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Ukraine Crisis

Putin oversees Russia’s nuclear might during planned drill

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Putin has overseen his country conducting its first nuclear drills, since the beginning of the war

Russia’s Vladimir Putin watched on from afar as his country launched the ballistic and cruise missiles fired from the Arctic towards Russia’s far-east.

Sergei Shoigu, Russia’s Defence Minister, spoke about the drills on national TV. He claims the exercises were an opportunity for the military to practise retaliation of an enemy strike.

During the broadcast Putin also made claims about Ukraine being a “testing ground for military biological experiments”.

When it comes to the recent drills, the Kremlin warned the west and therefore complied with the arms control treaty.

“Russia is complying with its arms control obligations and its transparency commitments to make these notifications.”

Gen. Pat Ryder, Pentagon spokesman

However, the drills come at a time of increasing tensions between Russia and western nations.

As the west monitors Russia’s nuclear posture closely, NATO gets set to run its own nuclear drills, dubbed ‘Steadfast Noon’ which will launch late October.

U.S. warning

The United States has consistently warned Russia against using nuclear force during the war in Ukraine.

Today, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken again reiterated the consequences for Russia if it uses a nuclear weapon.

“We’ve also communicated directly and very clearly to the Russians, President Putin about the consequences.”

antony blinken, u.s. secretary of state
Credit: ABC

Speaking exclusively on CNN, Russia’s Ambassador to the UK insists Russia is “not going to use nukes” in the war.

India condemn’s nuclear

Amid heightened tensions in Ukraine, the threat of resorting to nuclear has become a core concern for the war ahead.

As Ukrainian troops continue to make advances on the frontline, there are fears Putin will use nuclear force when backed into a corner.

Although, Russia has conducted planned nuclear drills, the country’s nuclear posture has not changed in any way.

During a phone call, India’s Defence Minister warned his Russian counterpart against nuclear weapons.

“The nuclear option should not be resorted to.”

Rajnath singh, india defence minister
Credit: The Indian Express

A statement released by the Defence Minister’s office confirmed Rajnath Singh “reiterated India’s position on the need to pursue the path of dialogue and diplomacy for an early resolution of the conflict. He pointed out that the nuclear option should not be resorted to by any side as the prospect of the usage of nuclear or radiological weapons goes against the basic tenets of humanity.”

Dirty bomb allegations

Russia has made claims that Ukraine is planning to use a so-called “dirty bomb,” comprising of explosives and Uranium.

Claims Ukraine and the west have strongly denied and condemned. Now, many western nations are concerned Russia is going to use this allegation as a pretext to escalate the war.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg labelled the claims as “transparently false.”

“Russia now falsely claims Ukraine is preparing to use a radiological dirty bomb on its own territory. NATO allies reject this transparently false allegation. Russia often accuses others of what they intend to do themselves. We have seen this pattern before from Syria to Ukraine. Russia must not use false pretext for further escalation.”

Jens stoltenberg, nato secretary general

Stoltenberg has warned Putin against using a nuclear weapon, explaining that the use of nuclear would change the front of the war for everyone, including Russia.

“President Putin of Russia knows that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. And they also know that there will be severe consequences.

So far, we have not seen any changes in Russia’s nuclear posture, but of course we monitor very closely, and we are vigilant and ready to act if necessary. The most important thing now is to convey a message to Russia that they of course should not use a nuclear weapon in Ukraine.”

Jens stoltenberg, nato secretary general

However, despite global condemnation and denial, Russia still insists Ukraine is going to use a “dirty bomb.”

Speaking on CNN, Russia’s Ambassador to the UK also doubled down on claims of Ukraine using a ‘dirty bomb’ saying Russia ‘has a feeling.’

Holly is an anchor and reporter at Ticker. She's experienced in live reporting, and has previously covered the Covid-19 pandemic on-location. She's passionate about telling stories in business, climate and health.

Business

Europe is preparing for winter: how can you keep costs down?

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Britain is facing a surge in cold weather, with icy conditions and fog expected for much of this week

The UK Met Office has issued a Yellow warning, which means there could be damage to buildings as Britons brace for cold conditions.

Like much of Europe, the UK are bracing for very strong winds on Wednesday, causing disruption to travel and some utilities.

Drivers are also urged to take extra care on the roads, with warnings in place for icy stretches forming on UK roads.

But some residents who are seeking to heat their homes are on edge, as power prices remain high.

