Russia has accused Ukraine of fatally shelling dozens of Ukrainian prisoners of war before the UN Security Council. Russia’s Deputy Ambassador to the UN, Dmitry Polyansky, told a meeting of the United Nations’ main body on Friday that more than 50 people were killed by weapons the United States had supplied to Kyiv. At least 53 people were killed in an attack on a prison controlled by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. (dpa)
For the first time since the start of the Ukraine war in February, the US and Russian foreign ministers have spoken directly to each other. “We had an open and direct conversation,” said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington on Friday. He told Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that the world would “never” accept an annexation of Ukrainian territories. He also put “pressure” on the Russian side to accept a Washington proposal to free two US citizens held captive in Russia.
Blinken said he also urged Lavrov to honor the Turkey-brokered grain export deal. According to the US chief diplomat, he also found clear words about any plans by Moscow to annex additional areas of Ukraine currently occupied by the Russian military. He told Lavrov that it would mean “additional costs” for Russia, Blinken said.
On the possible release of Russian-held basketball player Brittney Griner and former US soldier Paul Whelan, Blinken said he had urged Moscow to accept Washington’s “serious proposal” for their release. According to media reports, the US plan communicated weeks ago includes an exchange of the two US citizens with the Russian arms smuggler Viktor Bout, who is imprisoned in the US. (AFP)
The Balkan country of North Macedonia surrendered several Soviet-made main battle tanks to Ukraine. The Defense Ministry announced on Friday in the capital Skopje that the youngest NATO member country is planning to modernize its armed forces and adapt their equipment to the standards of the alliance. For this reason, an unspecified number of battle tanks was handed over to Ukraine.
Otherwise, North Macedonia would have discarded them, but Ukraine, which was attacked by Russia, needed it, the statement said. The country has been a member of NATO since 2020. The former Yugoslav republic still has around 30 Soviet T-72 main battle tanks. A video released by the Makfax news agency showed several of these tanks on transport trucks as they drove through the village of Kriva Palanka near the Bulgarian border. (dpa)
After the attack on a prisoner of war camp in eastern Ukraine, the Ukrainian secret services assume that Russian forces have deliberately blown it up. Around 50 prisoners of war are said to have been killed and over 100 people injured. “The explosions occurred in a newly constructed building specially prepared for Azovstal prisoners,” Ukrainian military intelligence claimed in a statement on Friday.
The domestic intelligence service presented an allegedly bugged phone call from the breakaway territory. “Not one of the eyewitnesses heard that any missile flew to the correctional facility,” the agency said. There was no characteristic whistling. Russian claims that the Ukrainian army fired on the facility are “lies and provocation”.
Azovstal is the steelworks in Mariupol where the Ukrainian soldiers holed up before they gave up and were taken prisoner by the Russians. With the explosion in the town of Olenivka in the Donetsk region, the Russian mercenary group Wagner allegedly wanted to cover up traces of embezzlement during construction before an upcoming inspection, according to Kyiv. The Russian Ministry of Defense in Moscow knew nothing about it.
After the attack, the government in Kyiv called on the international community to declare Russia a terrorist state. “The Russians committed another horrific war crime and shelled the prison in occupied Olenivka where they hold Ukrainian prisoners of war,” Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted on Friday. All partner states should strongly condemn this “brutal violation of international law”.
The head of the Ukrainian presidential office, Andriy Yermak, joined the call for a harsh international condemnation of the attack. “This is a cynical and insidious crime that will go down in history as the Olenivka terrorist act,” Yermak said on Twitter. The Russians don’t care who they kill. “For them, the murder is important and the constant lying to hide the evidence,” said the 50-year-old. In addition, Yermak from the West demanded missiles with a range of 300 kilometers for existing US-type multiple rocket launchers.
The Russian ministry has accused Ukraine of shelling the prisoner camp, which Ukraine denies. The Russian-backed separatists, on the other hand, presented alleged fragments of US-made Himars missiles. According to them, the prisoner’s accommodation was targeted by the Ukrainian armed forces late Thursday evening. The information cannot be independently verified. (dpa)
The US imposes further sanctions on two individuals and four institutions from Russia. As the US Treasury Department reports on its website, the sanctions are related to allegations of election rigging and cybercrime. (Reuters)
Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office is launching a preliminary investigation into an airstrike that killed around 40 Ukrainian prisoners of war. The authority announces this. 130 people were injured in the attack on the territory of a detention center.
Russia and Ukraine blame each other for the attack in the pro-Russian separatist-controlled Donetsk region. According to Russian information, the building in the Olenivka area was shot at with US-made Himars rockets. The Ukrainian General Staff denied that its troops had attacked the prison. (Reuters)
According to one report, since the beginning of the war, the security authorities have registered 31 trips from Germany to Ukraine by “people with extremist connections”. According to the findings of the Federal Police, the Federal Criminal Police Office and the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, eight of them wanted to take part in combat operations, and two had “concrete indications” that they had implemented this plan,” reported the “Spiegel” on Friday from its new edition.
Six people were “probably” still in Ukraine. In the case of five others, the journey failed or could have been stopped – for example by an “official ban on leaving the country” with security of the passport. If you still travel, you can be prosecuted. This is intended to prevent extremists from receiving “intensive weapons training”, gaining war experience or even acquiring weapons of war.
A total of “travel intentions” by 52 people have become known. According to the report, the authorities did not provide any further information about them. According to “Spiegel” information, the eight alleged combatants are mostly members of the right-wing extremist scene who apparently wanted to fight on the Ukrainian side. (AFP)
A Ukrainian court has reduced the sentence for the first convicted Russian war criminal on appeal. Vadim Shishimarin was sentenced to 15 years in prison, the court said on Friday in Kyiv. In May, the judges sentenced the then 21-year-old to life imprisonment.
The young man had admitted shooting an unarmed 62-year-old man on a bicycle. He stressed that he acted under pressure from another soldier. The two were on their way back to Russian territory in a stolen car.
It was the first verdict in a war crimes trial after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Schishimarin’s lawyer had appealed because he believed the verdict had been influenced by societal pressures. (AFP)