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Zelensky Asks Hague For "Special Tribunal" To Judge Russia's War Crimes

Ukraine Accountability Conference in The Hague

Bertrand Hauger, McKenna Johnson, Cameron Manley, Lila Paulou and Emma Albright

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has qualified yesterday's deadly attack in Vinnytsia as an “open act of terrorism”. On Thursday morning, missiles hit the car park of a nine-story office block in the small city south-west of Kyiv, far away from the heart of the fighting happening in the Donbas region.

Residential buildings were also hit in the same city, killing 23 — including children. "Every day, Russia kills civilians, kills Ukrainian children, carries out missile attacks on civilian facilities where there is no military target. What is this, if not an open act of terrorism?" Zelensky said in a statement on social media.

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This happened as Ukraine's top war crimes prosecutor and judicial authorities from across Europe met in The Hague to coordinate investigations into crimes committed by Russia since the Ukraine invasion. The Netherlands hosted the Ukraine Accountability Conference with the goal to examine existing evidence and establish a prosecution strategy. It also provided international war crimes expertise to investigators currently on the ground. Zelensky and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken participated in the meeting via video link.


In his address, Zelensky urged Europe and the International Criminal Court officials to open a “special tribunal” to investigate Russia’s invasion. “I believe it is inevitable that the International Criminal Court will bring accountability to those guilty of crimes under its jurisdiction: war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide”, the Ukrainian president said.

War crimes have been reported since the start of the war, including murder, torture, rape, pillaging, and forced deportations of civilians. Russia has continuously denied any involvement in these war crimes and emphasized that they are carrying out what they call a “special military operation.”

Zaporizhzhia To Hold Referendum On Joining Russia

Destruction scenes in Zaporizhzhia

Dmytro Smolyenkoukrinform/DDP/Zuma


The head of the military-civilian administration of the Russian-controlled part of the Zaporizhzhia region in Ukraine, Yevhen Balitsky, said that a referendum will be held in the region in early fall.

Russia already controls most of the southeastern region, and the referendum will decide whether the region will officially join Russia, Russian state-owned news agency TASS reports. “Estimated dates are for the first half of September. We will announce it when we understand the level of our readiness and involvement of people,” according to Volodymyr Rogov, a member of the main council of the regional administration.

Mykolaiv Hit By 10 Strikes While 44 Settlements In Nearby Kherson Are Liberated


Ten strikes hit the city of Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine overnight, causing powerful explosions, mayor Oleksandr Syenkevych reported on his Telegram channel. Rescue teams are currently working on the site, with two injured reported so far. The attack happened as there were “many people on the streets”, the mayor added.

In a separate Telegram post, Vitaliy Kim, head of Mykolaiv region military administration, also reported that two universities were hit. He tweeted: “Now they attack our education. I’m asking universities of all democratic countries to claim Russia what it is really is – the Terrorist”.

Meanwhile, Dmytro Butriy, the acting head of the neighboring Kherson region military administration, said 44 settlements in the largely occupied area have been liberated. A Ukrainian offensive in Kherson began in May and has since recovered a number of villages. But Butriy said at a news briefing that the settlements were still under constant Russian bombardment: “We urge people to evacuate to protect themselves and their families. Russian occupiers are not human”, he said.

Ukraine Says There Have Been 17,314 Strikes On Civilian Targets

Ukraine’s First Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Yevhen Yenin

Screenshot of Radio Liberty Ukraine video, YouTube


According to Ukraine’s First Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, Yevhen Yenin, the Russian military has carried out 17,314 strikes on civilian targets in Ukraine but only around 300 on military targets since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine, Ukrainian news website Liga.net reports.

These include a medical center in Vinnytsia, which Russian propagandists called a “military base”, and a high-rise residential building in Chasovoy Yar. Yenin added that almost 22,000 criminal cases had been filed for war crimes committed by Russian military personnel and their accomplices.

Briton Paul Urey Dies In Donetsk Prison


British citizen Paul Urey, who was captured in April by Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine, has reportedly died in detention. Accused of being a mercenary, Urey was detained in the Russia-backed self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), in eastern Ukraine.

