Ukraine live updates: Russia recruiting US-trained commandos

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Afghan special forces soldiers trained by U.S. troops are now being recruited by the Russian military to fight in Ukraine, three former Afghan generals told The Associated Press.

They said the Russians want to lure thousands of former commandos with offers of steady payments of $1,500 a month and promises of safe havens to avoid deportation home to what could be death at the hands of the Taliban. Many of the commandos fled to Iran after the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan last year.

General Abdul Raof Arghandiwal said he has communicated with a dozen commandos in Iran who do not want to fight against Ukraine but fear deportation for themselves and their families.

“They ask me, ‘Give me a solution?’ What should we do?” Arghandiwal said. “If we go back to Afghanistan, the Taliban will kill us.”

‘BLACKMACKING THE HUNGRY WORLD’: Zelenskyy denounces Russia for suspending grain deal with Ukraine: Live updates

Other developments:

►Ukraine’s soccer federation urged FIFA to pull Iran out of the World Cup next month for reasons including supplying weapons to the Russian military. Iran will face England in three weeks’ time in their first match in Qatar.

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►Norway says it is ramping up its military preparedness, but NATO member Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre says there is no reason to believe “Russia will want to invade Norway or any other country directly.”

►Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala and many top members of his government arrived in Kyiv on Monday in the latest show of support from European leaders for Ukraine.

Russia defends the suspension of the grain deal, accuses Ukraine of sabotage

Russia defended its decision on Monday suspend a grain deal with Ukraine, accusing the country of using the Black Sea maritime corridor to bring grain to world markets “for military and sabotage purposes”.

Vassily Nebenzia, Russia’s ambassador to the UN, alleged that Ukraine, with help from the West, carried out “massive air and sea attacks” on Russia’s Black Sea fleet and infrastructure in Sevastopol in the early morning of October 29, “under the protection of the humanitarian grain corridor”.

Ukraine denied the attack, blaming Russia for mishandling its own weapons.

The grain agreement negotiated by the United Nations, signed in July, ensures the export of Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea. The agreement, which is due for renewal on November 19, has reduced global food prices, which have fallen by around 15% from their peak in March, according to the UN.

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The Russian Defense Ministry announced on Saturday that it would suspend the deal. On Monday, wheat futures prices rose 5% in Chicago.

Russia launched a massive attack on Ukraine’s infrastructure during Monday morning’s rush hour for the third time this month, sending travelers scrambling for cover and crippling basic services for hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians.

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said on social media that initially 80 percent of the battered capital was without water and part of the city was without electricity. By nightfall, running water was restored to about half of those who had lost it, and citywide blackouts saw power go out for four hours and then five hours.

Providing air defense systems to prevent such attacks has become one of the Pentagon’s priorities, two senior Pentagon officials said Monday, speaking to reporters on condition of anonymity. The Pentagon has supplied Ukraine with anti-aircraft weapons, from truck-mounted guided missiles to more sophisticated medium-range systems. The Russians are increasingly relying on Iranian-supplied kamikaze drones to carry out attacks on power plants.

Ukraine’s Air Force said it shot down 44 Russian missiles on Monday morning, but attacks on missile and drone infrastructure were also reported in Kharkiv, Cherkasy, Chernivtsi, Zaporizhzhia and several other regions. The government will introduce emergency power cuts across Ukraine, according to Deputy Head of the President’s Office Kyrylo Tymoshenko.

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Thousands of Russian conscripts are reporting to the front with weapons that are “probably in an almost unusable condition” and require different ammunition to that used by Russian regular army troops, Britain’s Ministry of Defense said in its last assessment of the war. The photos indicate that the rifles are AKMs, dating back to 1959.

The integration of reservists with conscripts and combat veterans in Ukraine will mean that Russia will have to push two types of small arms ammunition into front-line positions, the ministry noted.

“This is likely to further complicate Russia’s already strained logistics systems,” the assessment said.

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The property of several large Ukrainian companies will be confiscated by the government installed by Moscow in Crimea, said Sergey Aksyonov, the leader installed in Russia. Ukraine’s Zaliv shipyard and a cement plant in Bakhchysarai are among the sites to be taken over, The Kyiv Independent reports. Other commercial and tourist facilities as well as apartments and houses could be targeted, including properties owned by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Aksyonov said.

“Russia’s enemies will not make money in Crimea, this is a principled position,” Aksyonov said on Telegram.

Contributing: Tom Vanden Brook, USA TODAY; The Associated Press



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