Wednesday, June 29

Russia-Ukraine war latest: Russians trying to destroy Donbas, says Zelenskiy, as fighting intensifies – live | Ukraine


Brazil has turned to natural fertilisers over concerns that the war in Ukraine will disrupt crucial fertiliser imports, AFP has reported.

The agricultural superpower is the world’s fourth-biggest consumer of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium based fertilisers and imports 80% of its supply, 25% of which comes from Russia.

From AFP:

That is causing farmers in the South American giant to turn to alternatives, including remineralizers, or “agrominerals” – pulverized, nutrient-rich rocks that are spread on fields before planting.

Brazil, which authorized remineralizers for agricultural use in 2013, is the world leader in the technique, which is also used in the United States, Canada, India and France, among others.

“Brazil is a tropical country, and the rains tend to wash away soil nutrients. Rock powder rebuilds the soil and renews it,” says Marcio Remedio, mineral resources director at the Brazilian Geological Service.

The technique also “allows plants’ roots to develop better and capture the nutrients they need to grow,” says Suzi Huff Theodoro, a geologist at the University of Brasilia.

“We have rocks with the right profile in various parts of the country, and the cost is significantly cheaper” than chemical fertilisers, she told AFP.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy delivered a video address on Tuesday to mark the three month anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine, and said the country’s ability to resist Russia had been a surprise and a source of inspiration to the rest of the world.

We must always remember that we have survived these three months thanks to tens and thousands of feats of those who have defended the state. And at the cost of tens of thousands of lives of Ukrainian men and women killed by the occupiers.

Eternal memory to all who gave their lives for Ukraine.

Zelenskiy then mocked the claim by Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu that Russia was deliberately slowing down its offensive in Ukraine to allow civilians time to evacuate. He said:

Well after three months of searching for an explanation why they failed to break Ukraine in three days, they came up with nothing better than to say they had allegedly planned to do so.

He then spoke of the worsening situation in the Donbas region, and called for foreign governments to continue to provide military support in the form of weapons and equipment, saying that was “the best investment in maintaining stability in the world.”

Zelensky: “The longer this war lasts, the greater will be the price of protecting freedom not only for Ukraine, but also for the whole free world. Therefore the supply of heavy weapons to Ukraine — MLRS, tanks, and other weapons — is the best investment in maintaining stability.” pic.twitter.com/JmH3aEKPUD

— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) May 24, 2022

n”,”url”:”https://twitter.com/ChristopherJM/status/1529250317237473280″,”id”:”1529250317237473280″,”hasMedia”:false,”role”:”inline”,”isThirdPartyTracking”:false,”source”:”Twitter”,”elementId”:”5cf9aaa8-21d6-4825-a18a-c2d4f995a464″}}”>

Zelensky: “The longer this war lasts, the greater will be the price of protecting freedom not only for Ukraine, but also for the whole free world. Therefore the supply of heavy weapons to Ukraine — MLRS, tanks, and other weapons — is the best investment in maintaining stability.” pic.twitter.com/JmH3aEKPUD

— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) May 24, 2022

Our reporter Isobel Koshiw in Kyiv has some more information on the Ukrainian soldiers who were captured by Russian forces after the three-month siege of the Azovstal steel plant.

The last group of Ukrainian soldiers holed up in the steel works surrendered on Friday.

Koshiw writes:

Denys Prokopenko, commander of the Azov battalion, was able to briefly call his wife, Kateryna, who said she had also been told that the prisoners had not been subjected to violence. It was not immediately clear if Prokopenko had been able to speak freely during the conversation.

“He said he was ‘OK’ and asked how I was,” Kateryna Prokopenko told the Guardian on Tuesday. “I’ve heard from other sources that the conditions are more or less satisfactory.”

At least 1,000 Ukrainian fighters, including members of the Azov battalion, were transferred to Russian-held territory last week after the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol was taken by Russian forces.

The Azov battalion has played a central role in Russia’s justification for its invasion, which was originally launched with the supposed goal of “denazification”. Officials in Kyiv have suggested they could be swapped in a prisoner exchange, but some Russian officials have called for them to face trial or even execution on “terrorism” charges.

The Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orban, has declared a state of emergency due to the war in neighbouring Ukraine.

Orban, who was returned to power for a fourth consecutive term in April, announced in a Facebook video that his government would assume emergency powers in order to be able to respond more quickly to the challenges created by the war. It will allow the Hungarian government to approve measures by decree.

Orban said:

The world is on the brink of an economic crisis.

The first measures will be announced on Wednesday, he said.

Ukraine has already started using long-range cannons it received from France government officials have said.

The French president, Emmanuel Macron, promised to send a shipment of the Ceaser cannons, which are described as “the trump card of the French artillery”, at the start of the month.

Ukrainian infrastructure minister Volodymyr Omelyan shared the update from the Ukrinian army’s commander-in-chief, Valery Zaluzhny, on Tuesday night.

He said the long-range weapons had been rolled out after artillerymen had received two or three hours of training.

Гаубиці «Caesar» вже на передовій
Це — самохідна артилерійська установка нового покоління, яка вражає противника на відстані більше 20 км з високою точністю.

