Russia threatens West’s satellites – DW – 10/27/2022

A senior Russian Foreign Ministry official said that commercial satellites from the United States and its allies could become legitimate targets for Russia if they were involved in the war in Ukraine.

“Quasi-civilian infrastructure may be a legitimate target for a retaliatory strike,” Konstantin Vorontsov, deputy director of the foreign ministry’s department for non-proliferation and arms control, was quoted as saying by TASS.

“We are talking about the involvement of components of civilian space infrastructure, including commercial, by the United States and its allies in armed conflicts,” Vorontsov was quoted as saying at the United Nations.

Vorontsov did not mention any specific satellite companies, although billionaire Elon Musk said earlier this month that his rocket company SpaceX would continue to fund its Starlink internet service in Ukraine, citing the need for “good deeds.”

Musk said last week that SpaceX’s Starlink services have not received any funding from the US Department of Defense. Starlink terminals are used in Ukraine by both the military and civilian population.

Russia’s military stages nuclear drills

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Here are the other main headlines from the war in Ukraine on Thursday, October 27:

Russia warns of revenge if the EU confiscates state assets

Russia will retaliate if its state and citizens’ assets are confiscated by the European Union, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

Asked about comments reportedly made by European leaders suggesting Russian assets in the EU could be confiscated, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said this would be “stealing”.

“The EU judiciary refuses to protect Russians’ property,” she said.

Kyiv region has 30% energy capacity deficit after strikes

The Kyiv region, including the capital city itself, faces a 30% deficit in its capacity to generate the power it needs following Russian overnight strikes targeting energy infrastructure, the regional governor said.

“Last night the enemy damaged the facilities of the energy infrastructure of our region. A number of critical facilities have been disabled,” Oleksiy Kuleba said.

Separately, the Kyiv region’s military administration said the region must “prepare for emergency power outages for an indefinite period” because of the Russian strikes.

Germany believes explosions affected both Nord Stream 2 pipes

The German government thinks it is unlikely that one of the two pipes of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline in the Baltic Sea is still completely intact following explosions in September.

“It’s very likely that the act of sabotage with strong explosions had a negative impact on both pipeline routes and that the basic technical accessibility is therefore no longer guaranteed,” the government said.

Unexplained blasts in late September caused four gas leaks in the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea – two in Swedish waters and two in Danish waters. Many analysts have argued that the blast was intentional and some have said it could have been a Russian act, which Moscow denies.

EU leaders say Nord Stream leaks ‘sabotage’

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Switzerland to examine German request to re-export weapons to Ukraine

Germany has made another request to neutral Switzerland to allow it to re-export Swiss-made ammunition to Ukraine to be used in its war against Russia, after being rebuffed earlier this year. Germany has supplied 30 Gepard tanks to Ukraine and some 60,000 rounds of ammunition.

A spokesman for the Swiss economic affairs department said a letter on the topic had been received from the German Ministry of Defense, adding that Economic Affairs Minister Guy Parmelin “will respond to this letter in a timely manner”. The spokesman declined to comment if Ukraine had also made representations to the Swiss government.

In April, Bern vetoed the re-export of Swiss-made ammunition used by Gepard anti-aircraft tanks. The 35mm shells were originally supplied by Swiss companies to the German army decades ago, but were blocked from re-export after the Swiss government said deliveries would breach Switzerland’s neutrality law.

EU proposals to cap Russian gas prices ‘unthinkable’

Igor Sechin, the head of Russia’s largest oil producer Rosneft, said that proposals by the European Commission to introduce cap prices for Russian gas were “unthinkable.”

Speaking at an international forum in Baku, Sechin said that Western sanctions were destroying corporate law, while the refusal to buy Russian hydrocarbons is leading to an “acute energy deficit,” boosting global inflation.

He also said that Saudi Arabia’s position on the global oil market was “reasonable” and based on an analysis of oil supply and demand.

The OPEC+ group of global leading oil producers, which includes Saudi Arabia and Russia, agreed earlier this month to cut its combined output by 2 million barrels per day despite opposition from the United States, which wants lower fuel prices.

Crimea power plant hit by drone attack, Ukraine power grid struck

Authorities in Moscow-annexed Crimea said Thursday that a thermal power plant on the peninsula was targeted by an overnight drone attack, but claimed it was not badly damaged.

“Today at night there was a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) attack on the Balaklava thermal power station,” the Russian-installed governor of Sevastopol Mikhail Razvozhayev said on Telegram. “The transformer is minimally damaged. There were no casualties,” he added.

Meanwhile, overnight damage to the power grid in central regions of Ukraine caused electricity to be cut off. Further supply restrictions are possible, grid operator Ukrenergo said.

“Equipment at the major network of the Ukrainian energy system in the central regions was damaged,” he said in a statement on the Telegram messaging app.

Russia has stepped up its strikes on crucial Ukrainian infrastructure including the power grid in recent weeks, leaving millions without electricity or heating for long periods of time as winter approaches.

Russia involves regional officials in war effort — UK defense ministry

By appointing Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin as regional coordinator in the war against Ukraine, the Kremlin wants to divert public criticism from the leadership of President Vladimir Putin, according to the latest UK defense intelligence update.

“This measure is likely to lead to a closer interlinking of regional governors into Russia’s national security system,” the update read.

The greater involvement of regional officials is likely at least partially designed to deflect public criticism away from the national leadership, the UK Defense Ministry said.

Australia to train Ukrainian troops

Australia said it will deploy 70 soldiers to Britain to help train Ukrainian troops there and ship 30 more armored vehicles to bolster Kyiv’s war against Russia’s invasion.

“We expect this now to be a protracted conflict,” Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles told ABC television. The latest package takes Australia’s support for Ukraine to about A$655 million ($425 million; €422.5 million) since the Russian invasion in February.

“We are mindful that Ukraine needs to be supported over the longer term if we are going to put Ukraine in a position where it can resolve this conflict on its own terms,” ​​he said.

Australia, one of the largest non-NATO contributors to the West’s support for Ukraine, has been supplying aid and defense equipment and has banned exports of alumina and aluminum ores, including bauxite, to Russia. It has also placed sanctions on hundreds of Russian individuals and entities.

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Hundreds of Ukrainian cultural sites have been affected by the Russian invasion. UNESCO is using satellite imagery to keep track and prepare recovery.

dh/rt (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

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