A prison, holding Ukrainian POWs, shelled in the Russian proxy area of the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine, July 29, 2022 (AP)
Source: Institute for the Study of War
UPDATE 1708 GMT:
The Red Cross has not yet received permission to visit the prison in Olenivka, in the Russian proxy area of eastern Ukraine, where more than 40 Ukrainian prisoners of war were killed by shelling on Friday.
The statement undermines the Russian Defense Ministry’s claim that it has invited experts from the UN and Red Cross to examine the deaths “in the interests of conducting an objective investigation”.
UPDATE 1455 GMT:
Russia has launched an intense bombardment on the city of Bakhmut near the frontline in the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine, killing at least one person and wounding others.
UPDATE 0930 GMT:
Russian shelling has killed the founder and owner of the Ukrainian agriculture company Nibulon, Oleksiy Vadatursky, and his wife.
The couple were slain in their home overnight in the ongoing Russian attacks on the port city of Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine.
Nibulon is based in the city. Specializing in the production and export of wheat, barley, and corn, it has its own fleet and shipyard.
Three people were injured in the latest Russian assault, described by Mayor Oleksandr Senkevych as “probably the most powerful of the entire time” of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. A hotel and school buildings were damaged.
On Friday, a Russian strike killed seven people and wounded 15 near a bus stop.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Vadatursky’s death is “a great loss for all of Ukraine”. He said the businessman was building a modern grain market with a network of transhipment terminals and elevators.
UPDATE 0650 GMT:
Russia is smuggling gold out of Sudan to finance its invasion of Ukraine, a CNN investigation has found.
CNN documents at least 16 flights in 18 months smuggling the gold. “Multiple Sudanese sources” said about one ton was found on a Russian cargo plane — claiming to export cookies — in February.
The investigation concluded Russia promised support of Sudan’s military leadership in return for the smuggling flights.
The operation is being overseen by Yevgeny Prigozhin, “Putin’s Chef”, who control a network of companies including the mercenary Wagner Group. The US-sanctioned company Meroe Gold, a subsidiary of Prigozhin’s M-invest, extracts gold while providing weapons and training to the Sudanese army and paramilitaries.
UPDATE 0631 GMT:
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has urged civilians to evacuate Ukrainian-controlled areas of the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine, as Russian forces try to seize more territory.
“Leave, we will help,” Zelensky said. “At this stage of the war, terror is the main weapon of Russia.”
Ukrainian officials say between 200,000 and 220,000 civilians, including more than 50,000 children, are still on the Donetsk frontline.
“They need to be evacuated, you cannot put them in mortal danger in the winter without heating, light, without the ability to keep them warm,” Kyiv’s Ministry of Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories said in a statement.
UPDATE 0622 GMT:
A drone has struck the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, injuring six people, says the governor of Russian-occupied Sevastopol in Crimea.
Mikhail Razvozzhaev said all events for Navy Day in the city have been cancelled.
ORIGINAL ENTRY: Citing war crimes and shelling of a prison that killed more than 40 Ukrainian prisoners of war, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has called for Russia to be declared a “terrorist state”.
In his nightly address to the nation, Zelenskiy noted “many signals from different countries condemning the Russian terrorist act in Olenivka”, the site of the prison in the Russia proxy area of the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine.
All evidence of this crime committed by the occupiers will be collected. Everyone is guilty – who approved, who organized, who blasted these people, who knew about it – they all will be found. But still, this is not enough now.
There must be legal steps on the part of the world community against the terrorist state. Condemnation at the level of political rhetoric is not enough for this mass murder….
Formal legal recognition of Russia as a terrorist state, in particular, recognition by the United States Department of State, is needed not as a political gesture, but as an effective defense of the free world. This decision will automatically make it difficult for the terrorist state to exist, and will automatically cut various political and business ties that Russia would maintain otherwise.
Officials of the Russian proxy “Donetsk People’s Republic” declared early Friday that the Ukrainian military had attacked their own troops, but produced no evidence.
Ukrainian officials, including Zelenskiy and Foreign Minister, said later in the day that more than 50 POWs had been killed and 130 wounded. The Ukrainian military claimed that Russia carried out the attack “to accuse Ukraine of committing “war crimes”, as well as to hide the torture of prisoners and executions”.
The military noted that the POWs had been transferred to the facility days earlier. It cited intercepted phone conversations between Russian troops, the lack of reported shelling in Olenivka, and the absence of casualties among Russian personnel at the prison.
The Red Cross has requested access to the prison to assess and evacuate the wounded.
“You Can’t Bring People Back to Life”
On Wednesday, the US Senate unanimously passed a non-binding, resolution labelling the Russian State as “terrorist”, citing attacks in Ukraine, Chechnya, Georgia and Syria that resulted “in the deaths of countless innocent men, women and children”.
A group of House Democrats filed a new measure on Thursday which would add Russia to the US list of sponsors of terror. That would trigger more sanctions on Moscow and any country which does business with it.
However, Secretary of State Antony Blinken reportedly opposes the resolution, believing it will close off diplomatic efforts to curb and end the Russian invasion.
In contrast, Latvia called on the European Union to issue the designation of Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism. Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics condemned “the brutal murder of Ukrainian POWs by the Russian Armed Forces in Olenivka and ongoing atrocities committed by Russian troops against Ukraine”.
Russian State company Gazprom cut Latvia’s gas supply on Friday.
Meanwhile, wives of the Ukrainian POWs held by the Russian proxies wait to learn if their husbands have survived. Alina Nesterenko says:
At the moment, my husband is not on the lists [of casualties]a and I believe that he is alive But lots of the guys are dead, lots of the guys are injured in Olenivka….
It’s unclear what happened but you can’t bring people back to life.