Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has announced a new war crimes information system. In the coming week, a “book of torturers” is to be launched, in which confirmed information about war criminals and criminals in the Russian armed forces will be collected, Zelenskyy said in his evening video message on Tuesday.
“I have repeatedly stressed that they will all be held accountable. And we’re taking it step by step,” said the President. Wednesday is the 105th day of the war for Ukraine.
According to Zelensky, the information collected is about “specific facts about specific people who have committed specific violent crimes against Ukrainians”.
It is about not only holding the direct perpetrators, such as the soldiers, accountable, but also the commanders who made the crimes possible – “in Bucha, in Mariupol, in all our cities”. They should all be held accountable, Zelenskyy said.
Meanwhile, bitter fighting in eastern Ukraine continues. Despite their superiority, according to Zelenskyi, the Russian troops have not yet achieved a breakthrough. “The situation at the front has not undergone any significant changes in the last 24 hours,” the President said. “The extremely heroic defense of Donbass continues.”
Selenskyj named the cities of Sievjerodonetsk, Lysychansk and Popasna as focal points. “It can be felt that the occupiers did not believe that the resistance would be so strong,” said the President.
The Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksandr Arestovych made a similar statement. Ukrainian artillery did a good job, he said. At the same time, Arestovych also acknowledged problems. “We can wait a long time for a counter-offensive,” he said. Some fighters wouldn’t take the pressure. In addition, it is not clear when and to what extent new weapons deliveries will arrive.
According to Governor Oleh Synyehubov, at least three people were killed and six others injured by Russian shelling in the eastern Ukrainian region of Kharkiv. Another person was killed in attacks in the evening, it said.
According to the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office, two people were killed and three injured in Russian rocket attacks in the city of Bashtanka in the southern Ukrainian region of Mykolaiv. There are said to have been violent detonations in the regional capital Mykolaiv. The pro-Russian separatists also reported casualties. A man was killed in Ukrainian shelling in the town of Pervomaysk near the front line.
In the areas occupied by Russian troops, the new rulers are apparently planning to join Russia. Preparations for a referendum have begun, said the pro-Russian governor in the city of Melitopol, Halyna Danylchenko.
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According to a Russian deputy, the deputy chief of the Russian presidential administration, Sergei Kiriyenko, was in Melitopol, the second largest city in Zaporizhia Oblast, for talks, as well as in Kherson, the capital of the adjacent region of the same name. According to Ukrainian information, a referendum on annexation to Russia will be prepared in Kherson by autumn.
More than 1,000 Ukrainian prisoners of war from the conquered Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol have now apparently been taken to Russia. The Russian law enforcement authorities are currently dealing with them, the Russian state agency TASS reported on Wednesday night, citing security circles. Among them could be more than 100 foreign “mercenaries”.
At the end of May, after weeks of fighting, more than 2,400 Ukrainian fighters surrendered in the Azovstal plant in Mariupol, the last bastion of the Ukrainian defenders. The Ukrainian leadership fears that the prisoners of war will be tortured and murdered.
Former Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) advocates strengthening military deterrence against Russia. “It’s the only language that Putin understands,” Merkel said at an event in Berlin.
She rejected responsibility for the lack of investment in the Bundeswehr – and indirectly assigned it to the former coalition partner SPD. “Now I’m so glad that we’ve finally decided, after the whole world has armed drones, that we’ll buy some too. And it wasn’t my fault that certain other things couldn’t take place,” Merkel said. “It was a very tough struggle to invest in military deterrence at all.”
According to Russian sources, the bilateral dialogue between Moscow and Washington has almost come to a standstill. “Trust has been eroded, cooperation is crumbling even in areas of mutual interest, communication between the sides is poor and mostly reduced to a debate of technical issues,” Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov told Russian state television.
However, the defense ministers and chiefs of staff would still hold “occasional phone calls” – these are extremely important to prevent a direct military confrontation.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov wants to meet his Turkish colleague Mevlut Cavusoglu in Ankara. It should also be about the release of Ukrainian grain deliveries. Ukraine is one of the largest wheat exporters in the world. However, Russia is blockading Ukrainian ports as part of its war of aggression. Experts and politicians warn of a global food crisis.