Latest news on Russia and the war in Ukraine

State Department slams Russian ‘so-called courts’ in Mariupol

US State Department Spokesman Ned Price holds a press briefing on Afghanistan at the State Department in Washington, August 16, 2021.

Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

The State Department criticized Moscow’s “so-called courts” in the Russian-controlled city of Mariupol.

“The Kremlin is trying to deflect responsibility for President Putin’s war of aggression and distract from the overwhelming evidence of atrocities committed by Russian forces in Ukraine,” State Department spokesman Ned Price wrote. in a press release.

Price called the trials a “travesty of justice” and called on Moscow to abide by international law.

“All members of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, including national and foreign volunteers incorporated into the Armed Forces, are entitled to prisoner of war status if captured and must be provided with the treatment and protections corresponding to this status, in accordance with the Geneva Conventions”, Price added.

—Amanda Macias

Almost 770,000 tons of agricultural products left Ukrainian ports

The Turkish-flagged vessel “Polarnet” carrying grain from Ukraine arrives at the port of Derince, Kocaeli, Turkey, August 8, 2022.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

The organization overseeing the export of agricultural products from Ukraine said that to date, a total of 769,986 metric tons of grain and other foodstuffs have passed through the Humanitarian Sea Corridor under the Initiative. Black Sea cereal.

The Joint Coordination Center, or JCC, said more than 30 ships carrying grain and other crops have left Ukrainian ports.

The JCC also said it allowed the movement of three outbound merchant ships from Ukrainian ports.

—Amanda Macias

25 people confirmed dead after Russian attack on train station in central Ukraine

Twenty-five people are now confirmed dead after a Russian rocket attack on a train station in central Ukraine, according to Ukrainian newspaper Kyiv Independent.

The strikes took place on August 24, Ukraine’s independence day, before which Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that Russia could launch a “particularly cruel” attack on the country.

Rockets hit a train and residential areas in the town of Chaplyne in the central Dnipropetrovsk region, regional officials said, initially killing 15 people and injuring at least 50. Four trains were set on fire and two children were killed in the attack, according to the presidential office. deputy leader, Kyrylo Tymoshenko.

—Natasha Turak

Russia could exploit any Ukrainian military activity around nuclear plant for ‘propaganda purposes’: UK

A serviceman with a Russian flag on his uniform stands guard near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant outside the Russian-controlled town of Enerhodar in Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine, August 4, 2022.

Alexander Ermoshenko | Reuters

The situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine, occupied by Russian forces since March, continues to raise concerns.

Ukrainian and Western officials have warned against Russian “false flag” actions, whereby Russian forces could stage an attack and blame it on Ukrainian forces as justification for stepping up the action.

“Russia is likely prepared to exploit any Ukrainian military activity near the ZNPP for propaganda purposes,” the UK MoD wrote in its Daily Intelligence Update on Twitter.

“While Russia maintains a military occupation of ZNPP, the main risks to reactor operations are likely to remain disruption of reactor cooling systems, damage to its emergency power supply, or worker errors operating under pressure. “, adds the message.

—Natasha Turak

UK announces $64m package of drones and vagrant ammunition for Ukraine

The UK has announced a new £54 million ($64 million) arms package for the Ukrainian Armed Forces, which will include 2,000 drones and vagrancy ammunition, according to a government statement.

The package includes 850 hand-launched Black Hornet micro-drones, “which are specifically designed for use in cities and towns, and are deployed to detect approaching enemy forces,” the statement said.

Military personnel can learn to fly these drones, which are smaller than a mobile phone, in less than 20 minutes, according to the UK government.

The UK is also set to send mine hunting vehicles to Ukraine to enable it to detect Russian mines in its waters. Over the next few weeks, Ukrainian soldiers undergoing training in the UK will learn how to use them in British waters. The UK is also expanding its training program for Ukrainian troops.

—Natasha Turak

Five vessels carrying a total of 85,110 metric tons of agricultural products are expected to leave Ukrainian ports

The Sierra Leone-flagged freighter Razoni carrying Ukrainian grain is seen in the Black Sea off Kilyos, near Istanbul, Turkey, August 3, 2022.

Mehmet Caliskan | Reuters

The organization overseeing the export of agricultural products from Ukraine said five ships carrying grain and other crops were allowed to leave Ukrainian ports on Thursday.

The Ascanios vessel is carrying 58,510 metric tons of corn and is destined for Germany. The Mohamad ship carries 11,000 tons of wheat and is destined for Israel. The ship named Bellis will also visit Israel and is carrying 6,000 tons of soybeans. The Oris Sofi ship carries 5,900 tonnes of sunflower oil to Turkey. Another ship, the Zelek Star, is also bound for Turkey and carries 3,700 tonnes of peas.

In total, the five vessels carry 85,110 metric tons of grain and food products under the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

—Amanda Macias

Europe will not be blackmailed into ‘handing Ukraine on a silver platter to Putin’, says former US ambassador

Europe will not be blackmailed into ‘offering Ukraine on a silver platter to Putin’, former US Ambassador to Ukraine John Herbst said when asked if the Russia’s weaponization of energy flows via Nord Stream would shatter Europe’s resolve to continue supporting Ukraine.

“I believe Europe as a whole will continue to support Ukraine and not be blackmailed,” said Herbst, who is now senior director of the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center. “And I believe they will make it through the winter, but with some difficulty.”

Herbst added that “the end will come sooner” for Russia’s war in Ukraine if the Biden administration sends more advanced weapons to Ukraine and in greater quantities.

“The United States and the West must supply arms to Ukraine as long as Moscow is waging a war of aggression in Ukraine, and that may take many years.”

— Lee Ying Shan

Russia plans to hold ‘fake referendums’ to show Ukrainians want to join Russia, White House warns

White House National Security Council Strategic Communications Coordinator John Kirby speaks at the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, July 27, 2022.

Jonathan Ernest | Reuters

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said US intelligence is indicating Russia may attempt to hold “fake referendums” as early as this week.

Kirby told reporters that the referendums are Russia’s way of trying to show that the Ukrainian people want to be part of Russia. Kirby said the United States believed referendums could begin in Kharkiv, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, Lugansk and Donetsk.

Kirby added that the Biden administration will not view the referendum result as legitimate.

“Since they obviously have a hard time making geographic gains inside Ukraine, they’re trying to do it through false political means,” Kirby told reporters.

“We expect Russia to try to manipulate the results of these referendums, to falsely claim that the Ukrainian people want to join Russia,” he added.

—Amanda Macias

15 people reportedly killed in Ukraine Independence Day attack

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stands in Independence Square as he congratulates Ukrainians on Independence Day, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine Ukraine, in this photo posted August 24, 2022.

Ukrainian Presidential Press Service | via Reuters

Ukraine’s president said Russian forces launched a rocket attack on a railway station in central Ukraine on the country’s independence day, killing at least 15 people and injuring around 50.

The deadly strike came after President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned in recent days that the Russians might “try to do something particularly nasty, something particularly cruel” this week.

Wednesday is a national holiday in Ukraine commemorating the country’s declaration of independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. It also marks the six-month mark of the war against Russia.

— Associated Press

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