1. Another Fake Referendum and Ginning Russia May Be ‘Slap in the Slap’ by Cece Zeleski
Volodymyr Zelensky says any “pseudo-referendum” in Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine would be a “slap in the face of the international community”.
With Russia controlling large parts of the eastern Donbass region and parts of southern Ukraine, officials have raised the possibility of holding a referendum.
The referendum will be a vote on whether local people want to join Russia, a step taken when Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.
“Any pseudo-referendum will be a slap in the face of the international community”.🇺🇦 President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says he has urged Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to condemn Russia’s planned referendums in occupied territory. pic.twitter.com/FMS3lF6yk6
— euronews (@euronews) August 19, 2022
But in his overnight address, Zelensky, after meeting UN chief Antonio Guterres and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, hit out at the move.
“I have called on both Mr. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to voice the strongest possible position regarding the planned sham referendum in Russian-occupied territory,” he said.
“Another Gap referendum is a slap in the face to the international community,” He said.
Russian forces have seized much of southern Ukraine’s Kherson region and officials in charge have suggested a referendum on joining Russia could be held in the coming weeks or months.
In Donbass, the Russians seized parts of the region in 2014, holding a referendum on independence and declaring a “People’s Republic” in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions.
The Kremlin recognized the republics on the eve of the February invasion.
The governor of Luhansk region – almost entirely under Russian control for several weeks – suggested in early August that Russia was preparing a new referendum in the newly occupied territories and offering benefits to residents to participate. .
2. Erdogan to discuss Zaporizhzhya nuclear plant with Putin
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said he would discuss the Zaporizhia nuclear plant issue with Russian President Vladimir Putin after meetings with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and UN chief Antonio Guterres.
“Zelensky said that Russia should remove all the mines in the region,” Erdogan said in an interview with reporters on his flight back from Lviv, Ukraine, on Thursday.
“We will discuss this issue with Putin and specifically ask him to do what is necessary for Russia as an important step for world peace,” he said.
Erdogan previously expressed concern about the ongoing conflict surrounding the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine, warning of the threat of “a new Chernobyl”.
Experts are wary of comparisons to Chernobyl, saying that a repeat of the disaster is incredibly unlikely and that the main threat is to the area closest to the plant.
3. Reports of fires and explosions in the Russian-occupied Crimea region of Ukraine
At least four explosions took place overnight in the Russian-occupied Crimea region of Ukraine, according to local sources.
Explosions occurred near the Belbek military airfield outside the port city of Sevastopol, but there were no casualties, Mikhail Razvoziev, the Russian-imposed administrator of Sevastopol, wrote in an August 18 telegram.
He said that anti-aircraft security forces have shot down a Ukrainian drone.
On the same day, a Russian official in the Crimean city of Kerch, located in eastern Crimea, said air defenses had been activated there.
The city is the terminus of the Crimean Bridge, a high-profile Russian-built road and rail link between occupied Ukrainian territory and the Russian mainland.
In any case, the authority said: “There is no danger to the city or the scaffold.”
Completed and inaugurated by Putin in May 2018, the Crimean Bridge cost $4 billion and was an important prestige project aimed at strengthening Moscow’s claims to Crimea.
The explosions come as Russian military bases in Crimea, which Moscow illegally seized in 2014, have been rocked by explosions in recent days.
On 16 August, a Russian ammunition depot in northern Crimea exploded, which Russian authorities blamed on “debris”, while an electrical substation in the Zhankoy district of the Black Sea peninsula also exploded on the same day, although the explosion The cause still remains. unknown
On 9 August, Saki Air Base was hit by explosions that destroyed at least nine military aircraft, including Su-30SM fighters and Su-24M bombers.
4. Russia bombed Kharkiv to prevent Ukraine from using forces elsewhere, UK Ministry of Defense says
Britain’s Ministry of Defense said on Friday that the Russian military is continuing to bombard the northeastern city of Kharkiv to prevent Ukraine from using its forces to counterattack elsewhere.
About 15 kilometers from Russian front lines, Kharkiv has been under constant fire since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as it is within range of most Russian artillery.
According to Ukraine’s regional governor, 17 people were killed and 42 injured in two Russian attacks in Kharkiv on Wednesday and Thursday.
Russia targeted civilians in Ukraine in “special military operations”, Denis says deliberately
5. Guterres asked Moscow not to cut Zaporizhia power blocks from the grid
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged Russia not to cut off the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, which it controls from the Ukrainian grid, as Kiev and Moscow accuse each other of “dangerous bombing” at the site.
“Of course, electricity produced in Zaporizhia is Ukrainian electricity (…) this principle must be fully respected,” Guterres said at a press conference during a visit to the port of Odessa on Friday.
Earlier, Ukraine’s state nuclear company Energotom said it feared Russia would cut the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant from the Ukrainian power grid.
“There is information that Russian occupation forces are planning to close power blocks and disconnect them from power supply lines from the Ukrainian power system,” read a statement from Energotem on Telegram.
According to the Ukrainian operator, the Russian military is seeking supplies from fuel suppliers for diesel generators, which should be turned on after shutting down the power units in the absence of external power supply for the nuclear fuel cooling system, and the site. But personnel should be restricted.
The massive nuclear power plant, Europe’s largest, was seized by Russian forces in March but is still staffed by Ukrainian technicians, although only two of its six reactors are operating at full capacity.
Shutting down the plant would put new pressure on supplies to Ukraine, especially in the south.
Ukraine is already bracing for its harshest winter since independence and preparing for possible energy shortages.
In recent weeks, Moscow and Kiev have accused each other of bombing a nuclear plant in southern Ukraine, raising fears of a major disaster in Europe.
Guterres said Thursday that “any potential damage to Zaporizhia would be suicidal” and called for the demilitarization of the plant’s site.
6. Russia’s Black Sea Fleet is set to receive more military vehicles to complete operations
Newly appointed commander Vice Admiral Viktor Sokolov said on Friday that the Russian Black Sea Fleet is set to receive 12 new ships in 2022, along with additional aviation and land-based vehicles.
The state-owned TASS news agency quoted him as telling a group of young officers, “The Black Sea Fleet is participating in a special military operation and is successfully completing all the tasks set for it.”
It comes days after Sokolov was appointed head of the Black Sea Fleet on Wednesday, replacing Igor Osipov, its chief since 2019 after a string of failures.
A week earlier, explosions at an airbase in Crimea destroyed a fleet air regiment.
NEW: Western intelligence official just told reporters attack on Saky airfield in Crimea by Ukraine ‘put more than half of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet naval aviation combat jets out of use. The Russian system is busy seeking to allocate blame for the debacle.’
— Emma Burrows (@EJ_Burrows) August 19, 2022
In April, the flagship of the fleet, the cruiser Moskva, was sunk in what Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense called a “missile strike”.
2 months later, the Black Sea also withdrew from the strategically important Snake Island near the Ukrainian port of Odessa.
Russia describes its military operation in Ukraine as a “special military operation”, which aims to demilitarize and “de-nominate” Ukraine.
Both Kiev and Western governments say this is a pretext for an imperialist-style war of conquest.