Russia Attacks Ukraine - 23 Feb 2022 #9

Mo Thuairim

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Sweden follows Finland in confirming it will apply to join Nato​

Moscow tells Nordic pair there will be ‘far-reaching consequences’ as geopolitical fallout of Ukraine war intensifies

The Swedish government has confirmed it intends to apply for membership of Nato, joining neighbouring Finland in a dramatic decision that marks one of the biggest strategic consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to date.

“There is a broad majority in Sweden’s parliament for Sweden to join Nato,” the prime minister, Magdalena Andersson, said on Monday. “This is the best thing for Sweden’s security. We will inform Nato that we want to become a member of the alliance.”

She told a press conference following a parliamentary debate that Sweden would be “in a vulnerable position” while the application was being processed, but that she felt “confident that there is support for this among the Swedish people”.

The Finnish government on Sunday confirmed its intention to join Nato while Andersson’s ruling Social Democrats agreed to drop their longstanding opposition to the idea, paving the way for a joint membership application within days.

The decision by the two governments, both of which have remained neutral or non-aligned since the end of the second world war, drew a sharp initial response from Russia, which described it as a serious mistake with far-reaching consequences.

“The situation is, of course, changing radically in light of what is happening,” Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, said on Monday. “The fact that Finland and Sweden’s security will not be strengthened as a result of this is very clear to us.”

Ryabkov added that the two Nordic nations “should have no illusions that we will simply put up with it”, warning that the move was “another grave mistake with far-reaching consequences” and the “general level of military tension will increase”.

(...)

 

PommyMommy

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MAY 16, 2022
[...]

"The 227th Battalion of the 127th Brigade of the Territorial Defense Forces of the Kharkiv Armed Forces drove out the Russians and went to the state border," the Ukrainian Defense Ministry statement said in a statement posted on Facebook on May 16.

Ukraine's claim could not be immediately verified, but it comes four days after British intelligence said local forces had launched a counterattack against "vulnerable" Russian troops in an attempt to push them back across the border. Kharkiv is Ukraine's second-largest city.

"The withdrawal of Russian forces from the Kharkiv Oblast (Region) is a tacit recognition of Russia's inability to capture key Ukrainian cities where they expected limited resistance from the population," the British Ministry of Defense said in a daily briefing on May 12.

[...]
 

dotr

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May 16 2022 updated 1 hr. ago.
  • ''Ukrainian forces evacuate from Mariupol plant
  • Ukraine regiment says it is saving lives of troops inside
  • Evacuees arrive in Russian-controlled town
  • Putin responds calmly to Finland, Sweden NATO move
''KYIV/MARIUPOL, Ukraine, May 16 (Reuters) - Troops holed up in the last Ukrainian stronghold in the besieged port of Mariupol began evacuating on Monday, appearing to cede control of the once prosperous city to Russia after months of bombardment.

Ukraine's deputy defence minister said 53 injured troops from the Azovstal steelworks were taken to a hospital in the Russian-controlled town of Novoazovsk, some 32 kilometres (20 miles) to the east.''

Another 211 people were taken to the town of Olenivka, in an area controlled by Russian-backed separatists, Deputy Defence Minister Anna Malyar said. All of the evacuees will be subject to a potential prisoner exchange with Russia, she added.

Reuters saw five buses carrying troops from Azovstal arrive in Novoazovsk late on Monday. Some of the evacuated troops were wounded and carried out of the buses on stretchers. Some 600 troops were believed to have been inside the steel plant.''

''The wife of an Azov Regiment member described conditions at the plant earlier on Monday: "They are in hell. They receive new wounds every day. They are without legs or arms, exhausted, without medicines," Natalia Zaritskaya said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared earlier on Monday to climb down from threats to retaliate against Sweden and Finland for announcing plans to join the U.S.-led NATO military alliance.

"As far as expansion goes, including new members Finland and Sweden, Russia has no problems with these states - none. And so in this sense there is no immediate threat to Russia from an expansion to include these countries," Putin said.''
 

PommyMommy

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Hurray for the soldiers who have been evacuated. At last! Hoping and praying that the rest of them will be rescued.

This article is lengthy and concerns civilian evacuees.

MAY 16, 2022
https://kyivindependent.com/national/mariupol-evacuees-people-just-dying-city-in-chaos/
[...]

Still in shock from what they saw after Russian troops stormed their cities, some are barely holding back tears and are still visibly shaking. They are given clothes and medicine, as they figure out a plan to get to regions less exposed to attacks.

Further along the tent, a noticeboard is filled with photos of missing relatives and announcements offering to transport evacuees westwards.

While evacuees are mainly arriving from temporarily Russian-occupied cities in Zaporizhzhia Oblast, some also come from Mariupol, Donetsk Oblast, a besieged city in southeastern Ukraine that has experienced the most aggressive Russian bombardment.

[...]

Some Mariupol survivors, as though by a miracle, have arrived in damaged vehicles with their windows shattered, after having gone through almost 20 Russian-controlled checkpoints.

