Ukraine says Russia is creating a strike force aimed at President Zelenskyy's hometown of Kryvyi Rih and could be preparing new attacks in southern Ukraine as fighting enters 162nd day.

The Sierra Leone-flagged cargo ship Razoni, carrying Ukrainian grain, had left the Ukrainian port Odessa on August 1.
The Sierra Leone-flagged cargo ship Razoni, carrying Ukrainian grain, had left the Ukrainian port Odessa on August 1. (Reuters)

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Three grain ships to set sail from Ukrainian ports - Turkish defence minister

Three ships carrying grain and foodstuffs will depart from Ukrainian ports on Friday under a recent landmark Ankara-brokered deal, Türkiye's top defence official announced.

"With the intensive work of the Joint Coordination Center, three ships are planned to begin sailing tomorrow from Ukraine's ports within the scope of grain shipments," National Defence Minister Hulusi Akar told Anadolu Agency.

Also, an empty ship is expected to arrive in Istanbul, where the Joint Coordination Center is located, for inspections before leaving for Ukraine, Akar added.

Ukrainian cities shelled, including one near nuclear plant

Powerful explosions have rattled the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv and a city close to the country's biggest nuclear power plant sustained a barrage of shelling amid Russian attacks in several regions, Ukraine's presidential office said.

Russian forces reportedly fired 60 rockets at Nikopol, in the central Dnipropetrovsk region. The city is located across the Dnieper river from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which was taken over by Russian troops early in the conflict.

At least four civilians were killed and 10 more wounded in 24 hours, with nine Ukrainian regions coming under fire, the office said in its daily update. The separatist-held eastern city of Donetsk also came under shelling, with Russian-backed local authorities saying that six people were killed.

Amnesty accuses Ukraine of basing troops in residential areas

Human rights group Amnesty International has accused Ukraine of endangering civilians by "establishing bases and operating weapons systems" in residential areas during Russia's offensive, in a report based on visits to several frontline areas in Ukraine's east and south from April to July.

"We have documented a pattern of Ukrainian forces putting civilians at risk and violating the laws of war when they operate in populated areas," the report quoted Agnes Callamard, Amnesty International's secretary general, as saying.

She called on the Ukrainian government to ensure that its forces were located away from populated areas or for all civilians to be evacuated from those areas first.

Kiev slams Amnesty report

Ukrainian officials have slammed the Amnesty International report, likening it to Russian propaganda and disinformation. Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said he was "outraged" by the report, and urged Amnesty to "stop creating a false reality."

"When there is no analysis of the actions of the enemy in a text about the activities of the Ukrainian armed forces during the war, it is like studying the actions of the victim without considering the actions of an armed rapist," said Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Malyar.

Presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak accused Amnesty of "participating in (Russia's) disinformation and propaganda campaign," adding that Ukraine strictly adhered to all the laws of war and international humanitarian law, and was "taking all measures" to evacuate civilians from frontline areas.

US: Russia aims to fabricate evidence in prison deaths

US officials have accused Russia of working to fabricate evidence concerning last week's deadly strike on a prison housing prisoners of war in a separatist region of eastern Ukraine.

Intelligence officials have determined that Russia is looking to plant false evidence to make it appear that Ukrainian forces were responsible for the July 29 attack on Olenivka Prison that left 53 dead and wounded dozens more, a US official familiar with the intelligence finding said.

Russia has claimed that Ukraine’s military used US-supplied rocket launchers to strike the prison in Olenivka, a settlement controlled by the Moscow-backed so-called Donetsk People’s Republic. The Ukrainian military denied making any rocket or artillery strikes in Olenivka.

Ukraine: Russia may launch southern offensive to try to regain momentum

Russia may launch an offensive in the southern Ukrainian region of Kherson to try to win back momentum in its offensive and it has been building up forces there, Ukrainian General Oleksiy Gromov has told a news conference.

He said Ukraine had improved its tactical position around the eastern city of Sloviansk and recaptured two villages, but that Russian forces had been trying to take the eastern city of Avdiivka and village of Pisky.

Ukrainian forces had been forced to switch to defending the outskirts of Avdiivka, he said.

Ukraine expects first vessel to arrive to collect grain

A Turkish bulk carrier is expected to arrive in the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Chornomorsk on Friday and will be the first vessel to arrive at a Ukrainian port during Russia's offensive, a spokesperson for the regional administration of Odessa said.

