“Any nuclear attack on Ukraine will bring a response, but not a nuclear response, but a military response powerful enough to destroy the Russian military” European diplomacy chief Joseph Borrell said in Bruges on Thursday. In the immediate future this means the expulsion of questionable people in Moscow. “Following the appeal of the head of the Kherson region […] “The government has decided to organize assistance for the departure of residents of the region to other regions,” Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Marat Kouznulin announced on television.
“We will provide everyone with free accommodation and everything necessary,” the minister continued, without specifying the number of people involved. Russian occupation authorities in the Kherson region had previously asked Moscow to arrange for the evacuation of civilians from the territory, which is annexed to three other Ukrainian territories, by the end of September. People will be taken to the Crimean peninsula, annexed by Moscow in 2014, and to Rostov, Krasnodar and Stavropol regions in southern Russia.
The announcement comes as the Ukrainian military said on Thursday it had recaptured five towns in the region, having already claimed five other municipalities on Wednesday. For weeks, the Ukrainian military has been waging a counteroffensive in the occupied territory following a Russian offensive. Ukrainian authorities have yet to respond to early evening evacuation notices. Kyiv has in the past accused Russia of taking thousands of people living in occupied territories to its territory under the guise of evacuation.
NATO also “doesn’t discredit”
On the diplomatic front, the Russian and Turkish presidents met on Thursday on the sidelines of a regional summit in Astana, Kazakhstan, but did not publicly discuss the Turkish mediation plan the Kremlin had previously mentioned. Vladimir Putin has proposed building a “gas hub” in Turkey to export Russian hydrocarbons. “For us, it makes no sense to build new infrastructure that will allow us to import more Russian gas,” the French president replied. Ukraine continues to reap promises to provide anti-aircraft systems to neutralize the threat of Russian missiles.
After the arrival of a German system and the announcement of the arrival of American models, the United Kingdom announced that it would provide ammunition capable of firing cruise missiles. According to NATO, Spain will provide four medium-range “Hawk” surface-to-air systems. “We expect more from France and Italy in this area of air defense,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Thursday, addressing the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) via video conference. During his daily address in the evening, he insisted that Russia was currently “sending thousands of its mobilized soldiers to the front”. “The Russian generals’ use of these people as cannon fodder allows them to increase the pressure on our defenders. It’s a tangible pressure.”
At the gates of Bagmouth
The situation on the ground is “complicated, but under control,” declared Valery Zalosny, commander of the Ukrainian army. “The superiority of enemy artillery illustrates the need to increase the firepower of the Ukrainian Armed Forces,” he argued. “The question of integrated anti-aircraft defense is also essential”. Russian forces, retreating on several fronts, are attacking Bagmouth, a town of 70,000 in the east, largely deserted today and destroyed by artillery fire.
Further north, in Iampil, near the strategic Lyman railway hub recently recaptured by Ukraine, AFP journalists heard heavy artillery fire on Thursday. According to a soldier who returned from the front, the village of Dorske was there under Russian bombing. A Ukrainian missile struck an apartment building in the Russian city of Belgorod, local officials said, causing no casualties. In the evening, a Ukrainian strike blew up an ammunition depot in the region of this large city on Ukraine’s border, according to the region’s governor.
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