Key Zelenskiy adviser says counteroffensive will aim to create ‘chaos within Russian forces’; Ukraine hints it was behind a series of recent strikes in occupied Crimea
There could be more attacks in the “next two or three months” similar to the strikes in Crimea, a key adviser to Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said in an exclusive interview with the Guardian. Mykhailo Podolyak said Ukraine is engaged in a counteroffensive aimed at creating “chaos within Russian forces” by striking at the invaders’ supply lines deep into occupied territories.
Ukraine has hinted it was behind a series of mysterious and devastating strikes in occupied Crimea that destroyed a key railway junction used for supplying Russian troops and a military airbase. Several explosions on Tuesday appeared to have destroyed a Russian ammunition depot and an electricity substation about 125 miles (200km) from the frontline with Ukrainian forces. Russia blamed saboteurs for orchestrating the series of explosions.
The leaders of Ukraine, Turkey and the UN are set to meet to review the grain export deal in Lviv on Thursday. UN secretary general António Guterres, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will also discuss “the need for a political solution to this conflict” and the situation at the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said.
Ukraine’s nuclear operator reported what it called an “unprecedented” cyberattack on its website, but said its operations have not been disrupted. “On August 16, 2022, the most powerful cyberattack since the start of the Russian invasion occurred against Energoatom’s website,” the operator said, adding it “was attacked from Russian territory”.
North Korea and the Russian-backed separatist Donetsk region of Ukraine will develop “equally beneficial bilateral cooperation”, Denis Pushilin, head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, said in a letter to Kim Jong-un, North Korean state media reported on Wednesday.
The first ship to depart Ukraine under a grain export deal docked in Syria on Tuesday, according to a shipping source and satellite data. Another ship carrying the first cargo of food aid bound for Africa also left Ukraine’s ports.
Russia’s defence ministry has warned Britain against a planned spy plane flight over Russian territory, saying its air force has been given orders to prevent an intrusion. The ministry said the UK sent a notice informing about a planned flight of an RC-135 reconnaissance plane along a route that partly passes over Russian territory. “We regard this action as a deliberate provocation,” the ministry said.
Estonian authorities removed a Soviet-era tank from its pedestal in the eastern city of Narva, the most significant removal yet out of an estimated 200 to 400 such monuments that the government has pledged to take down by the end of the year. “No one wants to see our militant and hostile neighbour foment tensions in our home,” prime minister, Kaja Kallas, said on Tuesday. Estonia will also this week close its border to more than 50,000 Russians with previously issued visas.
Finland announced it will cut the number of visas it issues to Russians to 10% of current volumes from 1 September after Russian tourists begun using the country as a gateway to European holiday destinations. Finland will also join the Baltic states in jointly proposing the discontinuation of an EU visa facilitation agreement with Russia that makes it easier and cheaper for Russians to travel to and within the EU, foreign minister, Pekka Haavisto, said.
Russia | The Guardian