New Russian reprisals? Early this Monday, October 31 in the morning, several bombings were heard in the Ukrainian capital, noted journalists from Agence France-presse (AFP). These strikes seem to have targeted electrical infrastructure, while part of kyiv is left without electricity according to local authorities. They come two days after a drone attack that targeted military and civilian ships of the Russian Black Sea Fleet stationed in the bay of Sevastopol, in annexed Crimea. An attack that Russia blames on the Ukrainians, with the help of London.
"A massive attack" Russian was underway Monday morning against energy facilities in several regions of Ukraine, announced the Ukrainian presidency, which evokes "more than 50 cruise missiles" launched by the enemy. “Russian terrorists have once again launched a massive attack against energy system facilities in a number of regions,” said an adviser to the Ukrainian presidency, Kyrylo Tymoshenko. "Some of the missiles were shot down by anti-aircraft defense, while others hit their target," he added.
Several explosions were indeed heard Monday morning in kyiv, three days after an attack on the Russian fleet in Crimea, which Moscow blamed on Ukraine with the help of London. At least five explosions were heard by AFP journalists in the Ukrainian capital between 07:00 and 07:20. "Part of Kyiv without electricity and in some areas without water, following Russian strikes," city mayor Vitaly Klitschko said on Telegram messaging.
The capital had already been the target of Iranian-made Russian drones on November 10 and 17. These bursts of strikes had mainly affected energy infrastructure in the capital, leading to power cuts in recent days. Other major cities in the country such as Lviv and Dnipro were also affected. These strikes came two days after the explosion against the Kerch bridge in Crimea, which Russia blames on Ukraine.
Ukraine on Sunday denounced cereal exports that had become "impossible" due to the Russian blockade reinstated by Russia. The day before, Moscow had announced that it was leaving the agreement allowing their delivery, after an attack on its fleet in Crimea that the Kremlin blamed on kyiv with the help of London. According to Moscow, one of the drones used in this attack could have been launched "from one of the civilian ships chartered by kyiv or its Western masters for the export of agricultural products from the seaports of Ukraine".
In his daily video address, President Zelensky claimed on Sunday evening that "Russia is solely responsible for the fact that food is going to become more expensive in West Africa and East Asia. Russia is the reason for which the population, in Ethiopia, Somalia or Yemen, will have to face catastrophic shortages". Istanbul, the Joint Coordination Center (JCC) responsible for overseeing the deal on the export of Ukrainian grain has indicated that the Russian delegation participating in the inspections of vessels carrying Ukrainian grain will withdraw "for an indefinite period".
However, two cargo ships loaded with grain left Ukrainian ports on Monday and took the humanitarian maritime corridor bound for Turkey, despite Russia's withdrawal, according to the specialized site Marine traffic. Twelve cargo ships are due to leave Ukrainian ports on Monday and four others are heading towards them, one of which, under the Turkish flag, has already set sail, said the Joint Coordination Center (JCC).
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi discussed the rivalry between their two countries and the war in Ukraine during a call on Sunday, the State Department said. Wang Yi for his part called on "all parties to exercise restraint". According to the Chinese account, the minister also called for "intensified diplomatic efforts to prevent the situation from escalating further".
China, officially neutral in the Ukrainian conflict, is sometimes considered too conciliatory with Moscow by Westerners. This meeting between Chinese and American officials comes a few days after that between Wang Yi and his Russian counterpart. “China is willing to deepen exchanges with Russia at all levels,” Mr. Wang assured Sergei Lavrov on Thursday.
Under Czech, Ukrainian, EU and NATO banners, the rally titled "Czechoslovakia Against Fear" brought together participants from both countries in the famous Wenceslas Square. They were "several tens of thousands", according to the Czech police. Olena Zelenska, the wife of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, addressed the crowd via video and thanked them for their support.
The Czech Republic has provided Ukraine with significant military and humanitarian aid since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24.