Russia-Ukraine war: UN says both sides share blame for nursing home attack; Russian shelling reported in east – live | Ukraine


UN says Ukraine bears share of blame for nursing home attack

The United Nations has said Ukraine’s armed forced bear a large, and perhaps equal, share of the blame for an assault that took place at a nursing home in Luhansk, where dozens of elderly and disabled patients were trapped inside without water or electricity, two weeks after Russia launched it’s invasion.

According to AP, Ukrainian authorities placed the fault on Russian forces, accusing them of killing more than 50 civilians in an unprovoked attack. At least 22 of the 71 patients survived the assault, but the exact number of people killed remains unknown, according to the UN.

However, the United Nations has now said Ukraine’s armed forces bear a large, and perhaps equal, share of the blame for what happened in the village of Stara Krasnyanka.

The report by the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights did not conclude that either side committed war crimes, but said the battle at the nursing home was an example of concerns over the potential use of “human shields” to prevent military operations in certain areas.

Key events:

Canada to return seized Russian gas turbine to Germany

Canada is risking Ukraine’s ire by returning to Germany a repaired giant turbine that will speed the flow of Russian gas through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, Reuters reports.

Canada announced its decision Saturday after originally seizing the damaged turbine, owned by Russian gas and oil giant Gazprom, last month while it was undergoing repair in the workshops of Siemens Energy Canada.

⚡️ Reuters: Canada will deliver turbine needed for maintenance of Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline to Germany.

Despite Ukraine opposing it, Canada will hand over the turbine to Russia’s Gazprom, Reuters reported, citing anonymous sources.

— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) July 8, 2022

Kyiv urged the Canadian government not to return it to Germany, stating that such a decision would breach the integrity of sanctions against Russia. But Germany, which is facing severe gas shortages, is being threatened with a further squeeze on Russian gas by Moscow if the turbine isn’t returned, and pleaded with Canada to send it back.

Its return will support “Europe’s ability to access reliable and affordable energy as they continue to transition away from Russian oil and gas,” Canada’s energy ministry said in a statement.

In an apparent attempt at appeasement of Ukraine, Canada announced new sanctions against Russia’s energy sector. The sanctions “will apply to land and pipeline transport and the manufacturing of metals and of transport, computer, electronic and electrical equipment, as well as of machinery,” the statement said.

Here’s a handy explainer from CBC about the wrangling over the turbine.

And you can read more about Germany’s reliance on Russian energy here:

Summary

It’s past midnight Sunday in Kyiv and Moscow. Here’s what we’ve been following as the conflict in Ukraine reaches its 138th day:

  • At least five people were killed Saturday, and seven others injured, by renewed Russian shelling in the eastern region of Donetsk, Ukraine officials said. A missile attack in Druzkivka, northern Donetsk, tore apart a supermarket and gouged a crater into the ground.
  • US secretary of state Antony Blinken said his country’s “commitment to the people of Ukraine is resolute” while announcing more than $360m in additional aid.
  • The United Nations said Ukraine’s armed forces bore a large, and perhaps equal, share of the blame for an assault at a nursing home in Luhansk, where dozens of elderly and disabled patients were trapped inside without water or electricity. At least 22 of the 71 patients survived, but the exact number killed remains unknown.
  • Kira Rudik, a Ukrainian MP with the centrist Golos party, said rockets struck central Kharkiv, injuring and hospitalising four civilians, including a child.
  • Serhiy Bratchuk, a spokesperson for the Odesa regional military administration, said Russia forces were “purposefully” destroying crops in the Kherson region. He said fires occur in the fields every day from shelling, and added: “Russian troops do not allow locals to put out fires, destroying granaries and equipment.”
  • The governor of the Luhansk region said Russian forces were creating “hell” in shelling the Donetsk region. Serhiy Haidai said Russian forces fired eight artillery shells, three mortar shells and launched nine rocket strikes overnight.
  • Russia is moving forces across the country and assembling them near Ukraine for future offensive operations, according to the ministry of defence. The latest intelligence update said a large proportion of the new infantry units were “probably” deploying with MT-LB armoured vehicles taken from long-term storage.
  • The first cohort of Ukrainian soldiers arrived in the UK to be trained in combat by British forces. The programme will train up to 10,000 Ukrainians over the coming months to give volunteer recruits with little to no military experience the skills to be effective in frontline combat.

