Latest news on Russia and the war in Ukraine

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Community in Chernihiv region experiences ‘mass shelling’

Ukrainian bombers carry unexploded ordnance during mine clearance operations in the village of Yahidne, in the liberated areas of the Chernihiv region on June 7, 2022 during the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Sergei Supinsky | AFP | Getty Images

According to a Ukrainian official, Russian troops have launched a massive shelling campaign against the Novhorod-Siverskyi community in the Chernihiv region of northeastern Ukraine, which borders Russia.

Vyacheslav Chaus, the chief of Chernihiv’s regional military administration, said on Telegram this morning that there have been “more than 70 explosions” since 8 a.m. local time, which he believes were likely caused by enemy artillery on the outskirts of a village, Kamyanska. Sloboda, before another village was targeted, with nearly 60 explosions reported.

Civilian buildings have been damaged, he said, but so far there have been no casualties. Chernihiv and the surrounding region were the scene of heavy fighting at the start of the Russian invasion in February and March, but the epicenter of the fighting soon shifted to eastern and southern Ukraine.

— Holly Ellyatt

Brittney Griner Defense Team to Appeal Russian Drug Conviction

US Women’s National Basketball Association (NBA) basketball player Brittney Griner, who was detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport and later charged with illegal possession of cannabis, awaits sentence in a defendant’s cage before a court hearing in Khimki, outside Moscow, on August 4, 2022.

Yevgenia Novozhenina | AFP | Getty Images

The defense team of Brittney Griner, the American basketball star who was sentenced to nine years in Russia for drug possession, has appealed her conviction for possession and trafficking of narcotics, Griner’s attorney Maria Blagovolina told Reuters on Monday.

Griner, who had played for a Russian club, was arrested on February 17 at a Moscow airport after vape cartridges containing cannabis were found in her luggage.

She pleaded guilty to the charges, but said she made a “honest mistake” by entering Russia with cannabis oil, which is illegal in the country. She was convicted on August 4.

The US government says Griner was wrongly detained. It has offered to trade her for Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer serving a 25-year prison sentence in the United States.

Reuters

Russia likely to be in ‘advanced planning’ stage for Donetsk . referendum

A DPR army fighter is seen in front of the tank as Russian attacks continue on May 4, 2022 in Mariupol, Ukraine.

Leon Klein | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Russia is likely to be in the “advanced planning” stage for a referendum in Ukraine’s pro-Russian “Donetsk People’s Republic” on whether or not to join Russia.

It has been widely reported and believed by Western officials and experts that Russia would attempt to bring the breakaway region (and the adjacent self-proclaimed “People’s Republic” in Luhansk, also in the Donbas in eastern Ukraine) into the Russian Federation at some point. point.

Russia has “defend” these separatist regions, which it has supported since 2014, and made several attempts to “Russify”, such as handing out Russian passports, as an excuse to invade Ukraine. Moscow has said that the “liberation” of these areas in the Donbas is the main objective of the war and that its forces are occupying much of Donetsk and are trying to penetrate Luhansk.

The British Ministry of Defense said on Monday that “Russia is likely in advanced planning stages to hold a referendum, although it is unclear whether the final decision to proceed with a vote has already been taken.”

It noted that on August 11, Russian media reported that Denis Pushilin, head of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), had said the date of a referendum on the DPR’s accession to Russia would be announced after the “complete liberation of the DPR”. .”

“Earlier, in June 2022, investigative journalists published evidence of a DPR planning strategy to hold such a referendum and to ensure that at least 70% of the vote was in favor of joining Russia,” the UK ministry said, adding that “The Kremlin will likely see the military’s failure to occupy the whole of Donetsk Oblast thus far as a setback to its maximalist objectives in Ukraine.”

Suggestions for referenda being planned in Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine, or in the pro-Russian separatist regions, have been widely seen as bogus attempts to tighten Russia’s hold on Ukrainian territory and have been criticized by the Ukrainian authorities and the international community.

— Holly Ellyatt

Wagner private military group base destroyed in Luhansk, official says

Ukrainian soldiers reportedly destroyed a base used by the shadowy Russian private military company known as the Wagner Group, or Wagner PMC, in Ukraine’s Luhansk region.

Serhiy Haidai, the head of Luhansk’s Regional Military Administration, said in a Facebook post translated Monday by the Ukrainian state news agency Ukrinform that the country’s armed forces “successfully attacked the enemy’s headquarters. This time in Popasna, where a PMC Wagner base was destroyed.”

