On August 24, Ukraine celebrates its independence, which this year will coincide with the passage of “half a year” since the Russian invasion of the country, which turned into a “protracted conflict and war of attrition”.
August 24 is the 31st anniversary of Ukraine’s independence from Soviet rule, according to “Reuters”.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged caution in his video evening address on Saturday, saying Moscow could try to do something “very ugly” on this occasion.
On February 24, Russia launched its war against Ukraine with the aim of taking control of the capital, Kiev, in a lightning strike, but the Ukrainian forces responded and put up fierce resistance.
As a result of the Ukrainian resistance, the Russian forces retreated and shifted the conflict area to the Donbass basin in the east of the country and to other agricultural areas in the south, according to “AFP”.
A few weeks ago, Ukraine announced the implementation of counter-attacks in the south, which was delayed due to the delay in the arrival of weapons aid from Western countries.
When United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was asked on Friday during a visit to Odessa (Southern Ukraine) if there was any hope that the war would end, he replied, after closing his eyes and hesitating, “The situation is very difficult. , and the prospects for peace are uncertain.”
As the war approaches its seventh month, according to “AFP”, there is no glimmer of hope on the horizon.
Thanks to an agreement between the United Nations and Turkey to allow wheat to be removed from Ukrainian ports, the export of grain, an important commodity awaited by many countries of the world, has resumed.
On Friday, the UN Secretary General visited the port of Odessa to witness the implementation of the agreement, but his visit was overshadowed by serious concerns about the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant.
The station, the largest in Europe, is located 200 km north-east of Mykolaiv and has been controlled by Russian forces since the beginning of the war. The station is constantly bombed, which raises fears of a nuclear catastrophe.
“It will not be easy to find a path to peace in the short term, but we must insist because peace is the most important thing the world needs,” the UN Secretary General told AFP.
Russia has escalated its offensive against several Ukrainian regions, and military and local officials have announced that Russia will launch more attacks on targets in the east and south of the country.
A barrage of artillery shells fell on the city of Nikopol, near the Zaporizhia station, overnight Sunday, and Russian missiles hit targets near the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Odessa, which is a grain export hub. .
Nikopol was bombed five times last night, regional governor Valentin Reznichenko said on Telegram.
He added that 25 artillery shells hit the city, causing a fire in an industrial facility and cutting off electricity for three thousand residents.
Fears of a nuclear accident have been renewed due to the fighting near the plant, and the missile attack that took place on Saturday in the southern Ukrainian town of Voznesensk not far from the country’s second largest nuclear power plant, according to “Reuters”.
The Ukrainian local authorities in Odessa announced the occurrence of rocket attacks during the night of Sunday.
Russia launched five Kalibr missiles from the Black Sea to the Odessa region, according to a spokesman for the local administration, citing information from the Southern Military Command.
Ukrainian air defense shot down two missiles, while three missiles hit targets belonging to the agricultural sector, without causing any casualties, according to “Reuters”.
But Russia said on Sunday that its missiles destroyed an ammunition depot containing US-made Himmars missiles, while Kiev said the missiles hit a granary.
The Ukrainian General Staff said in a daily briefing on Facebook that Russian forces have carried out several attempted attacks in Donbas in the past 24 hours.
The eastern region, which is partially controlled by pro-Moscow separatists, has been a major target of the Russian campaign in recent months, according to “Reuters”.
“Destroy all that is Ukrainian”
In the south, Russian forces said they had carried out a successful attack on a village on the border between the Kherson and Mykolaiv regions.
The governor of the Mykolaiv region, Vitaly Kim, said via the Telegram application that the city of Mykolaiv was bombarded by several missiles from S-300 systems in the early hours of Sunday morning, according to “Reuters”.
The Russian Defense Ministry also said its forces destroyed two M777 howitzers in combat positions in the Kherson region and a fuel depot in the Zaporizhia region.
Mykolaiv is the most important city in the south and, according to AFP, was inhabited by about half a million people before the Russian attack.
During the first weeks of the war, a bomb fell on the roof of the local government building, killing 37 people, and the crater it left remains visible to this day in the area constantly targeted by the bombing, according to ” AFP”.
In the past week, the University of Pietro-Migiola on the Black Sea was bombed twice, the main entrance was completely destroyed and parts of the roof and windows were broken.
“They are attacking schools, hospitals, the port and the infrastructure of the city,” said the university’s director, Leonid Klimonko, standing in a hall with a gaping hole behind the bombing.
“It is clear that they want to destroy the entire education system, want to destroy the Ukrainian spirit, want to destroy everything that is Ukrainian,” he added.
There were no new reports of incidents in Crimea in the Black Sea after a series of recent explosions made headlines, Russia annexed the peninsula from Ukraine in 2014.
In his speech, Zelensky indirectly referred to the explosions that took place in Crimea.
Kiev has not claimed responsibility for the attacks, but analysts said that at least some of them were made possible thanks to the new equipment used by its forces, according to “Reuters”.
“You can feel … that the occupation there (Crimea) is only temporary and that Ukraine will return,” Zelensky said.
In the latest incident in the region, the Russian-appointed governor of Crimea, Mikhail Razvogayev, who is not recognized by the West, said on Telegram that a drone attack on the headquarters of the Russian Navy in the Black Sea had been thwarted is, Saturday morning. , according to “Reuters”.
Investigation into the murder of the daughter of a Russian thinker
Russian authorities said Sunday they were investigating a suspected car bomb attack outside Moscow that killed the daughter of Russian ultra-nationalist thinker Alexander Dugin, who advocates the annexation of Ukraine to Russia.
While investigators said they were considering all possibilities as they worked to determine who was responsible, the Russian Foreign Ministry speculated that Ukraine might have a connection to the incident, which Zelensky’s adviser quickly denied.
“Ukraine, of course, has nothing to do with this, because we are not a criminal state like the Russian Federation, and what’s more, we are not a terrorist state,” presidential adviser Mikhailo Podolyak told Ukrainian television.
But he pointed out that the incident “a fair fate for supporters of the Russian invasion.”
Ongoing Western support
Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz held telephone conversations during which they stressed the importance of ensuring the safety of nuclear facilities and their “firm commitment” to Ukraine to support.