Thursday, May 30, 2024

Russia’s “Special Operation” in Ukraine; Day 93: Ukraine accuses Russia of ‘genocide’ in Donbas

Russia, wary of NATO’s eastward expansion, began a military campaign in Ukraine on February 24 after the Western-leaning Kiev government turned a deaf ear to Moscow’s calls for its neighbor to maintain its neutrality. In the middle of the mayhem, Moscow and Kiev are trying to hammer out a peaceful solution to the conflict. Follow the latest about the Russia-Ukraine conflict here:

UN says over 4,000 civilians killed in Ukraine so far

More than 4,000 civilians have been killed in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion began on February 24, although the true number is likely much higher, the UN rights office (OHCHR) has said.

In total, 4,031 people have been killed, including nearly 200 children, according to OHCHR, which has dozens of monitors in the country. Most were killed by explosive weapons with a wide impact such as shelling from heavy artillery or air raids.

It did not attribute blame for the deaths. Russia has denied targeting civilians in the conflict.

Attempts to blame Russia for grain shipping trouble ‘groundless’: Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin has told Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer that attempts to blame Russia for difficulties shipping grain worldwide were unfounded and pointed to Western sanctions being responsible instead, the Kremlin said.

“Vladimir Putin stressed that attempts to make Russia responsible for the difficulties with the supply of agricultural products to world markets are groundless,” the Kremlin said after the phone call.

“Detailed explanations have been given of the real causes of these problems, which have emerged due to anti-Russian sanctions by the United States and the European Union, among other things,” it added.

Putin has accused Ukraine of “sabotaging” the negotiating process between the two countries, the Kremlin announced.

Putin also informed Nehammer about actions that Russia was taking to secure safe passage for vessels in the Azov and Black Seas, according to the Kremlin.

Ukraine demands Germany cut or halt Nord Stream 1 gas flows

Ukraine’s state gas company and gas infrastructure operator have issued a request to the German government to either halt or severely curtail gas flows through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, the head of the head of gas system operator announced.

The request argues that the operation of the pipeline is allowed under German law on the basis that it contributes to the strengthening of he security of gas supplies to Europe, but that Russia had “violated these principles,” the head of Ukraine’s gas system operator Serhiy Makogon told national television.

Russia strengthening defensive positions in Kherson: Governor

Russian forces are fortifying their defensive positions in the Kherson region, which lies just north of Crimea, while shelling Ukraine-controlled areas on a daily basis, the region’s governor has said.

Hennadiy Laguta stated that the humanitarian situation was critical in some parts of the region and that people are finding it almost impossible to leave Russian occupied territory, with the exception of a 200-car convoy that left on Wednesday.

Scholz: Putin cannot get away with ‘cynical, inhuman war’

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has said President Vladimir Putin must not be allowed to get away with his “cynical, inhuman war”.

“Putin’s war is directed against a peace order that arose from the commitment ‘never again’ after two devastating world wars. He wants to return to the law of the strongest,” Scholz stated during a speech at the German Catholic Convention in the southwestern city of Stuttgart.

Ukraine fighting to keep control of town of Lyman: Defence ministry

Ukrainian troops are still fighting to keep control of the northwestern and southeastern parts of the town of Lyman, Ukraine’s defence ministry has said.

Defence ministry spokesman Oleksandr Motuzyanyk made the comments hours after pro-Russian separatists said on their Telegram channel that they had taken full control of the strategically important town.

Motuzyanyk added that Ukrainian troops were “counteracting attempts” by Russia to push its offensive towards the key Ukrainian town of Sloviansk, said at a briefing.

‘About 10 dead’ in Russian attack on central Ukraine military base: Defence official

Russian attacks on a military facility in the central Ukrainian city of Dnipro early on Friday left about 10 people dead and injured more than 30 others, a local defence official said.

“A national guard training centre was hit this morning by Iskander missiles. People were killed,” Gennady Korban, the regional head of the national guard, told local Ukrainian media.

“Unfortunately, about 10 people died and between 30 and 35 people have been injured,” Korban added.

West declared total war on Russian world: Moscow

The current behavior of the Western nations amounts to “total war on the Russian world,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday during a meeting with the heads of the country’s regions.

Russian society and major political forces support the government’s decision to face this challenge, he added.

