Head of Kherson regional council says it will continue to operate

Head of Kherson regional council says it will continue to operate

The Kherson regional council will continue to operate and provide aid to its citizens despite Russian forces taking over the city’s regional administration building, the head of the council said on Thursday.

In a Facebook post, Hennadiy Lahuta said the Russian attackers had “completely occupied the Kherson State Regional Administration Building”.

“However, we have not abdicated our responsibilities,” Lahuta said.

“The regional operational headquarters, of which I am the head, continues to work and solve urgent problems to help the inhabitants of the region,” he continued.

Russia said its forces had taken control of the southern port city. British intelligence said on Thursday that although Russian forces have entered the city, the situation remains unclear.

Lahuta called on Kherson residents to remain calm. “We are waiting for humanitarian aid. Please don’t believe fakes and don’t panic.”

Use of nuclear weapons ‘not in the minds’ of Russians, says Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the idea of ​​nuclear war “is not in the minds” of Russians.

Lavrov told reporters that it was “clear that World War III can only be nuclear,” Russian news outlet RIA Novosti reported on Thursday.

Lavrov said it seemed like the thought of “a nuclear war was constantly swirling around in the heads of Western politicians”, but he said it was “not in the heads of Russians”.

“Therefore, I assure you that we will not allow any provocation to throw us off balance,” he said.

Heavily damaged residential buildings in Kharkiv, Ukraine on Thursday after continued Russian attacks.

Russian attacks on Ukraine
Heavy shelling was seen on residential buildings in Kharkiv, Ukraine on Thursday after continued Russian attacks.Ukrainian State Emergency Service/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

EU must be ready to welcome millions of refugees, says EU Home Affairs Commissioner

European Union member states must be ready to take in millions of Ukrainian refugees as the conflict grows, EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson said on Thursday.

“We are in a very, very dangerous situation with the development in Ukraine. We have to prepare for the arrival of millions of refugees in the European Union,” Johansson said ahead of a meeting of the bloc’s Justice and Home Affairs Council.

“It really is a time to be proud to be European,” she added, referring to the influx of donations and the efforts of European citizens to house incoming fugitives from Ukraine. “But it’s also a time to make strong decisions… We need proper guidance on how to handle the different situations at the border.”

Johansson said she expected new legislation on the temporary arrangement for Ukrainian refugees in Europe to be passed in the coming days. The current proposal offers temporary residence rights to Ukrainian refugees for up to three years, which would include the right to work and social assistance.

Second round of Russian-Ukrainian talks set to start today, Russia says

A second round of talks between Russia and Ukraine is expected to start today, the head of the Russian delegation said.

Vladimir Medinsky, adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin, said a second round of talks was due to begin around 7 a.m. ET in the Brest region of Belarus.

Medinsky said the Russian delegation had a “three-part package of proposals” concerning the “military-technical aspect”, as well as “humanitarian-international and political” issues.

“We are now gathering the positions, we are not wasting time,” he said.

On Wednesday, the Belarusian Foreign Ministry tweeted a photo of a conference hall, saying it had already been set up “to accommodate the second round of Russian-Ukrainian negotiations”.

It comes days after the first round of Belarusian border talks ended without a clear breakthrough.

Russian forces ‘regroup’ to attack towards Kiev, says Ukrainian military

Russian forces are “regrouping” in a bid to reach the capital Kiev after failing in northern cities, the Ukrainian military has said.

Part of the Northern Fleet of the Russian armed forces, which has lost its combat capability, “regroups and tries to attack in the direction of Brovary and Kiev”.

“The enemy is trying to break into the capital,” Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said in a Telegram post late Wednesday. The town was under heavy bombardment, with private homes, cars and police facilities damaged, he said.

The Ukrainian military also said a fleet of four large Black Sea landing ships – accompanied by three missile boats – were heading for Odessa in southern Ukraine. The military said naval groups continued to capture sailors and fire at civilian ships.

“Kiev and other Ukrainian cities are suffering from enemy missile strikes,” the Ukrainian Armed Forces General Staff posted on Facebook.

A destroyed building in a residential area of ​​Zhytomyr, Ukraine on Tuesday.

A destroyed building can be seen in a residential area of ​​Zhytomyr
A destroyed building in a residential area of ​​Zhytomyr, Ukraine on Tuesday.Ukrainian State Emergency Service / via Reuters

Ukrainian Foreign Minister calls the conflict a “real people’s war for Ukraine”

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called the ongoing conflict “a real people’s war for Ukraine”, hailing residents who on Thursday blocked the road leading to a nuclear power plant in Enerhodar, in the northwest of the country. country.

“This is a real people’s war for Ukraine. Putin has no chance of winning it,” the minister said. tweeted with a photo of the crowd on the road.

Kuleba also urged the international community to shut down the country’s airspace. “We need partners to help Ukraine defend itself. Especially in the air. Close the sky now!

Russian and Belarusian athletes excluded from the Paralympic Games

The International Paralympic Committee has decided to refuse the registration of Russian and Belarusian athletes for the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Games, it announced on Thursday.

It comes after the IPC earlier on Wednesday cleared Russians and Belarusians to compete “as neutral athletes”.

“In making our decision yesterday, we were considering the long-term health and survival of the Paralympic Movement,” IPC President Andrew Parsons said in a statement Thursday.

“However, what is clear is that the rapidly escalating situation now puts us in a unique and impossible position so close to the start of the Games.”

Several countries had threatened to boycott the games, which would put the Games in grave danger – the impact of which would be far-reaching, Parsons said.

A total of 83 para-athletes have been impacted by the decision, he said.

“To the para-athletes of the affected countries, we are very sorry that you are affected by the decisions your governments made last week in violating the Olympic truce. You are victims of the actions of your governments,” he said.

Russian tanks made ‘little discernible progress’ towards Kyiv, UK MoD says

A column of tanks advancing towards Kiev has made “little discernible progress” since Tuesday and remains more than 29 km from the center of the capital, according to the British Ministry of Defence.

The delay is due to “fierce Ukrainian resistance, mechanical breakdowns and delays”, according to the ministry. noted.

Kharkiv, Chernihiv and Mariupol remain under Ukrainian control despite continued heavy Russian shelling, he said, while the situation in Kherson remains uncertain after Russian forces entered the city. Russia had claimed to have taken control of the southern port city.

The ministry noted that the Russian Defense Ministry also announced for the first time the casualties suffered since the first attack on Ukraine last Thursday, reporting 498 dead and 1,597 injured.

The independent Russian radio Echo of Moscow dissolved

The independent Russian radio Echo of Moscow has closed its doors after its board of directors voted on Thursday to liquidate its station and its news site.

The shutdown comes days after the station, one of Russia’s last liberal news sources, was taken off the air.

The country’s attorney general had called for access to the station to be restricted due to its coverage of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Elna M. Lemons