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War in Ukraine: what to remember on the 166th day of the Russian invasion


THE ESSENTIAL

Ukraine and Russia have accused each other since Friday of bombing Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, Zaporijjia, located in the south of the country and which fell into the hands of Russian soldiers in early March, without any independent source being able to confirm. . The bombardment of the Zaporizhia site “by the Ukrainian armed forces” is “potentially extremely dangerous” and “could have catastrophic consequences for a vast area, including for European territory”, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

Information to remember:

  • The site of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant was bombed twice in 24 hours
  • Kremlin blames kyiv, warns of ‘catastrophic consequences’
  • Ukraine again strikes a strategic bridge in Kherson
  • Record number of refugees in Finland due to the war in Ukraine
  • Four cargo ships loaded with grain left Ukraine

The Russian Defense Ministry said the latest strike, overnight from Saturday to Sunday, damaged a high-voltage line supplying electricity to two Ukrainian regions. The boss of the Ukrainian nuclear agency Energoatom, Petro Kotin, for his part called for dislodging the Russian occupiers and creating a “demilitarized zone” on the site of the plant.

“There should be a peacekeeping mission that would also include experts from the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) and other security organizations,” he continued in a video posted on Telegram. According to him, the Zaporijjia power station is occupied by “about 500 soldiers and 50 heavy vehicles, tanks and trucks”.

One of the plant’s reactors had to be shut down

“There is not a single nation in the world that can feel safe when a terrorist state bombs a nuclear power plant,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reacted in his daily video on Sunday. The IAEA had judged on Saturday “more and more alarming” the information from Zaporijjia, one of whose reactors had to be shut down after the attack the day before.

When the plant was taken over, the Russian military had opened fire on buildings, at the risk of a major nuclear accident. “Any attack on nuclear power plants is a suicidal thing,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned Monday in Tokyo. “I hope that these attacks will end. At the same time, I hope that the IAEA will be able to access the plant” in Zaporijjia, he added.

Washington calls on Moscow to cease all military activity around nuclear power plants

The United States on Monday called on Russia to cease all military activity in and around nuclear power plants in Ukraine, including that of Zaporijjia, the largest in Europe and held by the Russian army.

“We continue to call on Russia to cease all military operations in and around Ukrainian nuclear power plants and to return control of them to Ukraine,” White House spokeswoman Karine Jean Pierre said during a briefing. a press briefing aboard Air Force One. “Fighting around a nuclear power plant is dangerous,” she said while stressing that, according to the data collected, “fortunately, we have no indication of an abnormal increase in the levels of radioactivity”.

New $4.5 billion aid from the World Bank

The World Bank on Monday announced an additional $4.5 billion in aid for Ukraine, with funds provided by the United States, to help the government meet “urgent needs created by the war”. .

This additional aid should in particular enable the government and local authorities to cover social, pension or health expenses, the World Bank said in a press release. This brings the total amount of emergency financial assistance provided to Ukraine by the institution to nearly $13 billion.

Pentagon announces another $1 billion tranche of military aid

The Pentagon on Monday announced a new tranche of military aid to Ukraine, amounting to $1 billion, which includes additional missiles for US Himars precision artillery systems.

This new tranche of aid also provides for the shipment of additional short and medium range missiles for NASAMS anti-aircraft defense systems, as well as Javelin anti-tank missiles, the US Department of Defense said in a statement.

New fine for Russian journalist opposed to Ukraine offensive

Russian journalist Marina Ovsiannikova, famous for interrupting the newspaper of a Russian state channel with a poster against the offensive in Ukraine, was sentenced on Monday to a new fine for having denounced the conflict.

Convicted by a Moscow administrative court of having “discredited” the Russian army, Marina Ovsiannikova will have to pay a fine of 40,000 rubles (about 650 euros at the current exchange rate), she indicated on her Telegram account.

Russian tanker sentenced to 10 years in prison for shooting at residential building

A Ukrainian court has sentenced a Russian tanker to 10 years in prison for shooting at a residential building, the Security Services of Ukraine (SBU) announced on Monday. Sergeant Mikhail Kulikov, taken prisoner at the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, was found guilty of “violation of the laws and customs of war” by a court in Cherniguiv, in northern Ukraine.

According to the SBU, “it was established that the Russian tanker had crossed the border of Ukraine from Belarus on February 24” then, advancing towards this regional capital hard hit by the fighting, “bombarded localities”.

A new grain-laden boat sets sail

As part of the regular rotations to supply the agricultural markets started last week, a ship loaded with 60,000 tonnes of grain left Monday for the first time since the start of the war Pivdenny, one of the three Ukrainian ports of the Black Sea concerned by the agreement on the resumption of grain exports.

And a first ship carrying cereals docked Monday in Turkey, its final destination, while the arrival of another which was expected Sunday in Lebanon was delayed. “Over the next two weeks, we expect to reach a rate of three to five ships per day,” said the Ukrainian Ministry of Infrastructure. A total of eight ships loaded with grain have already left Ukraine.

The blockage of millions of tonnes of cereals due to the war that began on February 24 has caused food prices to soar in the poorest countries and raised fears of a global food crisis. The July 22 agreement concluded between Russia and Ukraine, mediated by Turkey and under the aegis of the UN, allows the resumption of exports of Ukrainian cereals despite the war and Russian agricultural products despite the Western sanctions.

Ukrainian army strikes strategic bridge in Kherson

On the ground, the Ukrainian forces claimed to have struck again in the night from Sunday to Monday a strategic bridge in Kherson, a southern city occupied by Russian troops since March 3. The Antonivski Bridge is vital for supplies as it is the only one connecting the city to the southern bank of the Dnieper and the rest of the Kherson region.

The Ukrainian army has been announcing for several weeks a counter-offensive in this region in order to reconquer these territories lost in the very first days of the Russian offensive.

US missiles hit Russian forces in Melitopol

In addition, American Himars missiles hit Russian forces overnight from Sunday to Monday in Melitopol, another city occupied by the Russian army in the south of the country, according to its mayor Ivan Fedorov. On Sunday, President Zelensky acknowledged that the situation was still “very difficult in Donbass (east), in the Kharkiv region (northeast) and in the south, where the occupiers are trying to concentrate their forces”.

He took the opportunity to warn the Russians against the organization of “referendums” in the occupied territories in the south of his country with a view to their annexation, warning them that if they persist in this way, “they will close themselves to them -even any possibility of negotiations with Ukraine and the free world, which they will certainly need at some point”. On Monday, the authorities appointed by Moscow in the region of Zaporijjia, partly occupied by the Russian army, announced that they were officially launching preparations for the holding of a referendum on its attachment to Russia.



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