World Central Kitchen, the global, rapid response non-profit founded by celebrity chef José Andrés to provide meals to victims and first responders at the site of disasters, has posted to Twitter video of the aftermath of today’s Russian missile attack on Drujkivka, Donetsk.

UPDATE from WCK’s Artem who is on the scene of a big missile attack in the city center of Drujkivka in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine. Our WCK team from Kramatorsk arrived with food & water for residents and everyone helping clear the rubble. #ChefsForUkraine 🇺🇦 pic.twitter.com/rzmwRpz5KD

— World Central Kitchen (@WCKitchen) July 9, 2022

Here are some more images from Ukraine, sent to us over the news wires on Saturday.

A woman rides bicycle past remains of a destroyed Russian armoured personnel carrier in the village of Teterivske, Kyiv region.
A woman rides bicycle past remains of a destroyed Russian armoured personnel carrier in the village of Teterivske, Kyiv region. Photograph: Sergei Chuzavkov/AFP/Getty Images
A statue is damaged after a Russian airstrike in Druzhkivka, Donetsk.
A statue is damaged after a Russian airstrike in Druzhkivka, Donetsk. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
A wounded dog lies in a yard in Kostiantynivka following a Russian airstrike that killed its owner, Alla Sochenko, 75.
A wounded dog lies in a yard in Kostiantynivka following a Russian airstrike that killed its owner, Alla Sochenko, 75. Photograph: Gleb Garanich/Reuters
A Ukrainian sniper puts on a balaclava in a cellar in Siversk on Friday.
A Ukrainian sniper puts on a balaclava in a cellar in Siversk on Friday. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The New York Times on Saturday published an in-depth news analysis predicting the conflict in Ukraine could devolve into a long-lasting war of attrition, with Russian president Vladimir Putin “gambling that he can outlast a fickle, impatient West”.

The outcome, the newspaper says, is “likely to be shaped by whether the US and its allies can maintain their military, political and financial commitments to holding off Russia”.

It notes the US has committed $54bn (£45bn) in military and other aid to Ukraine, which is expected to last into next year, but states there is unlikely to be much appetite for pledging anywhere near as much again when stocks of weapons from the US and European allies begin to run low.

Senator Chris Coons.
Senator Chris Coons. Photograph: Markus Schreiber/AP

Democratic senator for Delaware Chris Coons, a close ally of President Joe Biden, told the newspaper that the allies needed to be “determined” in continuing to support Ukraine:

I worry about the fatigue factor of the public in a wide range of countries because of the economic costs and because there are other pressing concerns.

Exactly how long this will go, exactly what the trajectory will be, we don’t know right now.

But we know if we don’t continue to support Ukraine, the outcome for the US will be much worse.

The Guardian is committed to occasionally sharing with readers other media outlets’ coverage of the conflict in Ukraine. You can read the New York Times analysis here.

At least five killed in Russian shelling of Donetsk: Ukraine officials

It’s Richard Luscombe in the US picking up the blog from my colleague Nadeem Badshah. I’ll be guiding you through the next few hours. Thanks for joining me.

Officials in Ukraine say at least five people were killed in renewed Russian shelling Saturday of the country’s eastern Donetsk region, AFP reports.

A missile attack in Druzhkivka, northern Donetsk, tore apart a supermarket and gouged a crater into the ground, the news agency said.

At least five people were killed in the Donetsk region in the past 24 hours, and seven injured, Ukrainian officials said in a Saturday afternoon update.

Oleksandr Vilkul, mayor of Kryvyi Rih in central Ukraine, said Russia attacked the city with cluster munitions, killing at least one person and injuring two.

Russia’s defence ministry said it inflicted heavy losses in the Mykolaiv and Dnepropetrovsk regions, in southern and central Ukraine respectively, and claimed strikes on Donetsk and the Kharkiv region.

Russia is unlikely to withdraw from a swathe of land across Ukraine’s southern coast and will defeat Ukrainian forces in the whole of the eastern Donbas region, Russia’s ambassador to the UK has said.

When asked how the conflict might end, Andrei Kelin said it was difficult to see Russian and Russian-backed forces withdrawing from the south of Ukraine, and that Ukraine’s soldiers would be pushed back from all of Donbas.

“We are going to liberate all of the Donbas,” Kelin told Reuters.

“Of course, it is difficult to predict the withdrawal of our forces from the southern part of Ukraine because we have already experience that after withdrawal, provocations start and all the people are being shot and all that.”

