Sat, 02 Dec 2023

Deadly Russian Attacks Target Ukraine's Kherson Region

Voice of America
25 Sep 2023, 05:36 GMT+10

Two people were killed, and many were wounded from Russian airstrikes Sunday, in southern Ukraine's Kherson province, the region's governor, Oleksandr Prokudin, reported.

Russian forces struck residences in the city of Beryslav, killing a woman and wounding three people, including a police officer, he said.

Another airstrike killed a 67-year-old man in the village of Lvove, Prokudin said.

Both communities are in the Ukrainian part of the Kherson region on the western bank of the Dnipro River.

The Russians regularly shell cities and villages, including the city of Kherson, from across the river.

In Russia, a Ukrainian drone struck an administrative building in the city of Kursk and "insignificantly damaged" the roof, regional Gov. Roman Starovoit reported.

Unconfirmed media reports both in Russia and Ukraine said the building housed the offices of the Kursk branch of Russia's main security agency, the Federal Security Service, also known as the FSB.

The drone strike Sunday took place as residents commemorated the anniversary of the regional capital's founding. No casualties were reported in Russia.

There was no immediate comment from the Ukrainian authorities, who usually don't acknowledge responsibility for attacks on Russian territory.

As Ukraine's defensive war against Russian aggression enters its 20th month, the Ukrainian military released additional footage Sunday from the battle for the village of Andriivka, which Kyiv's forces say they reclaimed September 15. They consider it an important steppingstone to liberating the ravaged city of Bakhmut.

FILE - A Ukrainian serviceman raises the Ukrainian flag as a symbol of liberation in the front-line village of Andriivka, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Sept. 16, 2023. FILE - A Ukrainian serviceman raises the Ukrainian flag as a symbol of liberation in the front-line village of Andriivka, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Sept. 16, 2023.

The new video, released by Maksym Zhorin, deputy commander of Ukraine's Third Separate Assault Brigade, shows Ukrainian fighters advancing through 'a forest belt scorched by the fighting,' CNN reports.

The fighters were engaged 'in close combat and clearing out enemy dugouts and holes,' the brigade said. When soldiers entered the streets of Andriivka - they found the village had been 'wiped out.'

Ukraine's abducted children

Out of 19,500 Ukrainian children abducted by the Russians, only approximately 380 children have been returned to Ukraine, said Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska in an interview on the CBS show "Face the Nation."

"These are kids. Sometimes they do not fully understand what's going on. They are easy to manipulate," said the first lady. "Almost all children we managed to return to Ukraine told us they were told no one cares about them in Ukraine and that no one is looking for them."

Zelenska said that Russia is uprooting these children, preparing them for adoption on the territory of the Russian Federation. She said that older children have some understanding of the situation, but small children are "susceptible to Russian disinformation."

During Ukraine's address at the U.N. General Assembly last week, Zelenska said, "We proposed to develop a new system of joint effort that would make Russia return Ukrainian children to their country."

Ukraine grain

A second shipment of Ukrainian wheat reached Turkey Sunday, according to Agence France-Presse. Russia had threatened to attack vessels headed to or from Ukraine. Ukraine, however, is now testing shipping waters controlled by NATO members Bulgaria and Romania. The Palau-flagged ship, Aroyat, is headed to Egypt.

Cargo ship Aroyat, carrying Ukrainian grain, transits the Bosphorus in Istanbul, Turkey, Sept. 24, 2023. Cargo ship Aroyat, carrying Ukrainian grain, transits the Bosphorus in Istanbul, Turkey, Sept. 24, 2023.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov asserted Saturday that the Black Sea Grain Initiative allowing safe passage for Ukrainian exports will not be revived and castigated a 10-point peace plan proposed by Ukraine, saying both were "not realistic."

Lavrov addressed the U.N. General Assembly at the annual gathering of world leaders at U.N. headquarters in New York last week. With a note of global diplomacy, Ukraine and its Western allies did too, seeking to rally support for Kyiv on its defensive war against Russian aggression.

'It is completely not feasible,' Lavrov said of the peace plan initiated by Kyiv. 'It is not possible to implement this. It's not realistic and everybody understands this, but at the same time, they say this is the only basis for negotiations.'

Lavrov said the conflict would be resolved on the battlefield if Kyiv and the West persisted in that position.

Lavrov also said Moscow left the Black Sea Grain Initiative because promises made to Russia had not been fulfilled.

He also lashed out at "the U.S. and its subordinate Western collective," for stoking conflicts "which artificially divide humanity into hostile blocks and hamper the achievement of overall aims. They're doing everything they can to prevent the formation of a genuine multipolar world order," he said.

During his speech at the U.N General Assembly, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russia of weaponizing food, energy and even children against Ukraine and "the international rules-based order" at large.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy listens to applause after his address to the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly, in New York, Sept. 19, 2023. Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy listens to applause after his address to the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly, in New York, Sept. 19, 2023.

U.S. President Joe Biden struck a similar note, while urging world leaders to keep up support for Ukraine. "If we allow Ukraine to be carved up, is the independence of any nation secure?" he said.

Pope Francis suggested Saturday that some countries were 'playing games' with Ukraine by first supplying weapons and then mulling on whether they should back out of their promises.

The pope's comments to a reporter's question, aboard a plane returning from the French port city of Marseilles, reflected frustration that his efforts to bring about peace in Ukraine had not succeeded.

Francis has condemned the international arms trade in general but said last year that it

is morally legitimate for nations to supply weapons to Ukraine's defensive war against

Russian aggression.

Several countries, including the United States, face domestic political pressure to stop or reduce spending on military aid to Ukraine.

Some information for this report was provided by The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

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