Dispatches from Ukraine (Day 364)
As Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues and the war rages on, reliable sources of information are critical. MEZIESBLOG gathers information and provides updates on the situation.
Mariupol. Preliminary information from the city council suggests that 11 explosions Tuesday night and one more in the morning targeted Russian occupation forces in the Central and Kalmiusk districts. Disruptions in the city’s light and communication services also were reported in the Central and Left Bank districts.
Kherson region. Russian artillery fire struck the village of Novotyahynka today. The attack, reports Oleksander Prokudin, head of the regional military administration, resulted in the deaths of an 81-year-old woman and a 68-year-old man.
Law enforcement officers in the office of Ukraine’s Prosecutor General, Andrii Kostin, have established the identities of 91 Russian servicemen involved in atrocities in the town of Bucha. The Russian army, Kostin alleges, committed more than 9,000 war crimes during its occupation of the Bucha district in the Kyiv region, resulting in the deaths of more than 1,700 civilians. Kostin relayed this information to American congressmen during their recent visit to the town. In his statement, Kostin recounted the gruesome discoveries made after the town’s liberation: mass burials containing mutilated bodies of men, women, and children bearing signs of torture and sexual violence. Kostin expressed gratitude to his American counterparts and called for an international tribunal to hold the Russian Federation’s leadership accountable for these crimes.
In response to the admission of Russian and Belarusian athletes competing under their national flags, the Ukrainian national boxing team will boycott the 2023 world championship among women and men. The decision announced by Oleh Ilchenko, Vice President of the Ukrainian Boxing Federation, places Ukraine in the company of nine other nations, including the United States, Poland, Switzerland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Sweden, the Czech Republic and Canada, that previously have declared their intention to snub the world championship.
Russia allegedly conducted an unsuccessful test of the SARMAT intercontinental ballistic missile, nicknamed the Satan II in the West, while President Biden made his unannounced visit Kyiv on Monday. A CNN report cites two U.S. sources familiar with the matter and states that Russian officials informed their American counterparts in advance pursuant to their New START treaty obligations. The missile test failed, the officials suspect, or Russian President Vladimir Putin otherwise would have reported its success in his Tuesday address to the nation. Instead, Putin announced Russia’s unilateral decision to suspend its participation in the New START nuclear arms treaty, the last remaining agreement between the two powers regulating their nuclear arms arsenals.
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has announced that Italy will provide Ukraine a sixth assistance package. Speaking at a press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv yesterday, Meloni revealed that the package will include the SAMP-T air defense system for deployment this spring. During the meeting, officials reportedly also discussed Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic integration, its peace formula and a reconstruction project. When asked about fighter jets, Meloni emphasized that Italy now is focusing on delivering defensive arms. The Italian government has worked closely with France to transfer the SAMP-T air defense system to Ukraine, and the new aid package will also include the Skyguard anti-missile system and Aspide air defense missiles.
On the anniversary of the full-scale war, UNITED24, President Zelensky’s initiative and ARTEMSIL (Ukrainian state salt production enterprise) present a special batch of salt and collect charitable donations in support of Ukraine. Previously mined in the now Russian-occupied town of Soledar, Donetsk region, the salt is packaged in 200-gram bags, each decorated with a trident design by well-known Ukrainian graphic artist Artem Husev. Production of the salt by Artemsil was brought to a halt in mid-April 2022 by heavy Russian shelling. While the enterprise’s warehouses were burned down and equipment destroyed, the salt itself remained untouched. Now, each package of “SOLEDARity: Ukrainian Rock-Solid Strength” is available for purchase for 500 hryvnas (around $14). 465 hryvnas from each sale will go toward funding a new fleet of kamikaze drones for the Ukrainian military.
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