#UkraineWar Update (Day 155) – Multiple #News Sources

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Horrifying footage appears to show Russian captors castrating a Ukrainian prisoner of war

July 28th 2022

A horrific video posted online on Thursday appears to show a Ukrainian prisoner of war being castrated by his Russian captors. While Yahoo News cannot independently verify the authenticity of the video, the footage, which was initially posted on a pro-Russian Telegram page before spreading rapidly on social media, showed what appears to be a Russian soldier or mercenary wearing a distinctive black fringed hat, mutilating a man who appears to be a captured Ukrainian soldier. The victim in the video wears Ukrainian-style camouflage fatigues and is shown gagged, his hands tied behind his back. He lies helpless on the floor, as the man in a Russian uniform, which features a “Z” patch, uses a box cutter to cut off his clothes and then appears to castrate him while shouting degrading insults in Russian. At least two other men who appear to be Russian soldiers can be seen in the video.

While it is unclear when the video was filmed, what appears to be the same man wearing the black fringed hat also appeared in a June broadcast by the Russian state-backed media outlet RT. In that clip, the apparent soldier can be seen carrying a Dragunov sniper rifle as he walks around the Azot chemical plant in the city of Severodonetsk after the Ukrainian withdrawal from the city. In a post that was published on the RIA Novosti Telegram channel, the Russian news agency identified the man as part of the Chechen “Akhmat” battalion of the Russian army.

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SOURCE = Yahoo News

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Russia is Isolated and NATO will continue supporting Ukraine: US NATO Ambassador

July 29th 2022

Julianne Smith, the US ambassador for NATO spoke about their support for Ukraine during her visit to Brussels. Below is the transcript of the interview. “Russia could stop the war tomorrow if it wanted to and we are trying to apply all the pressure that we can on Moscow to change Putin’s strategic calculus. Russia is isolated – NATO is moving closer to its borders, NATO is adding new members. It is finding that its own economic indicators are getting weaker and decreasing and so I think Russia will find overtime that this was in essence a strategic failure on so many counts.

In terms of predicting whether or not it’ll be a few more weeks or months or longer than that it’s hard to say. Our focus is again just on supporting those Ukrainian troops so that they can prevail. One thing we’ve learned is that in this conflict progress is not linear we sometimes see Russians gaining territory we often see Ukrainians pushing back on Russian attempts to gain territory.

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SOURCE = Prime Time

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Kherson: Ukraine stepping up counter offensive to retake city – sources

July 28th 2022

Ukraine’s campaign to retake the occupied Kherson region is “gathering pace”, Western military sources say. A key bridge into the city of Kherson is now out of action after Ukrainian forces struck it with long-range rockets supplied by the US. UK defence officials say the city is now “virtually cut off from other occupied territories”. However, senior Ukrainian figures warned that Russia was now shifting its forces to defend the southern area. Strategically located west of the Dnipro river, the city was the first in the war to fall to Moscow’s forces. Ukrainian forces fired at Kherson’s Antonivskiy Bridge using a Himars artillery rocket system on Tuesday which, according to Western military sources, has left the crossing “completely unusable”. Only a pockmarked wreck is said to remain of the half-mile long bridge, one of two key routes spanning the Dnipro river which have both now been hit. Moscow relies on the crossings to resupply their troops stationed west of the river, and are now at risk of becoming isolated from the rest of Russia’s occupying forces.

A third bridge, over the Inhulets river to the north-east of Kherson city, has also been hit. Military sources described Kherson as “politically the nearest Russia has to a jewel in the crown of its occupation” – and its loss, they say, “would severely undermine Russia’s attempts to paint the occupation as a success”. In a daily intelligence update, UK defence officials said the Ukrainian counter-offensive in the region was “gathering momentum”, adding that Kyiv’s forces had likely established a bridgehead south of the Inhulets river, “which forms the northern boundary of Russian occupied Kherson”. Moscow was now “moving the maximum number of troops in the Kherson direction”, said Oleksiy Danilov, who is secretary of Ukraine’s National Security Council, on Wednesday evening. The BBC has not been able to independently verify his remarks, however Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych agreed Russian forces were shifting their forces to the south in anticipation of a counter-offensive and changing their focus to strategic defence. Meanwhile, Russian forces in the east said they had captured Ukraine’s second largest power station – the Vuhlehirsk coal-fired plant. Mr Arestovych described it as a “tiny, tactical advantage”.

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SOURCE = BBC News

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US Ready to Provide Ukraine with ATACMS Long-range Missiles

July 28th 2022

“Both parties in the US Congress support sending Ukraine long-range ATACMS missiles, which can hit at a distance of more than 280 kilometers,” reports Elissa Slotkin, a representative of the Democratic Party and a member of the House of Representatives Committee on Armed Forces Affairs. On July 27, Slotkin, along with other US House of Representatives lawmakers, took part in a secret briefing on Ukraine with Biden administration representatives. “The main conversation at the briefing was … what else we can and should do for Ukrainians, literally in the next three to six weeks, very urgently. The Ukrainians want to advance south and conduct operations in the south. And we want them to be as successful as possible,” said Slotkin.