[...]

According to Starukh, the number of evacuees arriving in Zaporizhzhia has decreased in recent weeks and there are currently about 1,000 people a day, with 200-300 coming from Mariupol.

For instance, the governor said 238 Mariupol evacuees have arrived in Zaporizhzhia on May 15.

[...]

According to Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boichenko, around 20,000 of the city’s residents may have already been killed by Russia’s war, but the exact number of victims may never be discovered.

Since early April, Russia’s military has been using mobile crematoriums in an attempt to erase the evidence of their war crimes by burning dead bodies, Ukraine’s intelligence said.

[...]

Mariupol City Council said on May 11 that as many as 170,000 civilians remain trapped in the city.

[...]

Serhiy Kostiantynov, who left Mariupol in late March, said Russian evacuation buses only took civilians to Russia or to Russian-occupied territories back then. He himself hopped onto one of the buses after his apartment was shelled and eventually burned down.

[...]

The 35-year-old was terrified to the extent that he could not think straight, especially while battling “constant hunger.” The shelling was so intense that it could have literally killed anybody and the bombing was incessant. It was turning into a real-life Russian roulette.

“You live in constant fear,” he told the Kyiv Independent. “People were just dying. The city is in chaos.”

[...]

Kostiantynov remembers leaving his apartment one day and passing by a man sitting on a bench, smoking. On his way back, he found the man dead on the exact same spot, with half of his head missing.

[...]

Many courtyards have been turned into graveyards, Kostiantynov said. He himself has buried about 40 dead bodies.

[...]

Mariupol resident Anna Vilkova, 26, was about to give birth to her second child when Russia unleashed its full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24. Her family decided to stay in Mariupol, hoping that the hostilities would eventually die down.

[...]

... She said that she was especially frightened because she would not have been able to run if the hospital was attacked due to her stitches.

[...]

Ishchenko’s house was also destroyed due to the attack, so she was forced to live in a nearby basement. There was not enough space underground for adults, so Ishchenko’s parents lived outside, behind the walls of a destroyed house, hoping that another bomb would not fall on them.

“For the first days, we would yell ‘aviation, everyone hide,’” Ishchenko’s mother said. “But then we understood that if it (a bomb) falls, it falls. And if it falls, there is no point to hide.”

[...]
 

PommyMommy

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MAY 15, 2022
[...]

The destruction wreaked on a Russian battalion as it tried to cross a river in northeastern Ukraine last week is emerging as among the deadliest engagements of the war, with estimates based on publicly available evidence now suggesting that well over 400 Russian soldiers were killed or wounded.

[...]

On May 11, the Russian command reportedly sent about 550 troops of the 74th Motorized Rifle Brigade of the 41st Combined Arms Army to cross the Donets River at Bilohorivka, in the eastern Luhansk region, in a bid to encircle Ukrainian forces near Rubizhne.

[...]

As the news of the losses at the river crossing in Bilohorivka started to spread, some Russian bloggers did not appear to hold back in their criticism of what they said was incompetent leadership.

“I’ve been keeping quiet for a long time,” Yuri Podolyaka, a war blogger with 2.1 million followers on Telegram, said in a video posted on Friday, saying that he had avoided criticizing the Russian military until now.

“The last straw that overwhelmed my patience was the events around Bilohorivka, where due to stupidity — I emphasize, because of the stupidity of the Russian command — at least one battalion tactical group was burned, possibly two.”

[...]

Another popular blogger, who goes by Starshe Eddy on Telegram, wrote that the fact that commanders left so much of their force exposed amounted to “not idiocy, but direct sabotage.”

[...]

Western military analysts have also pored over the imagery and say the attempted crossing demonstrated a stunning lack of tactical sense.

They have speculated that Russian commanders, desperate to make progress, rushed the operation. Some also suggested that it was a reflection of disorder in the Russian ranks.

[...]
 

dotr

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''KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — As she lay buried under the rubble, her legs broken and eyes blinded by blood and thick clouds of dust, all Inna Levchenko could hear was screams. It was 12:15 p.m. on March 3, and moments earlier a blast had pulverized the school where she’d taught for 30 years.

Amid relentless bombing, she’d opened School 21 in Chernihiv as a shelter to frightened families. They painted the word “children” in big, bold letters on the windows, hoping that Russian forces would see it and spare them. The bombs fell anyway.

Though she didn’t know it yet, 70 children she’d ordered to shelter in the basement would survive the blast. But at least nine people, including one of her students — a 13-year-old boy — would not.



“Why schools? I cannot comprehend their motivation,” she said. “It is painful to realize how many friends of mine died … and how many children who remained alone without parents, got traumatized. They will remember it all their life and will pass their stories to the next generation.”

