Russian forces attacked pockets of resistance in parts of eastern Ukraine on Tuesday while two American veterans captured by Russian troops waited to know whether they would face the death penalty.
The beleaguered eastern city of Svyarodonetsk is one of the last areas in the Luhansk region where Russia has failed to completely submerge. Regional governor Serhi Haidai said that about 568 civilians, including 38 children, were hiding with Ukrainian fighters at the Azot chemical plant. The civilians are primarily employees of the company and their families and have refused to evacuate, Haidai said.
“Anything that can burn today is on fire,” Haidai said.
The Russian military controls about 95% of Luhansk, which along with Donetsk includes the Donbass region that the Kremlin has coveted since an unsuccessful attack on Ukraine’s capital Kyiv in the early days of the four-month war.
A Moscow court has extended the arrest of a local lawmaker for defaming the military by criticizing the Russian invasion. Alexey Gorinov, who has been in prison since April, said he was only expressing his political views. If found guilty, he could face up to 10 years in prison.
Polish and Ukrainian government officials say they plan to display burned Russian tanks captured by Ukrainian forces in Warsaw. Polish Prime Minister Michal Dworzik’s office said the idea was to highlight Russian “atrocities” and the Ukrainian backlash.
The destruction of businesses, housing and infrastructure has surpassed $100 billion, equivalent to 50% of Ukraine’s GDP in 2021, the National Bank of Ukraine estimates.
The Luxembourg government will provide 15% of its defense budget to support the Ukrainian military, President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Tuesday after meeting with Luxembourgish Prime Minister Xavier Betel in Kyiv.
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Americans caught in Ukraine may face death penalty: Russia
Two US veterans who independently supported Ukraine’s military could face the death penalty, Russian spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned. Peskov told NBC News that the fates of Andy Tai Ngok Huynh, 27, and Alexander Drucke, 39, would be decided by a Russian court. “They were involved in illegal activities … (and) they should be punished,” he said, adding that prisoners of war were not likely to be borne by the Geneva Convention because they were not part of Ukraine’s regular army.
Huynh and Drucke traveled to Ukraine in April to help Ukrainians repel Russian forces. The State Department issued a statement asking “the Russian government – as well as its proxies – to fulfill its international obligations in the treatment of any person, including those caught in fighting in Ukraine.”
Last week, two Britons and a Moroccan were sentenced to death by Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine. Asked if the Americans would face the same fate, Petrov said he “cannot guarantee anything. It depends on the investigation.”
More:Family of two US military veterans speaks out about missing men
Ben Stiller meets ‘hero’ Zelensky in Ukraine
Actor and director Ben Stiller, UN Refugee Program Goodwill Ambassador, met with President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday after touring the ruined residential areas of Irpin and talking to survivors of the occupation.
“It’s really wonderful, you’re my hero, you’re amazing,” Stiller said, greeting Zelensky. “What you have done and the way you have mobilized the country and the world is truly inspiring.”
Stiller expressed dismay at the devastation caused by the war at Irpin – a city far from the capital of Kyiv that had been ravaged by the Russians, then abandoned. He said the destruction looks far worse than on TV or social media.
“What you saw in Irpin is certainly terrifying,” replied Zelensky. “But it is even worse to imagine what is happening in settlements that are still formerly under temporary occupation.”
Ukraine set to gain EU candidate status this week
France’s Europe minister said on Tuesday that European Union ministers tentatively approved a plan to grant Ukraine candidate status to join the bloc. Clement Bunin, after a meeting with his counterparts, told FRANCE 24 that “there was full agreement on how to pursue these issues, and in particular the possibility of confirming the candidate status for Ukraine as soon as possible.” Bunin said EU leaders are expected to formally approve Ukraine’s candidate’s move later this week. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s office said Orban told President Volodymyr Zelensky that he advocated for “the removal of bureaucratic barriers to Ukraine’s entry into the European Union”. Moldova and Georgia are also expected to get candidate status.
Attorney General Garland went to Ukraine for a meeting with the prosecutor
Attorney General Merrick Garland made an unannounced visit to Ukraine Tuesday for a meeting with Prosecutor General Irina Venediktova to discuss the continued effort to identify and apprehend suspected war criminals, according to a Justice Department official. Couldn’t discuss the details of the trip. Spoke on condition of anonymity.
Earlier this year, the attorney general pledged US support for an international campaign to hold war criminals accountable for atrocities being documented by Ukrainian authorities.
“Every day, we see heart-wrenching photos and read horrifying descriptions of brutality … but there is no hiding place for war criminals.” Garland said last month during a virtual meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart and other aides.
, Kevin Johnson, USA Today
Ukraine LGBTQ community struggling as war continues
The official Pride Parade in Kyiv was canceled this year after a decade of strenuous efforts for greater acceptance of LGBTQ people.
Before Russia’s invasion, Ukraine — a largely religious nation with a long history of persecution against sexual and gender expression — had become a rare bright spot for LGBTQ rights and a sanctuary of sorts for Eastern Europe. Former Soviet LGBTQ individuals would travel to experience the gay nightclub scene, especially in larger cities such as Kyiv, Kharkiv and Odessa, where they could feel safe staying open.
Now, this month what will be the 10th anniversary of the Equality March in Kyiv, Poland was shifted due to the ongoing war.
“We had a lot and I hope to rebuild it,” said Yuri Divsion, creative director of Eukarenpride. Read more here.
– Tami Abdullah, USA Today
Zelensky: Russia ‘held hostage’ to Africa
Africa has been “held hostage” by Russia, which is responsible for dramatic wheat shortages and rapidly rising food and fuel prices across the African continent, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said during a closed-door address to African Africans. The union told the continental body.
Several African countries have close trading ties with Russia and have shown little interest in sanctions. Zelensky and the West are trying to change that – the EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, said Russia’s blockade of Ukraine’s exports is a “war crime”.
Estonia reprimands Russia after helicopter encroachment
Estonia’s defense ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that a Russian military helicopter entered Estonian airspace without permission on Saturday, flying over the Koydula area along the Russian border for nearly two minutes.
A flight plan was not recorded, the transponder was switched off and two-way radio communication was not established with Estonian air traffic control, the ministry said.
Russian Ambassador to Estonia Vladimir Lipajev was summoned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia. “Estonia considers this an extremely serious and regrettable incident that undoubtedly causes additional tension and is completely unacceptable,” the foreign ministry said on Tuesday.
Estonia is a country of less than three million people that broke away from the Soviet Union in 1991.
Zelensky ally: Ukraine threatens ‘massive’ attack from the Black Sea
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s adviser, Oleksiy Erestovich, said via social media on Monday that Ukraine is at risk of a new Russian attack of large proportion, posting: “All six carriers of Russian cruise missiles are standing in the Black Sea and most likely are preparing for a massive launch of missiles.
In a nightly address on Sunday, Zelensky warned of a possible invasion from Russia this week as the EU debates whether to make Ukraine an official candidate to eventually join the bloc.
“Obviously, we should expect more hostile activity from Russia. Objectively, demonstrators. Absolutely this week,” Zelensky said. “And not only against Ukraine, but also against other European countries. We are preparing. We are ready. We warn the partners.”
If they launch an attack, the Russians could retaliate Monday for Ukrainian missile attacks on three drilling rigs in the Black Sea that supply natural gas to Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula the Kremlin illegally occupied in 2014. was taken. State-owned TASS news agency reported that the strike resulted in injuries. Ukraine’s military has not confirmed.
Contribution: The Associated Press