Ukrainian servicemen unload a plane with US Javelin anti-tank missiles at Kyiv’s Boryspil Airport, February 11,2022 (Sergey Supinsky/AP/Getty)

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Wednesday’s Coverage: Donetsk Residents Urged to Evacuate as Ukrainians Prepare for Russian Assault

Source: Institute for the Study of War


Ukraine forces raise the national flag on Zmiinyi (Snake) Island in the western Black Sea, after the withdrawal of Russian occupiers earlier this week.


US basketball player Brittney Griner, detained in Russia a week before Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, has pleaded guilty to drugs charges and faces up to 10 years in prison.

Griner was seized at the Sheremetyevo airport near Moscow with authorities claiming she was smuggling hashish oil in vape cigarettes.

Griner said in court, “I’d like to plead guilty, your honour. But there was no intent. I didn’t want to break the law….I’d like to give my testimony later. I need time to prepare.”

Griner has written to President Joe Biden to help with her release, saying, “I am terrified I might be here forever.”


A Russian missile has hit a tanker, with 500 tons of diesel fuel, drifting in the Black Sea, says the Ukrainian military.

The Russians fired two anti-ship KH-31 missiles, with one hitting the Moldovan-flagged Millennial Spirit.

The ship was also struck by a missile in the early days of the invasion, wounding two of the Russian crew. Since then, the ship has been drifting unmanned.

Ukraine’s military said the ship is an “environmental time bomb” with “probably the remainder of the cargo…burning”.


Pursuing their offensive against the Donetsk oblast in eastern Ukraine, Russian forces have caused casualties in a missile strike on the center of the city of Kramatorsk.

At least one person was killed and six injured. Donetsk Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said six buildings were damaged, including a hotel and a residential high-rise building.

Mayor Oleksandr Goncharenko said rescue work is underway. He urged residents to stay in shelters: “The danger is not over.”

Kramatorsk was the site of one of the deadliest Russian missile strikes during the invasion, with 57 civilians killed in a railway station in early April.

Slovyansk Mayor Vadym Lyakh the city is being shelled with injuries to some residents.

Seven civilians were killed and two injured by Russian attacks in Donetsk on Wednesday (see 0805 GMT).


Turkish authorities have released a Russian ship carrying grain seized from southern Ukraine.

The Zhibek Zholy was carrying about 700,000 tons of wheat, hailed by Russian occupation official Yevgeny Balitsky as the first shipment from the port of Berdyansk. It was held in the Turkish post of Karasu, amid a letter from Ukraine’s Prosecutor General to the Turkish Justice Minister asked for Russian vessels with stolen grain to be impounded.

After the Zhibek Zholy was detained, Balitsky said the grain will be taken to Iraq, Iran, and Saudi Arabia.

Ukraine Foreign Ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko tweeted:


The speaker of Russia’s lower house of parliament, the Duma, has threatened to “claim back” Alaska from the US if the Biden Administration freezes or seizes Russian assets over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Let America always remember: there’s a piece of territory, Alaska,” Vyacheslav Volodin said. “When they try to manage our resources abroad, let them think before they act that we, too, have something to take back.”

He noted that deputy speaker Pyotr Tolstoy has proposed holding a referendum among Alaskans to join Russia.

The US Government purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867 for $7.2 million. The territory became the US’s 50th state, and its largest in area, in 1959.


Ukraine’s Health Minister Viktor Liashko says Russian forces have destroyed more than 120 healthcare facilities, killing at least 14 medical workers, during Vladimir Putin’s invasion.

Liashko said another 817 healthcare facilities have been damaged, and 43 pharmacies and 85 ambulances have been destroyed. The government will have to spend at least $1.2 billion for repairs and restoration of services.


Russia earned $24 billion from energy exports to China and India between March and May — more than double the $11 billion from the two countries between March and May 2021.

China spent $18.9 billion on Russian oil, gas, and coal. India paid $5.1 billion — five times the amount of the same period a year ago.


As Russia seeks to overrun Ukrainian-held areas of the Donetsk oblast in eastern Ukraine, its forces killed another seven civilians on Wednesday.

Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said three people were slain in Toretsk, two in Avdiivka, one in Kodema, and one in Siversk.


Continuing its assault on Ukrainian food supplies and exports, Russia has carried out strikes on grain silos in the Odesa region in southern Ukraine overnight.

Local officials two rockets destroyed two agricultural hangars: “About 35 tonnes of grain were stored in one of them.” There were no casualties.