''But the destruction of hundreds of schools is about more than toppling buildings and maiming bodies, according to experts, to teachers and to others who have survived conflicts in the former Yugoslavia, in Syria and beyond. It hinders a nation’s ability to rebound after the fighting stops, injuring entire generations and dashing a country’s hope for the future.''
___

This story is part of an ongoing investigation from The Associated Press and the PBS series “Frontline” that includes the War Crimes Watch Ukraine interactive experience and an upcoming documentary.''
 

PommyMommy

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1h ago08.30

Peace talks between Ukraine and Russia stalled​

Ukraine’s top presidential adviser and negotiator, Mykhailo Podolyak, said negotiations with Russia on resolving the conflict have been suspended, blaming Moscow’s “stereotypical mindset”.

Since the two delegations met in Istanbul in late March, there have been “no significant changes, no progress”, he said.

Podolyak told reporters:

Objectively speaking, the negotiation process is suspended. Why? There are several reasons. Russia does not demonstrate the key – the understanding of today’s processes in the world and (Russia’s) extremely negative role.
Russia does not understand that the war is “no longer going on according to the rules, their plans, and schedule”, he said, while at the same time the “resistance of Ukraine, the professional resistance just grows, that’s why there’s no way Russia achieves its goals”.

He said the political elite in Russia are afraid of telling the truth and were choosing to “continue negotiations as an element of their propaganda only for domestic use”.

Podolyak added:

In my opinion, it’s a strategic goal of Russians: All or nothing.
He said the Ukrainian delegation does not consider the issue “to withdraw or not to withdraw” from the negotiation process as only expediency and specificity matter at the current stage, adding:

If there is specificity, political negotiations will continue.
Podolyak’s remarks to the media come after Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Andrei Rudenko, said that virtually no peace talks are going on at the moment.

Russia’s Interfax news agency reported that Rudenko told journalists in Nizhny Novgorod:

No, the negotiations are not continuing. Ukraine has practically withdrawn from the negotiating process.
 

PommyMommy

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MAY 17, 2022
[...]

Russia on Tuesday called the operation a mass surrender. The Ukrainians avoided using that word — but said the garrison had completed its mission, and that they were working to pull out the fighters that remain.

[...]

Oleksandr Danylyuk, a Ukrainian former national security chief and finance minister, told the BBC that because Ukrainian forces were unable to liberate the plant, the negotiated evacuation to Russian-controlled territory had been “the only hope” for Azovstal’s defenders.

Those remaining in the plant are still “able to defend it. But I think it’s important to understand that their main mission is completed and now their lives need to be saved,” he said.

A full negotiated withdrawal could save lives on the Russian side, too, sparing Russian-backed troops from what almost certainly would be a bloody and difficult battle to wrest the labyrinth-like plant from Ukrainian control.

Danylyuk added that those evacuated should be swapped for Russian prisoners — but Vyacheslav Volodin, speaker of the lower house of the Russian parliament, said without evidence that there are “war criminals” among the plant defenders and they should not be exchanged but tried.

[...]
 

CSIDreamer

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MAY 17, 2022
[...]

Russia on Tuesday called the operation a mass surrender. The Ukrainians avoided using that word — but said the garrison had completed its mission, and that they were working to pull out the fighters that remain.

[...]

Oleksandr Danylyuk, a Ukrainian former national security chief and finance minister, told the BBC that because Ukrainian forces were unable to liberate the plant, the negotiated evacuation to Russian-controlled territory had been “the only hope” for Azovstal’s defenders.

Those remaining in the plant are still “able to defend it. But I think it’s important to understand that their main mission is completed and now their lives need to be saved,” he said.

A full negotiated withdrawal could save lives on the Russian side, too, sparing Russian-backed troops from what almost certainly would be a bloody and difficult battle to wrest the labyrinth-like plant from Ukrainian control.

Danylyuk added that those evacuated should be swapped for Russian prisoners — but Vyacheslav Volodin, speaker of the lower house of the Russian parliament, said without evidence that there are “war criminals” among the plant defenders and they should not be exchanged but tried.

[...]
"Silence regime"? What is that?
 

worldwatcher

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Syria reported about a new Russian weapon:

Krasnopol: The latest Russian weapon killing civilians in Syria​

In 2021, The White Helmets (Syria Civil Defense) witnessed a new trend in attacks on civilians in Northwest Syria.

Over the past decade, the Assad regime and Russia’s forces have relied on a scorched-earth policy in Syria, employing a huge arsenal of artillery, missile weapons, and airstrikes that affect a wide area, or using weapons that are indiscriminate and scatter and disperse over a wide area such as internationally prohibited cluster bombs, chemical weapons, and phosphorus munitions.


Consequently, we now witness the same scenario being repeated in Ukraine, as reports of Russia’s use of Krasnopol missiles in Ukraine surface and as we continue to see civilians, aid work, public facilities and hospitals targeted in Ukraine. The use of laser-guided missiles against civilians is a concerning new trend for 2021. If accountability is not taken, these highly advanced and destructive weapons will continue their high toll on innocent civilian lives.



Krasnopol: The latest Russian weapon killing civilians in Syria - Syria Civil Defence

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