Western nations “are doubling, tripling, and quadrupling their efforts to deter our nation. They use a wide array of tools, from unilateral economic sanctions to totally deceitful propaganda in the global media,” Lavrov stated, noting that “low-level Russophobia, which to our deepest regret is promoted by a number of governments, has risen to unprecedented levels.”

“The West has declared total war against us, against the entire Russian world. Nobody even hides this fact now,” Lavrov continued.

The ‘cancel culture’ targeting everything connected to our nation has become absurd, he said.

Russia responded to the pressure with a uniting of “all healthy patriotic forces” and a surge of public support for Russia’s foreign policy, the foreign minister outlined.

Lavrov also noted that the crisis has exposed the true nature of the promises given to Russia 30 years ago, after the collapse of the USSR.

“We now see the value of all the talk about universal values and the need to turn Europe into a common home from the Atlantic to the Pacific.” No one should have illusions about the attitude of the US and its allies towards Russia, he added.

Russia responds to Zelensky’s call for talks

A veiled appeal by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for direct peace talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin contradicts Kiev’s decision to freeze all negotiations with Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov pointed out on Friday.

Then again, the Ukrainian government has a habit of taking positions that contradict each other, he added.

Zelensky said he had wanted to negotiate with Putin on multiple occasions both before and after Russia attacked his country. One of the recent remarks of that nature came this week on a video call during a working breakfast of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

The Ukrainian president noted Putin was the only Russian official worth talking to, dismissing the rest of the Russian government as “nobodies.” Putin himself is delusional, Zelensky claimed, but “if he is able to realize” what the Ukrainian leader called the reality, “then, probably, we may try and go the diplomatic way, unless it is too late.”

When asked for comments about the remarks, Peskov said Moscow didn’t believe Kiev was willing to negotiate peace.

“The talks have been frozen after a decision by and in accordance with the stance of the Ukrainian side,” he added.

“The Ukrainian leadership constantly makes statements that contradict each other, which makes it impossible to fully understand its intentions and whether it is ready to take a sober approach and acknowledge the real state of affairs,” he continued.

NATO chief names conditions for Finland and Sweden

Finland and Sweden are unlikely to become NATO candidate members at the upcoming alliance summit on June 28-30 unless they fulfill Turkey’s demands, the bloc’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced during a press conference with Spanish media.

The NATO chief acknowledged Ankara’s stance against the acceptance of Sweden and Finland into the bloc and called for Turkey’s concerns and demands to be discussed and resolved.

Ankara has opposed the accession of the two Nordic countries to the US-led military alliance citing their support for what Turkey deems to be terrorist organizations, namely the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Fethullah Gulen movement (FETO).

Turkey demands that the two nations apply the same terrorist designation to these groups and extradite people linked to the organizations.

“No country has suffered as much from terrorist attacks as Turkey,” Stoltenberg said, adding that “Turkey is an important ally and when an ally has concerns it should be discussed and the problem resolved.”

He noted that this is how things are done in NATO, recalling that the candidate membership status of the Republic of Northern Macedonia was held up for over 10 years due to a veto from Greece, which cited concerns similar to Turkey’s, and that the issue was eventually resolved.

“Sweden and Finland can participate as guest countries in the NATO Summit to be held in Madrid, but if they do not respond to Turkey’s demands before June 28, it will be difficult to fulfill their desire to be become a candidate country “, Stoltenberg stated, emphasizing that he wanted this to be “a fast process” and that there was still enough time for that.

Ukraine needs to ‘face the realities’ and talk to Putin: Zelensky

President Volodymyr Zelensky has stated that while talking directly with Russia’s Vladimir Putin may not be popular, the country has to “face the realities” that direct engagement is needed to end the war.

“There are things to discuss with the Russian leader. I’m not telling you that to me our people are eager to talk to him, but we have to face the realities of what we are living through,” Zelensy said in an address to an Indonesian think tank.

“What do we want from this meeting… We want our lives back… We want to reclaim the life of a sovereign country within its own territory,” he added.

Alleged capture of Lyman shows ‘growing level’ of Russian tactical strength: Ukrainian official

Oleksiy Arestovych, a top adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky, has said the purported capture of the strategic town of Lyman in Donbas region shows the “growing level of operational management and tactical skills of the Russian army”.