The number of deaths is being clarified, Haidai said. The private military company Wagner is a Russian state-backed paramilitary group widely seen as a network of mercenaries believed to have close ties to President Putin, though the Kremlin denies any such ties.

— Holly Ellyatt

Putin wants to expand ties with North Korea

Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un held talks in 2019.

Alexander Zemlianichenko | Afp | Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin has reportedly sent a friendship message to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, expressing his wish for Russia and North Korea to deepen relations.

North Korea’s state media KCNA reported on Sunday that Putin had sent the North Korean leader a congratulatory telegram on Monday ahead of North Korea’s Liberation Day, expressing his will to “continue to expand comprehensive and constructive bilateral relations” between the to land. .

Deepening such ties, Putin wrote, would help “strengthen the security and stability of the Korean Peninsula and the Northeast Asian region.”

Kim then reportedly sent a reply to Putin noting that a North Korean-Russian friendship had been forged with the victory over Japan during World War II.

The “strategic and tactical cooperation, support and solidarity between the two countries,” Kim said, united them against what he called the “military threat and provocation of enemy forces and wayward and arbitrary practices”.

The North Korean leader did not provide more details about which countries he alluded to, but North Korea regularly criticizes the West.

A secretive, closed and authoritarian country, North Korea is one of the few states to have openly supported Russia’s war in Ukraine and officially recognized the independence of two breakaway pro-Russian regions in eastern Ukraine.

— Holly Ellyatt

West calls on Russia to withdraw troops from Ukrainian nuclear power plant

A soldier with a Russian flag on his uniform stands guard at the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, outside the Russian-controlled city of Enerhodar in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya region, on August 4, 2022.

Alexander Ermochenko | Reuters

The US, UK, EU and other countries have called on Russia to immediately withdraw its forces from the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant and all of Ukraine.

“We urge the Russian Federation to immediately withdraw its armed forces and all other unauthorized personnel from the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, its immediate environs and all of Ukraine, so that the operator and the Ukrainian authorities can assume their sovereign responsibilities within the internationally recognized borders of Ukraine and the legitimate operational personnel can carry out their duties without outside interference, threats or unacceptably harsh working conditions,” said a joint statement published Sunday on the website of the EU Delegation to International Organizations in Vienna.

The statement, endorsed by 42 countries, said Russia’s control of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, “poses a great threat” to international principles regarding nuclear safety and security, as set out by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

“The deployment of Russian military personnel and weapons in the nuclear facility is unacceptable and disregards the safety, security and security principles adhered to by all members of the IAEA,” the statement said.

The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe and there was widespread consternation when Russian forces captured the unit on March 4, with reports of military equipment and ammunition being placed there.

Russian and Ukrainian forces have accused each other of shelling the power plant in recent weeks, raising fears of a catastrophic incident at the plant.

— Holly Ellyatt

Ship with 23,000 tons of wheat prepares to leave Ukraine port

Another grain ship is preparing to leave Ukraine on Monday, this time for Ethiopia.

Ukraine’s Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said on Facebook on Sunday that more than 23,000 tons of wheat had been loaded onto the “Brave Commander” bulk carrier in the port of Pivdenny, and that the ship would leave the dock on Monday.

“Today we see how the initiative for safe transportation of grain and agricultural products, signed in Istanbul, works. On Friday, the Brave Commander, a ship chartered by the UN World Food Program (WFP), arrived at the port of Pivdenny for Now we can see that the ship is finally preparing for its departure, carrying more than 23,000 tons of wheat to the people of Ethiopia,” the minister said.

Grain ships have begun to leave Ukraine for the time being following an agreement between Russia and Ukraine, brokered by the UN and Turkey, to allow ships carrying vital commodities such as wheat to leave Ukrainian ports following a blockade of such shipping during the war that caused a rise in global food prices.

— Holly Ellyatt

Foreign fighters face trial in Ukraine’s pro-Russian ‘republic’

Three British citizens, one Swedish and one Croatian who fought for the Ukrainian armed forces, are expected to appear before a criminal trial on Monday.

“The trial is scheduled for August 15 and will take place behind closed doors,” Russia’s state-run Interfax news agency said last week, citing a representative of the court.

Swedish citizen Matthias Gustavsson, Croatian Vekoslav Prebeg and British citizens John Harding, Andrew Hill and Dylan Healy will face the “High Court of the Donetsk People’s Republic,” a pro-Russian breakaway region in the Donbas River in eastern Europe. Ukraine.

If the court — widely seen in the West as a kangaroo court — finds the defendants guilty, they could face the death penalty.

— Holly Ellyatt

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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