"The Turkish bulk carrier Osprey S, flying the flag of Liberia, is heading from the Canakkale Strait to the port of Chornomorsk," Serhiy Bratchuk, the spokesperson, wrote on Telegram.

"This will be the first vessel that has not been blocked in our ports since February 24, heading to (collect) Ukrainian export grain," he said.

Ukraine: Russian shelling kills eight in eastern town of Toretsk

Eight people have been killed and four wounded in Russian artillery shelling in the eastern Ukrainian town of Toretsk in Donetsk region, the regional governor said. 

The shelling hit a public transport stop where people had gathered, Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko wrote on Telegram. Three children were among the wounded, he said.

Russian-backed separatists: Kiev shelling kills five in Donetsk

At least five people have been killed and six injured when Ukrainian forces shelled Donetsk, a Ukrainian city held by Russian-backed separatists in the breakaway region say.

Footage on social media showed bodies, some blown apart, lying beside a road in central Donetsk. Blood stained the pavement.

The Donetsk People's Republic said in a statement that five people had been killed and 6 injured during shelling of the city's Voroshilovsky district.

NATO chief says Russia must not win in Ukraine

"Russia should not be allowed to win the war in Ukraine," NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said.

"It's in our interest that this type of aggressive policy does not succeed," Stoltenberg said in a speech in his native Norway.

He also said that Russia's offensive against Ukraine is an attack on the current world order and added that this is the most dangerous situation in Europe since the second world war.

If Putin thinks of doing anything similar to a Nato country, the full alliance will react

Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary-General

UN watchdog appeals for access to Ukrainian nuclear plant

The head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog has appealed for access to a Ukrainian nuclear power plant now controlled by Russian forces to determine whether it was a source of danger.

Contact with the Europe's largest nuclear plant, which is at Zaporizhzhia and is being operated by Ukrainian technicians, was "fragile" and communications did not function every day, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) head Rafael Grossi told Swiss paper Tages-Anzeiger.

"We know of allegations that live ammunition is stored in the plant, that there are attacks on the power plant," he said in an interview published in German.

We can't afford faulty communication with the plant in areas relevant to safety

Rafael Grossi, IAEA head

Moscow: Norwegian consul should leave after Russophobic insults

Moscow has said that a Norwegian consul who was filmed throwing a tantrum at a hotel reception and proclaiming "I hate Russians" should leave Russia.

"After what happened, Elisabeth Ellingsen's presence in Russia is impossible," the foreign ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

Ukrainian cities shelled, including one near nuclear plant

Powerful explosions have rattled the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv and a city close to the country's biggest nuclear power plant sustained a barrage of shelling amid Russian attacks in several regions, Ukraine's presidential office has said.

At least four civilians were killed and 10 more wounded over the past 24 hours, with nine Ukrainian regions coming under fire, the office said in its daily update.

Russian forces reportedly fired 60 rockets at Nikopol, in the central Dnipropetrovsk region. Some 50 residential buildings were damaged in the city of 107,000 and some projectiles hit power lines, leaving city residents without electricity, according to Ukrainian authorities.

Ukraine health crisis worsens as medics work amid shelling

Ukraine is facing a worsening health emergency as the conflict with Russia rages on, the World Health Organisation has said, with a combination of burnt-out staff, increased shelling and the approach of winter fuelling the agency's concerns.

There have been 434 attacks on healthcare facilities in the country, out of 615 such attacks reported this year worldwide, according to a WHO tracker. 

The WHO's Ukraine emergency co-ordinator Heather Papowitz said healthcare teams in many areas have become used to working with shelling outside their window and cited challenges in getting medicines into these areas for people with chronic conditions or treating physical and mental trauma.

Zelenskyy: China can politically, economically influence Russia

Ukraine is seeking an opportunity to speak "directly" with Chinese leader Xi Jinping to help end its conflict with Russia, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has told the South China Morning Post (SCMP).

In an interview with SCMP, the Ukrainian leader urged China to use its outsize political and economic influence over Russia to bring an end to the fighting.

"It's a very powerful state. It's a powerful economy … So (it) can politically, and economically influence Russia. And China is [also a] permanent member of the UN Security Council," the report quoted Zelenskyy as saying. 

For live updates from Wednesday (August 3), click here

Source: TRTWorld and agencies