War in Ukraine: latest developments you need to know on Thursday

1. Russian troops shelled civilian targets in Kharkiv, killing at least two people

On Thursday, Russian shelling shelled a densely populated area of ​​Ukraine’s second-largest city, killing at least two people and injuring at least 21 others as they shelled a mosque, a medical facility and a shopping area, according to officials and witnesses at the scene. .

Police in the city of Kharkiv in the northeast said cluster bombs hit Barabashovo Market, a public bazaar, international journalists at the scene said. Local authorities reported that a bus stop, a sports hall and a residential building were also shelled.

The bombing came after Russia on Wednesday confirmed its plans to seize territories outside eastern Ukraine, where the Russian military has been trying for months to seize the Donbass industrial region south of Kharkiv.

Ukrainian officials also recently unveiled their plans to try to retake Russian-occupied areas near the southern Black Sea coast.

Kharkiv Mayor Igor Terekhov said the attacks early Thursday targeted one of the city’s most populous areas, which had a population of about 1.4 million before the war.

“The Russian army is randomly shelling Kharkov, peaceful residential areas, civilians are dying,” Terekhov said. “Be careful!”

2. Kremlin forces plan to seize Ukraine’s second largest power plant

Russian forces are likely to be approaching Ukraine’s second-largest power plant at Uglegorska, 50km northeast of Donetsk, British military intelligence said on Thursday.

“Russia is prioritizing the capture of critical national infrastructure such as power plants,” the UK Defense Department said in a regular bulletin.

The ministry also added that Russia was likely trying to break through at Uglegorskaya as part of its efforts to restore momentum in the southern direction of its offensive against the key cities of Kramatorsk and Slavyansk.

By shifting its focus to the industrial eastern region of Donbass, Moscow has captured several key areas in Donetsk and Luhansk, but it has yet to fully capture both areas.

3. CIA Chief Denies Rumors of Putin’s Serious Illness

The CIA director dismissed persistent rumors that Russian President Vladimir Putin is seriously ill, possibly with cancer, saying that Putin is “too healthy.”

Speaking at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado, William Burns emphasized that this was “not a formal intelligence assessment,” but given his experience with Russia – Burns was U.S. Ambassador to Moscow from 2005 to 2008 – it’s certainly food for thought. about Putin. adversaries who hoped for signs that he might soon die from an unknown illness.

“There are a lot of rumors about the health of President Putin, and as far as we can tell, he is too healthy,” he added, “this is not an official intelligence conclusion.”

Burns said that Putin’s own views on Ukraine, and especially the desire of the Ukrainian people to resist the Russian invasion, are based on “some deeply flawed assumptions.”

“Putin really believes his rhetoric and I have heard him say it privately over the years that Ukraine is not a real country. He believes that it is his right, the right of Russia, to dominate Ukraine.”

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4 Zelensky Posts Video To Prove He’s Healthy After Fake News About His Illness Was Spread

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy posted an Instagram video from his office on Thursday to reassure Ukrainians that he is feeling well after what he says was a fake health report made by Russian hackers.

Zelenskiy, 44, made his announcement on the same day that the Kremlin denied what he said were false reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin was ill.

His Instagram post comes after a Ukrainian media company said hackers broadcast a false message about Zelenskiy’s health on one of its radio stations following a cyberattack.

“Today, Russia launched another fake that the (Ukrainian) state is not controlled by President Zelensky, as he is in the hospital, or rather, in intensive care due to a “serious state of health,” Zelensky said.

“So here I am in my office and I’ve never felt as good as I do now,” he said, seated at his desk in a khaki T-shirt. “And the bad news for those behind these fakes is that I am not alone. We are 40 million.”

5. The EU hit Russia with sanctions on gold imports and high-tech exports

The European Union has imposed additional sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine after bloc member states backed a range of measures that include gold imports and tightening export controls on some high-tech goods.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the “strengthened and extended EU sanctions against the Kremlin” send “a powerful signal to Moscow.”

“We will maintain high pressure for as long as it takes,” she said.

The details of the sanctions are still unclear as they have yet to be published in the official journal of the EU.

EU officials have been trying all week to tighten a vast package of sanctions on Russia and have looked for ways to add a ban on gold exports in the hope that the measures could finally start to have a decisive impact on the war in Ukraine.

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