Arestovych stated in televised remarks: “according to unverified data, we lost the city of Lyman. The Russian army captured it.”

“And the way it captured [the city] shows that there are very talented commanders who organised the operation correctly. And this shows the growing level of operational management and tactical skills of the Russian army,” he added.

The statement came hours before pro-Russian separatists claimed on their Telegram channel they had taken full control of the town, which contains a strategically significant railway junction.

Moldova says Europe’s security policies need ‘paradigm shift’

Amid fears that Moldova could be drawn into the Ukraine war, Ana Revenco, Moldova’s interior minister, has told Al Jazeera that Europe needs a “paradigm shift” in its security policies.

Neither a European Union nor NATO member, Moldova is worried about its future – particularly because Russian troops are present in its Moscow-backed separatist region of Transnistria – and is seeking help, hoping the international community does not forget its humanitarian contributions.

“Food security, border security, cyber-vulnerabilities, uninterrupted services for the population, uncertainty about the presence of Ukrainian refugees, and other immediate and emerging threats including use of mercenaries in Ukraine, large caches of incoming foreign weapons and divisive propaganda – must all be tackled,” Revenco added.

Pro-Russia separatists say they have taken full control of Lyman

Pro-Russian separatists from the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic have claimed they have established full control over the strategic town of Lyman in the north-east of Ukraine’s embattled Donbas region.

Ukrainian and Russian-backed forces had been fighting for the town, which contains an important railway junction, for several days.

The separatists’ claim, which was made on their Telegram channel, could not immediately be independently verified.

Moscow declares Five Croatian diplomats personae non gratae

The Russian Foreign Ministry summoned the Croatian ambassador in Moscow on Friday, expressed a strong protest to him and declared five employees of the Croatian embassy in Moscow personae non gratae in response to the steps taken earlier by Zagreb.

“On May 27, the Ambassador of the Republic of Croatia to the Russian Federation, Tomislav Car, was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry, a strong protest was expressed to him in connection with the groundless attempts of the Croatian authorities to blame Russia for war crimes in Ukraine and the provision of military assistance by the Croatian side to the neo-Nazi Kiev regime,” the statement says.

“In response to the unfriendly steps taken earlier by Zagreb to reduce the size of the Russian diplomatic mission, Car was handed a note declaring five employees of the Croatian embassy in Moscow personae non gratae,” the ministry added.

Russia’s shortage of combat-ready equipment showing in battle for Severodonetsk: UK

Russian ground forces are continuing their attempt to surround the cities of Severodonetsk and Lyscyhansk, recently capturing several villages north-west of Popasna, the UK’s defence ministry has announced in its latest intelligence briefing.

The ministry said that in recent days, Russia likely moved 50-year-old T-62 tanks from deep storage into the area under the responsibility of its Southern Grouping of Forces, which are tasked with occupying Ukraine’s southern territory.

“The T-62s will almost certainly be particularly vulnerable to anti-tank weapons and their presence on the battlefield highlights Russia’s shortage of modern, combat-ready equipment,” the ministry added.

Four people killed in Severodonetsk Thursday: Governor

Four people were killed in Severodonetsk on Thursday, the governor of the Luhansk region has said.

“Residents of Severodonetsk have already forgotten when the city was silent for at least half an hour. Russians are targeting residential neighbourhoods continuously,” Serhiy Haidai stated.

On May 26, four Severodonetsk residents were killed by enemy shells … Two of them at the same time, near one high-rise building,” he added.

Haidai noted about 11 apartment buildings and one private house were destroyed in Severodonetsk. Lysychansk also suffered a powerful attack, he said, but did not mention any casualties.

Woman in Russia’s shelled Belgorod region dies from wounds: Governor

The governor of the Russian border region of Belgorod has said that a woman injured in the shelling of a village on Thursday has died from her wounds, while another man is in a critical condition, Russia’s TASS news agency reports.

Vyacheslav Gladkov stated that the village of Zhuravlevka was repeatedly shelled by Ukraine on Thursday.

Moscow says Washington has lost most of the world’s support

The speaker of Russia’s parliament has said the outcome of most recent vote in the UN’s Security Council to strengthen sanctions on North Korea over its renewed ballistic missile launches – vetoed by Russia and China – shows that the US has lost the support of the majority of the world’s population.

