Friday August 5, 2022

Moment Russian missile hits Ukrainian shopping centre

The Russian bombing of a theatre in Mariupol in March was a “clear war crime”, Amnesty International has said in its latest investigative report.

The NGO’s report details how the Russian forces “likely deliberately targeted the theatre despite knowing hundreds of civilians were sheltering there on 16 March, making the attack a clear war crime”.

Amnesty International said two 500kg bombs were dropped by the aircraft that “struck close to each other and detonated simultaneously”.

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Meanwhile on the war’s frontline, Russian soldiers amped up their offensive in eastern Ukraine on Thursday as regional governor Serhiy Haidai said that “absolutely everything is being shelled” in the city of Lysychansk.

“Fighting is going on all the time. The Russians are constantly on the offensive. There is no let-up,” Mr Haidai said.

And a top US intelligence official said Vladimir Putin still wants to take over most of Ukraine and the outlook for the war remains “pretty grim”.

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Volodymyr Zelensky meets Sir Richard Branson in Kyiv

British billionaire Sir Richard Branson said his visit to the war-torn Ukraine was a “humbling and emotional experience”.

Mr Branson travelled to Ukraine on Wednesday to meet Volodymyr Zelensky on invitation and to witness the destruction wrounght by Russia’s “appalling invasion”.

He visited a residential area with a destroyed kindergarten that was recently hit by a Russian missile strike. Mr Branson also travelled to Gostomel Airport to see the remains of Antonov AN-225, the world’s largest transport plane that had been known as Mriya (Dream).

Condemning the Russian attacks, he said: “It is clear these kinds of attacks are not unintended and arbitrary. They are part of a deliberate strategy to spread fear and terror among Ukraine’s civilian population”.

“I hope the Russian perpetrators of these shocking acts will be held to account,” he said.

Read the full story here:

Arpan Rai30 June 2022 06:38

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Mariupol theatre attack a ‘clear war crime’ – Amnesty International

Amnesty International has said that the Russian military’s attack on the Mariupol drama theatre in March, which was sheltering hundreds of civilians, was a “clear war crime”.

In its latest investigation, Amnesty International released a new report showing how the Russian forces “likely deliberately targeted the theatre despite knowing hundreds of civilians were sheltering there on 16 March, making the attack a clear war crime”.

Two 500kg bombs were dropped by the aircraft that “struck close to each other and detonated simultaneously”, officials from Amnesty said in a statement.

“Many people were injured and killed in this merciless attack. Their deaths were likely caused by Russian forces deliberately targeting Ukrainian civilians,” the statement added.

Arpan Rai30 June 2022 05:46

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Ukraine says no let-up in Russian attacks on eastern city: ‘Everything is being shelled’

The Russian military offensive continued to rain on eastern Ukraine on Thursday, officials in the region said as they said more than 15,000 civilians are facing direct threat of losing their life.

“Fighting is going on all the time. The Russians are constantly on the offensive. There is no let-up,” regional governor Serhiy Haidai said.

He added: “Absolutely everything is being shelled”.

Authorities in Ukraine said that they were working to rescue residents from the city on eastern frontline Lysychansk — Russia’s latest target — as it remains under attack.

About 15,000 people are trapped in the area under heavy shelling, for over a week now, officials said.

This comes just hours after Nato branded Moscow the biggest “direct threat” to western security.

The alliance has also agreed on plans to modernise Kyiv’s beleaguered armed forces.

Arpan Rai30 June 2022 05:20

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No more ties with Syria, announces Zelensky

Volodymyr Zelensky has announced that Ukraine will snap its bilateral ties with Syria.

The Syrian government, which counts Russia as a close ally, has said that it will recognise the “independence and sovereignty” of Ukraine’s separatist-occupied eastern Luhansk and Donetsk regions and contacts will be established to set up diplomatic relations.

Mr Zelensky slammed the decision and said Ukraine will build up more pressure for sanctions against the Arabic country.

“Russia squeezed out the message of Syria about the alleged recognition of the occupation structures in Donbas as alleged states. This is an empty story,” he said in his nightly address.

“And in that case, there will be no more relations between Ukraine and Syria, and the pressure of sanctions against Syria will be even greater,” Mr Zelensky added.

Arpan Rai30 June 2022 04:51

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Situation in parts of Ukraine ‘remains extremely brutal’, says Zelensky

Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Russia of launching a hypersonic anti-ship missile on the Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv, among a total of 10 missiles fired on Wednesday.

