Dispatches from Ukraine. Day 435.
As Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues and the war rages on, reliable sources of information are critical. Forbes gathers information and provides updates on the situation.
Over the past two days, Russian forces have launched some 50 Iranian Shahed attack drones against Ukraine. Seven of the vehicles targeted the administrative building in the city of Dnipro.
Kherson. Heavy Russian shelling of the railway station, private homes, a major supermarket and a gas station in the city of Kherson yesterday killed 23 civilians and wounded 46 others, including two children aged 6 and 17.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has learned that Russian troops have placed military equipment, weapons and explosives in the fourth turbine room of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP). The IAEA also has received reports that Russian forces are storing similar materials elsewhere in the ZNPP. Ukraine’s State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate believes that this placement of armaments endangers both plant personnel and local residents. The Inspectorate further warned that any release of radioactive substances into the environment could spread beyond Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy paid an official visit to Finland yesterday to meet with his Finnish counterpart, Sauli Niinistö. Subjects for discussion included another package of EU sanctions against Russia and compliance with existing restrictions. “All of us should remember that the harder we put pressure on the aggressor, the faster the aggression will end,” Zelenskyy wrote afterwards.
His brief diplomatic trip then took Zelenskyy to the Netherlands, where he met with King Willem-Alexander and joined two officials of the International Criminal Court (ICC), President Piotr Hofmański and Registrar Osvaldo Zavala Giler, to address steps for bringing Russia to justice. Zelenskyy pressed for concrete sentences for all Russian “war criminals,” including President Vladimir Putin. The ICC recently determined that Putin is responsible for the unlawful abduction and forcible removal of Ukrainian children to Russia.
Denmark has announced that it will send Ukraine the largest military package to date. The list of pledged assistance, worth $250 million, includes military vehicles, mine clearing equipment, ammunition and funds for procuring air defenses. “We know that the Russians have entrenched themselves in the occupied areas of Ukraine with trenches, minefields and other obstacles to stop a Ukrainian offensive,” said Danish Defense Minister Troels Lund Poulsen. “The equipment in the donation package is essential to pave the way for Ukrainian tanks and infantry on the front line.”
The United States will provide Ukraine an additional assistance package valued at $300 million to “meet Ukraine’s critical security and defense needs,” the Department of Defense announced today. The assistance will include extra ammunition for HIMARS, howitzers, artillery rounds, anti-armor weapon systems and aircraft rockets.
Russia alleges that Ukrainian forces tried to attack the Kremlin last night. Video footage from Moscow shows unidentified drones flying over a Russian flag atop the building, then exploding. Russia labeled the incident an act of terrorism intended to assassinate President Putin and pledged to take decisive retaliatory action. Ukraine has denied any involvement and suggested that the incident might be either a Russian false-flag operation staged to justify further attacks on Ukrainian civilians or the work of partisan groups within the Russian Federation. The Institute for the Study of War likewise has deemed the incident a hoax. Russia also has accused the United States of aiding the alleged attack, a charge that White House press officials have dismissed as “ludicrous.” Russia so far has offered no evidence linking the drones to Ukraine or the United States.
Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani told journalists yesterday that Russia would make a “grave mistake” if it doesn’t extend the so-called Black Sea Grain Initiative, which has allowed Ukraine to export more than 40 tons of grain and related agricultural products since the start of the invasion. Russian recently suspended the current agreement, which has helped provide food to African counties. A meeting to discuss extension of the initiative, involving officials from Ukraine, Turkey and Russia, will take place in Istanbul tomorrow.
By Daria Dzysiuk, Alan Sacks