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Retaking Kherson, Ukraine’s Southern Counteroffensive Has Begun

Rocket attack aftermath in Ukraine

Bertrand Hauger, Anna Akage, Meike Eijsberg, Chloe Touchard and Emma Albright

Six months into the war, Ukrainian forces have launched a counteroffensive in southern Ukraine to retake Russian-controlled territory. According to an on-the-ground military source, contacted by CNN, “the operation began at night with massive shelling of Russian positions and the rear.” Ukraine has liberated four villages so far: Nova Dmytrivka, Arkhanhel's'ke, Tomyna Balka and Pravdyne, while Kyiv’s main target remains Kherson.

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Situated in the south of Ukraine, Kherson is a port city that serves as a bridge to and from Crimea. It was also the first major city in Ukraine to be occupied by Moscow’s troops. In recent days, the Ukrainian military has managed to cause damage to “bridges across the Dnipro," according to military officials in a Telegram post, making it “possible to cut off the Russian army from the supply of weapons and personnel from Crimea.”


Meanwhile, five people have been reported killed in the city of Kharkiv on Tuesday morning due to Russian shelling, according to Ukrainian regional governor Oleh Synehubov.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed in his nightly address on Monday to “chase” Russian troops to the border. Meanwhile, Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to the head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, said that the Ukrainian counteroffensive in the south of the country will be a "slow operation to grind the enemy."

Vladimir Leontiev, head of the Russian-backed administration of the Kherson region, says the situation in the area has been "tense" and there have been "around 15" missile strikes over the course of the past two days. Quoted by Russian state news agency TASS, Leontiev says "These are not single strikes, but a series of strikes. As such we can probably say that up to 100 missiles in total have hit the city."

New Satellite Images Show Zaporizhzhia Destruction As UN Experts Reach Kyiv


A team of 14 experts from the United Nations' nuclear watchdog arrived in Kyiv on Tuesday. They are planning a visit to the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine later this week. This comes after weeks of shelling at the plant that sparked global fears of a nuclear accident. The mission will be led by International Atomic Energy Agency chief, Rafael Grossi.

New satellite images from Maxar Technologies show four holes in the roof of a building close to where at least three Russian armored personnel carriers are being stored at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Vladimir Rogov, the Russian-appointed leader for the Zaporizhzhya region, claims that the holes were caused by Ukrainian military strikes. The Ukrainian government denies any involvement in such actions near the plant in recent weeks.

Meanwhile, the White House has said that Russia should agree to a demilitarized zone around the nuclear plant. According to White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby, a controlled shutdown of the plant would be the safest option.

Due to the counteroffensive the Ukrainian army has launched in the south of the country, thousands of people fleeing Russian-occupied territories have made their way to cities in the Zaporizhzhia area, as fears of shelling trump risks of radiation leaks from fighting at the plant.

Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Fears On Portuguese Front Page 

El Periodico

UN Nuclear Watchdogs In Spain's ABC

ABC

"The Whole Of Europe Would Be Affected" Says French Daily Libération

Libération

Russia Receives First Batch Of Drones From Iran

Iranian drones

@EA_WorldView


The Russian army has received the first batch of drones from Iran, capable of carrying high-precision weapons. The number of military drones is unknown, although Moscow military sources claim there are "hundreds.”

The White House warned last month of the risk of Russia using Iranian drones in Ukraine, which Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian denied, saying that Tehran did not intend to sell drones to Moscow.

The use of Iranian drones, which can also be used for surveillance, could have a significant impact on the battlefield as they could prove instrumental in limiting the damage caused by Ukraine’s High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), provided by the United States and its allies.

Europe Torn On Tightening Russian Visas

The EU countries' defence ministers in Prague

Michal Kamaryt/CTK/Zuma


European Union foreign ministers are meeting in Prague today and tomorrow to discuss the process of issuing tourist visas for Russian citizens and whether to tighten it.

Germany and France have issued a joint warning against the ban on Russian visas, arguing that such a step would be counterproductive: “We caution against far-reaching restrictions on our visa policy, in order to prevent feeding the Russian narrative and trigger unintended rallying-around-the-flag effects and/or estranging future generations,” they said in a joint memo.