“I think that what we heard very firmly from President Zelensky and reinforced today is that the Ukrainians really want to hit Russia in the teeth a few times before the winter comes, put them in the best position possible, particularly hitting them down south,” Slotkin added. Earlier, at the Aspen Security Forum, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan reiterated that the US wouldn’t provide Ukraine with ATACMs missiles. He explained that they could be used to attack the territory of Russia, which would lead to an even more significant escalation of the war. The United States of America has supported Ukraine from the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, providing weapons and military equipment worth billions of dollars, which have helped in the fight against the Russian occupiers. This military assistance has included modern HIMARS artillery missile systems, Mi-17 helicopters, SUVs for border guards, and howitzers.

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SOURCE = Kyiv Post

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President Zelensky: No one in the world invests in terrorism more than Russia

July 28th 2022

No one in the world invests in terrorism more than Russia, and this requires a legal response. The relevant statement was made by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in his video address, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.

Good health to you, fellow Ukrainians!

Today, we celebrated the Day of Ukrainian Statehood for the first time. And I was happy to see how many people perceived this holiday warmly, congratulated on it, smiled and were proud of Ukraine.

It seems that we should have celebrated such a day for many, many years – it is so logical. But this holiday was established only last year. Well, it is forever now.

During a solemn meeting in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, I presented combat awards to our warriors – “Crosses of Combat Merit”. In particular, to Colonel-General Oleksandr Syrskyi, Commander of the Khortytsia Operational-Strategic Command, Major-General Andriy Kovalchuk, Brigadier-General Andriy Hnatov, Brigadier-General Mykhailo Drapaty, Colonels Yevhen Bulatsyk, Mykola Mishakin and Oleh Fedoriv, ​​Lieutenant-Colonel Pavlo Rozlach, Majors Ruslan Maryshev and Denys Nokhrin, Captain Dmytro Berehovy, Senior Lieutenants Dmytro Linnyk and Anatoliy Tantsyura, Medical Service Lieutenant Yulia Holovna, Sergeant Pavlina Mykolayevych, Staff Sergeant Roman Palamarchuk, Junior Sergeant Oleksandr Rohachevsky, Senior Sailor Olena Zablotska and Private Serhiy Mishchenko. Thank you all for your service and performance in battles!

Today, in the Mariyinsky Palace, I handed out the passports of the citizens of our state to young Ukrainians – boys and girls who were forced to leave their homes due to hostilities, young volunteers, winners of the All-Ukrainian Olympics, children of our warriors who defend Ukraine, children of those who gave life for the independence of the state. An inspiring ceremony that affirms the power of Ukrainian citizenship! The future of Ukraine is in such children, in their sincerity and intelligence. I am proud to be the President of such citizens.

I had the honor to thank one of our greatest friends – Mr. President of Lithuania Gitanas Nausėda for the support and extremely important things that strengthened our defense. President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola – a principled friend of ours in European structures – addressed the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine in a special format.

There were important phone conversations. In the morning – with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. I thanked him for his prayers for Ukraine, for his wishes of victory and peace. In the evening, I spoke with Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte – very meaningfully about our future cooperation.

I held another meeting of the Staff of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief. We considered four issues. What can be said publicly now: we analyzed the current state of providing weapons to our defenders, the supply of aid from partners and, in general, the state of implementation of the Defense Plan of Ukraine, which was put into effect on February 24.

Only in the first half of this day, and only in Kyiv, there were four air alarms. The Russian army launched missile attacks on the Kyiv region, Kropyvnytskyi, hit Mykolaiv, continued a series of strategically senseless and brutal onslaughts on Donbas… I thank each and every one who repels this terror.

And I also want to thank the American senators who unanimously approved the resolution calling on the US Department of State to recognize Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism. You can take any day in Ukraine – today or any other after February 24 – to see that no one in the world invests in terrorism more than Russia. This really needs a legal response at the global level. And there is no rational reason why such a reaction should not occur, particularly in the United States.

We continue to accumulate international humanitarian support. I am glad that Demna, the creative director of the Balenciaga fashion house, has become the new ambassador of the United24 state charity platform. He told me that the decision to become a United24 ambassador was related to his personal story, as he had experienced the trauma of being a refugee. Demna will help Ukraine in the direction of reconstruction. Let me remind you that Andriy Shevchenko, Elina Svitolina, Liev Schreiber and Imagine Dragons have already become ambassadors of United24.

