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Kherson Braces for Battle; Russian Strikes Devastate Ukrainian Energy, Water Infrastructure

HeadlineOct 24, 2022

In Ukraine, thousands of people in and around the Russian-occupied city of Kherson have fled, as Ukrainian forces battle to retake control of the strategic region located north of the Crimean Peninsula. Ukrainian soldiers continued their advance over the weekend as Russia’s military continued drone and missile attacks across Ukraine, cutting off electricity to over a million homes. Russian attacks have downed some 40% of Ukraine’s power system as the winter is fast approaching.

Meanwhile, in the southern city of Mykolaiv, residents have not had access to clean water for the past six months. Officials there say Russians closed off the city’s freshwater source after occupying the adjacent Kherson province, and that the pipes have been destroyed in fighting.

Borys Dydenko: “It’s a catastrophe. Everything is being damaged. We would need to change hundreds of kilometers of pipes. … We could assume that, yes, it is some kind of revenge, because even if it happened by accident, why don’t the Russians let us do the repairs and free the civilians of the so-called torture by water?”

Earlier today, officials in France, the U.K. and the U.S. rejected Moscow’s allegation that Ukraine was preparing to use a radioactive device known as a “dirty bomb” within its borders. President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia likely made the charge because its forces were planning on deploying such a weapon.

On Friday, Zelensky accused Russia of deliberately stalling passage of 150 ships carrying grain exports to countries around the world under a U.N.-brokered deal, which is set to expire next month.

In Washington, Republican leadership has split over U.S. military support for Ukraine. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell urged President Biden on Friday to send more military aid, and vowed a Republican Senate would continue backing the funding. But House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has said domestic issues should be prioritized and the U.S. should not deliver “blank checks” to Ukraine. Since the start of the war, the U.S. has granted over $60 billion in military and other assistance to Ukraine.

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