Ukraine girds for Independence Day attacks on war’s six-month mark

  • Zelenskiy warns of possible ‘brutal strikes’ by Russia
  • Aug. 24 holiday marks six months since invasion
  • U.N. nuclear body could visit Ukraine plant in days

August 24, 2022

Ukrainian servicemen inspect a tank as they visit an exhibition of destroyed Russian military vehicles and weapons, dedicated to the upcoming country’s Independence Day, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in the centre of Kyiv.

KYIV, Aug 24 (Reuters) – Ukrainians mark 31 years since they broke free from the Russia-dominated Soviet Union on Wednesday in what is certain to be a day of defiance against the Kremlin’s six-month-old war to subdue the country once again.

Ukraine’s Independence Day falls on the six-month anniversary of Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion and will be marked by subdued celebrations under the threat of attacks from land, air and sea.

Public gatherings are banned in the capital Kyiv and a curfew is in force in the frontline eastern city of Kharkiv, which has weathered months of shelling.

The government laid out the carcasses of burnt-out Russian tanks and armoured vehicles like war trophies in central Kyiv in a show of defiance. read more

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy warned late on Tuesday of the possibility of “repugnant Russian provocations” and authorities urged people to take air raid warnings seriously.

“We are fighting against the most terrible threat to our statehood and also at a time when we have achieved the greatest level of national unity,” Zelenskiy said in an evening address.

Earlier on Tuesday, he told representatives of about 60 states and international organisations attending a virtual summit on Crimea that Kyiv would drive Russian forces out of the peninsular by any means necessary, without consulting other countries beforehand. read more

The war has killed thousands of civilians, forced over a third of Ukraine’s 41 million people from their homes, left cities in ruins and shaken global markets. It is largely at a standstill with no immediate prospect of peace talks.

In addition to Crimea which it annexed in 2014, Russia has expanded its control to areas of the south including the Black Sea and Sea of Azov coasts, and chunks of the eastern Donbas region comprising the provinces of Luhansk and Donetsk.

Ukraine’s armed forces have said almost 9,000 military personnel have been killed in the war so far.

Russia has not publicised its losses but U.S. intelligence estimates 15,000 killed in what Moscow calls a “special military operation” to “denazify” Ukraine. Kyiv says the invasion is an unprovoked act of imperial aggression.

Ukraine broke free of the Soviet Union in August 1991 after the failed putsch in Moscow and an overwhelming majority of Ukrainians voted in a referendum to declare independence.

NUCLEAR PLANT CONCERN

International Atomic Energy Agency chief Rafael Grossi said the U.N. nuclear watchdog hoped to gain access to the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in the southern Ukraine within days. read more

Both sides have accused the other of firing missiles and artillery dangerously close to the plant, Europe’s biggest, raising fears of a nuclear catastrophe.

“I’m continuing to consult very actively and intensively with all parties,” Grossi said in a statement on Tuesday. “The mission is expected to take place within the next few days if ongoing negotiations succeed.”

Pro-Moscow forces took over the plant soon after the invasion began but it is still operated by Ukrainian technicians. The United Nations has called for the area to be demilitarised.

Russia on Tuesday accused Ukraine of shelling the plant with artillery and attacking it with guided munitions and a drone, drawing a denial from Ukraine’s U.N. Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya.

“Nobody who is at least conscious can imagine that Ukraine would target a nuclear power plant at tremendous risk of nuclear catastrophe and on its own territory,” Kyslytsya said at an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting in New York called by Russia.

The United States, which has sent $10.6 billion in security assistance to Ukraine, will announce a new package of about $3 billion as early as Wednesday, a U.S. official said. read more

Advanced U.S. missile systems appear to have helped Ukraine strike deep behind the frontlines in recent months, taking out ammunition dumps and command posts.

In the latest mysterious fire at a Russian military facility, Russian officials said ammunition stored in southern Russia near the border with Ukraine spontaneously combusted on Tuesday.

Vyacheslav Gladkov, the governor of Belgorod region, blamed hot weather for the fire, drawing ridicule from Ukraine.

“In a few months we will find out whether Russian ammunition can explode because of the cold,” Ukraine’s defence ministry said in a tweet.

“The five main causes of sudden explosions in Russia are: winter, spring, summer, autumn and smoking.”

https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/ukraine-girds-more-violence-independence-day-wars-six-month-mark-2022-08-23/

3 comments

  1. It is right to prepare for the worst when you are fighting such a decrepit, evil, unmoral enemy like mafia land. However, I think that the hoopla about today, August 24, is like it was on May 9th, when the world thought that hell and high water would come over Ukraine. That day fizzled by like almost any other day of war. Back then, mafia land’s cockroach army was still much stronger than today. Today, it must rely on air defense missiles to use as ground-to-ground weapons, ancient tanks, convicts and slaves as soldiers and so forth. So, what “special surprises” will mafia land present Ukraine today, on its special occasion? Not much…

    “Vyacheslav Gladkov, the governor of Belgorod region, blamed hot weather for the fire, drawing ridicule from Ukraine.
    “In a few months we will find out whether Russian ammunition can explode because of the cold,”

    When it’s cold, the cockroaches will blame its blazing ammo dumps on freeze burn.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I agree was better to prepare and be safe today, but also agree that not much will come of ruZZian bluster.
      I could see them saying that Re: freezer burn 🤣
      U.S. “intelligence” was a rather low guesstiment in this article for deorcification.

      Liked by 2 people

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