Ukraine accuses Moscow of executing civilians and introducing a “police regime” in occupied areas, while Putin threatens to recruit 16,000 volunteers from the Middle East
In a tactic that combines the destruction of military and civilian targets, with the apparent purpose of emptying the cities and then trying to penetrate them with blood and fire, Russian aircraft bombed the city of Dnipro for the first time on Friday, until now safe of the bombs, and two airfields in Lutsk and Ivano-Frankivsk, both located very close to member countries of NATO and the European Union. The first next to Poland and the second, in the vicinity of the border intersection with Slovakia, Hungary and Romania.
Russian air strikes also continued to devastate Mariupol, Kharkov, Chernigov, Sumy and the outskirts of Kiev, the capital, around which Russian troops are tightening the fence more and more in order to launch an assault. This intensification of the warlike activity of the Russian Army occurs one day after the Russian and Ukrainian Foreign Ministers, Sergei Lavrov and Dmitro Kuleba, met in Antalya (Turkey) without reaching a single agreement, not even a temporary ceasefire to the evacuation of civilians.
It was the first time they had met and the first high-level meeting between Moscow and Kiev in a long time. During the press conference offered afterwards, Lavrov appeared visibly upset and even allowed himself to say that “Russia does not intend to attack any country, nor is it attacking Ukraine now.” However, Russian President Vladimir Putin told his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko on Friday, whom he received in Moscow, that he had observed “certain positive steps” after the Antalya talks.
Dnipro, an industrial center on the banks of the Dnieper River, in the central-eastern part of Ukraine, joined this Friday the list of candidate cities to be laminated by bombs, as Mariupol and Kharkov are already doing. The Dnipro emergency services issued a statement noting that “there have been three air strikes in the city, hitting a kindergarten, an apartment building and a two-storey shoe factory where a fire has broken out. One person has died.”
Disabled health center
The attacks also reached the westernmost part of Ukraine, almost to the border with several European countries, Lutsk and Ivano-Frankivsk, whose airfields, according to information provided by the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, “were out of service.” . In the raid against Lutsk, according to the military source, two Ukrainian soldiers died and six were wounded. Likewise, the towns of Sumy, Kharkov and Chernigov were once again bombed, the latter town having been left without water when the supply channel was reached by the attacks. In the Kharkov region, next to Oskil, a health center for the disabled was bombed, reported Oleg Sinegúbov, head of the regional military administration. There were no casualties, Sinegubov reported, but called the attack “brutal.” In Mariupol, where a pediatric hospital and a maternity hospital were almost destroyed by bombs on Wednesday, leaving three dead including a girl, the siege has lasted 10 days and the total number of fatalities rises to 1,200, according to the Mayor Vadim Boishenko.
The Ukrainian Army General Staff warns that the Russian offensive “is trying to break through our defenses in numerous towns to the west and north of Kiev with the intention of completely besieging the city” as are Mariupol, Kharkov and Sumy.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov announced Friday that units from the separatist republic of Donetsk have already taken the town of Volnóvaja, at the gates of Mariúpol. These reports were denied by Kiev, where they maintain that Volnóvaja is besieged, but resists. This Friday several humanitarian corridors were reopened from which civilians are being evacuated by drops.
During a meeting of the Security Council, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu assured Putin on Friday that “around 16,000 requests have been received from the Middle East to voluntarily go to fight in Donetsk and Lugansk. ». To which the head of the Kremlin replied: “If you see that there are people who want to come voluntarily and help people living in Donbass, you should say yes to them and help them move to the zone of military activity.” He added that “the Western sponsors of the Ukrainian regime are sending mercenaries from all over the world to fight in Ukraine (…) against the norms of International Law.” Shortly after, the Kremlin spokesman, Dmitri Peskov, specified that the “volunteers” referred to by Shoigu are “Syrians”.
The Ukrainian president, Volodímir Zelenski, denounced this Friday in a video that Russia “has decided to hire mercenaries against our citizens. Murderers from Syria, from a country where everything has been destroyed by the occupiers, something they are putting us through.”
After having denied that replacement Russian soldiers are fighting in Ukraine, Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov had to acknowledge this week that they were sent, but will now be returned to their barracks in Russia. Putin has asked to purge responsibility for this and in Kiev they believe that the decision to take Syrians to Ukraine is intended to make up for the lack of forces suffered by the Russian Army.
At the same time, Vadim Denisenko, adviser to the Ukrainian Ministry of the Interior, pointed out that “we cannot rule out that the Russians are preparing a Syrian scenario”, referring to the possible use of chemical weapons by Russia. Denisenko said that “for the last three weeks, the Russians have been actively spreading stories about biochemical labs in Ukraine.” It would be about carrying out a chemical attack to blame it on Kiev.
The Russian writer and journalist, Andréi Soldátov, a specialist in secret services, wrote this Friday on Facebook that “Putin, very angry at the progress of the military campaign in Ukraine, has initiated a purge within the Federal Security Service”, the FSB or former KGB. According to his account, the Russian president “has taken it up with the fifth department”, the one in charge of foreign intelligence. The head of the service, Sergei Beseda, and another official “were placed under house arrest.”
Russia receives the support of 16,000 volunteers from the Middle East
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu assured Putin on Friday that “around 16,000 requests have been received from the Middle East to voluntarily go to fight in Donetsk and Lugansk.” To which the head of the Kremlin replied: “If you see that there are people who want to come voluntarily and help people living in Donbass, you should say yes to them and help them move to the zone of military activity.” He added that “Western sponsors of the Ukrainian regime are sending mercenaries from all over the world to fight in Ukraine, against the norms of international law.” Shortly after, the Kremlin spokesman, Dmitri Peskov, specified that the “volunteers” referred to by Shoigu are “Syrians”.
“If there are people who want, on a voluntary basis and especially not in exchange for money, to come and help people living in Donbas, you have to meet them halfway and help them get to the war zone,” he stressed. the president during a meeting of his Security Council. Putin recalled that Western countries “have not hidden” the sending of “mercenaries” to Ukraine, alluding to the thousands of international volunteers who have enlisted to defend the country.
For his part, Shoigu detailed during the meeting that the Ministry of Defense “has received a huge number of requests from various types of volunteers from different countries who would like to go to the people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk to participate in what they consider to be a liberation movement. He added that many of the volunteers have already participated in the fight against Islamic State, according to the Russian Interfax news agency. Shoigu pointed out that the Russian authorities “consider it appropriate to respond positively to these requests, especially since they are not doing it for money, but out of a real desire to help.”
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