5 Bits Of News From Ukraine Which May Have Slipped Under Your Radar

Including Russia's new bizarrely named defence tactic.
A view of damage as extinguishing works continue near the recently shelled Don Railway Administration Building near Lenin Square in Donetsk
A view of damage as extinguishing works continue near the recently shelled Don Railway Administration Building near Lenin Square in Donetsk
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Russian war in Ukraine has taken a backseat in recent days, as the UN climate summit COP27 kicks off and the Qatar World Cup looms.

Here are five snippets from the war – which is now in its eighth month – which you may have missed.

1. Russia sets up ‘dragon’s teeth’

Russian forces have constructing defence structures around the occupied Ukrainian city of Mariupol, according to the UK’s Ministry of Defence.

In its daily updates shared on Twitter, the MoD said: “Two plants are producing concrete pyramidal anti-tank structures, known as dragon’s teeth, for this [defensive] purpose.”

It claims the structures have been installed between Mariupol, the village of Nikolske, and the village Staryi Kyrm.

Mariupol is of great strategic importance to Russia because it connects the already annexed Ukrainian peninsula Crimea to the the rest of Ukraine.

The MoD say more “dragon’s teeth” will be set up in Zaporizhzhia and Kherson, two Ukrainian regions which have been annexed by Russia.

“This activity suggests Russia is making a significant effort to prepare defences in depth behind their current front line, likely to forestall any rapid Ukrainian advances in the event of breakthroughs.”

It comes after Ukraine made international headlines for its incredibly strong counteroffensive throughout September and October.

2. No evacuations, despite mass power outages

Ukrainian prime minister Denys Shmyhal said this week that he saw no need to evacuate Kyiv or any other cities not near the frontline – despite the ongoing attacks in the capital.

Russia has launched intense attacks on the country’s energy systems, triggering rolling blackouts. Around 40% of the country’s energy supply has been targeted recently.

The mayor of the capital even told locals to prepare for a worst-case scenario – a winter without power and water.

Other reports suggest Ukrainian soldiers have resorted to using shop-bought drones, while Iranian-made kamikaze drones continue to fire down on Kyiv’s supply system.

3. Negotiation requests spurned

Reports have claimed that Washington DC wants Kyiv to demonstrate it is still considering compromise with Moscow so that it can maintain the higher moral ground.

According to The Washington Post, US officials currently believe Russian president Vladimir Putin is not serious about negotiations right now – but that Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s ban on talks with him have caused international concern.

However, Ukraine said its position on negotiations with Russia had not changed and that its allies are not asking for it to move on the matter.

Zelenskyy’s adviser Mykhailo Podalyak told Ukrainian station Radio Svoboda that Ukraine will only negotiate once all of Russian troops have left all of Ukrainian land – including the Crimean peninsula, which it has occupied since 2014.

He added that there was no coercion from Western allies, and that Ukraine’s recent success meant negotiation or compromise right now would be “nonsense”.

Meanwhile, the White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan confirmed that Washington has been engaging in confidential talks with senior Russian officials “in the interests” of the US and every country affected by the war.

According to the BBC, he said: “We have done so when it’s been necessary to clarify potential misunderstandings and try to reduce risk and reduce the possibility of catastrophe like the potential use of nuclear weapons.”

It came after recent reports that US president Joe Biden lost his temper with his Ukrainian counterpart in June, when Zelenskyy requested further assistance for the battle against Russia.

4. Ukraine is still pushing Russia back

Zelenskyy claimed the country continues to be successful in reclaiming land from Russia in both the southern and eastern parts of Ukraine.

He said on Monday: “We are gradually moving forward.”

However, he added that Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region remains the centre of the country’s bloodiest battles, as Russians “die by the hundreds every day”.

Russian invasion of Ukraine
Russian invasion of Ukraine
PA Graphics via PA Graphics/Press Association Images

5. Ukraine hits out at corporations still in Russia

Ukraine’s ministry of defence hit out at the companies still working in Russia as of November 2, 2022.

It tweeted: “It has been more than eight years and eight months since the start of Russia’s war against Ukraine, and these companies still haven’t left the blood federation.

“They call it business. We call it sponsoring a terrorist state.”

One of the many brands mentioned was pharmaceutical giant Johnson and Johnson. Back in March, the company flagged all of its donations to Ukrainian crisis funds, and its suspension of advertising, enrolment in clinical trials and additional investment in Russia.

It also named bank HSBC, which wrote a statement on the war back in March, explaining it had made “substantial donations” to UNICEF and the International Committee of the Red Cross. The bank claimed it has “been steadily reducing its Russian business for the last decade” and is not accepting any new Russian business.

Nestle wrote on its website that it will continue activities in Russia focusing on “providing essential food, such as infant food and medical/hospital nutrition – not on making a profit”.


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