Ukrainian infrastructure pounded again on Saturday

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KYIV, Oct 22 (Reuters) – Critical infrastructure across Ukraine was pounded again on Saturday, with several regions reporting strikes on energy facilities while missiles were shot down in others.

Energy facilities in the regions of Odesa, Kirovohrad and Lutsk had been hit, according to local officials, while other regions reported problems with electricity.

“Another rocket attack from terrorists who are fighting against civilian infrastructure and people,” the Ukrainian president’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, wrote on the Telegram app.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian forces shot down a Russian missile over the Kyiv region, local police chief Andriy Nyebytov said, posting a photograph of a column of smoke rising from a forest where he said the missile’s debris had landed.

In other Developments:

FIGHTING

* Critical infrastructure across Ukraine was pounded again on Saturday, with several regions reporting strikes on energy facilities while missiles were shot down in others, officials said. 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.

Russian conscript attends a military training at a ground training range in the Rostov-on-Don region in southern Russia. EPA-EFE/ARKADY BUDNITSKY

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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