The self-proclaimed republic is not recognized by the international community, and Russia's decision to open its embassy sends an aggressive message to Ukraine and the world.
On February 21, Vladimir Putin launched into an hour-long Kremlin lecture on the history of Ukraine and a call to the carpet for the Russia’s top officials to speak out in support of his views. He then stepped forward to sign a decree recognizing the independence of the self-proclaimed Luhansk and Donetsk People's Republics (LNR and DNR), the very territories of Ukraine that were occupied in 2014.
Three days later, Putin launched his all-out invasion of Ukraine.
On Wednesday, without any loud speeches or ribbon cutting, the embassy of these republics opened in the center of Moscow, Novaya Gazeta.Europereports.
The ambassadors are Olga Makeyeva, a hitherto unknown political figure from the DNR, and Rodion Miroshnik, former press secretary to Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich from 2006-2007.
The opening of the embassy was explained by the continuing deaths of residents of the republics, as Ukraine attempts to recapture territory.
"Just today two more people were killed in Horlivka, and seven people were wounded,” said Natalia Nikonorova, head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the "DNR". “Given these circumstances, in the working order today, we have opened the diplomatic mission, understanding that there is a need to begin full functioning, to help our citizens."
Of course, bestowing diplomatic legitimacy to a jurisdiction not recognized by the international community is a supremely political act of aggression that confirms Putin’s intentions, both in 2014 and 2022. It is a symbol, and more. And it will be much harder to close than it was to open, even without the ribbons.
Major Ukrainian Counteroffensive Is Starting
\u201c\ud83d\udcfd\ufe0fRussian ammunition depot in occupied Nova Kakhovka, #Kherson Oblast. #UkraineRussiaWar\u201d— MilitaryLand.net (@MilitaryLand.net) 1657571696
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has signaled a major counteroffensive in order to recapture territory in southern Ukraine, especially around the city of Kherson. If successful, this would be a major win not only in strategy but also in morale as Russian troops have been advancing steadily in the Donbas region.
Over the past 48 hours, it seems as though the battle for the south has begun.
During the night on Monday, a Ukrainian missile hit a building in Russian-occupied Kherson. Ukrainian officials say the targeted building was being used as an ammunition depot. The new Russian-installed administration in the town reported seven dead and multiple injuries.
In addition to the attack, the Ukrainian army carried out a “special operation” to free military captives in the Moscow-controlled region. Pro-Russia officials suggested that the explosion was caused by the newly supplied U.S. himars long-range rockets system.
If the Ukrainians were able to seize back Kherson, it would disrupt Russian supply lines and cut its land bridge to Crimea. Meanwhile, Ukraine has been able to regain Snake Island and had some success with counter-offensives near Kherson which now forces Russia onto the defensive.
Ukraine Aims To Speed Up Exports Via Reopened Danube Routes
Zaporizhzhia farmers have started to harvest crops
Ukraine is stepping up exports via the Danube River as its Black Sea ports remain blocked by Russia. Ukraine has been able to access the Danube since its forces retook Snake Island late last month. Prior to the invasion, Ukraine exported most of its grain via ports along the Black Sea.
However, the new routes along the Danube River are insufficient to replace the seaports. In June, Ukraine only managed to export 2.5 million metric tons of goods, far short of the 8 million metric tons it had aimed for.Meanwhile, Turkey will host talks today with Russia, Ukraine and the United Nations about exporting the 20 million tons of grain currently stuck in Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin, whohas repeatedly been accused of weaponizing food supplies, is expected to meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan next week in Iran.
NASA Satellite Images Show Ukraine Frontline
Fires on the frontlines of the Ukraine war
The Firms NASA system, made to detect large fires on the planet, recorded the hottest points on the frontlines of the Ukraine war, primarily due to Russian shelling. These images were recorded by satellites that monitor the centers of large fires.
The photos show the fires are focused in Luhansk, Donetsk and part of the Kharkiv regions as well as in the south in Mykolaiv and Kherson regions. Russian troops target grain warehouses, agricultural machinery and solar power plants.
Russian Aggression Is “Wake-Up Call” For Canada On Arctic Security
Toronta Star front page
“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a wake-up call that security and sovereignty in the Arctic must be a national priority,” a joint declaration by the premiers of Canada’s three northern territories.
“The strategic importance of the Arctic has been increasing, due to climate change and the opening of Arctic waters, as well as the wealth of resources the Arctic holds,” Northwest Territories Premier Caroline Cochrane said in an interview with the Toronto Star. “This heightened interest is not only from Russia, but other world powers like China, the United States and other Arctic nations. It is paramount that northerners are involved in decisions that impact the North.”
UN Estimate More Than 5,000 Civilian Casualties
Mass grave in Chernihiv, Ukraine
The UN human rights office (OHCHR) estimated that more than 5,000 civilians have been killed in Ukraine since Russia invaded on February 24, adding that the real toll was probably much higher. The OHCHR also said that around 6,500 civilians have been injured.
How Luhansk Was Lost: Serhiy Haidi Interview
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky's chief adviser on the Donbas, Serhiy Haidai, on the situation in Luhansk
Ukraine has lost most of the territory in the Luhansk region, suffering heavy casualties among its personnel and civilians, and has been forced to abandon two major cities, Severodonetsk and Lysychansk.