Peter Smith is the director of policy and advocacy at National Energy Action, who said the rising cost of living is impacting Britons.

“The average annual bill has almost doubled since this time last year.”

The organisation seeks to close the gaps when it comes to energy affordability. It predicts 6.7 million UK households will be in fuel poverty in the coming months.

This means millions of Britons will be unable to afford living in a warm, dry and safe home.

“So far the milder than usual weather has protected many from the spiralling bills as they haven’t needed to heat their homes as high or as long as usual,” Mr Smith said.

How to keep warm without blowing your bill

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has urged people to make their own decisions, as he met with world leaders in tropical Bali last week.

“There are things that we can do—all of us—to improve the efficiency with which we use energy, to be careful about it,” he said.

For example, an efficient heater; taking advantage of the sun, where appropriate; and rearranging furniture are some cost-effective methods to reduce the burden on gas and energy bills.

Pipes at the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline are pictured in Germany.

In addition, there are some other cheap ways to reduce dependence on gas and electricity bills, as the temperature continue to plunge.

  • close off rooms you’re not using
  • lower the temperature of heating
  • make sure windows are fully closed
  • block cold drafts from under doors using door snakes or carpet.

The UK Government has placed a cap freeze on energy prices.

This means households will pay an average £2,500 on their energy bills. But there is a catch: if households use more, they pay more.

National Energy Action believes an additional 2.2 million homes could be in fuel poverty, when compared to the same time last year.

Why are energy prices so high?

As demand increases, so too does the cost of heating homes.

But there is another factor, which has sent prices rising across Europe: the war in Ukraine.

Russia accounts for 25% of global gas trade, 15% of global thermal coal trade and 10% of global oil trade.

However, countries are struggling to find alternative supplies after sanctioning Moscow for the ongoing conflict.

“Putin’s abhorrent war in Ukraine, and rising energy prices across the world are not a reason to go slow on climate change. They are a reason to act faster.”

RISHI SUNAK, UK PRIME MINISTER

Germany halted the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which was expected to double the amount of Russian gas shipped to Europe.

In July, Russia cut the amount of gas pumped through Nord Stream 1 to 20 per cent capacity.

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Ukraine Crisis

Hoax call between Polish and “French” Presidents

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Poland President Andrezj Duda spoke to a hoaxer posing as France counterpart Emmanuel Macron, on the night a missile hit near the Poland-Ukraine border.

The news was confirmed after two Russian pranksters, Vovan and Lexus, posted a recording of the incident, and Duda’s office also affirmed the incident.

During the call, Duda was asking who was responsible for the attack on November 15, wanting to avoid a war with Russia.

The missile landed six kilometres from the border.

Initial reports suggested the missile was Russian-made, but it was later discovered to likely be a Ukrainian air defence missile.

This is the second time the pranksters have targeted the Poland President, who have made their names going after celebrities and politicians, especially those opposed to the Kremlin.

ENDS

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Ukraine Crisis

Russian missiles hit NATO territory, killing two

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Russian missile hits Poland, as the west assesses the attack on a NATO member

Reports a Russian missile has landed in Poland, killing two people. A projectile struck an area where grain was drying in the village of Przewodów, near the Ukraine border. 

An anonymous U.S. intelligence official suggested a barrage of Russian missiles hit the Ukrainian power grid, and spilt into neighbouring Poland.

Poland is a NATO member, therefore, this signifies a potential escalation to the ongoing war. It also marks the first time weapons have impacted a NATO country.

Emergency talks

Currently, the Polish government are holding urgent talks. A Polish spokesman Piotr Mueller has confirmed that top leaders are holding an emergency meeting regarding the “crisis situation.”

Under Article 5 of NATO, an attack on one country is considered an attack on all.

The White House has not confirmed the reports but the Pentagon is assessing the situation.

“I don’t want to speculate or get in hypotheticals. When it comes to our security commitments in Article 5—we’ve been crystal clear that we will defend every inch of NATO territory.”

Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder, the Pentagon Press Secretary

While NATO has taken collective defence measures on several occasions, including in response to the situation in Syria and the Russian invasion of Ukraine—it has only invoked Article 5 once.

For the first time in its history after the 9/11 terrorist attacks against the United States, NATO evoked Article 5 and came to the defence of the United States.

“Terror is not limited to our national borders.

Russian missiles hit Poland. To fire missiles at NATO territory.

This is a Russian missile attack on collective security! This is a very significant escalation. We must act.”

volodymyr zelensky, Ukraine’s president

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