Zelenskiy dismisses several Ukrainian ambassadors

The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has dismissed Kyiv’s ambassador to Germany on Saturday as well as several other top foreign envoys, the presidential website said.

In a decree that gave no reason for the move, he announced the sacking of Ukraine’s ambassadors to Germany, India, the Czech Republic, Norway and Hungary, Reuters reports.

It was not immediately clear whether the envoys would be handed new jobs.

Kyiv’s relations with Germany, which is heavily reliant on Russian energy supplies and is also Europe’s biggest economy, have been a particularly sensitive matter.

The two countries are at odds over a German-made turbine undergoing maintenance in Canada.

Germany wants Ottawa to return the turbine to the Russian natural gas giant Gazprom to pump gas to Europe.

Kyiv has urged Canada to keep the turbine, saying that shipping it to Russia would be a violation of sanctions imposed on Moscow.

Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, has said sanctions against Russia are working, and repeated calls for more deliveries of high-precision western weapons, Reuters reports.

“Russians desperately try to lift those sanctions which proves that they do hurt them. Therefore, sanctions must be stepped up until Putin drops his aggressive plans,” Kuleba told a forum in Dubrovnik, Croatia by video link.

Volodymyr, 64, a local resident in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kostiantynivka, looks at his burning house after a Russian strike on Saturday
Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues in the Donbas region. Volodymyr, 64, a local resident in the city of Kostiantynivka, looks at his burning house after a Russian strike on Saturday. Photograph: Gleb Garanich/Reuters

Ukrainian Muslim soldiers run to a bomb shelter in a mosque during shelling in Konstantinovka, eastern Ukraine
Ukrainian Muslim soldiers run to a bomb shelter in a mosque during shelling in Konstantinovka, eastern Ukraine. Photograph: Nariman El-Mofty/AP

Earlier, we reported on allegations from Ukrainian officials that Russian forces are “purposefully” destroying crops in the Kherson region.

In a post on Facebook, local police forces said they have opened criminal proceedings after constant shelling and Russian forces not permitting the extinguishing of fires in occupied land.

Police said large-scale fires are a daily occurrence, burning through hundreds of hectares of wheat, barley and other grain crops, in addition to forests.

The post said:

Due to constant shelling, it is extremely difficult to extinguish such fires in the de-occupied territories, and in the occupied lands the Russians deliberately do not allow extinguishing the occupation, the immigrants destroy grain warehouses, agricultural machinery and solar power plants.

British forces have begun training Ukrainian soldiers in a new programme to help in their fight against Russia. The defence secretary, Ben Wallace, visited the military camp in the north-west of England where up to 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers will arrive for specialist military training.

Ben Wallace visits Ukrainian soldiers training at British military camp – video

Summary

It’s past 5pm in Ukraine – here are the latest updates:

  • On Saturday the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said the US’s “commitment to the people of Ukraine is resolute” while announcing more than $360m in additional aid.
  • The United Nations has said Ukraine’s armed forces bear a large, and perhaps equal, share of the blame for an assault that took place at a nursing home in Luhansk, where dozens of elderly and disabled patients were trapped inside without water or electricity. At least 22 of the 71 patients survived the assault, but the exact number of people killed remains unknown.
  • Kira Rudik, a Ukrainian MP with the centrist Golos party, has said rockets struck central Kharkiv, injuring and hospitalising four civilians, including a child.
  • Serhiy Bratchuk, a spokesperson for the Odesa regional military administration, has said Russia forces are “purposefully” destroying crops in the Kherson region. He said fires occur in the fields every day from shelling, and added: “Russian troops do not allow locals to put out fires, destroying granaries and equipment.”
  • The governor of the Luhansk region has said Russian forces are creating “hell” in shelling the Donetsk region. Serhiy Haidai said Russian forces fired eight artillery shells, three mortar shells and launched nine rocket strikes overnight.
  • The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, has expressed concerns about China’s alignment with Russia, after meeting with China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, in Indonesia. Blinken said the US saw no signs “at this moment in time” that Russia was willing to engage in meaningful diplomacy.
  • Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region was also shelled on Saturday, according to the region’s governor. Pavlo Kyrylenko said the cities of Druzhkivka, Slovyansk, Chasovoy Yar, Hirnyk and Svitlodar had been attacked.
  • Russia is moving forces across the country and assembling them near Ukraine for future offensive operations, according to Britain’s Ministry of Defence. The latest intelligence update said a large proportion of the new infantry units were “probably” deploying with MT-LB armoured vehicles taken from long-term storage.
  • The first cohort of Ukrainian soldiers have arrived in the UK to be trained in combat by British forces. The programme will train up to 10,000 Ukrainians over the coming months to give volunteer recruits with little to no military experience the skills to be effective in frontline combat. About 1,050 UK service personnel are being deployed to run the programme, which will take place at Ministry of Defence sites across the the UK.

