Russia’s domestic intelligence agency said on Wednesday that five Russians are among eight suspects arrested in connection with the explosion that devastated rail and vehicle traffic on the $3.6 billion Crimean bridge.
Ukraine’s military intelligence agency was behind Saturday’s attack on a 12-mile bridge, Europe’s longest, the FSB He said in a statement. Ukrainian authorities praised the incident, but did not officially accept responsibility for the blast, which Russia says killed three people.
“Currently, five citizens of Russia, and three citizens of Ukraine and Armenia, who participated in the preparation of the crime, have been arrested, as part of a criminal case,” the Federal Security Bureau said, adding that several other suspects were involved in the crime. plan.
The FSB said the explosives were shipped from the Ukrainian city of Odessa in August, and that three Ukrainians, a Georgian and an Armenian national were behind a plan to arrange delivery from Bulgaria through Georgia to Russia.
The agency said that the detained Ukrainians and the five Russians had prepared documents for a company not located in Crimea to receive the explosives. The investigation is ongoing.
NATO defense ministers are meeting on Wednesday in Brussels to coordinate plans to supply Ukraine with more weapons.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russian President Vladimir Putin met Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Kazakhstan on the sidelines of a regional summit on Wednesday. Erdogan offered to host talks between Russia and the West.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Wednesday that the Pentagon has seen no indications that Russian President Vladimir Putin is preparing to use nuclear weapons as his forces falter in Ukraine. Austin made his remarks briefing to reporters in Brussels, where he met NATO allies to discuss providing military aid to Ukraine.
“The rumble of nuclear swords is reckless and irresponsible,” Austin said. We don’t expect to see and hear this kind of behavior from a major nuclear power. This is very dangerous.”
Army Gen. Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Ukraine’s most important war needs include air defense systems, artillery and rocket artillery, tanks and infantry fighting vehicles. Milley criticized the recent Russian missile strikes on Ukrainian cities, calling “indiscriminate and deliberate attacks” a “war crime”.
– Tom Vanden Brock
The United States and its allies are taking swift steps to respond to Ukraine’s request for air defense systems that could prevent significant damage from missile strikes like the one launched by Russia on Monday and Tuesday.
Ukraine has received the first IRIS-T air defense system from Germany and four High Mobility Missile Systems (HIMARS) from the United States, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said on Wednesday. Deliveries were accelerated after this week’s Russian attack across much of Ukraine, in retaliation for a truck bomb that damaged an important Russian-built bridge in Crimea on Saturday.
The United States also announced plans to send eight national advanced surface-to-air missile systems to Ukraine (NASAMS); Two deliveries are expected soon. In addition, the Netherlands said it would provide air defense missiles worth $14.5 million, and France said it would also contribute to Ukraine’s air defense.
“A new era of air defense has begun,” Reznikov wrote on Twitter. “There is a moral duty to protect heaven in order to save our people.”
The bombing again causes a serious blackout at the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant
For the second time in five days, Europe’s second largest nuclear power plant has fallen off the grid due to the bombing, again creating the risk of a radiological emergency.
The plant operator said the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant lost its electrical supply on Wednesday when a Russian missile damaged a substation north of it. Although the plant’s six reactors are inactive, they need prolonged cooling to prevent overheating.
Energoatom said the external power supply has been repaired About eight hours later and that the station’s emergency diesel generators – which depend on uncertain war-zone fuel deliveries – provided backup power in the meantime, but indicated that a similarly dangerous outage could occur at any time.
Experts raised concerns about the risk of continued fighting near the plant, which has been occupied by Russian forces since the start of the war but is operated by Ukrainian staff. Analysts say frequent blackouts during short stretches only increase the risks.
The IAEA has repeatedly called for a protection zone to be established around the facility – IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi presented his case directly to Putin on Tuesday – but so far hostilities in the vicinity of the plant have not stopped.
Biden: No progress in efforts to free Britney Greiner from Russian prison
US President Joe Biden said on Wednesday that US officials had made no progress toward the release of NBA star Britney Greiner from a Moscow prison. Asked by reporters if there was any movement in the Grenier case, Biden replied, “Not with Putin.”
In an interview with CNN on Tuesday, Biden said he had “no intention” of meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at next month’s G-20 summit in Indonesia — but would consider having a conversation if Putin said he wanted to talk about Grenier.
Grenier, who plays basketball in Russia during the WNBA offseason, was arrested at Sheremetyevo Airport outside Moscow in February on drug charges. Greiner admitted to having vape packages containing cannabis oil in her bags, but testified that she unintentionally packaged them and had no criminal intent. She was sentenced to nine years in prison. Her appeal hearing is set for October 25.
– Francesca Chambers, USA TODAY
Putin blames the United States for pipeline bombings, says Russia is ready to resume gas flow
Putin said on Wednesday that Russia was ready to resume the flow of gas to Europe via the only remaining link of Nord Stream gas pipelines — again blaming the United States for the bombings that disrupted the system. German government spokeswoman Christian Hoffmann rejected the proposal, saying Russia had been an unreliable gas supplier since the war began.
European authorities are investigating the blasts that tore apart both Nord Stream 1 and one Nord Stream 2 pipeline connections. US officials rejected Putin’s claim that the United States wanted to disrupt the flow to encourage Europe to import more expensive LNG.
What does Putin’s threat to use nuclear weapons mean for the security of millions of people in Ukraine and around the world, including the United States, which Russian nuclear-tipped missiles can certainly reach?
USA Today I spoke with former chief intelligence officer Rolf Mowatt-Larsen, a former CIA official and a host of other nuclear security experts and analysts to get answers. They all agreed with President Joe Biden’s assessment that the current situation is fraught with potential risks, including the possibility that an increasingly embattled Putin may decide to deploy one of the smaller nuclear weapons in his massive arsenal. Here’s what the experts said, too.
– Josh Meyer, USA TODAY
The Kremlin blows up a plan to rebuild Ukraine with frozen Russian assets
The proposal of the major industrial countries to use frozen Russian assets to finance the reconstruction of Ukraine has drawn sharp criticism from Moscow.
“It’s just pure international blackmail,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday.
The G7 statement released after Tuesday’s virtual meeting called for “ensuring Ukraine’s recovery and reconstruction, including exploring ways to do so with money from Russia.” After the invasion began in February, the West imposed sanctions on the Bank of Russia. In addition to the freezing of Russia’s reserves of gold and foreign exchange, all transactions related to the management of the reserves and assets of the Bank of Russia, as well as transactions with any legal entity, are subject to the ban.