SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 23 February 2024, Friday |

Russian troops enter strategic Ukrainian port of Kherson

According to British military intelligence, Russia’s push on Kyiv has made little headway, and Ukrainian forces are still attacking Kharkiv and many other cities, a day after Moscow claimed to have taken the Black Sea port of Kherson.

Although Russian forces have yet to depose Kyiv’s government, hundreds are said to have died or been injured, and more than a million people have fled Ukraine in the week after President Vladimir Putin ordered Europe’s largest attack since 1945.

“The main body of the massive Russian column advancing on Kyiv is still over 30 kilometers (19 miles) from the city center, having been held up by tough Ukrainian resistance, mechanical failure, and traffic congestion,” Britain’s defence ministry said in an intelligence update.

“In nearly three days, the column has made little discernible movement,” it said. “The cities of Kharkiv, Chernihiv, and Mariupol remain in Ukrainian hands despite continuous Russian shelling.”

A resident of Borodyanka, a town 58 kilometers (36 miles) northwest of Kyiv, told a frantic account of their meeting with the enemy as Reuters Television footage showed shell-damaged buildings, street fires, and burned military equipment.

“They (Russian military) started shooting from their BMP (military vehicle) towards the park in front of the post office in Borodyanka,” claimed an unidentified Ukrainian guy.

“Then those cretins fired up the tank and opened fire on the Fora (supermarket), which had already been set ablaze. It caught fire once more.”

BARRAGE OF SANCTIONS

As a result of Russia’s attack, a slew of international sanctions have been imposed, threatening the world economy’s recovery from the COVID pandemic and stoking worries of a wider conflict as Western countries provide arms to Ukraine’s troops.

Kherson, strategically placed near the Dnipro River’s mouth, would be the first large urban center to fall since Moscow launched its assault on February 24.

Russian forces were in the streets and had entered the council building, Kherson Mayor Igor Kolykhayev claimed late Wednesday.

“I didn’t promise them anything… I only requested that they refrain from shooting individuals “In a statement, he stated.

The US State Department urged Putin and the Russian government to “immediately end this carnage” and pull troops out of Ukraine. It also accused Moscow of waging a “full-fledged war on media freedom and the truth” by shutting down independent news outlets and social media to keep Russians from knowing about the invasion of Ukraine.

Following the failure of the first session of talks on Monday, a second round of discussions between Russian and Ukrainian officials on a ceasefire is planned.

Russia refers to its efforts in Ukraine as a “special operation” that isn’t meant to take territory but rather to degrade its neighbor’s military capabilities and seize what it regards as dangerous nationalists.

Despite extensive claims of civilian casualties and shelling of residential areas, it denies targeting civilians.

The city of 1.5 million people, Kharkiv, has become a wasteland of broken buildings and trash as a result of bombing.

Russian forces have taken control of Balakliya, a town near Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine, according to the Russian defense ministry, as was reported by the Interfax news agency on Thursday.

A strike on a radio and television center in Kyiv, where Russian missiles hit a TV tower earlier this week, was also reported.

According to Ukraine’s parliament, Russian shelling killed six adults and two children in the city of Izyum, roughly 120 kilometers (75 miles) southeast of Kharkiv. Reuters was unable to independently verify either party’s assertions.

As of midnight on March 1, the United Nations Human Rights Office has confirmed the deaths of 227 people and 525 wounded during the violence, but warned that the true toll would be far higher owing to reporting delays.

The Kyiv railway station, where thousands of women and children were being evacuated, was also shaken by an explosion. According to a Ukrainian interior ministry adviser, the incident was caused by debris from a downed Russian cruise missile, and there were no early reports of injuries.

The International Criminal Court will immediately launch an investigation into alleged war crimes, after requests from 39 of the court’s member states, an unprecedented amount.

Global Response  

A United Nations resolution reprimanding Moscow was backed by 141 of the assembly’s 193 members, a symbolic triumph for Ukraine that further isolates Moscow.

“Even more than the situation in Ukraine is at stake. This is a threat to Europe’s security and the entire rules-based system “Secretary of State Antony Blinken of the United States of America warned.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reiterated Moscow’s desire for Ukraine’s “demilitarization,” saying a list of specific weapons that could never be deployed on Ukrainian soil should be established. Moscow opposes Kyiv’s NATO membership bid.

On Thursday, oil and commodity prices continued to rise, signaling a bleak outlook for global inflation.

As sanctions disrupted logistics and cut off supply networks, Japanese automakers, notably Toyota, were compelled to suspend production in Russia.

Russia’s central bank, which is also subject to sanctions, has raised interest rates to 20%, while Fitch and Moody’s have downgraded Russia’s national credit rating to ‘junk’ status.

According to statistics, at least five billionaire-owned superyachts were docked or sailing in the Maldives, an Indian Ocean island nation that does not have an extradition treaty with the United States.

Roman Abramovich, a Russian businessman, has announced that he will sell Chelsea Football Club in London and give the proceeds to victims of the Ukraine conflict.

    Source:
  • Reuters