Russia bombed several Ukrainian provinces on Thursday with a multi-pronged attack — killing at least 51 civilians in a missile attack on a cafe and village market in the northeast and sweeping through the southern and central regions with drones — just as President Volodymyr Zelensky was about to make his case for… A united front against Moscow’s aggression against European leaders.
Ukrainian authorities said that the attack that occurred in the village of Hruza in Kharkiv Province, where about 60 people were attending the funeral of a local soldier, was one of the bloodiest attacks in the war in months. Zelensky described what happened as “terrorism” and said it was “a clearly brutal Russian crime.”
Emergency personnel cleared the rubble while bodies and body parts were scattered on a nearby children’s playground in Horozha, which lies less than 20 miles west of Kubyansk and is the focus of Russia’s military efforts. Before traveling to southern Spain early Thursday to attend a summit with fellow European heads of state, Zelensky visited the region on Tuesday to meet with troops and inspect equipment provided by the West.
He demanded more after Thursday’s attack, which included 29 drone bombings targeting Odessa and Mykolaiv in the south as well as the central province of Kirovohrad. The Ukrainian air force said it intercepted 24 drones, but one of the five it infiltrated destroyed an infrastructure facility in Kirovohrad, said head of the regional administration Andriy Rajkovych.
“The key for us, especially before winter, is to strengthen air defense, and there is already a basis for new agreements with partners,” Zelensky said via Telegram.
The White House and the European Union condemned the missile attack, which European Union Foreign Affairs Coordinator Josep Borrell described as “horrific terrorism” and a war crime.
∎ Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Thursday that Russia has successfully tested an experimental nuclear-powered cruise missile, warning that the country’s parliament may revoke its ratification of a treaty banning nuclear testing.
∎ Germany and Spain responded to Zelensky’s request for air defense assistance, pledging to acquire a fourth Patriot and six more Hawk air systems, respectively.
∎ British Government Announced the fourth loan guarantee Ukraine is set to provide $500 million to Ukraine so it “can provide life-saving winter support payments to three million families” in the hope that Russia will once again try to leave Ukrainians out in the cold by attacking the country’s energy system.
∎ Marina Ovsyannikova, a former state television journalist, warned viewers on camera that they were lying to them about the war, and was sentenced in absentia to 8½ years in prison for her protest. She defected to France with her daughter.
At a time when support for Ukraine appears to be waning in the United States and other parts of the West, nearly 50 European leaders who gathered Thursday in the Spanish city of Granada pledged to remain steadfast in their support.
The exclusion of military aid to Ukraine from the financing deal that prevented a US government shutdown last weekend, coupled with the election of pro-Russian candidate Robert Fico in Slovakia and weak support from Hungary, have raised questions about the commitment of Ukraine’s allies as the Kremlin continues. Its continuous attack.
“The main challenge we face is to save unity in Europe,” Zelensky said.
President Joe Biden called on other world powers on Tuesday to coordinate on Ukraine in a deliberate show of U.S. support, and said he was looking for alternative ways to fund security assistance in light of growing resistance from Republicans and turmoil in the House of Representatives. One such option is the Department of State’s Foreign Military Financing Grant Program. Politico reported Thursday.
European Union Foreign Affairs Coordinator Josep Borrell said that efforts to boost the war effort in Ukraine will not succeed without US intervention.
“Anyone who does not want Putin to win this war should look for ways that the United States can recover this issue and continue to support Ukraine,” Borrell said. “We can certainly do more. But the United States cannot be replaced by supporting Ukraine.”
Putin says Prigozhin’s plane showed no signs of outside influence
Putin said the investigation into the plane crash that killed Yevgeny Prigozhin and his top aides in the Wagner mercenary group showed no signs of “external influence,” suggesting that something happened internally that may have brought down the private jet.
Putin said fragments of a hand grenade were found in the bodies. All 10 people on board the plane died in the Aug. 23 accident northwest of Moscow, which US officials concluded was caused by an intentional explosion. The Kremlin described the allegations that Putin was behind the incident as an “absolute lie.”
Prigozhin’s mercenaries played a major role in Russia’s war in Ukraine, especially the brutal, months-long battle to seize the eastern city of Bakhmut. But after constantly rebuking the Russian Defense Ministry, Putin overstepped when he led a mutiny on June 23 that lasted about 36 hours.
Prigozhin and his fighters were granted asylum in Belarus as part of a deal to end the rebellion. In the end, he met an early death, as happened with previous opponents of Putin.
Now that Ukraine has had some success exporting its grain through a new Black Sea shipping lane, Russia may be looking to sabotage the project without taking the blame.
The shipping corridor, which came in response to Russia’s July withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative and subsequent threats to ships in the region, allowed many cargo ships safe passage via a route hugging the coast of Romania and Bulgaria, both NATO members.
The British Foreign Office said that Russia may plant naval mines at the entrances to Ukrainian ports to target civilian ships and point the finger of blame at Ukraine.
“Russia almost certainly wants to avoid publicly sinking civilian ships, and instead falsely blame Ukraine for any attacks against civilian ships in the Black Sea,” the Foreign Office said, adding that the UK was working with Ukraine to help improve shipping safety. .
Contributing: The Associated Press
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