Tourists at the Imatrankoski Rapids in eastern Finland (Yahoo!)
Source: Institute for the Study of War
UPDATE 1645 GMT:
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has rejected the proposal for European Union countries to bar visas for Russian travellers (see Original Entry).
After a meeting with leaders of Nordic countries in Oslo, Scholz said:
What is important for us is that we understand there are a lot of people fleeing from Russia because they disagree with the Russian regime. All the decisions we take should not make it more complicated to leave the country, for getting away from the leadership and the dictatorship in Russia.
Scholz’s rejection was even more pointed because Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin, who has called for the ban, was at the meeting.
UPDATE 1634 GMT:
Russia’s imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny says he has been put in solitary confinement.
In a Twitter thread, Navalny said he is in a “special housing unit” after he tried to create a labor union in the prison.
12/17 The window is tiny, but the walls are too thick for any air flow – even the cobwebs don't move. There's no ventilation. At night you lie there and feel like a fish on the shore. The iron bunk is fastened to the wall, like in a train, but the lever that lowers it is outside.
— Alexey Navalny (@navalny) August 15, 2022
He added that he has been threatened with the cancellation of the September visit with his family, allowed every four months, and a “permanent resident” in solitary unless “I reconsider my attitude”.
UPDATE 1406 GMT:
The latest Russian bombardment has killed at least three civilians and wounded 13 across the Donetsk oblast in eastern Ukraine, according to regional officials.
Dozens of residential buildings and civilian infrastructure were damaged.
UPDATE 0704 GMT:
Russian and Ukrainian sources say Ukraine’s forces have struck Russia’s Wagner Group mercenaries in occupied Popasna in the east of the country.
Russian military bloggers said there were significant casualties. Some asserted that Ukraine used a US-supplied HIMARS medium-range rocket system for the strike.
Wagner’s mercenaries have assumed a prominent role in Russia’s offensive in the Donbas, amid heavy losses of Russian troops.
Alec Toler of the investigative site Bellingcat notes that Russian social media may have helped the Ukrainian military target the Wagner base, soon after Wagner founder, “Putin’s Chef” Yevgeny Prigozhin, may have been in the headquarters.
A few days ago, the Grey Zone (RSOTM) Telegram channel posted photos of a visit to the so-called Wagner HQ in the Donbas (Popasna). Prigozhin may have been there.
— Aric Toler (@AricToler) August 14, 2022
UPDATE 0657 GMT:
Amid sanctions on Moscow, the Philippines is switching military purchases from Moscow to deals with the US.
Having cancelled a $227m agreement for 16 Mi-17 Russian military transport helicopters in June, Manila wants to buy heavy-lift Chinook helicopters from the US.
The Philippines Ambassador to the US, Jose Manuel Romualdez, told journalists:
This cancellation of this contract is precipitated mainly by the war in Ukraine. While there are sanctions expected to come our way, from the United States and western countries, obviously it is not in our interest to continue and pursue this contract.
The Philippines Goveernment is pursuing recover recover its $38 million down payment for the Mi-17 helicopters.
UPDATE 0623 GMT:
A statement from 42 countries has supported the UN’s call on Russia to demilitarize the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine.
The statement urged the immediate withdrawal of Russian forces, who occupied the complex in the first days of their February 24 invasion: “[Deployment] disregards the safety, security, and safeguards principles that all members of the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] have committed to respect.”
Signatories include the European Union, the US, Japan, and the UK.
On Friday, Russia rejected the appeal of UN Secretary-General António Guterres that Zaporizhzhia “should not be used as part of any military operations”.
Ukrainian officials said Russian forces fired six rounds at the nearby city of Enerhodar on Sunday morning, killing a nuclear plant employee.
ORIGINAL ENTRY: Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has called on Russia’s citizens to actively oppose Vladimir Putin’s invasion.
In his nightly address to the nation, Zelenskiy spoke about the rising movement within Europe to deny visas to Russians.
When evil takes on such proportions, people’s silence approaches the level of complicity. And the rejection of the real fight against evil assists it.
Therefore, if you have Russian citizenship and you are silent, it means that you are not fighting, it means that you are supporting it. And no matter where you are – both on the territory of Russia and abroad — your voice should sound in support of Ukraine, and therefore against this war.
Over the past week, momentum has built within the EU for the visa restrictions. Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas summarized last Tuesday, “Visiting #Europe is a privilege, not a human right….Time to end tourism from Russia now.”
Six European Union countries — Estonia, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia — now support the restrictions.
However, Germany, France, and the Netherlands are against the proposal, Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Piotr Wawrzyk said on Saturday.
Putin Reaches Out to North Korea’s Kim
Facing international isolation and economic sanctions, Vladimir Putin has reached out to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Putin, writing Kim on North Korea’s Liberation Day, said the two countries will “expand the comprehensive and constructive bilateral relations with common efforts”, reported North Korean State news agency KCNA.
Putin declared that closer ties will help strengthen the security and stability of the Korean Peninsula and northeast Asia.
Kim has reportedly written Putin about “strategic and tactical cooperation, support and solidarity” in common efforts to frustrate threats and provocations from hostile military forces.
North Korea, Syria, and Russia are the only states to recognize Russian proxies in eastern Ukraine, the “Donetsk People’s Republic” and “Luhansk People’s Republic”.
Moscow has also stepped up contact with the Taliban through the Russian Ambassador in Kabul.
“The Taliban, no matter how you treat them, is a reality that cannot be avoided. Therefore, we must work with them where it suits our interests and where it is required to solve the tasks facing Russia,” Dmitry Zhirnov said in an interview.
He said talks will begin in Moscow with a delegation of the Afghan Industry aand Trade Ministry. Discussions will include the supply of oil, grain, and sunflower oil.