Images are coming through on the wires of an exhibition of Ukrainian army hardware and weapons left in the city of Lysychansk, after troops fled.

Earlier this week, Vladimir Putin declared victory in the eastern Ukrainian region and told Russian troops to rest and “increase their combat capabilities”, a day after Ukrainian forces withdrew from their last remaining stronghold in the province.

On Saturday, the governor of the Luhansk region, Serhiy Haidai, wrote on Telegram: “Luhansk region is not occupied – a small part of the region is held by the armed forces of Ukraine, despite the Russians’ declarations of victory.”

An exhibition of Ukrainian army hardware and weapons left in the city after its withdrawal from Lysychansk.
An exhibition of Ukrainian army hardware and weapons left in the city after its withdrawal from Lysychansk. Photograph: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters
An exhibition of Ukrainian army hardware and weapons left in the city after its withdrawal from Lysychansk.
An exhibition of Ukrainian army hardware and weapons left in the city after its withdrawal from Lysychansk. Photograph: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters
An exhibition of Ukrainian army hardware and weapons left in the city after its withdrawal from Lysychansk.
An exhibition of Ukrainian army hardware and weapons left in the city after its withdrawal from Lysychansk. Photograph: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters

An investigation by the Times has found 18 properties in England owned by the Russian state that it says could be seized and given to Ukraine.

The Times said Ukraine was also considering legal action to take possession of the 18 properties, which could be worth up to £100m.

Vadym Prystaiko, the Ukrainian ambassador to the UK, said:

We appreciate Britain and the EU said they would help us rebuild Ukraine but it’s Russia that needs to pay for that … For us, this would be a straightforward way of doing it.

On Saturday, following his departure from Indonesia, the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said the US’s “commitment to the people of Ukraine is resolute” while announcing more than $360mn in aid.

Our commitment to the people of Ukraine is resolute. The United States is providing nearly $368 million in additional humanitarian aid to support people inside Ukraine and refugees forced to flee their country to seek safety in the midst of Russia’s brutal war.

— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) July 9, 2022

Earlier, we reported on Blinken’s meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, during which they discussed Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, and Blinken raised concerns over Beijing’s alignment with Moscow.

“I don’t believe China is acting in a way that is neutral,” Blinken said.

Here are some of the latest images to be sent to us from Ukraine and elsewhere over the newswires.

Rescuers sort through the rubble of an apartment building after a Russian missiles hit a residential building in Kharkiv, Ukraine
Rescuers sort through the rubble of an apartment building after a Russian missiles hit a residential building in Kharkiv, Ukraine. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Muslims eat after praying during Eid al-Adha in Odesa, Ukraine
Muslims eat after praying during Eid al-Adha in Odesa, Ukraine. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Servicemen observe the damage caused in the House of Culture in Druzhkivka following a suspected missile attack
Servicemen observe the damage caused in the House of Culture in Druzhkivka following a suspected missile attack. Photograph: Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images
New recruits to the Ukrainian army being trained by UK armed forces personnel at a military base near Manchester.
New recruits to the Ukrainian army being trained by UK armed forces personnel at a military base near Manchester. Photograph: Louis Wood/The Sun/PA

UN says Ukraine bears share of blame for nursing home attack

The United Nations has said Ukraine’s armed forced bear a large, and perhaps equal, share of the blame for an assault that took place at a nursing home in Luhansk, where dozens of elderly and disabled patients were trapped inside without water or electricity, two weeks after Russia launched it’s invasion.

According to AP, Ukrainian authorities placed the fault on Russian forces, accusing them of killing more than 50 civilians in an unprovoked attack. At least 22 of the 71 patients survived the assault, but the exact number of people killed remains unknown, according to the UN.

However, the United Nations has now said Ukraine’s armed forces bear a large, and perhaps equal, share of the blame for what happened in the village of Stara Krasnyanka.

The report by the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights did not conclude that either side committed war crimes, but said the battle at the nursing home was an example of concerns over the potential use of “human shields” to prevent military operations in certain areas.





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