War in Ukraine: the main developments to know for Saturday

1. Ukraine denounces calls for the execution of prisoners of war

Ukrainian authorities have denounced Russian calls to “hang” or inflict a “humiliating death” on fighters from the Ukrainian Azov regiment, the day after a strike on a prison where some of them were being held that killed more than 50 prisoners of war.

“There is no difference between Russian diplomats calling for the execution of Ukrainian prisoners of war and Russian troops doing so in Olenivka. They are all complicit in these war crimes and must be held accountable,” wrote Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko on Twitter.

He was reacting to a tweet posted Friday evening by the Russian Embassy in London, which Twitter flagged with a warning as having “broken the rules on hateful conduct”, but remains available for viewing as Twitter considers it “interesting the audience”.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called the attack on Olenvika prison a “deliberate Russian war crime”.

Ukrainian authorities believe Russia carried out the attack to kill POWs and cover up evidence of torture, ill-treatment and war crimes. The Russians accused Ukraine of bombing the prison.

The International Committee of the Red Cross, which organized civilian evacuations during the war and worked to monitor the treatment of prisoners of war held by Russia and Ukraine, said it had requested access to the prison “to determine the health and condition of all those present at the scene at the time of the attack.

“Our priority right now is to ensure that the injured receive life-saving care and that the bodies of those who have lost their lives are treated with dignity,” the Red Cross said in a statement.

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2. Russia cuts gas supply to Latvia

The Russian gas giant Gazprom announced on Saturday that it had suspended gas deliveries to Latvia, amid Russian-Western tensions due to the conflict in Ukraine and unprecedented European sanctions against Russia.

“Today, Gazprom suspended gas deliveries to Latvia (…), due to violation of gas offtake conditions,” the Russian company said in a statement on Telegram, without further details.

The announcement comes as Gazprom drastically reduced deliveries of Russian gas to Europe via the Nord Stream pipeline this week, citing the need for turbine maintenance as European countries scramble to fill their reserves. for winter.

Russia had already reduced its delivery volume twice in June, saying the pipeline could not operate normally without a turbine that was being repaired in Canada and had not been returned to Russia due to sanctions imposed by the Westerners following the Russian assault on Ukraine.

Since then, Germany and Canada have agreed to send the equipment back to Russia, but the turbine has not yet been delivered.

Westerners accuse Moscow of using the energy weapon in retaliation for the sanctions adopted after the offensive against Ukraine. The Kremlin claims that the technical problems in the gas pipeline infrastructure are due to the sanctions.

3. US Ambassador: ‘There is no doubt that Russia wants to dismantle Ukraine’

The US ambassador to the United Nations said there should be no longer any doubt that Russia intended to dismantle Ukraine “and dissolve it entirely from the map of the world”.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield tells the UN Security Council that America is seeing growing signs that Russia is preparing the ground to try to annex all parts of eastern Ukraine from Donetsk and Luhansk and the southern regions of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, including installing “illegitimate proxies in Russian-controlled areas, with the aim of staging a sham referendum or decree to join Russia.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov “even said that was Russia’s war aim,” she said.

Lavrov told an Arab summit in Cairo on Sunday that Moscow’s overriding goal in Ukraine was to free its people from their “unacceptable regime”.

Apparently suggesting that Moscow’s war aims to spread beyond Ukraine’s eastern industrial Donbass region comprising Donetsk and Luhansk, Lavrov said: “We will certainly help the Ukrainian people get rid of the regime, which is absolutely anti-people and anti-historical. “

Russia’s deputy ambassador to the UN, Dmitry Polyansky, told the Security Council on Friday that “the denazification and demilitarization of Ukraine will be carried out.”

“At this stage, there must be no longer any threat to Donbass, nor to Russia, nor to the liberated Ukrainian territories where, for the first time in several years, people can finally feel that they can live as they wish,” he said. .

4. Russian forces hit multiple targets across Ukraine

Russia has launched nighttime attacks on several Ukrainian cities, Ukrainian officials said on Saturday.

Rockets hit a school building in Kharkiv, the country’s second largest city, and another attack occurred about an hour later according to the mayor. No injuries were reported immediately.

The bus station in the city of Sloviansk was also hit, according to Mayor Vadim Lyakh. Sloviansk is near the frontline of the fighting as Russian and separatist forces attempt to take full control of the Donetsk region, one of two eastern provinces Russia has recognized as sovereign states.

In southern Ukraine, one person was killed and six others injured in a bombardment that hit a residential area in Mykolaiv, a major port city, the region’s administration announced on Facebook on Saturday.

5. Russia blacklists more New Zealanders

Russia announced on Saturday that it would ban the entry of 32 New Zealand officials and journalists into its territory, in response to similar measures taken by New Zealand against Moscow due to the Ukrainian conflict.

Among those sanctioned are Wellington Mayor Andrew John Whitfield Foster and Auckland Mayor Philip Bruce Goff, Commodore Garin Golding, Commander of Naval Forces New Zealand, and journalists Kate Green and Josie Pagani (The Dominion Post) , the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

This decision is taken “in response to the sanctions of the New Zealand government which affect more and more Russian citizens”, specifies the press release.

In April, Russia had already banned entry into its territory to New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, as well as many ministers and parliamentarians.