Fearing a Russian attack, Ukraine’s capital has banned Independence Day celebrations

14 min read
Fearing a Russian attack, Ukraine's capital has banned Independence Day celebrations

This week, the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv banned public celebrations commemorating the country’s independence from Soviet rule, citing a heightened threat of Russian attack in a war that the United Nations said on Monday (August 22) has killed nearly 5,600 civilians, including a large number of children. The ban was based on the fact that Russia is currently involved in the conflict.

Near the frontlines in the southern part of the country, Ukraine said that Russian soldiers fired rockets into numerous villages located north and west of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, which had been overrun by Russian forces shortly after they invaded Ukraine in February.

On the south bank of the Dnipro River, close to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear reactor complex, artillery and rocket fire have prompted requests for the area to be demilitarized. Residents of the area who live close to the plant have expressed their concern that shells could potentially hit one of the six reactors at the site, which could have catastrophic effects.

“We are, without a doubt, concerned about… It’s the equivalent of sitting on a live fuse,” Alexander Lifirenko, a local citizen of the nearby town of Enerhodar, which is now occupied by soldiers loyal to Moscow, made this statement.

The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, has issued a warning that Moscow may do “something particularly unpleasant” in the days leading up to the 31st anniversary of Ukraine’s independence on Wednesday. This day also marks the beginning of the sixth month since Russia invaded Ukraine.

Since the Ukrainian military successfully rejected a Russian ground operation to seize the city in March, Kyiv has not been directly targeted by Russian missiles and is located a significant distance from the conflict zone.

A document stated that the authorities in Kyiv have forbidden any public gatherings that are associated with the anniversary from taking place from Monday through Thursday owing to the likelihood of further rocket strikes.

In certain other jurisdictions, public meetings were also prohibited. The mayor of Kharkiv, a city in the northeastern region that has come under frequent and deadly longer-range artillery and rocket fire, Ihor Terekhov, has announced an extension to an overnight curfew that will run from 4pm to 7am beginning on Tuesday and continuing through Thursday. The new hours will go into effect on Tuesday.

In the city of Mykolaiv, which is located close to Russian-controlled territory to the south, the regional governor Vitaliy Kim stated that the authorities planned to issue a precautionary order instructing residents to work from home on Tuesday and Wednesday and urged people not to congregate in large groups.

In a speech that was given in the evening, Zelenskyy called for new punitive measures to be taken against Russia from Europe. This comes as Europe prepares for potential shortages of energy after Moscow announced that it would stop some gas flows to the continent for a period of three days as an apparent act of retaliation to sanctions imposed by the European Union.

Russia refutes this, stating that the declines are due to the sanctions themselves as well as a variety of technical issues.

In a video message given on Monday evening, Zelenskyy asked the question, “The only issue that remains is how many lives Russia will be able to kill before the backlash from the world community becomes actually tangible to those who are responsible.”

Following accusations made by Russia’s Federal Security Service on Monday that Ukrainian agents were responsible for the death of Darya Dugina, the daughter of a Russian ultra-nationalist ideologue, in a car bomb attack near Moscow, which President Vladimir Putin referred to as “evil,” fears of an increase in the number of attacks increased. Ukraine denies involvement.

Both sides have been placing blame for the regular shelling that has occurred at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear reactor, which Kyiv claims is caused by Moscow stationing troops and storing military equipment there. Russia asserts that this is not the case and accuses Ukraine of using drones to target Zaporizhzhia.

According to a message posted on Telegram by the region’s governor, Valentyn Reznichenko, Russian soldiers opened fire on the surrounding towns of Nikopol, Krivyi Rih, and Synelnykovskyi during the course of the night.

According to the Russian state-owned news agency RIA, which cited Russia’s Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations Dmitry Polyanskiy as a source, Moscow has requested that the United Nations Security Council meet on Tuesday to address the Zaporizhzhia plant.

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In the southern region, there have been reports of increased fighting as well as explosives in Russian-occupied Kherson and on the Crimean peninsula, which Russia invaded in 2014.

A source in occupied Kherson’s emergency services told the Russian news agency Interfax that the only bridge that crosses the strategically important Dnipro River was struck by high-precision HIMARS rockets that were supplied to Ukraine by the United States. As a result of the attack, fifteen people were injured.

As Ukrainian forces conduct a counteroffensive to reclaim the Kherson region, they have frequently targeted the bridge, which is a crucial crossing for Russian military transport in the region. The bridge is located in Kherson. According to a consultant working for the Kyiv interior ministry, smoke was noticed rising from the bridge.

Explosions were reportedly heard in the city of Sevastopol in Crimea, according to Russian media. The governor of the city, who was chosen by the Russian government, stated that an anti-air defense system had been activated in the area. In the past several weeks, Crimea has been shaken by a number of explosions, one of which occurred at a munitions store and was attributed by Moscow to the actions of saboteurs.

Reuters was not in a position to independently verify the reports coming from either side of the battlefield.

Russia began what it refers to as a “special military operation” on February 24 with the goal of demilitarizing its smaller neighbor and protecting towns that speak Russian. The Ukrainian government and its Western backers accuse Russia of engaging in a war of conquest in the style of an imperial power.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights stated on Monday, citing its monitoring mission in Ukraine, that there had been 5,587 civilian deaths and 7,890 civilian injuries between February 24 and August 21. The majority of these deaths were the result of artillery, rocket, and missile attacks.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said that throughout the past six months of conflict, at least 972 children had been killed or injured.

“The vast majority of child casualties can be attributed to the employment of explosive weapons. These weapons make no distinction between civilians and military personnel, and this is especially true when they are employed in densely populated areas, as has been the situation in Ukraine,” Catherine Russell, the executive director of the organization, commented on the matter in a statement.

Separately, the head of the army in Kyiv, General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, presented what looked to be the first public death toll for the Ukrainian military. He stated that over 9,000 soldiers had been killed in action throughout the conflict.

Russia has not provided an official statement regarding the number of its fallen servicemen. According to the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, the number of Russian military personnel killed currently stands at 45,400.

The number of military casualties cannot be confirmed by Reuters at this time.

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