Russia detains eight over Crimea bridge attack, names alleged organiser – reports
Eight people have been detained over the weekend’s attack on the Crimea bridge, and Russia’s security forces have named a senior figure from Ukraine as being behind them, according to reports from the state-owned Tass news agency.
It quotes a statement from the Federal Security Service (FSB) saying:
The Federal Security Service, together with the Investigative Committee, established that the organiser of the terrorist attack on the Crimean Bridge was the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Defence Ministry, its head Kyrylo Budanov, employees and agents.
Currently, five citizens of Russia, three citizens of Ukraine and Armenia, who participated in the preparation of the crime, have been detained within the framework of the criminal case.
The FSB claims that the explosives which caused a section of the bridge to collapse were sent from Odessa through Bulgaria, Georgia and Armenia. Tass reports that the cargo carrying the explosives was being sent to a non-existent company in Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014.
Pope Francis condemns ‘relentless bombings’ of Ukrainian cities
Pope Francis on Wednesday condemned Russia’s “relentless bombings” of Ukrainian cities and appealed to “those who have the fate of the war in their hands” to stop.
He was quoted as saying “My heart is always turned to the people of Ukraine, especially those living in places hit by the bombing.”
The Pope prayed for an intercession that “may change the hearts of those who have the fate of the war in their hands, so that they may cease this wave of violence and rebuild peaceful coexistence
Ukrainian official claims Russia’s FSB investigation into Crimea bridge attack is ‘nonsense’
A senior Ukrainian official dismissed as “nonsense” on Wednesday Russia’s investigation into an explosion last weekend that badly damaged a bridge linking the Russian mainland to the Crimea peninsula that Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has blamed Ukraine’s security forces for the explosion, and earlier today Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) said it had detained five Russians and three citizens of Ukraine and Armenia over the blast.
“The whole activity of the FSB and Investigative Committee is nonsense,” Ukraine’s public broadcaster Suspilne cited interior minister spokesman Andriy Yusov as saying when asked about Moscow’s allegations on the Crimea Bridge blast.
Reuters reports Yusov described the FSB and Investigative Committee as “fake structures that serve the Putin regime, so we will definitely not comment on their next statements”.
RIA Novosti, the Russian state-owned news agency, has a quick snap quoting Yevgeny Balitsky, the Russian-installed leader of occupied Zaporizhzhia, saying that a nuclear safety zone cannot be established around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant “until the front line is pushed at least 100km, otherwise it is unsafe.”
Grossi: repeated loss of off-site power at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant ‘deeply worrying’
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency has described developments at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant (ZNPP), which has lost off-site power, as “deeply worrying”.
Rafael Grossi tweeted:
Our team at the ZNPP informed me this morning that the plant has lost all of its external power for the second time in five days. Its back-up diesel generators are now providing electricity for its nuclear safety and security functions. This repeated loss of the ZNPP’s off-site power is a deeply worrying development and it underlines the urgent need for a nuclear safety and security protection zone around the site.
The ZNPP has been occupied by Russian forces but operated by Ukrainian staff since early in Russia’s latest invasion of Ukraine. Russia has claimed to have “annexed” Zaporizhzhia, and stated it intends to take the plant under its own operational framework.
Druzhba oil pipeline leak caused by ‘accidental damage’ – Polish official
You can understand there being jitters about Europe’s power infrastructure after the Nord Stream pipeline incident, but Poland’s top official in charge of energy infrastructure, Mateusz Berger, has told Reuters by telephone that there are no grounds to believe the leak in the Polish section of the Druzhba oil pipeline was caused by sabotage.
“Here we can talk about accidental damage,” he said.
Reuters is carrying a report, citing the Russian Interfax news agency, that Russia’s Transneft state-owned pipeline monopoly said on Wednesday it had received notice from Polish operator Pern about a leak on the Druzhba oil pipeline.
Transneft stated that oil continues to be pumped towards Poland, and that Pern had not yet said how long repairs would take.
The pipeline was built by the Soviet Union in the 1960s to pump oil from eastern regions of Russia into the satellite states of the Soviet bloc, and it now carries oil to points in Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Austria and Germany.
