts Russian intent to expedite withdrawal from the area.”
Ukrainian forces have been advancing towards Kherson for weeks. The battle for the city would be one of the most consequential of the war so far.
Crimea attack ‘biggest since the invasion began’
The drone attack on Sevastopol port on Saturday morning was the “most massive” assault on the Crimean peninsula since the Ukraine war began in February, according to the city’s governor.
“Today at night, the most massive attack by UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) and remote-controlled surface vehicles in the waters of the Sevastopol bay was undertaken,” Sevastopol governor Mikhail Razgozhayev told Russian state media.
Russian officials say one ship was damaged in the attack and that all the drones were shot down.
But Ukrainians have suggested that the damage could be more extensive.
Ship damaged in Sevastopol drone attack
Russia’s defence ministry says a ship was damaged in the drone attack against Sevastopol port, in Russian-occupied Crimea, on Saturday morning.
Sevastopol officials had earlier said that no facilities were hit in the assault, which reportedly lasted for several hours, and that all the drones had been shot down.
The defence ministry blamed Ukraine for the attack.
Sevastopol is home to Moscow’s Black Sea Fleet and has been targeted before.
Operation to recapture Kherson city will last ‘until end of November’
The operation to recapture Kherson city from Russian forces will “most likely… last until the end of the next month,” according to Ukraine’s defence intelligence chief.
In an interview with The War Zone, Maj. Gen. Kyrylo Budanov said that “The most trained and most capable Russian units are currently in Kherson.”
While Ukrainian forces were attempting to encircle and isolate them, the Russians are “opposing outwardly” and “it won’t go through without a fight,” he said.
Son of Kursk submarine victim killed in Ukraine
A 25-year-old Russian man who was mobilised to fight in Ukraine has been killed, two decades after his father was killed in the Kursk submarine disaster at the age of 26, according to Russian media reports.
On social media, many lamented the tragedy of the father and son killed a generation apart while serving in the Russian military.
All 118 crew members were killed in August 2000 after becoming trapped deep under water on the Kursk, then Russia’s most technologically advanced submarine.
Russians looting medical equipment in Kherson, says Zelensky
Russian forces in the occupied Ukrainian region of Kherson are engaged in mass theft of medical equipment and ambulances in a bid to make the area uninhabitable, President Volodymyr Zelensky said late yesterday.
Ukrainian troops are gathered in force near Kherson, prompting Russian-installed officials to evacuate many residents.
“The occupiers have decided to close down medical institutions in towns, take away medical equipment, ambulances, everything. They are putting pressure on doctors who still remain… to move to the territory of Russia,” Zelensky said.
“Russia is trying to make the Kherson region a no man’s land,” he added in an evening video address, saying pro-Moscow forces realised they could not hold onto the regional capital and were therefore taking what they could.
UN chief urges extension of Ukraine-Russia grain deal
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged “all parties” to “make every effort” to extend the agreement on Ukrainian grain exports, including facilitating shipments of Russian grain.
The so-called Black Sea deal, signed in July by the UN, Ukraine, Russia and Turkey, has allowed more than nine million tons of Ukrainian grain to be exported – easing the global food crisis caused by the war. But uncertainty about whether the agreement will last has already led to rising prices.
The initial agreement was set to last 120 days, with the option for renewal on November 19 “if no party objects”, Mr Guterres’ spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, said.
“We urge all parties to make every effort to renew the Black Sea Grain Initiative and implement both agreements to their fullest, including the expedited removal of any remaining impediments to Russian grain and fertiliser export,” he said.
“We do not underestimate the challenges, but we know they can be overcome.”
Residents of Sevastopol asked not to post on social media
Sevastopol governor Mikhail Razvozhayev has asked residents not to post videos of a drone attack on the city to social media.
“It should be clear to everyone that such information is much needed for Ukrainian Nazis in order to understand how the defence of our city is built,” he said.
Over the summer, Russia had problems with hapless holidaymakers in Crimea revealing military positions in social media posts.
‘No damage to civilian infrastructure’ in Sevastopol drone attack
The governor of Sevastopol in Russia-annexed Crimea said the city’s services were on “alert” after an alleged drone attack on the city’s port in the early hours of Saturday morning, but that no “civilian infrastructure” had been damaged.
A student dormitory at an art college near the port saw “one windowpane burst” but “no harm was done”, according to Mikhail Razvozhayev.
City authorities said that the harbour was “temporarily” closed to boats and ferries.
Sevastopol port is home to Moscow’s Black Sea Fleet.
Earlier this week, Razvozhayev said that a drone had attacked a thermal power station near Sevastopol.
Britain ‘exposed’ to Russian missile attacks
A former commander warns that the only way to protect London from hypersonic or ballistic attack would be to station a Type 45 destroyer in the Thames, writes Danielle Sheridan
Britain needs air defences in the wake of the Ukraine invasion because it is almost “entirely exposed” to attacks by long-range Russian missiles, a former Air Marshal has warned.
