Here’s the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war and its ripple effects across the globe.
The attack on the power facility sparked a blaze, and firefighters rushed to the site in the Kursk region of western Russia, the governor, Roman Starovoyt, wrote on Telegram. “Power will be restored as soon as it is safe to do so,” he added.
Air defenses shot down several other drones targeting Kursk, the governor and the Russian Ministry of Defense said, also blaming Kyiv. There were no initial reports of casualties. As Russia has reported a recent uptick in attempted drone attacks, Ukrainian officials have emphasized that targets inside Russia are part of the conflict.
Britain imposed asset freezes and travel bans on officials in Ukrainian regions illegally annexed by Russia last year, the Foreign Office announced Friday. It said the Russian officials were involved in holding “sham elections” in Ukraine’s east and southeast, in the regions of Zaporizhzhia, Kherson, Luhansk and Donetsk — as well as in the Crimean Peninsula that Russia annexed in 2014. “The UK will never recognise Russia’s claims to Ukrainian territory,” British Foreign Minister James Cleverly said.
Russia’s Defense Ministry said the latest round of conscription for military service begins Sunday. The draft will take place across Russia and in the four recently annexed Ukrainian regions, even though parts of the territories are not under Russian control. The announcement said those conscripted in the fall campaign would not be sent to the battlefield in Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin met with former Wagner commander Andrei Troshev and instructed him to work on forming volunteer units for the Ukraine war, Russian news agencies reported Friday. Troshev was considered a potential contender to intervene after a short-lived mutiny by Wagner chief Yevgeniy Prigozhin, who was killed in a plane crash in August. A former lieutenant colonel in Russia’s Internal Affairs Ministry, Troshev is one of the few top public figures of the mercenary group who was not listed on the passenger manifest of that plane, The Washington Post reported.
Russia will hike its military spending by about 68 percent in 2024, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, citing the draft budget for next year published by the Finance Ministry. “Obviously, such an increase is necessary because we are living in a state of hybrid warfare,” he said, “and this requires high spending.”
Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich remains “defiant” six months after he was detained in Russia while on a reporting trip, his mother told CNN. “He’s smiling,” she said. “And I have to say, under all the circumstances, he’s doing really well.” The American journalist’s colleagues and employer have denied Russia’s espionage charges against him, as Washington and international news media advocates call for his release.
Russian and Belarusian participants in next year’s Paralympics in Paris are set to compete under a neutral flag, Reuters reported, following a decision by the International Paralympic Committee not to uphold a full ban imposed after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Poland said its aircraft did not cross into neighboring Belarus, denying accusations from Minsk that a Polish helicopter had violated its airspace. Tensions have simmered between Poland and Russian ally Belarus, with Warsaw moving troops to reinforce the border.
France will boost support to Ukraine through industrial partnerships, French Defense Minister Sébastien Lecornu said after his Thursday visit to Kyiv. The minister led a delegation of lawmakers and business executives from industries including drones, munitions and artificial intelligence. He said France hoped to “propose innovative solutions to the Ukrainian army and increasingly be in a position to make fewer transfers, but rather direct acquisitions, sometimes under French subsidy, for the Ukrainian army.”
Kamila Valieva goes to court while U.S. skaters seethe without medals: Since Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva’s positive doping test kept the team figure skating medals from being awarded at the 2022 Beijing Olympics, her eligibility still is being debated, and the medals remain in storage, Les Carpenter reports.
The saga is “the latest of a series of high-profile doping cases involving Russia,” he writes. But many of the ensuing sanctions are moot because Russia and Belarus have not received invitations to participate in the Paris 2024 Olympics, due to the Kremlin’s war in Ukraine — although some Russian athletes may be allowed to compete.