He was captured along with another UK citizen by Russian soldiers at an army checkpoint in Ukraine. According to the Presidium network nonprofit, they disappeared while helping to evacuate a woman and two children to Dniprorudna, in the southern region of Zaporizhzhia.

UN Report Says Hundreds Ukrainians Tortured In Russian Detention

Serviceman of the Russian Armed Forces

Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS/Zuma


The UN’s Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (UNOHR) told the BBC it had verified 271 cases of forced detentions of Ukrainian politicians and civilians in Russia, many of whom faced torture.

Testimonies include scenes of waterboarding, frostbite, damaged ribs and internal organs and the use of electric currents — reportedly taking place in improvised and former official places of detention controlled by either "Russian armed forces" or "affiliated armed groups".

EU Sanctions To Target Russian Gold Next

Gold mining in Russia's Chelyabinsk Region

Donat Sorokin/TASS/Zuma


The European Union will target Russian gold exports in its next sanctions package, as agreed by the G7 countries in late June, EU Commissioner Maros Sefcovic announced Friday ahead of a meeting of EU affairs ministers in Prague.

The sanctions are expected to target Russian gold imports into the EU and "to close exit routes.” The EU has already adopted six sanction packages, including an embargo on most Russian oil by the end of the year.

Germany Ramps Up Ukraine Help

A Ukrainian mother and son stand on the platform at the Berlin Central Station

Nicholas Muller/SOPA/Zuma


Germany is planning on allocating an additional 2.4 billion euros in social benefits for Ukrainian refugees on its territory. Labor Minister Hubertus Heil told German outlet RND that as many as 800,000 people from Ukraine have already found asylum in the country since the start of the war, while some 360,000 of them have applied to Germany's welfare system.

With an estimated 260,000 Ukrainians potentially looking for employment in Germany, "It is now a matter of putting these at work," Heil said.

Scholarships To Revive Ukraine’s Culture Sector

Claudia Roth, Minister of State for Culture and Media, visits the opera house in the Ukrainian port city of Odessa

Kay Nietfeld/dpa/Zuma


The Ukrainian Cultural Fund has launched a program aimed at reviving the country’s cultural sector that has been gravely impacted by the war. Any Ukrainian over the age of 18 may apply to a number of scholarships pertaining to the cultural and creative industries.

"The cultural front is very important for the victory of Ukraine. We must support our artists and cultural figures, because they found themselves in difficult conditions during the war,” Oleksandr Tkachenko, Ukraine’s Minister of Culture and Information Policy was quoted as saying on the Ukrainian government’s portal. Many art projects have closed down or ceased to exist altogether. “Such a program will provide an opportunity to support projects aimed at commemorating the struggle of our people against the occupiers, and those that have an educational purpose," Tkachenko added.

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How U.S. Airlines Are Doing Cuba's Dirty Work On American Soil

American and Southwest Airlines have been refusing to allow Cubans on board flights if they've been blacklisted by the government in Havana.

How U.S. Airlines Are Doing Cuba's Dirty Work On American Soil

Boarding a plane in Camaguey, Cuba

Santiago Villa

On Sunday, American Airlines refused to let Cuban writer Carlos Manuel Álvarez board a Miami flight bound for Havana. It was at least the third time this year that a U.S. airline refused to let Cubans on board to return to their homeland after Havana circulated a government "blacklist" of critics of the regime. Clearly undemocratic and possibly illegal under U.S. law, the airlines want to make sure to cash in on a lucrative travel route, writes Colombian journalist Santiago Villa:

-OpEd-

Imagine for a moment that you left your home country years ago because you couldn't properly pursue your chosen career there. It wasn't easy, of course: Your profession is not just singularly demanding, but even at the top of the game you might not be assured a stable or sufficient income, and you've had to take on second jobs, working in bars and restaurants.

This chosen vocation is that of a writer or journalist, or perhaps an artist, which has kept you tied to your homeland, often the subject of your work, even if you don't live there anymore.

Since leaving, you've been back home several times, though not so much for work. Because if you did, you would be followed in cars and receive phone calls to let you know you are being watched.

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