Others, in particular Northern member states, are in favor of a ban. “It is very provocative to me that you see Russian men on European beaches in Southern Europe and at the same time Ukrainian men between 18 and 60 years cannot even leave their country but have to fight for their freedom," Denmark's Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said last week.

France Grapples With Reduced Russian Gas Delivery, Germany Faces “Bitter Reality”

ENGIE headquarters in Paris' La Défense

commons.wikimedia.org


Concerns about energy supplies for Europe’s upcoming winter are increasing as Russia’s Gazprom informed France’s ENGIE it is reducing its gas deliveries, starting today, due to a disagreement between the parties on the application of some contracts, the French energy company said.

Russian gas deliveries to ENGIE had already fallen significantly since the start of the conflict in Ukraine. But the French group said that it has already put in place measures to be able to supply its customers even in case of interruption of Gazprom's flows.

Germany, meanwhile, faces the “bitter reality” that Russia will not restore gas supplies to the country, the German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said. His comment comes in the wake of Gazprom announcing it would halt natural gas supplies to Europe for three days at the end of the month for unscheduled maintenance to the Nord Stream pipeline.

Russia’s Oil Output Exceeds Predictions, But Sanctions Will Make Things Harder

Russia oil platform

www.needpix.com


According to the latest report by the International Energy Agency, although Russian oil exports fell in July as compared to the start of the year, the decline is nowhere near the large slump some experts had predicted. But the consequences of West-imposed sanctions may change that scenario soon.

As the head of IEA Fatih Birol told Reuters, "in the absence of [western] companies, in the absence of the technology providers, in the absence of service companies, it will be much harder for Russia to maintain the production". He added that “Russia is not winning the energy battle here.”

First Ukrainian Grain Shipment Reaches Africa

MV Brave Commander

@GlasnostGone


The MV Brave Commander, carrying the first Africa-bound grain shipment, has arrived in Djibouti two weeks after leaving the Ukrainian port of Pivdennyi. The United Nations World Food Programme's Executive Director David Beasley shared the news on Twitter.

The ship’s 23,000 tons of wheat is mainly directed to Ethiopia, as the country deals with its worst drought in 40 years. Over 20 million people face hunger in the Horn of Africa.

Ukraine has exported more than 1 million tons of grain since the naval blockade was lifted in July, and a UN-brokered grain deal was struck. Dozens of more shipments are on their way.

Hugh Bonneville Voices Documentary On Ukraine Monuments Destruction


British actor Hugh Bonneville, famous for his role in the TV drama Downton Abbey, has voiced the story of the cultural monuments that Russian troops damaged and destroyed in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city.

Bonneville narrated the first video of a series entitled "Postcards from Ukraine". Launched by the Ukrainian Institute with the support of USAID, the series aims at creating a record of the destruction of historical and cultural monuments around the country since the start of the Russian invasion in February.

More than 100 such “postcards” about cultural heritage sites from different regions of Ukraine will be released, both in Ukrainian and English, featuring Ukrainian and international celebrities.

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Ideas

How Turkey Can Bring Its Brain Drain Back Home

Turkey heads to the polls next year as it faces its worst economic crisis in decades. Disillusioned by corruption, many young people have already left. However, Turkey's disaffected young expats are still very attached to their country, and could offer the best hope for a new future for the country.

Photo of people on a passenger ferry on the Bosphorus, with Istanbul in the background

Leaving Istanbul?

Bekir Ağırdır*

-Analysis-

ISTANBUL — Turkey goes to the polls next June in crucial national elections. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is up against several serious challenges, as a dissatisfied electorate faces the worst economic crisis of his two-decade rule. The opposition is polling well, but the traditional media landscape is in the hands of the government and its supporters.

But against this backdrop, many, especially the young, are disillusioned with the country and its entire political system.

Young or old, people from every demographic, cultural group and class who worry about the future of Turkey are looking for something new. Relationships and dialogues between people from different political traditions and backgrounds are increasing. We all constantly feel the country's declining quality of life and worry about the prevalence of crime and lawlessness.

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