US says Russia aims to fabricate evidence on prison deaths
The White House said Thursday that new intelligence suggests Russia is working to fabricate evidence regarding last week’s deadly strike on a prison housing prisoners of war in a breakaway region of eastern Ukraine.
U.S. intelligence officials have determined that Russia was seeking to produce false evidence to believe Ukrainian forces were responsible for the July 29 attack on Olenivka prison that left 53 dead and dozens injured, according to White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby.
Separately, a Western government official, who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity, said explosives experts who reviewed photos of the prison released by the Russians following the incident determined that the destruction was probably not caused by “an explosive strike”. from the outside” and that he was “much more likely to be inflammatory and from within the venue”.
“We anticipate that Russian officials will attempt to trap Ukrainian armed forces in anticipation of potential journalists and investigators visiting the attack site,” Kirby said.
Russian shell town near Europe’s largest nuclear power plant
Russian forces shelled a Ukrainian town near Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant on Thursday, bolstering warnings from the UN nuclear chief that fighting around the site could lead to a disastrous accident.
Dnipropetrovsk regional governor says Russia fired 60 rockets at Nikopol, across the Dnieper, from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which has been under Russian surveillance since Moscow troops seized it early of the war.
Some 50 residential buildings were damaged in the city of 107,000 and residents were left without power, Valentyn Reznichenko wrote on Telegram.
Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, warned on Tuesday that the situation was becoming more dangerous every day at the Zaporizhzhia plant in the city of Enerhodar.
“All nuclear safety principles were violated” at the plant, he said. “What is at stake is extremely serious and extremely serious and dangerous.”
I expressed concern about the way the plant is operated and the danger posed by the fighting taking place around it. I cited the bombings early in the war during its takeover and the continued examples of Ukraine and Russia blaming each other for attacks there.
EU imposes new sanctions on ex-Ukrainian president
European Union member countries on Thursday imposed sanctions on pro-Russian former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and his son Oleksandr for their alleged role in threatening Ukraine’s security.
The European Council said in a statement that the two men had been added to a list of European sanctions put in place “in response to unjustified Russian military aggression against Ukraine”.
Mr Yanukovych presided over Ukraine from February 2010 until February 2014, when he was overthrown in a popular uprising against his government’s diversion from the West to Moscow.
President Putin’s Russia reacted to the defeat of its ally by seizing the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea and an enclave in the eastern region of Donbass. In February, Moscow launched an all-out offensive against Ukraine.
The EU believes that Yanukovych, 72 and living in Russia, still plays “a role in undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine”.
The statement published Thursday in the EU’s official journal accuses him of plotting to try to return to power in Ukraine if the Russian invasion manages to overthrow President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Meta dismantles the Russian propaganda network
An organization close to Moscow has been waging a social media influence campaign in support of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, using “troll farms” and hackneyed tactics, Meta – the parent company of the… Facebook and Instagram social media platforms.
“It felt like a step back,” Ben Nimmo, one of the group’s security chiefs, told AFP. “But they haven’t been very good and there’s no evidence that they had the impact and virality they had before.”
Meta has dismantled a network of fake accounts on its platforms, created by an entity dubbed “Cyber Front Z” and people formerly associated with the “Internet Research Agency” (IRA), suspected of being a digital arm of the Kremlin.
These fake accounts, run by employees of a “troll farm” located in St. Petersburg, posted pro-Russian comments under media personalities and content, to “give the impression of popular support for the ‘invasion of Ukraine’.
“Russia is sending tons of humanitarian aid to Ukraine, where local Nazis… are holding citizens hostage,” one such account commented under a video posted by Angelina Jolie about the war. on Instagram, according to the Meta report
In total, the social media giant withdrew more than 1,000 accounts on Instagram and 45 on Facebook in early April. Some 49,000 accounts followed one or more of the fake profiles on Instagram.