Putin 'eating handily' into Russian reserves to prop up country
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Volodymyr Zelensky’s army has reportedly foiled Russian reconnaissance attempts and destroyed equipment in southern Ukraine. Operational Command “South” reported that three reconnaissance efforts by Russian forces in Bilohirka and Trudoliubivka in Kherson Oblast were unsuccessful.
In the Kherson region, which is mostly under Russian control, Ukrainian troops had liberated some 50 towns, said Yuri Sobolevsky, deputy head of the ousted Kherson regional council.
He wrote on Telegram: “Russian troop in Kherson region are sustaining considerable losses.”
Ukrainian forces also reportedly killed 32 Russian troops and destroyed a howitzer, a surface-to-air missile system, and four armoured vehicles.
The victorious update came as the United States has accused Russia of using Ukraine’s biggest nuclear power plant as a “nuclear shield” by stationing troops there, preventing Ukrainian forces from returning fire and risking a terrible nuclear accident.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States was “deeply concerned” that the Zaporizhzhia plant, which Russia was accused of firing shells dangerously close to in March, was now a Russian military base used to fire on nearby Ukrainian forces.
“Of course the Ukrainians cannot fire back lest there be a terrible accident involving the nuclear plant,” Mr Blinken told reporters after nuclear nonproliferation talks at the United Nations in New York on Monday.
Russia’s actions went beyond using a “human shield” Mr Blinken said, calling it a “nuclear shield.”
At the New York talks, Ukraine’s Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Mykola Tochytskyi said “robust joint actions are needed to prevent nuclear disaster” and called for the international community to “close the sky” over Ukraine’s nuclear power plants with air defence systems.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine has sparked the biggest conflict in Europe since World War Two, killing thousands, displacing millions and leaving large parts of Ukraine in rubble.
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The war has also caused a global food crisis, with Russia and Ukraine producing about a third of the world’s wheat, while Western sanctions on Russia, a major energy provider to Europe, have caused a global energy crisis.
The first ship to carry Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea since Russia invaded five months ago left the port of Odesa for Lebanon on Monday under a safe passage deal.
The sailing was made possible after Turkey and the United Nations brokered a grain and fertiliser export agreement between Russia and Ukraine last month – a rare diplomatic breakthrough in a conflict that has become a drawn-out war of attrition.
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The Sierra Leone-flagged ship Razoni will head to the port of Tripoli, Lebanon, after passing through Turkey’s Bosphorus Strait linking the Black Sea, which is dominated by Russia’s navy, to the Mediterranean. It is carrying 26,527 tonnes of corn.
But there are still hurdles to overcome before millions of tonnes of Ukrainian grain can leave its Black Sea ports, including clearing sea mines and creating a framework for vessels to safely enter the conflict zone and pick up cargoes.
The United Nations has warned of the risk of multiple famines this year because of the war in Ukraine.
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