Fierce fighting in the Donbass region, eastern Ukraine and the resumption of rail services between Kyiv and Kherson
The Ukrainian General Staff announced that Ukrainian and Russian forces are engaged in fierce fighting in the Donbass coal and steel region of eastern Ukraine. Yesterday, Ukrainian authorities resumed train operations between the capital Kyiv and the city of Kherson, a week after the withdrawal of Russian forces.
The United Nations welcomed the four-month extension of the Black Sea Grain Export Agreement aimed at alleviating global food shortages.
In detail, the Ukrainian General Staff explained that villages such as Vodiane, Krasnohorivka and Marinka near the Donbass town of Avdiivka in eastern Ukraine were attacked by Russian artillery and tanks yesterday (Friday).
Elan Kyiv could not be independently verified but matched reports from Russian military bloggers.
The city of Bakhmut was also heavily bombed, as was the Kobyansk region at the front, an important railway junction.
For its part, the operator of Ukraine’s power grid has been warning of power outages for hours as Russia focuses on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure with renewed artillery and missile attacks.
On Thursday evening, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced that more than 10 million Ukrainians were without electricity.
“Currently, more than 10 million Ukrainians are without electricity,” Zelenskyy said in a television intervention, particularly in the Kyiv region.
On the other hand, the Ukrainian authorities resumed train services between the capital Kyiv and the city of Kherson yesterday, a week after the withdrawal of Russian forces.
“The first train departed from Kyiv yesterday and will arrive in Kherson today, Saturday,” Deputy Governor of Kherson Region Sergey Khalan said on social media.
In Geneva yesterday, a senior United Nations official welcomed the four-month extension of a deal aimed at alleviating global food shortages by helping Ukraine export its agricultural products from Black Sea ports, but said there was still work to be done must be done.
“We are very pleased to extend the grain export initiative across the Black Sea,” Rebecca Greenspan told reporters in Geneva. It is very good news for the world regarding the food insecurity crisis we are going through.
“But we have said very clearly that we are not in the position we are aiming for, there is still a lot to do, especially with regard to fertilisers,” she added.
The Turkish presidency said yesterday in Istanbul that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that the meeting between US and Russian intelligence agencies was important to prevent an “uncontrolled” escalation.
Erdogan said in a phone call that diplomatic efforts to end the war in Ukraine must be revived and thanked Putin for extending the Black Sea Grains Agreement.
For his part, Pope Francis, in an interview with the Italian newspaper (La Stampa) yesterday, reiterated the Vatican’s willingness to do everything possible to mediate and end the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
In Warsaw, the head of Poland’s National Security Bureau, Jacek Severa, said that Poland and Ukraine had started negotiations on how to include Ukraine in the investigation of the incident after rockets hit Polish territory last Tuesday.
The two countries discussed two options: either Ukraine could issue an international request for legal assistance, or the Polish prosecutor’s office could set up an international investigative team.
The Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency passed a new resolution in Vienna on Thursday calling on Russia to withdraw from the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant and to end its crackdown on nuclear facilities in Ukraine.
Two diplomats said the resolution tabled by Canada and Finland had been approved by 24 of the 35 council members, with Russia and China voting against.
In the new resolution, the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Board of Governors expresses “serious concern” at Russia’s refusal to halt its attacks on Ukrainian nuclear facilities. And she calls on Russia to “give up its unfounded claims regarding the Zaporizhia station.”
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