Russia says it repelled attempted Ukrainian attacks in east and south

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Oct 22 (Reuters) – Russia’s defence ministry said on Saturday that its forces had repelled attempted Ukrainian offensives in the eastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk and the southern region of Kherson.

It said Russian forces had prevented an attempt by Ukraine to break through its line of defence in Kherson region by the settlements of Piatykhatky, Suhanove, Sablukivka and Bezvodne.

Reuters could not independently verify battlefield reports.

In Other Developments:

FIGHTING

* Critical infrastructure across Ukraine was pounded by more than a dozen Russian missiles, the Ukrainian air force said, with several regions reporting strikes on energy facilities and power outages. Reuters could not independently verify the reports.

* Russia has accused Ukraine of rocketing the Nova Kakhovka dam and planning to destroy it in what Ukrainian officials called a sign that Moscow might blow it up and blame Kyiv. Neither side produced evidence to back up their allegations.

* To Ukrainian soldiers entrenched north of Kherson, a drop-off in Russian shellfire and armour movements signals that their foes dug into a nearby tree line are suffering serious manpower, supply and hardware woes.

* Russian air attacks have hit at least half of Ukraine’s thermal generation capacity, causing billions of dollars of damage since Oct. 10, though not all power units have stopped working completely, Ukraine’s energy minister said.

* The minister said he saw no signs of progress towards a deal involving Russia, Ukraine and the U.N. nuclear watchdog on resolving the situation at the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant.

* Ukraine is taking down 85% of Iranian-made “kamikaze” drones fired by Russia but needs its allies’ support to prevent Tehran selling Moscow ballistic missiles, an air force spokesperson said.

DIPLOMACY

* Britain, France and Germany called for a United Nations probe of accusations Russia has used Iranian-origin drones to attack Ukraine, in what they said was a violation of a U.N. Security Council Resolution.

* U.S. Defense Secretary Austin and Russian Defence Minister Shoigu spoke for the first time since May; a top Russian diplomat said the call was needed to eliminate misunderstandings, TASS news agency reported.

* The Pentagon declined to offer specifics beyond saying that Austin, who initiated the conversation, emphasized a need for lines of communication.

* The United States will consider every means to advance diplomacy with Russia if it sees an opening, but at the moment Moscow shows no sign of willingness to engage in meaningful talks, U.S. Secretary of State Blinken said.

* Zelenskiy accused Russia of deliberately delaying the passage of ships carrying grain exports under a U.N. brokered-deal, and said 150 vessels were waiting to be loaded.

* An IMF team held productive discussions with Ukrainian authorities and will work in coming weeks on their request for enhanced programme monitoring in the wake of Russia’s invasion, IMF mission chief Gavin Gray said.

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