Wednesday, August 31
Want to get the news faster? Follow our website: kyivindependent.com.
Russia’s war against Ukraine
A photo of a firefighter sitting on an ambulance in Mykolaiv. According to the State Emergency Service, at least two people were killed in the renewed Russian shelling on Aug. 30 and five others were wounded. (State Emergency Service / Telegram)
Dear readers, we recently launched a new newsletter, Belarus Weekly. To receive the Belarus Weekly newsletter in the future, subscribe via this link.
UN nuclear watchdog group leaves Kyiv for Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. During a briefing in Kyiv, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Mariano Grossi said the mission will cross the front line for the first time and requires security guarantees from Russia and Ukraine. Grossi adds that the IAEA intends to spend several days at the Zaporizhzhia plant to examine and stabilize the situation and establish permanent representation.
Ukraine’s military reports hitting bridges near occupied Kherson, again. Operational Command “South” reported on Aug. 30 that the Ukrainian artillery hit Antonivsky automobile and railway bridges, as well as Darivskyi bridge near the Russian-occupied Kherson again, “to confirm their inoperable status.”
Pentagon official: Kremlin’s efforts to expand military ‘unlikely to succeed.’ According to an unnamed senior U.S. defense official, Russia wants to grow its military from 137,000 to 1.5 million. “This effort is unlikely to succeed, as Russia has historically not met personnel and strength targets,” the official said. “If you look at the Russian armed forces, prior to the invasion, they may have already been 150,000 personnel short of their million personnel goal.” U.S. officials estimate that Russia has lost between 60,000 and 80,000 troops in Ukraine since Feb. 24. On Aug. 25, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin signed a decree to expand Russia’s military to 2 million.
Deutsche Welle: Heavy flamethrower system may be responsible for explosion at Olenivka POW camp. In a comment to DW, the Prosecutor General’s Office said that, based on open-source information, Russia likely used a thermobaric munition at Olenivka. Over 50 Ukrainian prisoners of war were killed in the Olenivka prison camp on July 28.
Podolyak: Russian forces shell corridors needed for IAEA mission to reach Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to the head of Volodymyr Zelensky’s Presidential Office, said Russian forces likely want the IAEA mission to pass through Russian-occupied Crimea or Donbas to reach the plant.
Ukraine’s intelligence: Russia draws more mercenaries for its war in Ukraine as covert mobilization fails. Ukraine’s Intelligence Directorate said on Aug. 30 that since the covert mobilization in central and southeastern regions of Russia is falling, the country’s defense ministry decided to increase the number of mercenaries to fight against Ukraine. The intelligence said there are now up to 5,000 Russian mercenaries in Ukraine.
Ukraine, Poland seek to build pipeline to ship vegetable oil. The Polish prime minister’s office announced a plan to build a cross-border pipeline to transport Ukrainian vegetable oil to the Polish port of Gdansk in a bid to boost Ukrainian exports amid the ongoing war, Polish media outlet Economic Portal reported on Aug. 30.
Ukraine’s Cabinet approves sanctions against Russian Orthodox Church leader Kirill. Announcing the sanctions against Patriarch Kirill and seven other representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church, Culture Minister Oleksandr Tkachenko said on Aug. 30 that the Russian Orthodox Church supports the war against Ukraine and “everyone involved should be held accountable.”
Parliament approves taking out $350 million loan to buy natural gas. The loan will be provided by Canada to fund purchases of gas ahead of the heating season.
Zelensky signs law on ‘customs visa-free regime’ with EU. President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an evening address on Aug. 30 that he had signed an agreement to the accession of Ukraine to the Convention on a Common Transit procedure. Earlier in June, the EU signed an agreement to allow Ukraine into the bloc’s Convention on Common Transit Procedure for a “visa-free” road freight transportation shortly after the war-torn country had been granted an EU candidacy status.
Read our exclusives here
Southern counteroffensive underway as Russia ramps up shelling in the east. Fighting rages in Kherson Oblast as Ukraine’s military begins an offensive aimed at retaking territory captured by Russia in the early days of the full-scale war. But as more reports of the unfolding counteroffensive in the south appear, Russia intensifies its attacks on a number of Ukrainian cities. Find out more in our detailed report.
The human cost of Russia’s war
Russia’s recent attack on Mykolaiv leaves 1 dead. Mykolaiv Mayor Oleksandr Sienkevych said on Aug. 30 that one more person was injured. He did not provide details.
In other news…
EU gas reserves at 80% storage capacity. At the Baltic Sea Energy Security Summit, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced that the EU had filled its gas storage sites to an average of 80% thus hitting their target ahead of schedule. In June, the European Parliament approved plans to fill the EU’s gas storage facilities to at least 80% by Oct. 1, when the European heating season begins.
Latvia to introduce additional checks for Russian, Belarusian citizens entering the country. According to the regulations adopted by the Latvian government on Aug. 30, when issuing a visa or residence permit, citizens of Russia and Belarus will have to undergo an additional check to assess whether their entry would pose “a threat to national security or public order,” Latvian news site Delfi reports.
Russian media: Ex-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev dies aged 91. Russia’s Central Clinical Hospital said that he had died after a long and serious disease. Gorbachev, who was the general secretary of the Soviet Union’s Communist Party from 1985 through 1991, spearheaded a reform movement called perestroika. He was also the only person who held the short-lived position of the Soviet Union’s president from 1990 to 1991.
Investigation: Germany raids network of companies suspected of selling precursor chemicals to Russia. The key German company, Riol Chemie GmbH, had made more than 30 shipments of chemicals and laboratory equipment to Russia’s Chimmed Group, a wholesaler, over the past 3.5 years without the necessary export permits, according to an investigation by Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and its media partners published on Aug. 30. Russian procurement records acquired by OCCRP show that the Chimmed Group was contracted by the Russian intelligence agency FSB Criminalistics Institute in 2016. It is accused of attempting to use Novichok poison to kill the now-imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny in 2020.
Want to get the news faster? Follow our website: kyivindependent.com.
Today’s Ukraine Daily was brought to you by Teah Pelechaty, Alexander Khrebet, Oleksiy Sorokin, Daria Shulzhenko, Oleg Sukhov, Asami Terajima, Olena Goncharova, and Dariya Akhova.
If you’re enjoying this newsletter, consider becoming our patron on Patreon or donating via GoFundMe. Start supporting independent journalism today.
No comments yet. Be the first to react!