Today – 10.07.22
Latest Ukraine Updates
All-Night Shelling in Nikopol District of Ukraine
The district of Nikopol “shuddered all night” as Russia maintained a constant barrage of shelling, according to Valentyn Reznichenko, governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region. “Almost 40 Russian shells hit Nikopol,” the Telegram post read. “Several high-rise buildings, more than 10 private houses, a transport infrastructure enterprise, gas pipelines and electricity networks were damaged in the city.” There were no injuries reported, however.
Nobel Peace Prize Won by Human Rights Advocates in Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus
Belarusian human rights advocate Ales Bialiatski and two organizations from Russia and Ukraine – Memorial and the Center for Civil Liberties, respectively – were announced as the winners of the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize Friday morning. The winners were honored for “an outstanding effort to document war crimes, human right abuses and the abuse of power” in their respective countries.
Prize Money: The three winners will share the prize money of 10,000,000 Swedish Krona, which comes out to about $900,000 USD. The Nobel Prizes will be officially presented to the laureates at a ceremony on December 10, the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death.
Leading Up To Today
Zelensky Accuses Russia of ‘Nuclear Blackmail’
Ukraine’s president has accused Russia of “nuclear blackmail” over its move to take full control of the Zaporizhzhia power plant in southeastern Ukraine. “You’re not using the weapons, but you can still be blackmailing by not having the nuclear power plant working for the people – the people are not receiving the electricity,” Zelensky then clarified.
A Change in Staff: Russia captured the plant in March, shortly after the invasion began, and Putin ordered his government on Wednesday to take full control of operations. The plant is Europe’s largest, and Ukrainian staff have continued to operate it until now, despite the Russian occupation.
Moscow-Installed Official Scorns Russian Generals and Defence Minister
A Russian official in Ukraine has publicly ridiculed Moscow’s generals and even suggested that Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu should shoot himself over military failures. Kirill Stremousov, the deputy head of the Russia-backed administration in Kherson, accused generals and ministers in Moscow of failing to understand the problems with the invasion.
Putin Signs Decree Taking Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Wednesday that puts the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plan in Ukraine under Russian state control. It also amends the country’s constitution by admitting new regions into the Russian Federation.
Ukraine Run, Russian Owned: The six-reactor power plant is the largest in Europe and will continue to be operated by Ukrainian technicians. The forcible annexation, however, means that Russian law now considers it Russian territory. The annexation of Zaporizhzhia and three other regions has been widely condemned by most other nations in the world. It has been described as a “sham” and as against international law. The question, however, is what will be done about it.
Ukraine Gains Ground in the South
Ukrainian troops have retaken more territory in regions annexed by Russia. Kyiv’s forces are advancing on the southern city of Kherson as well as Luhansk in the east. President Volodymyr Zelensky said during his nightly address, “there are new liberated settlements in several regions.” Russian-installed officials in Kherson confirm the advance, but also say that their own troops are digging in.
Logistical Targets: The Ukrainian advance is targeting supply lines for as many as 25,000 Russian troops on the west bank of the Dnipro River, Reuters reported. Vladimir Saldo, Russia’s leader in Kherson, admitted the Ukrainians broke through near Dudchany, a town on the Dnipro about 20 miles south of the previous front line, and that they had attempted to reach the Kakhovka hydroelectric station about 44 miles east of Kherson. Ukrainians captured the hub town of Lyman Saturday in the east, near the Luhansk regional border. Russia’s military had turned Lyman into a logistical base.
Residents of Annexed Ukrainian Territories Have 1 Month to Change Citizenship
Residents of the Ukrainian regions annexed by Russia have been given one month to change their citizenship, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Yevgeny Ivanov told state news agency RIA Novosti on Tuesday. “The same as it was with Crimea. Within a month they must decide, make a choice,” Ivanov said.
Internationally Illegal: According to Russia’s legal system, as soon as President Vladimir Putin signs the law finalizing the annexation – which he is expected to do Tuesday – it’s a done deal. The annexation is illegal under international law, however, and Western governments have vowed not to recognize the regions as Russian territory.
Completing the Takeover?
The Russian parliament is expected to pass a vote over treaties on annexation that will formally see the regions of Zaporizhzhia, Kherson, Donetsk, and Luhansk come under Kremlin control. Western leaders have described the referenda that led to this vote as a “sham.” The annexation means that the Russian rouble will become the official currency and that the regional military could be incorporated into the Russian army.
Ukraine Fights Back: Although the four regions are under Russian control, other areas are falling to Ukrainian forces. The town of Lyman – which was regarded as a logistics hub for the Russians – has been retaken by the Ukrainians. President Volodymyr Zelensky said the “successes of our soldiers are not limited to Lyman.”
