Ukraine has decided to evacuate its citizens around the embattled city of Donetsk in the east of the country, says President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. In addition, hundreds of thousands of people would have to leave the combat zone in the Donbass region. (Reuters)
After the attack on a prison in eastern Ukraine that killed dozens, Ukraine has called on the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to act. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appealed to both organizations on Friday evening: “You must protect the lives of hundreds of Ukrainian prisoners of war.” According to Ukrainian sources, Russia is responsible for the attack, but Moscow denies it.
Zelenskyj called the shelling of the detention center in Olenivka in eastern Ukraine, which is occupied by pro-Russian separatists, a “deliberate mass murder of Ukrainian prisoners of war”. The UN and the ICRC, which “guaranteed the life and safety of our soldiers” when the fighters withdrew from the Azov steelworks in the port city of Mariupol, must now react. (AFP)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has expressed his condolences to his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba after the attack on a camp with Ukrainian prisoners of war that killed 50 people. In a phone call on Friday, Blinken reiterated the US determination to hold Russia accountable for atrocities committed by its armed forces against the people of Ukraine. The US State Department announced on Saturday. Blinken also reported on his talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, underlining “the unwavering support of the United States for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine”. (dpa)
According to the government in Kyiv, dozens of Russian soldiers have been killed in the fighting in southern Ukraine. In addition, two Russian ammunition depots were destroyed, the Ukrainian military said. Troops are now even further isolated after the train service to the Russian-controlled city across the Dnipro River was disrupted. The information cannot be independently verified. Ukraine wants to recapture the strategically important city in the south of the country. (Reuters)
After restrictions and stops on gas deliveries to several EU countries, Russia’s largest supplier Gazprom has also stopped supplying Latvia. The neighboring country violated acceptance conditions, the Russian state-owned company said on Saturday without further explanation.
The Latvian utility Latvijas Gaze said on Friday that it purchases natural gas from Russia but not from Gazprom. “We get it from another provider,” the company said. The name of the provider is a trade secret.
Deputy Secretary of State in the Ministry of Economic Affairs Edijs Saicans said on Saturday that the measure should not have any major consequences for his country.
In March, Russia demanded that European Gazprom customers pay their bills in rubles instead of euros or dollars as before. The move is seen as a measure to support Russia’s currency following economic sanctions imposed on Russia following its attack on Ukraine. The EU Commission had described a response to the Russian demand as a violation of the sanctions. Latvijas Gaze, like some other Gazprom customers, has declared that it will continue to pay for Russian gas in euros. Latvia had also announced that it would only purchase gas from Russia until the end of the year. Latvia’s neighbor Lithuania already does without Russian gas. (Reuters)
After reports of tens of thousands of casualties in the war against Ukraine, the head of Britain’s foreign intelligence agency MI6 has ridiculed the Russian army. “You’re running out of breath…” Richard Moore tweeted on Saturday. He quoted a tweet from the British Ministry of Defense from the previous day. “The Kremlin is desperate. Russia has lost tens of thousands of soldiers and is using Soviet-era weapons. Their outdated missiles are killing and injuring innocent Ukrainians,” the agency wrote. “Russia will not win this unjustified war.”
MI6, otherwise known for its secrecy, has been much more transparent since the beginning of the Russian war, and secret service chief Moore keeps looking for the public. In addition, the British Ministry of Defense publishes the latest secret service findings on the course of the war on a daily basis. London wants to counter statements from Moscow. (dpa)