Breaking news about Russia and the war in Ukraine

25 dead confirmed in Russian attack on train station in central Ukraine

According to the Ukrainian newspaper Kyiv Independent, 25 people are now dead after a Russian missile attack on a train station in central Ukraine.

The attacks took place on August 24, Ukraine’s Independence Day, before which Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned that Russia could launch a “particularly violent” attack on the country.

Rockets hit a train and residential areas of the town of Chaplyne in the central Dnepropetrovsk region, regional officials said, killing 15 initially and injuring at least 50. Four trains were set on fire and two children were killed in the attack, according to Presidential Deputy Head Kyrylo Tymoshenko.

— Natasha Turak

Russia can exploit any Ukrainian military activity around nuclear power plant for “propaganda purposes”: UK

A soldier with a Russian flag on his uniform stands near the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant outside the Russian-controlled city of Enerhodar in Zaporizhia region, Ukraine, August 4, 2022.

Alexander Ermochenko | Reuters

The situation at the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine, which has been occupied by Russian forces since March, continues to grow.

Ukrainian and Western officials have warned of Russian “false flag” actions that could allow Russian forces to stage an attack and blame Ukrainian forces in order to escalate the action.

“Russia is likely ready to exploit any Ukrainian military activity near the ZNPP for propaganda purposes,” the UK MoD wrote in its daily intelligence update on Twitter.

“While Russia maintains the military occupation of the ZNPP, the main risks to reactor operations likely remain failure of the reactors’ cooling systems, damage to the backup power supply, or error by workers working under pressure,” the Post added.

— Natasha Turak

UK announces $64m package of drones and loitering munitions for Ukraine

The UK announced a new £54m ($64m) weapons package for Ukraine’s armed forces, which will include 2,000 drones and loitering munitions, a government statement said.

The package includes 850 hand-launched Black Hornet micro-drones “specifically designed for use in towns and villages and used to detect approaching enemy forces,” the statement said.

According to the UK government, military personnel can learn to fly these drones, which are smaller than a mobile phone, in less than 20 minutes.

The UK will also send mine detectors to Ukraine to detect Russian mines in its waters. Over the next few weeks, Ukrainian soldiers being trained in Britain will be trained on how to handle them in British waters. Great Britain is also expanding its training program for Ukrainian troops.

— Natasha Turak

Five ships with a total of 85,110 tons of agricultural products are to leave the Ukrainian ports

The Sierra Leonean-flagged cargo ship Razoni, transporting Ukrainian grain, is seen in the Black Sea off Kilyos near Istanbul, Turkey August 3, 2022.

Mehmet Caliskan | Reuters

The organization that oversees exports of agricultural products from Ukraine said five ships transporting grain and other crops were approved to leave Ukrainian ports on Thursday.

The ship Ascanios transports 58,510 tons of corn and is destined for Germany. The ship Mohamad carries 11,000 tons of wheat and is destined for Israel. The ship, named Bellis, will also travel to Israel and transport 6,000 tons of soybeans. The Oris Sofi ship is transporting 5,900 tons of sunflower oil to Turkey. Another ship, Zelek Star, is also destined for Turkey and is transporting 3,700 tons of peas.

In total, the five ships carry 85,110 tons of grain and food as part of the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

– Amanda Macias

Europe will not be blackmailed into “offering Ukraine to Putin on a silver platter,” says the former US ambassador

Europe will not be blackmailed into “offering Ukraine on a silver platter to Putin,” former US Ambassador to Ukraine John Herbst said when asked whether Russia’s arming of energy flows through Nord Stream will break Europe’s resolve to keep Ukraine closed support.

“I believe Europe as a whole will continue to support Ukraine and not be blackmailed by it,” said Herbst, who is now senior director of the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center. “And I believe they will make it through the winter, albeit with some difficulty.”

Herbst added that “the end of the Russian war in Ukraine will come sooner” if the Biden administration sent more advanced weapons to Ukraine in larger quantities.

“The United States and the West must supply arms to Ukraine as long as Moscow wages a war of aggression in Ukraine, and that may take many years.”

— Lee Ying Shan

Russia plans ‘sham’ referendums to show Ukrainians want to join Russia, White House warns

John Kirby, White House Strategic Communications Coordinator for the National Security Council, speaks at the daily White House press briefing in Washington, July 27, 2022.

Jonathan Ernest | Reuters

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said US intelligence was indicating Russia could attempt to hold “sham referendums” as early as this week.

Kirby told reporters that the referendums are a way for Russia to show that the Ukrainian people want to be part of Russia. Kirby said the US believes referenda could begin in Kharkiv, Kherson and Zaporizhia, Luhansk and Donetsk.

Kirby added that the Biden administration will not view the referendum result as legitimate.

“Obviously struggling to make geographic gains within Ukraine, they are trying to do so through the wrong political means,” Kirby told reporters.

“We expect that Russia will try to manipulate the results of these referendums and falsely claim that the Ukrainian people want to join Russia,” he added.

– Amanda Macias

15 dead in Ukraine Independence Day attack

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stands on Independence Square as he congratulates Ukrainians on Independence Day amid the Russian attack on Ukraine in Kyiv, Ukraine, in this handout picture released August 24, 2022.

Ukrainian Presidential Press Service | via Reuters

Ukraine’s president said Russian forces launched a rocket attack on a train station in central Ukraine on the country’s Independence Day, killing at least 15 people and wounding about 50.

The fatal blow came after President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned in recent days that the Russians “might try to do something particularly bad, something particularly cruel” this week.

Wednesday is a national holiday in Ukraine, commemorating the country’s declaration of independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. It also marks the six-month point in the war against Russia.

— Associated Press

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