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Ukraine Says 385 Square Miles Recaptured Since Counter-Offensive Began

Ukrainian army has deoccupied Shevchenkove, a city in the Kharkiv region.

Cameron Manley, Irene Caselli, Bertand Hauger, Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou and Emma Albright

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Ukrainian forces reclaimed 1,000 square kilometers (385 square miles) of territory in the south and east since launching their counter-offensive on Sept. 1. The troops continue to advance in both the Kharkiv and Kherson regions.

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“As part of ongoing defense operations, our heroes have already liberated dozens of settlements. And today (Thursday) this movement continued, there are new results,” Zelensky said in a nightly address on Thursday. Ukraine’s military has reportedly retaken 20 settlements in Kharkiv Oblast.


In the past 24 hours, Ukrainian troops have retaken the city of Balakliia in Kharkiv, which has been under Russian occupation for the past six months. Zelensky posted a video on social media with Ukrainian soldiers standing above a building in Balakliia, alongside the Ukrainian flag.

According to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), Ukrainian forces are likely to capture the city of Kupyansk in the coming days.

During his surprise visit to Kyiv, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that the counteroffensive was “proving effective. Again, it's very early, but we're seeing clear and real progress on the ground.” He also credited the success of the counteroffensive to the “incredible bravery, resilience of Ukrainians.”

According to the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Ukraine was able to strike hundreds of Russian targets with the U.S.-supplied High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS).

Mykhailo Podoliak, adviser to the Head of the Office of President of Ukraine, took to Twitter to talk about the counter-offensive and wrote: “What does effective Ukrainian counteroffensive tell the world?"

U.S. To Push For UN Security Council Reform And Prevent Veto Abuse

UN Security Council

Luiz Rampelotto/ZUMA


The U.S. is set to intensify efforts to reform the UN Security Council following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the UN, said the U.S. will push for reforms within the Security Council, primarily focusing on its veto rule.

She noted that since 2009, Russia has cast 26 vetos: “Any permanent member that exercises the veto to defend its own acts of aggression loses moral authority and should be held accountable,” Thomas-Greenfield said.

Previously, President Volodymyr Zelensky had criticized the UN Security Council and called for reforming the organization.

Zelensky And Putin Both Mourn “Irreparable Loss” Of Queen Elizabeth II’s Death

UK reacts to the death of Queen Elizabeth

Tayfun Salci/ZUMA


In a rare moment of unity, the presidents of Russia and Ukraine offered similar condolences to the British royal family, joining world leaders in paying tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth II.

Zelensky tweeted his “sincere condolences” over this “irreparable loss” while Putin issued a statement to wish King Charles III courage in "the face of this heavy, irreparable loss."

In a rare break of traditional political neutrality, in March the Queen had made a substantial donation to the Disasters Emergency Committee group of British charities working to aid people fleeing the conflict in Ukraine.

Polish Prime Minister In Kyiv To “Send A Signal” To Moscow

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki

Krzysztof Zatycki/ZUMA


Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has arrived in the Ukrainian capital to participate in several meetings focused on the geopolitical situation as well as the energy market and military security, government spokesman Piotr Müllertold Polish Grafitti news outlet.

“A signal will be sent to the Kremlin today. We will support Ukraine in this very difficult situation. We believe that Russia is breaking all possible international standards. The defense of Ukraine is the defense of our security,” added the government spokesman.

In recent days, concern has been expressed that Warsaw’s commitment to Ukraine risked wavering after Morawiecki had renewed ties with Hungary’s Viktor Orban, who remains an ally of Vladimir Putin.

EU Makes It More Difficult For Russians To Get Travel Visas

Macro shot of Schengen visa

www.flickr.com


The EU Council supported the suspension of the visa facilitation agreement with Russia, a decision that will officially come into force on September 12.

The new rules will result in an increase in the visa application fee, from 35 to 80 euros.

Russian citizens will be required to present additional documents, increasing processing times, while more restrictive rules for the issuance of multiple-entry visas will also be enforced.

