War in Ukraine: the latest developments to know for Sunday

1. Drone attack on Russian Black Sea HQ in Crimea

A small explosive device carried by a makeshift drone detonated at the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet on the Crimean peninsula on Sunday, injuring six people and prompting the cancellation of ceremonies honoring the Russian Navy, authorities said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attended Navy Day celebrations in St. Petersburg on Sunday.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the explosion of the drone in a courtyard of the naval headquarters in the city of Sevastopol. But the seemingly improvised and small-scale nature of the attack raised the possibility that it was the work of Ukrainian insurgents trying to drive out Russian forces.

A Russian lawmaker from Crimea, Olga Kovitidi, told Russian news agency RIA-Novosti that the drone was launched from Sevastopol itself. She said the incident was being treated as an act of terrorism, the news agency said.

Authorities in Crimea have raised the terror threat level for the region to “yellow”, the second highest level.

Sevastopol, which was seized along with the rest of Crimea from Ukraine by Russia in 2014, lies about 170 kilometers south of the Ukrainian mainland. Russian forces control much of the continent along the Black Sea.

The Black Sea Fleet press service said the drone appeared to be homemade. He described the explosive device as “low-powered”. Sevastopol Mayor Mikhail Razvozhaev said six people were injured. Russian Navy Day celebrations have been canceled in the city.

2. President Zelensky orders the evacuation of Donetsk

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called on civilians to evacuate the Donetsk region to escape “Russian terror”.

“A government decision has been made on the mandatory evacuation of the Donetsk region,” Zelensky said in a video address on Saturday evening. “Please evacuate,” he demanded. “The more people who leave the Donetsk region now, the fewer people the Russian army will kill.”

“At this stage of the war, terror is Russia’s main weapon,” he said.

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshtchuk had earlier announced the mandatory evacuation of the entire population of Donetsk, one of the two administrative regions of the Donbass industrial basin where Russia is gaining ground.

She had justified this decision, in declarations on television, by the destruction of the gas networks and the absence of heating next winter in the region.

At least 200,000 civilians still live in the territories of the Donetsk region that are not under Russian occupation, according to an estimate by Ukrainian authorities.

“In total, there are currently about 52,000 children in the Donetsk region. The police explain to the parents that the evacuation involves providing accommodation and all necessary assistance,” said the state police, which is in charge of the operation.

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3. The Red Cross struggles to see the prison where Ukrainian POWs died

Ukrainian and Russian officials blamed each other on Saturday for the deaths of dozens of Ukrainian prisoners of war in an attack on a prison in an area controlled by separatists. The International Red Cross has asked to visit the prison to ensure that the dozens of wounded POWs receive proper treatment, but said their request has so far not been granted.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the ICRC and the United Nations had a duty to respond to the shelling of the prison complex in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk province, and he again called for Russia to be declared terrorist state.

“Condemnation at the level of political rhetoric is not enough for this mass murder,” he said.

Separatist authorities and Russian officials said Friday’s attack killed 53 Ukrainian POWs and injured 75 others. Russia’s Defense Ministry on Saturday released a list naming 48 Ukrainian fighters, aged 20 to 62, who died in the attack; it was unclear whether the ministry had revised its death toll.

Satellite photos taken before and after the attack show that a small square building in the middle of the Olenivka prison complex was demolished, its roof shattered.

Ukraine and Russia have alleged that the attack on the prison was premeditated and intended to silence Ukrainian prisoners and destroy evidence.

The ICRC, which has organized civilian evacuations and worked to monitor the treatment of prisoners of war held by Russia and Ukraine, said it had requested access to the prison “to determine the state of health and the condition of all those present at the time of the attack”. .”

“Our priority right now is to ensure that the injured receive life-saving care and that the bodies of those who have lost their lives are treated with dignity,” the Red Cross said.

But the organization said his request for access to the prison had not yet been granted.

“Allowing ICRC access to prisoners of war is an obligation of parties to the conflict under the Geneva Conventions,” the ICRC said on Twitter.

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4. Grain exporter – one of Ukraine’s richest men – killed in bombing

One of Ukraine’s richest men, a grain merchant, was killed in what Ukrainian authorities said was a carefully targeted Russian missile fire at his house.

Oleksiy Vadatursky, 74, owner of Ukraine’s leading grain logistics company Nibulon, and his wife Raissa Vadaturska were at their home in the southern Ukrainian town of Mykolayev at the time of the strikes, according to Ukrainian authorities.

“It is not a coincidence, but a premeditated murder”, reacted Mykhailo Podoliak, adviser to the Ukrainian presidency, on Telegram. “The fact that the missile hit the bedroom of their house leaves no doubt that Vadatursky was the target.

“He was one of the country’s leading agricultural entrepreneurs, a key figure in the region and a major employer,” Podoliak said.

Millionaire and “hero of Ukraine”, Oleksiy Vadatursky was the 24th richest Ukrainian on Forbes magazine’s list in 2021. Before the war, his company exported grain to 70 countries.

5. Russia wants to strengthen its position in the Arctic

Russia wants to strengthen its positions in the Arctic, both economically and militarily, according to a new Russian naval doctrine signed Sunday by Vladimir Putin on the occasion of Russian Fleet Day.

The Arctic is being “transformed into a region of international competition, not only from an economic point of view, but also from a military point of view”, according to the doctrine, which was signed with great fanfare during a naval parade in St. Petersburg. .

Russia said it would strengthen its “leading positions in the exploration and conquest of the Arctic” and its mineral deposits and ensure its “strategic stability” in the region by strengthening the military potential of Russian fleets in the North and of the Pacific, the document says.

In the Arctic, the country also wants to “fully develop the Northern Sea Route”, also known as the Northeast Passage, which connects Europe to Asia along the Russian coast, to turn it into a ” safe and competitive route that would work all year round”. round”, according to the doctrine.

The 55-page document also denounces the desire for “dominance in global waters” of the United States and the “approach of NATO’s military infrastructure to the borders of Russia”, qualifying these phenomena as “major threats” for Russia.

Moscow views NATO, its old Cold War foe, as an existential threat and has justified its offensive in Ukraine by citing kyiv’s Atlanticist ambitions and Western political and military support for neighbor Russia.

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