Zelensky calls for the evacuation of Donetsk to escape "Russian terrorism"

Zelensky calls for the evacuation of Donetsk to escape “Russian terrorism”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on Saturday, in a video message, for residents to evacuate the Donetsk region in the east of the country to escape “Russian terrorism”, as its cities are subjected to bloody bombardments.

“A government decision has been made for a mandatory evacuation of the Donetsk region. Please, evacuate” the region, he said. “At this point in the war, terrorism is Russia’s main weapon,” he added.

Russian strikes on the region’s cities cause almost every day civilian casualties.

The former Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister, Irina Vereshchuk, announced the mandatory evacuation of all residents of the Donetsk region, one of the two administrative regions of the Donbass Basin. She justified the decision by destroying the gas networks and the absence of heating in the coming winter in the region.

On the other hand, Ukraine announced, on Saturday, that it had asked the International Committee of the Red Cross and the United Nations to visit its soldiers who were captured by the Russian forces, a day after the killing of about fifty of them in the bombing.

Zelensky described the bombing of a prison in Olinivka, in the east of the country, on Friday as a “deliberate Russian war crime”, calling again to recognize Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.

Ukrainian human rights official, Dmytro Lubinetsk, told national television on Saturday that he had asked the International Committee of the Red Cross, which had supervised the withdrawal of fighters from the Azovstal plant, to go to Olinevka. But he made it clear that the ICRC had not “until this moment” obtained permission from the Russians.

In his video address Friday, Zelensky put the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross on their responsibilities.

“When the defenders of Azovstal left the factory, the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross acted as guarantors of the life and health of our soldiers,” he said. “Now the guarantors must respond. They must protect the lives of hundreds of Ukrainian prisoners of war.”

“where they are”

The Ukrainian war continues

The European Union condemned “in the strongest terms the atrocities committed by the Russian armed forces and their followers”, in a statement issued by its Foreign Minister Josep Borrell, in reference to the bombing of the prison and accusations of torture against Ukrainian prisoners held by the Russian forces.

“These inhuman and brutal acts constitute serious violations of the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocol, and amount to war crimes,” the statement added.

In a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, France expressed its “shock at reports of murders and acts of torture committed against Ukrainian prisoners of war, in the Olinivka detention center, under the protection of the Russian Federation,” adding that those responsible should be “accountable.”

Tensions escalated over the fate of thousands of Ukrainian prisoners of war held by Russians or separatists in Donbass after the Russian embassy in Britain published a tweet on Friday related specifically to the Ukrainian Azov battalion.

“The Azov fighters deserve to be executed, but not with a firing squad, but by hanging. They are not real soldiers. They deserve a humiliating death,” the tweet read.

For his part, Andrey Yermak, director of Zelensky’s office, responded via Telegram, saying that “Russia is a terrorist state.”

“There is no difference between Russian diplomats calling for the execution of Ukrainian prisoners of war and Russian forces doing it in Olinevka. They are all complicit in these war crimes and must be held accountable,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko said on Twitter.

“We consider the Olinivka attack an act of public execution committed by Russia without any accountability,” the acting commander of the Azov battalion, Mikita Natochi, said in a video clip.

He added that those responsible for this “will be found where they are” and Ukraine as a country “will punish them in a fair manner.”

The Azov Battalion stood out in defense of the southeastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, holding out for weeks holed up in the Azovstal industrial complex. Eventually, some 2,500 Ukrainian fighters surrendered to the Russian army in May, and Moscow informed it would arrest them at Olynyivka.

The Russian Investigative Committee accused the Ukrainian forces of “shooting at the prison where members of the Azov Battalion are being held, using American missiles from the “HIMARS” system that the United States delivered to Kiev.

Wagner Group

The name of the armed security group is associated with conflicts in Ukraine, Africa and the Middle East

The name of the armed security group is associated with conflicts in Ukraine, Africa and the Middle East

Russian television broadcast scenes that it said were charred buildings and destroyed iron bed structures, and camouflaged images of what appeared to be bodies.

But Ukraine has denied targeting civilian infrastructure or prisoners of war.

The Ukrainian military accused Russian forces of “carrying out targeted missile strikes” on the detention facility, which it said was used “to accuse Ukraine of war crimes as well as to conceal the torture and execution of prisoners”.

Subsequently, the Ukrainian General Staff quoted intelligence that the attack “was carried out by mercenaries from the Wagner Group” and “was not coordinated with the leadership” of the Russian Defense Ministry.

As for the Ukrainian human rights official, Dmytro Lubinetsk, he confirmed that, according to the analysis of the Russian video, the only element available at this stage, “the explosion occurred inside” the barracks and not after bombing.

In terms of military operations, the Ukrainian authorities announced on Saturday that Russian bombing had hit a number of towns in the south and east of the country, killing at least one person in Mykolaiv and another in Bakhmut.

The rescue service in the Donetsk region said, “A body was found after the bombing at night in the railway workshops. It is likely that two more people were under the rubble.”

In Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second city, three S-300 missiles hit a school, setting it on fire, said the city’s mayor, Igor Terekhov. He added that the main building was destroyed, and posted pictures of the burning facility on Telegram.

gas and grains

Grain harvest piling up in Ukraine

Grain harvest piling up in Ukraine

On Saturday, Russia again reduced gas supplies to the West “due to a violation of the terms of its delivery,” the Russian gas giant Gazprom announced Saturday in a statement on Telegram.

The announcement was made as Gazprom significantly reduced deliveries of Russian gas to Europe via the Nord Stream pipeline this week, citing the need for maintenance of one of the turbines.

Russia twice reduced the volume of its shipments in June, stressing that the pipeline could not function normally without a turbine that was repaired in Canada and did not return to Moscow due to sanctions imposed by the Westerners in the wake of the Russian attack on Ukraine.

Since then, Germany and Canada have agreed to return the equipment to Russia, but the turbine has not yet been delivered.

With regard to the shipment of grain stuck in Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion, it is scheduled to resume exports “in the coming days,” according to Kyiv.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Infrastructures reported that 17 ships were loaded with grain in Chornomorsk and Odessa, and that 10 of them were ready to set sail.

Ukraine, which was one of the world’s largest grain exporters before the war, says it seeks to export 20 million tons of its grain, worth about $10 billion, under the plan.

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