SITUATION UPDATE – After a day of tributes and intense tensions marked by a new Russian strike, the two countries are entering their seventh month of armed conflict.
Ukraine and Russia are entering a seventh month of armed conflict. In the aftermath of the Ukrainian national holiday celebrating the 31st anniversary of the country’s independence, demonstrations of diplomatic support followed one another towards Kyiv and rekindled tensions with Moscow.
Death toll from Russian strikes at train station rises to 25
The toll of the Russian bombardment which hit a train station in central Ukraine on Wednesday evening August 24 stands at 25 dead and 31 injured, the Ukrainian railway operator announced on Thursday August 25.According to the morning information, we have 25 dead, including two children. Thirty-one people were injured, including two children“, the company said on Telegram. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced that “russian missile launchWednesday night at the start of his video address to the UN Security Council, reporting an initial death toll of 22.
The strike took place at Chapline station in the Dnipropetrovsk region of central Ukraine. According to Volodymyr Zelensky, four passenger cars caught fire. The bombardment came as Ukraine celebrated Independence Day, which commemorates its separation from the USSR in 1991. It also comes as the country entered its seventh month of war against Russia on Wednesday, which began on 24 february. In eastern and southern Ukraine, where neither side appears to be making progress, Russia regularly hits Ukrainian towns with long-range missiles, according to Kyiv.
A national holiday tinged with tributes
After a semester of war, the anniversary of independence acquired in 1991 from the USSR did not give rise to festivities, even if the Ukrainian diaspora organized numerous gatherings around the world ( France, Poland, Israel, etc.). Volodymyr Zelensky and his wife paid tribute to fallen Ukrainian soldiers by observing a minute’s silence and laying yellow and blue bouquets – the colors of the national flag – in front of a memorial in central Kyiv, before attending a rally in the Sainte-Sophie cathedral with the heads of the main religious denominations.
Ukraine on Monday acknowledged the death of nearly 9,000 soldiers since the start of the conflict – a figure probably lower than the reality, according to observers. On the Russian side, nearly 80,000 soldiers have been killed or injured since the start of the invasion, the number three of the American Pentagon estimated in early August. Authorities in Kyiv, where warning sirens sounded in the morning, banned all public gatherings there from Monday to Thursday. In the northeast, the governor of the Kharkiv region ordered a curfew from Tuesday evening to Thursday morning.
Ukraine will fightuntil the end“, insists Zelensky
Ukraine will fightuntil the end” without “no concessions or compromiseswith Russia, President Volodymyr Zelensky launched on Wednesday in a speech to the Nation on the occasion of his country’s Independence Day, which also marks six months of Russian invasion. “We will fight for (our land) until the end“, did he declare. “We’ve been holding on for six months. It’s hard but we clenched our fists and we fight for our destiny” and “we’re only going to raise our hands in the air once, to celebrate our victory“.
“For us, Ukraine is Ukraine as a whole. All 25 regions, without any concessions or compromises“, He continued, promising in particular to take back the Donbass basin (east), in the hands of the separatists supported by Moscow since 2014, and Crimea, annexed by Russia the same year. “The Donbass is Ukraine. And we’re going to get it back anyway. Crimea is Ukraine. And we’re gonna get her back anyway this way“, hammered Volodymyr Zelensky. Kyiv had been advocating for years only the diplomatic way for the restoration of its control over the territories.
SEE ALSO – Ukraine: 15 dead and 50 injured in a Russian strike on a train station, announces Zelensky
New US military aid
US President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced nearly $3 billion in new military aid to Ukraine to demonstrate continued US support. “The United States of America is committed to supporting the people of Ukraine as they continue the fight to defend their sovereignty. As part of this commitment, I am proud to announce our largest tranche of security assistance to date: approximately $2.98 billion in weapons and equipment.“Joe Biden said in a statement.
“This will allow Ukraine to equip itself with air defense systems, artillery and ammunition systems (…) and radars to ensure that it can continue to defend itself in the long term.“, added the American president. This new tranche of aid is exclusively made up of armaments ordered from the American defense industry which will only reach Ukraine in a few months, even two or three years, underlined a senior Pentagon official.
Ukraine wants to create a special international tribunal next year
Kyiv intends to set up an international tribunal next year to try Russian President Vladimir Putin and those responsible for invading Ukraine, a senior Ukrainian official told AFP. This project to create this court which will have to rule on the “crime of aggressionof Russia is supervised by Andriï Smirnov, the deputy head of the Ukrainian presidential administration.
“This is the only option to quickly hold accountable the criminals who started the war against Ukraine. The best, fastest and most efficient“Insisted in an interview with AFP Andriï Smirnov. There “crime of aggressionis similar to the concept of “crime against peaceused in the Nuremberg and Tokyo Trials at the end of World War II. The International Criminal Court (ICC) has already begun to investigate the crimes for which it has jurisdiction (genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes) but cannot take up the charges of “crime of aggressionbecause neither Moscow nor Kyiv ratified the Rome Statute establishing it in 2010.
SEE ALSO – Ukraine: the Russian ambassador to the UN says he wants to see “all the objectives” of the military operation “achieved”
The concern of a Russian referendum in Ukraine
Moscow could announce one or more referendums this week.illegitimatein occupied Ukraine, in an attempt to justify an annexation of Ukrainian territories to Russia, White House spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Wednesday. “We have information that Russia continues to prepare mock referendumsin Kherson (south), in Zaporijia, in the separatist regions of Donetsk and Lugansk, as well as in Kharkiv, said John Kirby, spokesman for the executive for national security issues.
“The Russian leaders have instructed to prepare the holding of these referendums“, he added. “In fact, a Russian announcement on the first or first of these mock polls is expected before the end of the week.“. “The United States and the international community have been very clear: any attempt to control Ukraine’s sovereign territory will be considered illegitimate.continued John Kirby.