We will do everything so that there is no indifference left in the world towards this terrible war that Russia has unleashed against our state and against the very idea of freedom.

We will definitely win!

Congratulations once again on the Day of Ukrainian Statehood!

Glory to Ukraine!

SOURCE = UkrinForm

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Ukraine bombs Russian forces in drive to retake south

July 28th 2022

July 29 (Reuters) – Ukraine stepped up its drive to retake Russian-controlled southern Ukraine by trying to bomb and isolate Russian troops in hard-to-resupply areas. In a Thursday night address, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy once again signalled that Ukrainians would not be intimidated by the Russian invasion, which began on Feb. 24 and has had economic and other consequences far beyond Ukraine’s borders. “We shall do everything to ensure no one anywhere in the world remains indifferent to this terrible war that Russia has unleashed on our country and against the very notion of freedom,” Zelenskiy said.

Russia and Ukraine struck a deal last week to unblock grain exports from Black Sea ports, but U.N. aid chief Martin Griffiths said “crucial” details for the safe passage of vessels were still being worked out. Griffiths was hopeful the first shipment of grain from a Ukrainian Black Sea port could take place as early as Friday. Allowing safe passage for grain shipments from Ukrainian ports should ease shortages that have left tens of millions of people around the world facing soaring food prices and hunger. Ukraine said on Thursday its planes had struck five Russian strongholds around the southern city of Kherson and another nearby city.

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SOURCE = Reuters

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Montenegro Freezes Property of Two Russians on EU Sanctions list

July 28th 2022

Montenegro’s Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that authorities froze the properties of two Russian citizens in line with European Union sanctions on Russia related to its war on Ukraine. The ministry told BIRN that Montenegro’s Property Office blocked the real estate of an unnamed Russian citizen in Zabljak and of the Russian politician Marat Bashirov in the coastal resort of Budva. Bashirov is leader of pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine’s Lugansk area. “One Russian citizen complained to the Administrative Court about the Property Office’s decision so at the moment we cannot publish his name,” the Property Office told BIRN. On April 8, the government confirmed implementation of European Union sanctions against Russia, which Montenegro joined on March 1.

Under the restrictive measures, Montenegro banned Russian overflights of its airspace and access to its airports, and has stopped transactions with the Russian Central Bank. Montenegro also joined the Swift ban on seven Russian banks, freezing property of Russian and Ukrainian citizens on EU restriction lists and suspending broadcasting of Russian state-owned media. On June 10, Interior Minister Filip Adzic said Montenegro will freeze 44 properties of 34 Russian and Ukrainian citizens, following EU sanctions. But on July 7, Finance Minister Aleksandar Damjanovic said the Property Office had made a technical mistake. “After a detailed check of the restriction list, it was found that regardless of the matching of names, they are not the same persons. No one’s property has been frozen if they have not been thoroughly checked,” Damjanovic told television Vijesti.

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SOURCE = Balkan Insight

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Syrian ship carrying ‘stolen Ukrainian barley, flour’ docks in Lebanon, Ukrainian embassy says

July 28th 2022

BEIRUT, July 28 (Reuters) – A Syrian ship under U.S. sanctions has docked in the northern Lebanese port of Tripoli carrying barley and wheat that the Ukrainian embassy in Beirut told Reuters on Thursday had been plundered by Russia from Ukrainian stores. The Laodicea docked in Tripoli on Wednesday, according to shipping data website MarineTraffic. “The ship has traveled from a Crimean port that is closed to international shipping, carrying 5,000 tonnes of barley and 5,000 tonnes of flour that we suspect was taken from Ukrainian stores,” the embassy told Reuters. “This is the first time a shipment of stolen grains and flour reaches Lebanon,” the statement said. Russia has previously denied the allegations that it has stolen Ukrainian grain. An official from the Russian embassy in Lebanon told Reuters it could not immediately comment. Ukrainian Ambassador Ihor Ostash met Lebanese president Michel Aoun on Thursday to discuss the shipment, telling him that purchasing stolen Ukrainian goods would “harm bilateral ties” between Kyiv and Beirut, the embassy told Reuters.

The agriculture minister, the head of customs and the head of Tripoli port did not immediately respond to requests for comment. “We are checking the accuracy of the information that has been mentioned in the media, and we have laws and we resort to Lebanese law,” Lebanon’s transport minister Ali Hamie told Reuters. A customs official and shipping source told Reuters that the Tripoli port had not offloaded the ship due to suspicions it was carrying stolen goods. “Nothing was taken off of the ship – as soon as we got the information, we stopped everything,” the customs official said. The Laodicea is one of a trio of ships owned by the Syrian port authority that Ukraine says have been transporting wheat plundered from stores in Ukrainian territory recently overtaken by Russia. All three ships have been sanctioned by the United States since 2015.

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SOURCE = Reuters

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