Ukraine Submits Emergency Application to NATO
President Volodymyr Zelensky submitted a formal emergency application to fast-track Ukraine’s membership to NATO. He noted in a video posted on Telegram that Kyiv was prepared to engage in discussions with Moscow, but not Russian President Vladimir Putin. This comes after Russia annexed four partially occupied Ukrainian regions.
‘Ready for Negotiations’: “We are taking our decisive step by signing Ukraine’s application for accelerated accession to NATO,” Zelensky said as he was surrounded by his prime minister and speaker of parliament. “Ukraine is ready for negotiations, but with a different Russian president.” Strong words on nukes between Russia, U.S…
Putin To Host Official Ceremony Annexing Ukraine Regions
“Russian President Vladimir Putin was set to host a Kremlin ceremony on Friday annexing four regions of Ukraine, while his Ukrainian counterpart said Putin would have to be stopped for Russia to avoid the most damaging consequences of the war,” Reuters reports. “There was a warning too from U.N. chief Antonio Guterres, who said the planned annexations were a ‘dangerous escalation’ and would jeopardize prospects for peace,” the wire service writes.
In His Pocket? “Putin took the intermediary step of signing decrees on Thursday paving the way for occupied regions of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia to be formally annexed into Russia. The decrees were made public by the Kremlin. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky promised a strong response to the annexations and summoned his defense and security chiefs for an emergency meeting on Friday where ‘fundamental decisions’ will be taken, an official said.” Strong words on nukes between Russia, U.S…
Russia to Annex Four Occupied Ukrainian Regions Friday
The Kremlin will hold a ceremony on Friday at which agreements will be signed on the annexation of occupied Ukrainian territories to the Russian Federation, a spokesman for President Putin told reporters. The ceremony will take place at 3 p.m. local time, which is 8 a.m. Eastern. Putin is expected to deliver a speech and meet with Russian-backed leaders of the four occupied regions. Separatist leaders from the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions, and the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics traveled to Moscow following the announcement of their poll results. Billboards proclaiming “Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, Kherson – Russia!” and giant video screens have been set up on Red Square, Reuters reports. The four territories make up about 18% of Ukraine.
Nord Stream Damage Likely Caused by Deliberate Acts of Sabotage
According to the North Atlantic Council, the evidence gathered on the damage to the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines in the Baltic Sea suggests “deliberate, reckless, and irresponsible acts of sabotage.” The council says the damage is of deep concern.
“These leaks are causing risks to shipping and substantial environmental damage. We support the investigations underway to determine the origins of the damage,” the statement said. “We, as Allies, have committed to prepare for, deter and defend against the coercive use of energy and other hybrid tactics by state and non-state actors. Any deliberate attacks against Allies’ critical infrastructure would be met with a united and determined response.”
Germany Believes Damage to Nord Stream Pipelines Was Act of Sabotage
“Germany suspects the Nord Stream gas pipeline system was damaged by an act of sabotage, in what would amount to a major escalation in the standoff between Russia and Europe,” Bloomberg News reports. “According to a German security official, the evidence points to a violent act rather than a technical issue. Swedish seismologists detected two explosions in the area on Monday, when leaks appeared almost simultaneously in the Baltic Sea,” the news service states.
Suspicious Timing: “It’s the clearest signal yet that Europe will have to survive this winter without any significant Russian gas flows, and potentially marks a major escalation in the broader conflict between Moscow and Ukraine’s allies. The pipelines were already out of action, but any hope that the Kremlin might have turned the taps back on at some point have now been dashed. Gas prices jumped, and Denmark moved to bolster security around its energy assets. ‘It’s hard to imagine that these are coincidences,’ Mette Frederiksen, Denmark’s prime minister, told reporters Tuesday. ‘We can’t rule out sabotage.’” Americans will feel the pinch from European energy crisis…
Russia Declares Victory in Annexation Vote, Prepares to Absorb Eastern Ukraine Regions
“The Kremlin paved the way Tuesday to annex more of Ukraine and escalate the war by claiming that residents of a large swath overwhelmingly supported joining with Russia in stage-managed referendums the U.S. and its Western allies have dismissed as illegitimate,” the Associated Press reports. “Pro-Moscow officials said all four occupied regions of Ukraine voted to join Russia. According to Russia-installed election officials, 93% of the ballots cast in the Zaporizhzhia region supported annexation, as did 87% in the Kherson region, 98% in the Luhansk region and 99% in Donetsk,” AP writes.
End of Any Negotiations? “Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky told the U.N. Security Council by video from Kyiv that Russia’s attempts to annex Ukrainian territory will mean ‘there is nothing to talk about with this president of Russia.’” Is Ukraine really winning the war?