“Today’s Russian strike alone at the city of Mykolaiv – 10 missiles at once, and all of them were aimed at civilian targets – proves for absolutely everyone in the world that the pressure on Russia is not enough. One of these missiles, a hypersonic anti-ship missile “Onyx”, destroyed an ordinary five-story building,” he said.

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Mr Zelensky said Ukrainian rescue workers continued dismantling the debris over the course of the day and added that so far, five people are known to have been killed.

“There were also strikes at Ochakiv, Dnipro, the Russian shelling of the Kharkiv region, Sumy region, Donbas. Lysychansk, Avdiivka, communities in the Bakhmut direction – the situation there remains extremely brutal, very difficult. We are doing everything we can to provide our military with modern artillery systems to respond properly to the occupiers,” Mr Zelensky said.

Arpan Rai30 June 2022 04:44

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MPs slam ministers for ‘shameful’ inaction on Russian ‘dirty money’

Government complacency is allowing Russian “dirty money” to flow into the UK despite the war in Ukraine, MPs have warned.

The Commons Foreign Affairs Committee said the failure of ministers to take effective action meant assets “laundered” through the City of London were being used to finance the conflict.

In a highly critical report, it said “inadequate preparation and foresight” by the leadership of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) meant the Government was slow to impose sanctions.

The committee said it was “shameful” it had taken the war for ministers to bring in the the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act 2022 intended to prevent corrupt funds being laundered through the UK property market.

It said the measures still “do not go far or fast enough” and did little to address the “fundamental mismatch” between the resources available to the law enforcement agencies and the individuals they are targeting.

“The government’s unwillingness to bring forward legislation to stem the flow of dirty money is likely to have contributed to the belief in Russia that the UK is a safe haven for corrupt wealth. It is shameful that it has taken a war to galvanise the Government into action,” the report said.

“Although ministers have spoken eloquently in the House about the need to clamp down on kleptocrats, rhetoric has not been matched by constructive action. Meanwhile, corrupt money has continued to flow into the UK.

“Without the necessary means and resources, enforcement agencies are toothless. The threat (that) illicit finance poses to our national security demands a response that is seen to be serious.”

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Zelensky signs decree to introduce register of oligarchs

The decree aims to implement the anti-oligarch law signed by President Volodymyr Zelensky in 2021, The Kyiv Independent reported.

The law introduces the legal definition of an oligarch and requires officials to declare contacts with oligarchs. It also bans oligarchs from financing political parties, political ads, or demonstrations and excludes them from the privatization of state assets.

Aisha Rimi30 June 2022 02:33

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Nato steps up plans to counter Russia’s ‘significant and direct threat’

Nato has agreed a “fundamental shift” which will see it return to Cold War-style readiness to respond to the increased threat posed by Russia.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Vladimir Putin had been proved “completely wrong” about the strength of the defence alliance, which is set to expand to include Sweden and Finland after they ended decades of neutrality over concerns about Russia.

Leaders of the 30 Nato members gathered in Madrid to agree a new plan for the alliance in response to the invasion of Ukraine.

David Hughes has the full story:

Aisha Rimi30 June 2022 02:00

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Syria to recognize Ukraine’s Luhansk and Donetsk regions

Syria said it will recognise the “independence and sovereignty” of Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk and Donetsk regions and contacts will be established to set up diplomatic relations.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry announcement came days after President Bashar Assad met with a joint delegation from both regions in Damascus.

Earlier this month, Russia claimed to have taken control of 97 per cent of one of the two provinces that make up Ukraine’s Donbas, bringing the Kremlin closer to its goal of fully capturing the eastern industrial heartland of coal mines and factories.

Read the full story:

Aisha Rimi30 June 2022 01:33

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Caspian nations reaffirm pledge to keep foreign armies out

Vladimir Putin and the leaders of the other four countries along the Caspian Sea on Wednesday reaffirmed their shared commitment to keep foreign militaries out of the region.

The presidents of Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan met in Turkmenistan’s capital, Ashgabat, for a summit to discuss regional cooperation and international issues.

In a communique after the meeting, they emphasized their agreement to bar any foreign militaries from the Caspian. They also underlined a pledge not to offer the territory of their nations for aggression against another littoral country.

Read the full story:

Aisha Rimi30 June 2022 01:03

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