Edward Stringer, former commander of the UK’s Defence Academy, warned the military was limited with what it could do without a long-range air-defence system and that the only way to protect London from a hypersonic or ballistic attack would be to station a Type 45 destroyer in the Thames, stocked with Sea Viper missiles.
Air Marshal Stringer cautioned that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had reminded the West that “nuclear weapons did not disappear at the end of the Cold War, and that nuclear powers do not just hold these weapons as an act of deterrence”.
“They are willing to consider using them in acts of aggression and coercion,” he said in a paper for the Police Exchange think tank.
All drones over Sevastopol ‘shot down’
Authorities in Moscow-annexed Crimea said all drones that had attacked the peninsula’s Sevastopol port earlier on Saturday had been successfully “repelled” and “shot down”.
“Today, starting at 04:30 am for several hours, various air defence systems in Sevastopol repelled drone attacks,” Russian-installed Sevastopol governor Mikhail Razvozhayev said on Telegram.
“All UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] have been shot down.”
‘Russia will take into account modernisation of US nuclear bombs in Europe’
Russia, in its military planning, will take into account the modernisation of US nuclear bombs deployed in Europe, RIA news agency reported, citing Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko.
Earlier this week, Politico, citing a US diplomatic cable and two people familiar with the issue, reported that the United States had accelerated the deployment of its modernised B61-12 tactical nuclear weapons to Nato bases in Europe.
Russian navy ‘repelling’ drone attack in Crimea
The Russian navy was “repelling” a drone attack in the bay of Sevastopol, home to Moscow’s Black Sea Fleet in Crimea, a Russian-installed governor said.
“Ships of the Black Sea Fleet are repelling a UVA (unmanned aerial vehicle) in Sevastopol bay,” Sevastopol governor Mikhail Razvozhayev said on Telegram.
“No facilities in the city have been hit. The situation is under control.”
Three civilians killed in Donetsk
Three civilians were killed by Russian troops in the Donetsk region on Friday, according to a local official.
“On October 28, the Russians killed three civilians in the Donetsk region: two in Kurdiumivka and one in Pivnichne. Eight people were wounded [on Friday],” said Pavlo Kyrylenko, the head of the Donetsk regional military administration.
He did not specify in his Telegram post how they were killed.
Latest from the UK Ministry of Defence: Removal of Potemkin’s remains likely pre-empts expedited Russian withdrawal from Kherson
Ukrainian refugee’s modern slavery complaint
An NHS mental health specialist who took in a Ukrainian refugee was reported for modern day slavery after she asked her guest to help out more with the dishes.
Hannah Debenham of East Sussex was under investigation for two months before the case was dropped this week when no evidence was found.
Detective Chief Inspector Gavin Patch, of Sussex Police, defended his force’s actions, saying the investigation was “expedited as quickly as possible”.
The refugee, a mother who cannot be named for legal reasons, initially complained to police that she was “expected to clear up and tidy up the house for little to no money under the disguise of the Ukrainian settlement scheme”, according to a police report.
Russia ends mobilisation drive
Russia’s partial military mobilisation that triggered an exodus of men from the country has been completed, Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu has said.
Speaking at a meeting with Vladimir Putin, Gen Shoigu said: “Today we have stopped the deployment of the citizens who have been called up.
“The target put forward to us to call up 300,000 people has been completed. We are not planning any additional intakes.”
‘Send blankets and generators or we’ll freeze to death’
Ukrainians will freeze to death this winter if the West does not urgently send blankets and generators to keep them warm, Vitali Klitschko has warned.
The 51-year-old mayor of Kyiv, and former heavyweight boxing champion of the world, told The Telegraph that increasing Russian attacks on power plants have left his country on the brink of a fresh humanitarian crisis.
“We are doing everything we can do to save the lives of our people and to protect them,” he said.
“But this winter will definitely be a huge challenge for us.”
Dutch military intelligence warns of Russian front companies
The Dutch military intelligence service has warned companies that Moscow is trying to obtain high-tech assets for its war in Ukraine through front companies, local media has reported.
Jan Swillens, head of the military intelligence service of the Netherlands (MIVD) said Russian secret services had set up dozens of “front companies” in the Netherlands to evade Western sanctions.
These companies were buying technology in the Netherlands and then importing it into Russia for military purposes, he told the Financieele Dagblad (FD) daily.
His comments were confirmed by the Dutch defence ministry, according to the Dutch news agency ANP and NOS public television.
A defence spokesman was quoted by ANP as saying: “The tougher the sanctions, the more difficult it becomes for Russian intelligence, and the more inventive they have to be to get around the sanctions.”
It was therefore “difficult” for entrepreneurs to realise they were doing business indirectly with Russia, he said.