UKRAINE: On Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned the media and populace that Russia might act provocatively by bringing Ukrainian soldiers to justice as Kyiv celebrates 31 years of independence from Soviet rule on August 24 and reaches another significant milestone of six months since the start of the conflict.
Zelensky cited media reports that Russia had cleverly targeted Wednesday, August 24, to prepare and stage the trial of Ukrainian fighters captured during the siege of Mariupol to coincide with the country’s independence celebration.
Zelensky addressed the nation in an evening telecast and said, “If this despicable court takes place, if our people are brought into these settings in violation of all agreements, all international rules, there will be abuse.” “This will be the line beyond which no negotiations are possible.”
The capital Kyiv has already announced a ban on public gatherings, and Kharkiv declared a curfew around the holiday.
Zelensky warned late on Saturday that “Russia could try to do something particularly disgusting, particularly cruel” and that the main Russian objective is to “humiliate us” and “to sow despondency, fear and conflict.”
In the northeastern city of Kharkiv, regional Governor Oley Synehubov sounded a warning bell on Telegram and wrote, “We will not allow any provocation by the enemy. Be as vigilant as possible during our independence holiday.”
A graphic of battered Ukrainian soldiers on the front lines as the country gradually reached its half-year mark against Russian aggression. Moreover, the sources also published a line graph indicating the soaring cost of natural gas, a staggering fall in economic growth, increased prices of commodities and surging inflation.
Meanwhile, Russian artillery attacked the Ukrainian city of Nikopol overnight, as per Ukrainian officials. Regional governor Valentyn Reznichenko said Russian forces hit the three districts of Nikopol, Kryvoriz, and Synelnykiv close to the susceptible Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant. “Nikopol was shelled with ‘Grad’ and barrel artillery three times during the night. 42 Russian shells flew into the residential quarters,” he said in a Telegram update early this morning.
According to a diplomatic source cited by the Russian state media outlet RIA Novosti, the Russia-Ukraine aggression has now forced Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, who is scheduled to speak with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin this week, to address the dangerous situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant and the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Erdoğan announced that he intends to discuss with Putin the results of his talks with Zelensky and UN Secretary-General António Guterres in Lviv, which took place last week and asks the Russian president to take specific measures to resolve the situation at the Zaporizhzhia plant.
According to RIA Novosti, the source said: “Yes, such negotiations are expected this week. [Putin] outlined the topics earlier. This is the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and the settlement of the Ukrainian crisis in general. Turkey continues to play its honest mediating role in this conflict, being the only country that has won the trust of both sides.”
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