Vyacheslav Volodin stated this was already evident in March, when the UN General Assembly considered condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Forty countries refused to oppose Russia, including China, India, Iran, Iraq, Vietnam, South Africa, Algeria, Pakistan and others. The population of these states is 4.47 billion people – 57.3 per cent of the world’s population,” Volodin added.

“Often behind majority decisions in the UN, in reality, there is a minority … Joe Biden is striving to reform the UN in order to maintain the position of the United States. He desperately wants to preserve the unipolar model, which has become obsolete,” Volodin continued.

Medvedev say Zelensky’s conditions for truce aren’t feasible

Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, on Thursday stated the conditions that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is setting for a truce aren’t feasible.

“The conditions that Zelensky is putting forward for a truce are categorical to the point of idiocy and unfeasible in principle,” Medvedev said on Telegram.

The official added that the Ukrainian president “demands to make Donbass and Crimea Ukrainian again, as if he’s unaware of the will of their residents.”

“Withdraw all troops from Donbass, giving the Ukrainian army a field day for repressions against people,” he said, adding, “And then, perhaps, he will start to have talks about something.”

“Ultimatums sound nice only on paper,” Medvedev continued, noting, “And they usually are made from a position of strength, not obvious weakness. At the moment of victory, not defeat. With a sober mind, not on psychotropic drugs.”

Far from all countries around the world are ready to follow Washington’s lead. On the contrary, cooperation with Moscow opens up new prospects for them, Medvedev said.

“The world is much larger than the US and Europe – the so-called collective West. Not all countries are ready to follow America’s lead,” Medvedev stated at the United Russia forum Entrepreneurship in the New Economic Reality.

He drew attention to the fact that this situation greatly annoyed “friends across the ocean.”

At the same time, as Medvedev remarked, for countries “in other parts of the world” partnership with Russia was opening up new opportunities.

“True, they have to cautiously look around. Many of them feel certain fears. But nevertheless, this is so,” he added.

Report: US warns Ukraine about escalation

The US and its allies have communicated to Ukraine the danger of escalation should the weapons provided by the West be used to attack targets inside Russia, according to an exclusive report by Reuters quoting anonymous officials.

However, Washington has not explicitly banned Kiev from doing so. The highly sensitive, behind-the-scenes discussions have “sought to reach a shared understanding of the risk of escalation,” according to the agency’s sources.

“We have concerns about escalation and yet still do not want to put geographic limits or tie their hands too much with the stuff we’re giving them,” said one of the three US officials who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Zelensky’s conditions on resumption of talks with Russia ‘not serious’: Lavrov

Conditions put forward by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on the resumption of negotiations between Kiev and Moscow, and on his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin are “not serious,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said.

“If you are talking about who wants and who is ready for negotiations, then Zelensky recently gave [a statement] – he gives something every day – an interview and said that he was prepared for negotiations, but negotiations can only be between him and Putin. Allegedly, it does not make sense to do this at any other level. The talks, in his opinion, should be held without any intermediaries and only after Ukraine regains control of the territory as of 23 February. The fact that this is not serious does not need to be explained and proved to anyone,” Lavrov told RT Arabic.

Top Russian diplomat also repeatedly warned the West against supplying Ukraine with weapons capable of striking targets inside Russia.

“We warned the West in the most serious way that they are already, in fact, waging a proxy war with the Russian Federation with the hands, bodies, brains of Ukrainian neo-Nazis, but this will be a serious step towards an unacceptable escalation. I hope that sane minds in the West … they understand it,” Lavrov added.

Western leaders believe themselves to be exceptional and are driven by delusions of grandeur and irrational fears, Lavrov said.

“We know that our Western friends have many phobias, many complexes. They have a superiority complex, the infallibility complex, and I believe they also have some paranoia,” the foreign minister added.

Lavrov doubted intentions to reform NATO, saying that attempts to turn it into “a global alliance seeking military dominance all over the world” are doomed to fail.

“It looks like no one plans to even reform NATO. They are planning to turn this ‘defensive union’ into a global alliance seeking military dominance all over the world. This is a dangerous path. Certainly, it is doomed to fail,” Lavrov added.

Zelensky accuses Russia of ‘genocide’ in Donbas

President Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Russia of carrying out “an obvious policy of genocide” in his country’s eastern Donbas region.