Ukraine Asks UN For Compensation Scheme

Ukraine Minister of Justice Denis Malyuska

@TpyxaNews

Ukraine is seeking a UN-backed mechanism through which it can receive compensation for damage caused by the Russian invasion.

According to the head of the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice, Denis Malyuska, Kyiv estimates the war to have caused over $300 billions of damage.

A special session of the UN General Assembly will take place in October to discuss the matter. If the resolution is approved, Kyiv will begin negotiations on the development and ratification of an international agreement in order to establish an ad-hoc commission.

In March, Ukraine said it wanted to receive $415 billion of frozen Russian foreign exchange reserves from the European Union. This idea was supported in May by Josep Borrell, who is in charge of coordinating the EU’s external actions, while the European Commission said that the confiscation of Russian assets should be decided according to the laws of the country where assets were taken.

At the time, the European Parliament proposed to develop a special compensation mechanism to compensate for damages.

Has “Stalling” Become Russia’s Latest Strategy?

Ukrainian soldiers patrolling the separatist region of Donetsk (Donbas) on May 17, 2022.

Daniel Ceng Shou-Yi/ZUMA


Russia's progress on the frontline in Ukraine has stalled. But the West's indecisiveness in sending long-range artillery risks the war being dragged out until next year — which would play in Vladimir Putin's favor, write Volodymyr Horbulin and Valentin Badra in Kyiv-based outlet Livy Bereg.

They note that Putin needs time to restore the Russian army’s ability to fight and try to provoke an energy crisis in Europe.

Over time, the resources of the Russian Federation will be quite enough to mobilize a certain number of people and find weapons, which already guarantees the continuation of a protracted, exhausting war. Horbulin and Badra conclude that this scenario could have been avoided if the West had acted more decisively.

Twitter Video Shows Relieved Residents Greeting Ukrainian Soldiers


Ukrainian journalist Nataliya Gumenyuk shared a video on Twitter showing emotional residents welcoming Ukrainian soldiers in liberated Balakliia, a town 70km (43 miles) south-east of the city of Kharkiv, which had been under Russian control for the past six months.

A group of men and women are seen hugging the soldiers and offering them pancakes outside of their residential building, which the soldiers politely decline, saying, “A bit later, please, better to hide still — shelling is still possible.”

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Coronavirus

Chinese Students' "Absurd" Protest Against COVID Rules: Public Crawling

While street demonstrations have spread in China to protest the strict Zero-COVID regulations, some Chinese university students have taken up public acts of crawling to show what extended harsh lockdowns are doing to their mental state.

​Screenshot of a video showing Chinese students crawling on a soccer pitch

Screenshot of a video showing Chinese students crawling

Shuyue Chen

Since last Friday, the world has watched as a wave of street protests have taken place across China as frustration against extended lockdowns reached boiling point. But even before protesters took to the streets, Chinese university students had begun a public demonstration that challenges and humiliates the state's zero-COVID rules in a different way: public displays of crawling as an absurd expression of their repressed anger under three years of strict pandemic control.

Xin’s heart beat fast when her knees reached the ground. It was her first time joining the strange scene at the university sports field, so she put on her hat and face mask to cover her identity.

Kneeling down, with her forearms supporting her body from the ground, Xin started crawling with three other girls as a group, which was part of a larger demonstration. As they crawled on, she felt the sense of fear and shame start to disappear. It was replaced by a liberating sense of joy, which had been absent in her life as a university student in lockdown for so long.

Crawling has become a popular activity among Chinese university students recently. There have been posters and videos of "volunteer crawling" across universities in China. At first, it was for the sake of "fun." Xin, like many who participated, thought it was a "cult-like ritual" in the beginning, but she changed her mind. "You don't care about anything when crawling, not thinking about the reason why, what the consequences are. You just enjoy it."

The reality out there for Chinese university students has been grim. For Xin, her university started daily COVID-19 testing in November, and deliveries, including food, are banned. Apart from the school gate, all exits have been padlock sealed.

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