War in Ukraine: latest developments you need to know

Earlier Thursday:

US says Russia seeks to fabricate proof of prison deaths

The White House said Thursday that new intelligence suggests Russia is working to fabricate evidence about last week’s deadly strike on a POW prison in the breakaway region of eastern Ukraine.

According to White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby, U.S. intelligence officials have determined that Russia is trying to plant false evidence to create the impression that Ukrainian forces were responsible for the July 29 Olenevskaya prison attack that killed 53 people and wounded dozens more. wounds.

In addition, a Western government official, who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity, said that explosives experts who studied photographs of the prison released by the Russians after the incident concluded that the destruction was unlikely to have been caused by a “high-explosive strike.” outside” and that “it’s much more likely to be incendiary from inside the place as well.”

“We expect Russian officials to try to set up the Armed Forces of Ukraine in anticipation of the arrival of journalists and potential investigators at the scene of the attack,” Kirby said.

Russians shell the city near Europe’s largest nuclear power plant

Russian troops shelled a Ukrainian city near Europe’s largest nuclear power plant on Thursday, bolstering warnings from the UN nuclear chief that fighting around the facility could lead to a catastrophic accident.

The governor of the Dnepropetrovsk region said Russia fired 60 missiles at Nikopol, across the Dnieper, from the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, which has been under Russian control since Moscow troops seized it at the start of the war.

In the city of 107,000, about 50 residential buildings were damaged, residents were left without electricity, Valentin Reznichenko wrote on Telegram.

Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, warned on Tuesday that the situation at the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant in the city of Energodar is becoming more dangerous every day.

According to him, all the principles of nuclear safety were violated at the station. “A very serious, extremely serious and dangerous matter is at stake.”

He expressed concern about how the plant is being operated and the danger posed by the fighting around it. He cited shelling at the start of the war when it was overrun, and ongoing instances of Ukraine and Russia blaming each other for attacks there.

EU introduces new sanctions against ex-president of Ukraine

Member states of the European Union on Thursday imposed sanctions on former pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and his son Oleksandr for their alleged role in threatening Ukraine’s security.

The European Council said in a statement that the two men were added to a European sanctions list “in response to Russia’s unjustified military aggression against Ukraine.”

Mr. Yanukovych ruled Ukraine from February 2010 to February 2014, when he was ousted in a popular uprising against his government’s turn away from the West towards Moscow.

President Putin’s Russia responded to its ally’s defeat by seizing Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula and an enclave in the eastern Donbas region. In February, Moscow launched a full-scale attack on Ukraine.

The EU believes Yanukovych, 72, who lives in Russia, continues to play “a role in undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.”

A statement published on Thursday in the Official Journal of the EU accused him of conspiring to try to return to power in Ukraine if the Russian invasion succeeded in toppling President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Meta takes down Russian propaganda network

An organization close to Moscow is waging a social media influence campaign in support of a Russian invasion of Ukraine using “troll farms” and hackneyed tactics, Meta, the parent company of social media platforms Facebook and Instagram, said Thursday.

“It looked like a step backwards,” Ben Nimmo, one of the California group’s security managers, told AFP. “But they weren’t very good, and there’s no evidence that they got the same impact and virality as they used to.”

Meta has taken down a network of fake accounts on its platforms created by an organization dubbed “Cyber ​​Front Z” and people formerly associated with the “Internet Research Agency” (IRA), which is suspected of being a digital arm Kremlin.

These are fake accounts run by employees of a “troll farm” located in St. Petersburg. In St. Petersburg, he posted pro-Russian comments under personalities and media content in order to “create the impression of popular support for the invasion of Ukraine.”

“Russia is sending tons of humanitarian aid to Ukraine, where local Nazis (…) are holding citizens hostage,” one such account commented under an Instagram video posted by Angelina Jolie about the war, according to Meta. report.

In total, the social media giant deleted more than 1,000 Instagram accounts and 45 Facebook accounts in early April. Around 49,000 accounts have signed up for one or more fake Instagram profiles.