Наші артилеристи швидко опанували нові САУ, фактично за 2-3 години, – Головнокомандувач ЗСУ Валерій Залужний. pic.twitter.com/qjGu8FUwPb

— Volodymyr Omelyan (@V_Omelyan) May 24, 2022

n”,”url”:”https://twitter.com/V_Omelyan/status/1529199530738167814″,”id”:”1529199530738167814″,”hasMedia”:false,”role”:”inline”,”isThirdPartyTracking”:false,”source”:”Twitter”,”elementId”:”415c1332-68de-485e-86d1-886d3968ec57″}}”>

Гаубиці «Caesar» вже на передовій
Це — самохідна артилерійська установка нового покоління, яка вражає противника на відстані більше 20 км з високою точністю.

Наші артилеристи швидко опанували нові САУ, фактично за 2-3 години, – Головнокомандувач ЗСУ Валерій Залужний. pic.twitter.com/qjGu8FUwPb

— Volodymyr Omelyan (@V_Omelyan) May 24, 2022

As we’ve reported, Russian forces are currently attempting to size Donbas’ two provinces, Donetsk and Luhansk, and trap Ukrainian forces in a pocket on the main eastern front.

The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said that Moscow was seeking to destroy the industrial Donbas region.

More from Reuters:

Russian forces took control of three towns in the Donetsk region including Svitlodarsk, regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko told an affiliate of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

“The situation in Donbas is extremely difficult. All the remaining strength of the Russian army is now concentrated on this region,” Zelenskiy said in a late Tuesday address. “The occupiers want to destroy everything there.”

Russia’s defence ministry did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment out-of-hours.

The easternmost part of the Ukrainian-held Donbas pocket, the city of Sievierodonetsk on the east bank of the Siverskiy Donets River and its twin Lysychansk, on the west bank, have become a pivotal battlefield. Russian forces were advancing from three directions to encircle them.

“The enemy has focused its efforts on carrying out an offensive in order to encircle Lysychansk and Sievierodonetsk,” said Serhiy Gaidai, governor of Luhansk province, where the two cities are among the last territory held by Ukraine.

Ukraine’s military said it had repelled nine Russian attacks on Tuesday in the Donbas where Moscow’s troops had killed at least 14 civilians, using aircraft, rocket launchers, artillery, tanks, mortars and missiles.

Reuters could not immediately verify the information.

Summary and welcome

Hello and welcome to the Guardian’s live coverage of the war in Ukraine. I’m Calla Wahlquist and I’ll be taking you through developments for the next few hours.

This is how things currently stand:

  • Volodymyr Zelenskiy has warned that Moscow was seeking to destroy the industrial Donbas region amid intense fighting in the eastern region. The Ukrainian president said in his nightly address on Tuesday that “the situation in Donbas is extremely difficult. All the remaining strength of the Russian army is now concentrated on this region”.
  • Russian forces have taken control of three Donetsk towns including Svitlodarsk, according to the regional governor, Pavlo Kyrylenko, with the key city of Sievierodonestsk surrounded on three sides.
  • The governor of Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk region said the situation there “is only getting worse” as Russian troops advance. “It is getting worse with every day and even with every hour,” said governor Sergiy Gaidai. “They are simply eliminating Sievierodonestsk from the earth.”
  • The bodies of more than 200 people have been discovered in the rubble of a high-rise apartment building in the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, according to a Ukrainian official. Petro Andryushchenko, an adviser to Mariupol’s mayor Vadym Boychenko, said workers found the bodies while digging through a basement underneath the collapsed building.
  • Ukrainian soldiers captured by Russian forces after the three-month siege of the Azovstal steel plant are being held in “satisfactory” conditions, according to the unit commander’s wife, amid uncertainty over the fate of the prisoners. At least 1,000 Ukrainian fighters, including members of the Azov battalion, were transferred to Russian-held territory last week after the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol was taken by Russian forces.
  • Ukraine is gathering the bodies of dead Russian soldiers found in formerly occupied towns in the hope of exchanging them for prisoners of war or for Ukrainian bodies. In Kharkiv, 60 bodies were retrieved and stacked in a refrigerated rail carriage, Reuters reports.
  • Ukrainian prosecutors have launched a war crimes investigation in Kharkiv’s Gorky Park which was hit by about 50 shells in three months of war. “Hitting civilian targets, civilian infrastructure, trying to kill civilians and destroy cultural heritage, are considered war crimes. An error can happen once or twice, but there are 56 hits recorded. It’s not an accident. They were targeting the park,” Ukrainian prosecutor Roman Petrenko said.
  • A new survey has found that 82% of Ukrainians believe that their country should not sign away any of its territories as part of a peace deal with Russia under any circumstances
  • Turkish officials will meet with Swedish and Finnish delegations in Ankara on Wednesday to discuss the Nato bids by the two Nordic countries. Finland’s foreign minister, Pekka Haavisto, said his country and Sweden would send delegations to the Turkish capital to try to resolve its opposition to their applications for membership in the military alliance.
  • A Russian court has rejected an appeal from opposition leader Alexei Navalny against a nine-year prison sentence he is serving for large-scale fraud and contempt of court, charges which he denies. Navalny lambasted President Vladimir Putin during court hearing, casting him as a madman who had started a “stupid war” in Ukraine based on lies.
  • Russia’s foreign ministry has announced a ban on 154 members of the British parliament’s House of Lords on entering the country, in a tit-for-tat move for sanctions against Russian officials over Ukraine. It accused them of having “used their authority to whip up anti-Russian hysteria in the UK”.
  • Russia’s invasion of Ukraine threatens to be the “beginning of the third world war” that could spell the end of civilisation, the veteran philanthropist and former financier George Soros has warned from the World Economic Forum in Davos that autocratic regimes were in the ascendant and the global economy was heading for a depression.




www.theguardian.com

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