Friday, June 21, 2024

Live Update: Russia’s “Special Operation” in Ukraine; Day 543

Russia, wary of NATO’s eastward expansion, began a military campaign in Ukraine in February 2022 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:

F16s ‘main issue’ to be discussed in visit to Netherlands: Zelensky

Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky who is currently in the Netherlands stated on Telegram that the “main issue” to be discussed during his visit is F-16 fighter jets for Ukraine.

The fighters would “protect our people from Russian terror”, he wrote.

Zelensky will meet outgoing Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte at a military air base in Eindhoven, Rutte’s office announced, without providing further details.

The Netherlands could deliver F-16s as its armed forces are transitioning to newer F-35 fighters. According to figures from the Dutch defence ministry, the Netherlands currently has 24 operational F-16s, which will be phased out by mid-2024. Another 18 of the jets made by Lockheed Martin are currently available for sale, of which 12 have been provisionally sold.

Drone crashed into rooftop of railway station in central Russia: Governor

A Ukrainian drone crashed into the rooftop of a railway station in the central Russian city of Kursk, injuring five people and setting off a fire, Kursk Region Governor Roman Starovoit stated.

“Ukrainian drone attack in Kursk. According to preliminary information, it crashed into the roof of the railway station building, setting off a fire on the rooftop. Five people were slightly injured by shards of glass,” he wrote on Telegram.

The details of the incident are being verified, according to the official. First responders are at the scene.

The railway station is located in central Kursk, a city that’s about 150 kilometers from the border with Ukraine.

Ukrainian pilots have begun training on F-16 aircraft: DM

Ukrainian pilots have begun training on F-16 fighter jets, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said in an on-camera interview with Ukrainian media on Saturday.

“Training (on F-16s) has begun,” Reznikov stated, adding that a number of Ukrainian engineers and technicians are also training along with the pilots.

Reznikov said he would not disclose how long training will last, but noted that “a minimal term of training is six months.”

According to Reznikov, the instructors will be the ones to announce the completion of the training, when they see that Ukrainian pilots, engineers and technicians can successfully apply their new skills.

Trainees will also get English-language training in technical terminology, because “the basic level of English language is not enough,” he added.

Meanwhile, the period of training will be used to determine what country will supply Ukraine with the aircraft and in what quantity.

Reznikov said it is also important to determine what kind of weapons the aircraft will be carrying.

“After all, without radars, the plane cannot see, and without machine guns, missiles and shells, it is not a weapon, but only a carrier,” he added.

The F-16 training program is being supported by a coalition of 11 NATO countries and requires official US approval because the jets are American technology.

Russia should wipe out nationalist regime in Kiev: Ex-president

Russia must destroy the nationalist regime in Kyiv, even if it takes many years, said Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev.

“It will take some time. Western authorities will change, their elites will get tired and start begging for negotiations and freezing the conflict. completely dismantled,” Medvedev wrote in his Telegram channel.

He stressed that the nationalist regime “should be wiped off the face of the earth.”

“Even the ashes from him should remain. This dirt should not have a chance to be reborn under any circumstances,” he added.

“If it takes years and even decades, so be it. We have no other choice: either we will destroy their hostile political regime, or the collective West will eventually tear Russia apart. And in this case, he will die with us. wants it,” Medvedev continued.

Therefore, he said, only “the complete liquidation of the state apparatus of this hostile country and absolute guarantees of loyalty in the future” are needed.

“Only Russia’s control over everything that is happening and will happen on the territory of the former Bandera state will allow this to be done. And we will achieve this,” Medvedev added.

He emphasized that “the defeat of the West on the Ukrainian track is inevitable,” no matter how much Western “leaders who don’t care about their own people” swore to be ready to support Kiev with weapons and money for as long as it takes.

“They will prepare cannon fodder for the Kyiv “meat factory”, they will restore the ruins of the dying economy of the Bandera regime. Will maintain insane sanctions against Russia. But this will not help,” Medvedev continued.

“For them, this is a foreign war in which people alien to them die. Although he does not feel sorry for them, the West will never go beyond the point where they can begin to harm its own interests. may lament at its summits and at the UN, war abroad sooner or later becomes boring, costly and irrelevant,” he explained.

