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Defiant Zelenskiy pledges powerful response to Russia on eve of war’s six-month milestone

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Ukrajinski predsjednik Volodymyr Zelenskiy nazoči zajedničkoj konferenciji za novinare s turskim predsjednikom Tayyipom Erdoganom i glavnim tajnikom UN-a Antoniom Guterresom nakon njihova sastanka u Lavovu, Ukrajina, 18. kolovoza 2022.

Dok se Ukrajina pripremala obilježiti i svoju neovisnost od sovjetske vlasti 1991. i šest mjeseci od invazije ruskih trupa, predsjednik Volodymyr Zelenskiy obećao je da će svi ruski napadi na taj datum ili oko tog datuma izazvati snažan odgovor.

Zelenskiy, who has led his country’s resistance since Russian troops poured over the border on Feb. 24, also said Ukraine would restore its rule over the Crimea region – annexed by Russia in 2014 in a precursor to this year’s invasion.

Unatoč njegovom prkosu, među ukrajinskim i savezničkim zapadnim dužnosnicima postojala je zabrinutost da se Rusija sprema ponovno napasti glavni grad Kijev.

The United States urged its citizens to leave Ukraine, saying it believed Russia would target civilian and government infrastructure in the next few days. U.S. citizens should leave Ukraine “now” by their own means if it was safe to do so, the US Embassy said.

On the battlefields away from Kyiv, Russian forces carried out artillery and air strikes in the Zaporizhzhia region in southeastern Ukraine, where fighting has taken place near Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, Ukraine’s military said.

Meanwhile leaders of dozens of countries and international organizations were taking part in the so-called Crimea Platform – most of them by video – in solidarity with Ukraine on the six-month anniversary of the invasion.

Oglas

Opening the forum, Zelenskiy, dressed in his customary military gear, told delegates: “To overcome terror, it is necessary to gain victory in the fight against Russian aggression.”

“It is necessary to liberate Crimea. This will be the resuscitation of world law and order,” he said.

Italy’s acting Prime Minister Mario Draghi told the summit Rome would continue to support Ukraine. “We are with you in your fight to resist Russia’s invasion, restore Ukraine’s territorial integrity, protect your democracy and independence,” he said.

Earlier, Zelenskiy had warned that Moscow might try “something particularly ugly” in the run-up to Wednesday’s (24 August) Independence Day. Asked at a news conference with visiting Polish President Andrzej Duda about the possibility of a Russian missile strike on Kyiv, Zelenskiy said there was a daily threat of attacks although the number of them could increase.

Ukraine’s response would be the same for any city that comes under attack from Russia.

“They will receive a response, a powerful response,” Zelenskiy said. “I want to say that each day…this response will grow, it will get stronger and stronger.”

Strahovi od pojačanih ruskih napada uslijedili su nakon ubojstva Darye Dugine, kćeri istaknutog ruskog ultranacionalista, u eksploziji automobila bombe u blizini Moskve u subotu. Moskva je za ubojstvo okrivila ukrajinske agente, što Kijev negira.

Kijev je rijetko bio pogođen ruskim projektilima otkako je Ukrajina u ožujku odbila kopnenu ofenzivu za zauzimanje glavnog grada.

Atmosfera u gradu u utorak je bila mirna, mnogi ljudi još lutaju ulicama, ali se mogu osjetiti znakovi povećane opasnosti.

Vlasti su poručile Ukrajincima da rade od kuće gdje god je to moguće od utorka do četvrtka, također pozivajući ljude da ozbiljno shvate upozorenja o zračnom napadu i potraže sklonište kada se oglasi sirena.

Gradska uprava Kijeva zabranila je velika javna okupljanja do četvrtka (25. kolovoza), strahujući da bi gomila stanovnika koji slave mogla postati meta ruskog raketnog udara.

Šest mjeseci nakon ruske invazije, koja je prouzročila tisuće smrti, milijune ljudi učinila izbjeglicama i uništila čitave gradove, sukob je u pat poziciji.

Ruske snage kontroliraju veliki dio juga, uključujući obalu Crnog mora i Azovskog mora, te dijelove istočne regije Donbas. Izgledi za mir izgledaju gotovo nepostojeći.

Russian shelling hit eastern Kharkiv – Ukraine’s second-largest city – around dawn on Tuesday, regional governor Oleh Synehubov said. A house had been hit but no one was hurt, he said.

Na jugu, Ukrajina je rekla da je Rusija ispalila topništvo i montirala zračne napade na nekoliko gradova u regiji Zaporizhzhia, gdje su ruske snage zauzele nuklearnu elektranu ubrzo nakon početka invazije.

Topnička i raketna vatra u blizini kompleksa nuklearnih reaktora u Zaporožju, na južnoj obali rijeke Dnjepar, dovela je do poziva da se područje demilitarizira. Dvije strane razmijenile su krivnju zbog učestalog granatiranja elektrane.

U drugoj akciji, ukrajinske snage granatirale su u utorak zgradu u kojoj se nalazi sjedište lokalne uprave u središtu grada Donjecka koji kontroliraju separatisti, izvijestila je novinska agencija TASS, citirajući dužnosnike postavljene u Rusiji. Tri osobe su ubijene, navodi se.

Russia’s defence ministry said its forces had downed a Ukrainian SU-27 warplane over the Kharkiv region.

Russia sent its troops over the border in what it calls a “special military operation” saying it wanted to demilitarise its neighbour and protect Russian-speaking communities. Ukraine and its Western allies accuse Moscow of waging an unjustified war of aggression.

The United Nations said on Monday (22 August) that 5,587 civilians had been killed and 7,890 wounded between Feb. 24 and Aug. 21, mainly from artillery, rocket and missile attacks. Its children’s agency UNICEF said at least 972 children have been killed or injured over six months of war.

Zasebno, komandant ukrajinskih oružanih snaga general Valerij Zalužni iznio je, kako se čini, prvi javni bilans poginulih u ukrajinskoj vojsci, rekavši da je gotovo 9,000 vojnika poginulo u akciji.

Russia has not said how many of its soldiers have been killed. Ukraine’s General Staff have estimated the Russian military death toll at 45,400.

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