Moscow’s offensive could end up wiping some eastern towns from the face of the Earth and leaving the region “uninhabited”, he said.

“All this, including the deportation of our people and the mass killings of civilians, is an obvious policy of genocide pursued by Russia,” he added.

Russian soldiers accused of war crimes appear in Ukrainian court

Two Russian soldiers accused of war crimes in Ukraine appeared at a second trial hearing in the northeastern town of Kotelva.

The Russian servicemen, Alexander Alexeevich Ivanov and Alexander Vladimirovich Bobykin, are charged with shelling civilian infrastructure with a multiple rocket launcher. Both soldiers pleaded guilty at the hearing held at the Kotelevsky District Court.

If convicted, the servicemen could face up to 12 years in prison. Their defence attorney asked for eight years, saying the two were only following their officers’ orders.

Russia alone to blame for global food crisis: Ukraine

Russia is solely to blame for the global food crisis because of its blockade of Ukrainian ports, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has said.

“Russia and [the] Russian blockade of Odesa is the only reason why Ukrainian agricultural products are not making it to the global market,” Kuleba stated, adding, “If someone in Africa is dying because of hunger, it’s because of Russia. If someone cannot buy sunflower oil in a supermarket, it’s because of Russia.”

Moscow had announced “politically motivated restrictions” were hindering the export of grain and fertilisers. But Kuleba noted blaming sanctions for the crisis is a “false narrative”.

White House expects minimal effects on global economy from Russia default

The White House has announced it expects minimal effects on the US and global economy from a potential Russia debt default as Washington decided to not extend a waiver that enabled Russia to pay US bondholders.

“We expect the impact on the US and the global economy to be minimal, given Russia has already been isolated financially,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.

“That being said, the treasury department continues to monitor and have conversations with global financial community,” she added.

The US had pushed Russia closer to the brink of a historic debt default by not extending its license to pay bondholders.

‘We need heavy weapons’: Ukraine’s FM

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has called for heavy weapons, including launch rocket systems, for Ukraine to push back against Russian forces.

Asked during a question-and-answer session on Twitter what Ukraine supporters outside the country should ask of their lawmakers, Kuleba said: “Push for multiple launch rocket systems.”

“We need heavy weapons,” he continued, adding, “The only position where Russia is better than us, it’s the amount of heavy weapons they have. Without artillery, without multiple launch rocket systems, we won’t to be able to push them back.”

One US military officer returns to embassy in Kyiv: Pentagon

The move to reopen the US embassy in Ukraine has brought one American military officer back into the country as part of the diplomatic team. But the Pentagon announced no other troops are going into Ukraine at this point.

Pentagon Spokesperson John Kirby said the defence attache, a colonel, has gone back to Kyiv with other embassy staff. The military official reports to the chief of mission and is there for diplomatic work, not security.

Kirby stated that so far, the State Department is handling embassy protection with diplomatic security personnel and has not asked for Marines.

“Nothing has changed about the president’s direction that US troops will not be fighting in this war in Ukraine,” Kirby told reporters at the Pentagon.

Zelensky urges West to ‘stop playing around with Russia’

President Volodymyr Zelensky has urged the West to stop playing around with Russia and impose tougher sanctions on Moscow to end its “senseless war” in Ukraine, adding his country would remain independent, the only question was at what price.

Zelensky’s criticism of the West has mounted in recent days as thousands of Russian forces try to encircle the two key cities of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk.

“Ukraine will always be an independent state and it won’t be broken. The only question is what price our people will have to pay for their freedom, and what price Russia will pay for this senseless war against us,” said Zelenskyy in his nighttime address.

“The catastrophic unfolding events could be still stopped if the world treated the situation in Ukraine as if it were facing the same situation, if the powers that be did not play around with Russia but really pressed to end the war,” he added.

Zelenskyy has complained about divisions inside the European Union over more sanctions against Russia and asked why some nations were being allowed to block the plan.

The EU is discussing a sixth round of punitive measures, including an embargo on Russian oil imports. Such a move requires unanimity, but Hungary opposes the idea for now on the grounds its economy would suffer too much.

“How many more weeks will the European Union try to agree on a sixth package?” Zelenskyy stated in his nightly address, noting that Russia was receiving 1 bn euros ($1.07bn) a day from the 27-nation bloc for energy supplies.