The Ukraine military said it repelled Russian attacks near Bakhmut, including an assault on the village of Myronivka, about 30 km (19 miles) to the southeast, and near the settlement of Holmivskyi, about 20 km (13 miles) to the south.

The Russians also fired two missiles on Snake Island, the strategic position in the Black Sea from which they withdrew earlier this week. A wharf was significantly damaged.


At a joint news conference with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Ireland’s Taoiseach Micheál Martin said Ukraine “belongs to the European Union” and Dublin will support Kyiv “every step of the way”.

Russia’s brutal war against this beautiful, democratic country is a gross violation of international law. It is an affront to everything that Ireland stands for. It cannot and it will not be allowed to stand.

Before he met Zelenskiy, Martin toured towns near Kyiv which had been occupied by Russian troops, who carried out mass killings of residents.


The Russian Parliament has quickly approved two bills giving the Kremlin stricter control of the economy.

The measures require businesses to supply goods to the military, and forcing employees to work nights, weekends, holidays, and overtime.

The bills alluded to supply difficulties amid heavy losses of Russian armored vehicles, warplanes, ships, weapons, and equipment in the invasion of Ukraine.

In the context of operations carried out by the armed forces of the Russian Federation outside of Russia, including on the territory of Ukraine, there is a need to repair weapons, military equipment and provide the armed forces with material and technical means.

UK military intelligence notes that the maneuver enables the Kremlin to free up resources without declaring a full mobilization of the economy: “[It] allows Russia to avoid acknowledging it is engaged in a war or its failure to overcome Ukraine’s military that was outnumbered and outgunned.”

ORIGINAL ENTRY: Expressing optimism about resistance of Russia’s invasion, despite Moscow’s advance in eastern Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy says heavy weapons from western countries are now deployed at “full capacity” on frontlines.

In his nightly video address to the nation, Zelenskiy said the Ukrainian military has targeted Russian warehouses and positions that are “important for logistics”.

Our defenders inflict very noticeable strikes on depots and other spots that are important for the logistics of the occupiers. And this significantly reduces the offensive potential of the Russian army. The losses of the occupiers will only increase every week, as will the difficulty of supplying them.

The President did not cite specific operations. However, his comments come as Ukrainian troops are taking up new defensive lines in the Donetsk oblast in eastern Ukraine, after Russia completed the occupation of all of the neighboring Luhansk region.

Ukrainian forces have also taken some territory in counter-attacks in the south, while partisans are pursuing sabotage operations and assassinations in the Russian-occupied areas of the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia oblasts.

And the Ukrainian military has retaken the strategic Zmiinyi (Snake) Island in the western Black Sea, a significant blow to Russian efforts to control access to all of the coast of southern Ukraine, including the city of Odesa.

The Russians Destroy A University

Zelenskiy noted that Russian missiles levelled much of the Pedagogical University in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second city, including the main building, lecture halls, university museum, and scientific library.

This characterizes the Russian invasion with 100% accuracy. When it comes to the definition of barbarism, this strike fits the bill the most. Only an enemy of civilization and humanity can do such things — fire missiles at a university.

He also cited a Russia cutoff of social networks, messaging services, and YouTube: “Russian forces have blocked any possibility for people to know the truth about what is happening and about our potential, which we are gradually increasing.”

He continued:

Ukrainian forces are currently advancing in several tactical directions, in particular in the south — in the Kherson region, in the Zaporizhzhia region.

We will not give up our land — the entire sovereign territory of Ukraine will be Ukrainian. People should know it. Therefore, if you have an opportunity to speak with people in the south of our country – with Kherson, Henichesk, Berdyansk, Melitopol and other cities and villages – please spread the truth there. Use every opportunity to tell the people in the occupied areas that we remember them and we are fighting for them.

Zelenskiy to Vitol: Stop Shipping Russian Oil

Earlier on Wednesday, Zelenskiy called on the world’s largest independent oil trader, Vitol, to stop shipping Russian exports. He said the company was guilty of “brazen profiteering from blood oil”.

In March, the President asked Geneva-based Vitol to close its business dealings with Russia in March “to cut off the cashflow” that financed “the mass murder of innocent people”.

In April, Vitol said its carriage of Russian oil “will diminish significantly in the second quarter as current term contractual obligations decline” and that it planned to “retreat from the Russian market”. It expected an end to Russian crude by the end of 2022.

But Zelenskiy’s chief economic adviser Oleg Ustenko said, “Those pledges are in tatters.” He asked Vitol to state when it will ship its last barrel of Russian oil and how much oil it will carry up to then.

Vitol chartered shipments of more than 11m barrels of oil through ports in Russia in June.