“And for us, this is a tragedy of our own people. This is an existential conflict. This is a war for self-preservation. Either they or we,” Medvedev concluded.

Number of injured in Chernihiv strike climbs to 129

The number of those wounded in a Russian missile strike on the northern Ukrainian city of Chernihiv on Saturday has risen to nearly 130 people, according to Ukraine’s Minister of Internal Affairs Ihor Klymenko.

“Seven people are dead and 129 injured, among them 15 children and 15 police officers,” Klymenko said, adding that “the search and rescue operation has been completed.”

The attack hit a theater and university in the city center, Klymenko said earlier Saturday, and a 6-year-old girl is among the dead. Seven people were killed in the attack.

He added people were also leaving church during a major holiday in the Orthodox calendar, the Feast of the Transfiguration.

Americans’ support of arms supplies to Kiev declining: Russian envoy

Military aid granted to Ukraine is becoming less popular among Americans, though it does not stop the US’ authorities, which continue providing Kiev with arms, Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov sفشفثی.

“They cannot but realize that the already disorganized construction of the ‘Ukraine’ project is creaking at the seams. Tens of billions of dollars of the American taxpayers injected in it blow up in the zone of the special military operation. Amid the failure of the much-touted counteroffensive military aid granted to the republic is becoming less popular among ordinary Americans,” he said when commenting on the US administration’s statement that the targets of the special military operation will not be reached, as well as Washington’s decision to allow NATO partners to supply F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine after the training of pilots of the country’s armed forces is completed.

“However, the abovementioned apparently does not stop the authors and inspirers of the bloody scam,” Antonov was quoted as saying on the Telegram channel of the Russian diplomatic mission.

The US administration is “taking more and more senseless decisions” and “making unresponsible and baseless statements,” he added.

Ukraine discussing Gripen fighter aircraft delivery with Sweden: Zelensky

Ukraine is discussing “the next steps” to obtain Gripen fighter jets from Sweden, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Saturday.

Speaking at a joint news conference with Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson in Harpsund, about 90 kilometers (56 miles) west of Stockholm, Zelensky said that test flights with Ukrainian pilots had already begun.

“Today we discussed Gripen aircraft, the pride of Sweden. I am confident that Gripen aircraft can make our freedom much more secure,” Zelensky added.

The president said Ukraine has “excellent pilots” but “no advantage in the sky” and lacks modern aircraft.

“Over the next few weeks, there will be appropriate actions that I believe will open up the possibility of getting such aircraft in the future,” the president added.

Zelensky stated that he would have further meetings with “several countries” and was confident Ukraine would obtain modern aircraft.

“You cannot move fast on the ground when (the Russians) control the sky. And we need that,” he continued.

Kristersson also announced that Sweden and Ukraine had signed a statement of intent to cooperate in the production, training and servicing of the Swedish armored Combat Vehicle 90. Combat vehicles were part of a new military support package for Ukraine, announced by Sweden’s defense ministry on Tuesday.

Ukraine has long been pleading for the fighter jets to counter Russian air superiority, but it is unlikely to receive them until next year.

UN condemns “heinous” attack on the center of Chernihiv

The United Nations’ humanitarian coordinator for Ukraine, Denise Brown, condemned a Russian missile strike on the center of the northern Ukrainian city of Chernihiv.

It is “heinous to attack the main square of a large city,” Brown said in a statement.

The attack left several dead – including a 6-year-old girl – and at least 90 people injured.

“I am extremely disturbed by the news of yet another Russian strike that hit shortly ago the heart of Chernihiv, in northern Ukraine, leaving dozens of civilians killed and injured, including children,” Brown continued.

“It is heinous to attack the main square of a large city, in the morning, while people are out walking, some going to the church to celebrate a religious day for many Ukrainians,” she added. Saturday marks a major holiday in the Orthodox calendar, the Feast of the Transfiguration.

“I condemn this repeated pattern of Russian strikes on populated areas of Ukraine, causing deaths, massive destruction and soaring humanitarian needs,” she stated, adding, “Attacks directed against civilians or civilian objects are strictly prohibited under international humanitarian law. It must stop.”

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