Dmytro Zhyvytskyi, governor of Sumy, has posted to Telegram to say that “the night was quiet” in his region, but that in the morning Russians resumed shelling at the border. As of 10am local time he had no information on casualties.
Ukrainian MP Lisa Yasko has been interviewed from Strasbourg by Sky News in the UK, and has said that delays in delivering assistance to Ukraine were “incredibly frustrating”, and that she felt little comfort from suggestions that there were no signs Russia was about to deploy nuclear weapons in Ukraine. She told viewers:
I know that sometimes, some western countries, they’re just far and they don’t feel the urgency, which is incredibly frustrating for us. Because you know, we don’t have time for discussion. So we are screaming, we are trying to to do everything possible to defend with our weapons, our people, every second.
Asked about the head of British GCHQ, Jeremy Fleming, talking down the prospect of the use of nuclear weapons, she said:
I don’t think it can offer me a comfort, because the threat of nuclear war is very, very high. We understand that Putin doesn’t have any logic anymore. It’s not possible to justify Putin anymore. We understand that he is in the final battle of his life, where he wants to prove to all the world that he can do whatever he wants, including taking lands, killing thousands of people, destroying infrastructure, and we understand that nuclear threats and a strike is very possible.
Yesterday Fleming said “I would hope that we would see indicators if they started to go down that path,” and suggested that “The way in which the Russian military machine and President Putin are conducting this war, they are staying within the doctrine that we understand for their use, including for nuclear weapons.”
Here is a video clip from Joe Biden’s CNN TV interview, where he says that he believed his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin had underestimated the ferocity of Ukrainian defiance in the face of invasion. ‘I think … he thought he was going to be welcomed with open arms, that this was the home of Mother Russia in Kyiv, and that he was going to be welcomed, and I think he just totally miscalculated,’ Biden said.
Russia’s state-owned news agency RIA Novosti is carrying some more details of the plot to damage the Crimea bridge which Russian security forces claim to have revealed today.
In early August, the cargo was sent from the seaport of Odesa to the Bulgarian Ruse [port] … From Bulgaria it proceeded to the Georgian port of Poti , and then to Armenia. From 29 September to 3 October, at the Transalliance terminal in Yerevan, the cargo was cleared … On a DAF truck registered in Georgia, the cargo crossed the Russian-Georgian border on 4 October at the Upper Lars checkpoint, two days later it was delivered and unloaded at a wholesale base in Armavir.
On 7 October … the documents for the cargo were again changed. TEK-34 LLC from Ulyanovsk was indicated as the sender , and a non-existent company in the Crimea was indicated as the recipient.
The movement of cargo along the entire route was controlled by an employee of the main intelligence directorate of the ministry of defence of Ukraine, who introduced himself to the participants in the scheme as “Ivan Ivanovich”. To coordinate actions, he used a virtual anonymous number, as well as a phone registered to a resident of Kremenchug.
RIA reminds us that the explosion occurred on 8 October, and that the official account is “a truck exploded on the Crimean bridge after which seven tanks with fuel of a passing train caught fire. Two car spans partially collapsed, but the bridge arch supports were not damaged. Four people were killed, including a judge from Moscow.”
Polish pipeline operator Pern says leak detected in Druzhba oil pipeline
Polish pipeline operator Pern detected a leak on Tuesday evening in one line of the Druzhba pipeline, which carries oil from Russia to Europe, it said on Wednesday.
Pern said at this point the causes of the leak are unknown. It was detected in a section of the pipe around 70km from the central Polish city of Plock.
The second line of the pipeline, and other elements of Pern’s infrastructure, were working as normal, Pern said.
“At this point, all Pern services (technical, operational, in-house fire brigade and environmental protection) are taking action in accordance with the algorithms provided for this type of situation,” Reuters reports the operator said.
The self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic has claimed that five people were injured and 17 houses were damaged by fire from Ukrainian forces in the last 24 hours. Donetsk is one of the occupied regions that Russia has claimed to annex. The Donetsk People’s Republic was declared in 2014, and Russia, Syria and North Korea are the only UN member states to recognise it as a legitimate authority. The claims have not been independently verified.