Russia reinforcing its newly claimed ‘borders’ with Ukraine

Russia says it is reinforcing its recently drawn up borders with Ukraine with reserves, weapons and armoured vehicles.

“The situation remains difficult at the present time, which is mainly due to the shelling of Russian border guards, as well as the conduct of ‘actions of intimidation’ by Ukrainian nationalists,” a deputy director of the border service of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying.

Vladimir Kulishov added that additional forces would be deployed to protect “the Crimean transport crossing, other strategically important objects of the peninsula, as well as ensuring the safety of subjects of maritime economic activity in the Black and Azov Seas”.

Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 and has captured the Azov Sea port city of Mariupol as well as the Black Sea port city of Kherson.

US considering sending Ukraine multiple rocket launcher

US officials have told the Reuters news agency the Joe Biden administration is considering supplying Kyiv with the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), which depending on the munitions, can have a range of hundreds of kilometres.

But Washington has also held discussions with Kyiv about the danger of escalation if it strikes deep inside Russia, US and diplomatic officials have told Reuters.

The behind-the-scenes discussions, which are highly sensitive and have not been previously reported, do not put explicit geographic restrictions on the use of weapons supplied to Ukrainian forces.

But the conversations have sought to reach a shared understanding of the risk of escalation, three US officials and diplomatic sources said.

PresidentVolodymyr Zelensky has pleaded with the West to send multiple-launch rocket systems to Ukraine as soon as possible to give it a chance against the Russian offensive in Donbas.

“We are fighting for Ukraine to be provided with all the weapons needed to change the nature of the fighting and start moving faster and more confidently toward the expulsion of the occupiers,” Zelensky stated.

“They want to turn Popasna, Bakhmut, Lyman, Lysychansk and Severodonetsk into ashes as they did with Volnovakha and Mariupol,” he continued.

Ukraine has enough stored grain to meet global demand until end of 2022: Adviser

An economic adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky has said Ukraine has enough stored grain to meet domestic and global demand until at least the end of 2022, maybe into 2023.

Oleg Ustenko told Newsweek that Russia had planned to block Ukrainian ports from the beginning of its invasion to create a global food crisis and put as much pressure as possible on the West.

“They are playing different cards at one time on the same table: energy, food, plus they have their ‘military operation’ on our land and they’re destroying infrastructure, all our food storage,” he continued.

Ustenko added that Russia was currently firing at any ships that appeared in the Black Sea.

Mayor claims 1,500 killed in Severodonetsk

The mayor of the city of Severodonetsk, which is the centre of fierce fighting in Ukraine’s east, says at least 1,500 people have been killed, and only 12 were able to be evacuated on Thursday.

Oleksandr Stryuk stated about 12,000 to 13,000 people remained in the city, where 60 percent of residential buildings have been destroyed.

Severodonetsk is the only part of the Luhansk region in the Donbas under Ukrainian government control, and Russian forces have been trying to cut it off from the rest of Ukrainian-controlled territory.

Stryuk added Ukraine is holding out even though a Russian reconnaissance and sabotage group went into a city hotel. He noted the main road between the neighbouring town of Lysychansk and Bakhmut to the southwest remains open, but travel is dangerous.

Nine dead, 19 wounded in Kharkiv

At least nine people were killed in the shelling of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, on Thursday and 19 have been wounded, President Volodymyr Zelensky has said.

“All civilians. A child, five months, and a father were killed. The mother is in grave condition. Among the wounded in Kharkiv is also a nine-year-old girl,” Zelensky stated in his nighttime address.

Investigators in the Kharkiv region have started criminal proceedings into Russia’s shelling of a busy area of Kharkiv city on Thursday, Interfax reports the Kharkiv’s prosecutor office’s press service as having said.

WHO assembly slams Russian attacks on Ukraine health facilities

WHO member states have strongly condemned Russia’s war in Ukraine and attacks on healthcare facilities in a resolution overwhelmingly adopted, further isolating Moscow on the international stage.

The resolution was carried by 88 votes to 12 at the World Health Organization’s annual assembly, while a Russian counter-resolution on the health crisis in Ukraine – making no mention of its invasion – fell flat.

The outcome “sends a clear signal to the Russian Federation: stop your war against Ukraine. Stop attacks on hospitals,” stated Ukrainian ambassador Yevheniia Filipenko.

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