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In The News

Nuclear Security On Top Of Agenda As Guterres And Erdogan Meet Zelensky

Photo of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish Presidential Administration/TASS
Cameron Manley, Bertrand Hauger and Emma Albright

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan are due in Lviv today for a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

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The three will discuss grain and nuclear safety, while Erdogan is also reportedly planning to offer Ukrainian President Zelensky to organize a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Lviv talks happen just as Energoatom, a Ukrainian state enterprise that operates all four of Ukraine’s nuclear power stations, has set up a crisis center to respond to a potential disaster at the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Russia has been using the plant as a military base since it captured it back in March.

Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko commented that the center would coordinate between different ministries and departments, working day and night to monitor the situation at the plant and prepare for different emergency scenarios.

Nine Killed As Russian Rocket Strikes Kharkiv

At least nine people have been killed and 35 injured in an overnight attack in the Kharkiv region in eastern Ukraine. A Russian rocket attack hit an apartment building, according to Ukrainian officials.

Lawyer Oleg Sinegubov took to Telegram and posted, “Last night was one of the most tragic for the Kharkiv Oblast during the entire war. During the night, the Russians launched massive rocket attacks on Kharkiv. Peaceful sleeping areas with civilians once again came under the attack of Russian terrorists.”

According to the mayor’s office, at least four missiles landed in the city in the early hours of Thursday. Two more people were also killed and two injured in Krasnograd, a city in the Kharkiv Oblast.

Russia Moves Aircraft Away From Targeted Crimea Airbases

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry's Main Intelligence Directorate has reported that following the recent explosions at the Crimean Saki and Hvardiiske airfields, Russia has begun a process of moving its military aircraft to other airbases. The attack are likely part of a Ukrainian counter-offensive to regain control of the west bank of the Dnipro River.

So far, an estimated 24 planes and 14 helicopters have been transferred to other Russian bases further from the frontline and out of the peninsula.

More Ships Leave Ukraine Ports As Part Of Grain Export Deal

Ships carrying grain leaving Ukrainian ports early August

Nina Lyashonok/Ukrinform/Zuma

The Belize-flagged I Maria, loaded with corn, has reportedly left the Ukrainian port of Chornomorsk, bringing the number of ships that have left Ukraine with grain exports to 25. The exports have been taking place since a UN-brokered deal ended Russia’s blockade of ports along the Black Sea.

Four other ships are expected in Ukrainian ports later today, which will be loaded with grain.

Mayor Of Russian City Reportedly Appointed As Head Of Kharkiv Region

Destruction scenes in Kharkiv

Daniel Ceng Shou-Yi/ZUMA

Russian TV presenter and propagandist Vladimir Solovyov reported that Russia has appointed the mayor of the southern Russian city of Krasnodar Andrey Alekseenko to control and direct the occupied parts of Ukraine's occupied Kharkiv region, reports Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

According to the U.S.-funded broadcaster, anonymous sources have also corroborated the announcement, but Krasnodar’s local administration is yet to confirm or deny the claims. At the end of July, Alekseenko said on his Telegram channel that Krasnodar had taken over “supervision” of the Kharkiv region.

Bucha Still Burying Victims, Four Months After Massacre

Today’s New York Timesfront page shows Ukrainians still burying anonymous bodies in Bucha, more than four months after journalists discovered corpses of Ukrainian civilians killed by Russian Armed Forces during the fight for the city, west of Kyiv.

Vladimir Putin Revives Soviet-Era “Mother Heroine” Award

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree reviving the Soviet-era “Mother Heroine” award for women with more than 10 children. The move is an attempt to solve the population crisis in Russia. According to the latest Rosstat statistics published this summer, Russia’s population shrank by an average of 86,000 people per month between January and May. Russia is also suffering heavy losses among troops in Ukraine, but the official number of casualties has not been revealed.

The award was first introduced by Joseph Stalin after World War II, when the Soviet population plunged by tens of millions. The award was retired after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

A payment of one million rubles ($16,500) will be given to Russian mothers once the 10th child turns one, as long as all 10 have survived.

Movement To Ban EU Tourist Visas For Russians Gathering Speed

Estonian flag


A potential ban on tourist visas in the EU for Russians is gaining momentum. In the past few days, the foreign ministers of Latvia and Lithuania have announced the need to tighten restrictions, the government of Finland has agreed to a tenfold reduction in the number of visas issued, and Denmark has joined the group of states advocating a pan-European embargo.

Today, Estonia announced that a ban on entry into the country of Russians with Schengen visas issued by Estonia itself will come into force.

On Aug. 31, foreign ministers of the EU countries will discuss in Prague a proposal to ban the issuance of Schengen visas to Russians at the level of the entire EU.

Painting Over Kyiv’s Anti-Tank "Hedgehogs"

Artist Varvara Logvin painting over Kyiv's anti-tank hedgehogs

Screenshot of video

Artist Varvara Logvin was forced to leave Kyiv on the third day of the war before the city had changed beyond recognition. When she returned three months later, she saw a scary picture: "Remains of roadblocks, defensive structures and thousands of anti-tank hedgehogs scattered around the city. To me, they look creepy. So there was a call to make them ‘friendly’ for Kyivites, without spoiling the functionality,” she told Ukrainian news site Pravda Life.

"By painting anti-tank ‘hedgehogs’, I combine the horror of war, which this protective structure represents, with the greatness of traditional Ukrainian culture. Ukrainians have something to protect. We have an incredible culture and deep values. Unfortunately, this is a forced protection," the artist emphasized.

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Photo of lit candle with its reflection in a window pane

Come in!

Mariateresa Fichele

La signora Ernestina is a lovely old lady who lives in a basso near my house. Just outside that tiny street-level studio, she keeps a small altar with the photos of her deceased loved ones, and of those of almost all the neighborhood. When Christmas comes, she adorns it with a thousand lights, baubles and ornaments — enough to compete with any Chinese wholesaler.

The effect is quite picturesque, and in fact yesterday a couple of tourists were standing outside her house to admire the lights.

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