War in Ukraine: Saturday’s highlights you need to know

1. Ukraine condemns calls for the execution of prisoners of war

Ukrainian authorities have condemned Russian calls to “hang” or subject to a “humiliating death” members of the Ukrainian Azov Regiment a day after the attack on the prison where some of them were being held, which killed more than 50 prisoners of war.

“There is no difference between Russian diplomats who call for the execution of Ukrainian prisoners of war and Russian troops who do it in Olenevka. All of them are involved in these war crimes and must be held accountable,” Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko wrote on Twitter.

He was responding to a tweet posted Friday night by the Russian embassy in London that Twitter flagged as “violating hate speech rules” but remains viewable because Twitter considers it “of public interest.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called the Olenvik prison attack a “deliberate Russian war crime.”

Ukrainian authorities believe Russia carried out the attack to kill prisoners of war and cover up evidence of torture, ill-treatment and war crimes. The Russians accused Ukraine of bombing the prison.

The International Committee of the Red Cross, which organized the evacuation of civilians during the war 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 health and condition of all those present.” in place during the attack.

“Now our priority is to ensure that the wounded receive life-saving treatment and that the bodies of the dead are treated with dignity,” the Red Cross said in a statement.

Read more in our story here.

2. Russia stops gas supplies to Latvia

Russian gas giant Gazprom announced on Saturday that it had suspended gas supplies to Latvia amid tensions between Russia and the West over the conflict in Ukraine and unprecedented European sanctions against Russia.

Gazprom today suspended gas supplies to Latvia (…) due to violation of the conditions for gas withdrawal, ”the Russian company said in a Telegram message without further details.

The announcement comes as Gazprom sharply cut Russian gas supplies to Europe via the Nord Stream pipeline this week, citing the need for turbine maintenance as European countries struggle to replenish their reserves. for the winter.

In June, Russia already cut supplies twice, stating that the pipeline could not function properly without the turbine, which was being repaired in Canada and was not returned to Russia due to sanctions imposed by Western countries after the Russian attack on Ukraine.

Germany and Canada have since agreed to ship the equipment back to Russia, but the turbine has yet to be delivered.

Westerners accuse Moscow of using energy weapons in response to the sanctions imposed after the attack on Ukraine. The Kremlin says that the technical problems in the gas pipeline infrastructure are related to the sanctions.

3. US Ambassador: “Russia undoubtedly wants to dismantle Ukraine”

The US ambassador to the UN said there should no longer be any doubt that Russia intends to dismantle Ukraine “and completely remove it from the map of the world.”

Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the UN Security Council that America sees growing signs that Russia is laying the groundwork for an attempted annexation of all eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Lugansk and southern Kherson and Zaporozhye regions, including through the appointment of “illegal proxies.” in Russian-held territories for the purpose of holding fictitious referendums or decrees of incorporation into Russia.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov “even stated that this is Russia’s war goal,” she said.

Lavrov told an Arab summit in Cairo Sunday that Moscow’s main goal in Ukraine is to liberate its people from an “unacceptable regime.”

Apparently hinting that Moscow’s war is aimed at moving beyond the Ukrainian industrial Donbass to the east, including Donetsk and Lugansk, Lavrov said: “We will certainly help the Ukrainian people get rid of a regime that is absolutely anti-people and anti-historical. “

Deputy Permanent Representative of Russia to the UN Dmitry Polyansky told the Security Council on Friday that “the denazification and demilitarization of Ukraine will be carried out in full.”

“From this stage, there should no longer be a threat to either Donbass, or Russia, or the liberated Ukrainian territories, where for the first time in several years, people can finally feel that they can live the way they want,” he said. .

4. Russian forces hit several targets in Ukraine

On Saturday, Ukrainian officials said Russia had carried out nighttime strikes on several Ukrainian cities.

Rockets hit a school building in Kharkiv, the country’s second largest city, and about an hour later, the mayor said, there was another shelling. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

According to Mayor Vadim Lyakh, the bus station in the city of Slovyansk was also damaged. Slovyansk is close to the front line as Russian and separatist forces attempt to take full control of Donetsk region, one of two eastern provinces that Russia has recognized as sovereign states.

In southern Ukraine, one person died and six were injured in a shelling on a residential area in Mykolaiv, a major port city, the regional administration posted on Facebook on Saturday.

5. Russia is blacklisting more New Zealanders

On Saturday, Russia announced it would ban 32 New Zealand officials and journalists from entering its territory in response to similar measures taken by New Zealand against Moscow over the conflict in Ukraine.

Wellington Mayor Andrew John Whitfield Foster and Auckland Mayor Philip Bruce Goff, New Zealand Navy Commander Commodore Garin Golding, as well as journalists Kate Greene and Josie Pagani (The Dominion Post) were sanctioned, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

This decision was made “in response to the sanctions of the New Zealand government, which affect more and more citizens of Russia,” the press release states.

In April, Russia had already banned New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, as well as many ministers and parliamentarians, from entering its territory.