Ukrainian Forces Continue Offensive East of Izium
The Ukrainian military is continuing its offensive against Russians east of Izium and has partially liberated the village of Pisky-Radkivski, local Ukrainian officials report. The counteroffensive is pushing north along the Oskil River toward the occupied village of Borova. “Fighting is underway,” the Borova village council posted to Facebook. “The Armed Forces of Ukraine are pushing out the enemy, but the liberated territories are suffering from enemy shelling. The sounds of explosions are also constantly heard from the north, east and south. The occupation authorities left the community, almost all collaborators also fled.”
Nord Stream Warns of “Unprecedented” Damage to Pipelines in Baltic Sea
The operator of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline from Russia to Germany warned that its pipeline system under the Baltic Sea sustained “unprecedented” damage in one day, Reuters reports. “The destruction that occurred on the same day simultaneously on three strings of the offshore gas pipelines of the Nord Stream system is unprecedented. It is not yet possible to estimate the timing of the restoration of the gas transport infrastructure,” Nord Stream AG told Reuters.
The Swedish Maritime Authority identified three leaks near the Danish island of Bornholm. The authority has warned vessels to maintain a distance of around eight kilometers, or five miles, from the leaks. Aircraft are also advised to keep a safety altitude of 1,000 meters, or about two-thirds of a mile. A spokesperson said that the first leak was reported Monday afternoon, with two more following that evening.
Is Putin Trying to Seize a Democratic Mandate?
“Citizens in four regions of Ukraine were voting for a fourth day on Monday in the Russian-organised referendums that Kyiv and the West have branded a sham,” Reuters reports. A number of votes are being carried out in areas seized by Russian forces, in what appears to be an attempt by Vladimir Putin to add legitimacy to Russia’s occupation of Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson.
Dangerous Game: The referenda are taking place amid escalated discussion of possible nuclear attacks and retaliation. US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan warned, “If Russia crosses this line, there will be catastrophic consequences for Russia… The United States will respond decisively.” Is the US ready for conflict?
UN Report Suggests Ukraine Children Raped, Tortured by Russian Forces
According to a new report from the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, many Ukrainian children were raped, tortured, and unlawfully confined by Russian forces during the invasion. “Investigating cases related to sexual and gender-based violence present specific challenges. The Commission has found that some Russian Federation soldiers committed such crimes,” the panel wrote. “These acts amounted to different types of violations of rights, including sexual violence, torture, and cruel and inhuman treatment.”
Mass Grave Sites: Recently, in the Ukrainian city of Bucha, mass grave sites were uncovered. In addition, it has been reported that Russian bombs struck hospitals and other civilian buildings. Russian President Vladimir Putin also announced a partial call-up of the military to secure the annexation of Ukrainian regions. Biden pitches a globalist solution…
Russia to Proceed With Annexation Votes in Ukraine Regions
“Russia will on Friday begin its plan to annex around 15% of Ukrainian territory via referendums in four regions controlled by Russian forces, a move the West says is a gross violation of international law that significantly escalates the war,” Reuters reports. “After nearly seven months of war, and a critical battlefield defeat in northeastern Ukraine earlier this month, President Vladimir Putin explicitly backed the referendums after the Russian-controlled regions lined up to ask for swift votes to join Russia,” the wire service writes.
Stacked Deck? “The self-styled Donetsk (DPR) and the Luhansk People’s Republics (LPR), which Putin recognized as independent just before the invasion, and Russian-installed administrations in the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions will hold votes. The voting, which the West and Ukraine says is a sham, is due to begin on Friday and will end on Tuesday, with results expected soon afterwards.” Putin mobilizes…
Biden Rips Putin Ukraine Escalation in Speech at United Nations
“President Joe Biden declared at the United Nations on Wednesday that Russia has ‘shamelessly violated the core tenets’ of the international body with its war in Ukraine as he summoned nations around the globe to stand firm in backing the Ukrainian resistance,” the Associated Press reports. “Delivering a forceful condemnation of Russia’s seven-month invasion, Biden said reports of Russian abuses against civilians and its efforts to erase Ukraine and its culture ‘should make your blood run cold,’” AP states.
International Scofflaw: “Biden also criticized Russia for scheduling ‘sham referenda’ this week in territory it has forcibly seized in Ukraine. ‘A permanent member of the UN Security Council invaded its neighbor, attempted to erase a sovereign state from the map,’ Biden told his UN audience.” Desperate hours for Russian leader?
Putin’s Partial Mobilization Inspires Stronger German Support for Ukraine
Germany’s Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht declared Thursday that Russia’s “partial mobilization” and planned referendums won’t deter her country’s support for Ukraine. “rather, this reaction from Putin to Ukraine’s successes spurs us on to continue to support Ukraine and send this clear signal,” Lambrecht told reporters in Berlin. French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu said France would also continue its support for Ukraine despite Russia’s reaction.