Ukraine war: Independence day warnings, more military aid, and further drone strikes

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By Euronews  with AP, AFP
Ukrainian servicemen stand guard next to coffin of activist Julia Chaika during a funeral service in Zaporizhzhia, 21 August 2022
Ukrainian servicemen stand guard next to coffin of activist Julia Chaika during a funeral service in Zaporizhzhia, 21 August 2022   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Andriy Andriyenko

Russia to do 'something particularly violent' for Ukraine's independence day, says Zelenskyy

As Ukraine prepares to celebrate its Independence Day on Wednesday, the country’s president has warned that Moscow could do "something particularly violent" during the following week.

On 24 August, Kyiv will be celebrating 31 years of independence of Ukraine from the former Soviet Union -- a date that also coincides with six months since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion.

In his late-night address on Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned that Russia might take the opportunity to launch a brutal attack.

"We should be aware that Russia may try to do something particularly disgusting and particularly violent next week. That's our enemy. But Russia has done something disgusting and violent every week during the last six months, constantly," Zelenskyy said.

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Daughter of Kremlin ideologue Aleksandr Dugin killed in car bomb attack in Moscow

The daughter of an influential Russian nationalist ideologue who is often referred to as "Putin's brain" was killed when her car exploded on the outskirts of Moscow, officials said Sunday.

The Investigative Committee branch for the Moscow region said the Saturday night blast was caused by a bomb planted in the SUV driven by Daria Dugina.

The 29-year-old was the daughter of Aleksandr Dugin, a prominent proponent of the "Russian world" concept and a vehement supporter of Russia's invasion and potential annexation of Ukraine.

Ukraine war: More drone strikes, new military aid and Russian attacks

The "Russian world" is a nationalist spiritual idea purportedly meant to unite various nations connected by vaguely-defined "Russianness" under the Kremlin's banner.

It is commonly cited as one of the ideological justifications for President Vladimir Putin's decision to invade Ukraine in late February.

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Drone attack on Russia's Black Sea HQ in occupied Crimea

A drone attack on Saturday targeted the headquarters of Russia's Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, with no injuries, according to the governor of the city on the annexed Crimean peninsula.

"The drone was shot down right above the Fleet Headquarters, fell on the roof and caught fire," Mikhail Razvojaev wrote on Telegram.

The incident "did not cause any serious damage" or injuries, he said, blaming the attack on Ukrainian forces.

This is the second drone attack on the headquarters of the facility in Sevastopol in less than a month.

On 31 July, a drone landed in the yard of the Fleet Headquarters, injuring five employees and causing the cancellation of all festivities planned for the Russian Fleet Day celebrated that day.

Accused by Russia of being behind the attack, Ukraine denied its involvement, calling the accusations a "provocation".

The new attack comes amid a spate of explosions and attacks on Russian military infrastructure in Crimea.

On Thursday evening, Russian forces shot down a drone near a military airfield in Sevastopol.

On Tuesday, explosions occurred at a military base and an ammunition depot in Crimea, which Russia described as an act of "sabotage".

In early August, an explosion of ammunition intended for military aviation near the Saki military airfield in Crimea left one person dead and several injured.

US giving more high-tech military equipment to Ukraine

The US will give Ukraine Scan Eagle surveillance drones, mine-resistant vehicles, anti-armour rounds and howitzer weapons to help Ukrainian forces regain territory and mount a counteroffensive against Russian invaders.

A senior defence official told reporters that a new $775 million aid package would include 15 Scan Eagles, 40 mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles known as MRAPs with mine-clearing rollers, and 2,000 anti-armour rounds that can help Ukraine troops move forward in the south and east, where Russian forces have placed mines. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tweeted his appreciation for the package, saying, “We have taken another important step to defeat the aggressor.”

This latest aid comes as Russia’s war on Ukraine is about to reach the six-month mark. It brings the total US military aid to Ukraine to about $10.6 billion (€10.55bn) since the beginning of the Biden administration. It is the 19th time the Pentagon has provided equipment from Defense Department stocks to Ukraine since August 2021.

The US has provided howitzer ammunition in the past, but this is the first time it will send 16 of the weapon systems. 

The aid package also includes 1,500 anti-tank missiles, 1,000 javelin missiles and an undisclosed number of high-speed, anti-radiation or HARM missiles that target radar systems. 

The Ukrainian forces have been successfully using various precision artillery systems to try and hold off Russian forces and take back territory Moscow has gained.

Eric Gaillard/AP
French President Emmanuel Macron attends a ceremony marking 78th anniversary of Allied landings in Provence during World War II in Bormes-les-Mimosas, Friday, Aug. 19, 2022Eric Gaillard/AP

Macron slams Russian invasion, hours after brokering nuclear inspection deal

French President Emmanuel Macron said Russia launched a "brutal attack" on Ukraine in an imperialist, revanchist violation of international law.

Macron made the comments during a ceremony marking the 78th anniversary of Allied landings in Nai-occupied Provence during World War II, and just hours after he spoke to Putin and helped broker a deal to allow UN nuclear inspectors to visit a critical plant in Ukraine.

Macron, who tried tirelessly but unsuccessfully to prevent the invasion and long vaunted the importance of dialogue with Putin, has grown increasingly critical of the Russian president as the war bears on.

He warned French citizens that the resulting energy and economic crisis confronting Europe isn’t over, calling it “the price of our freedom and our values.”

“Since Vladimir Putin launched his brutal attack on Ukraine, war has returned to European soil, a few hours away from us," Macron said Friday.

Macron said Putin is seeking to impose his “imperialist will” on Europe, conjuring “phantoms of the spirit of revenge” in a “flagrant violation of the integrity of states.”

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