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TOPIC: wagner group

In The News

Nuclear Risks Rise As Zaporizhzhia Shelling Multiplies In 24 Hours

At least 12 missiles over the past 24 hours were fired at or near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine.

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The surrounding territory and the plant itself, also known as ZNPP, are currently controlled by Russian forces, but the plant is a crucial source of energy for much of Ukraine. The Ukrainian nuclear energy company, Energoatom, reports Monday that the latest barrage of attacks has damaged parts of the plant’s infrastructure, including water storage tanks and two stationary diesel generators.

Ukraine Defense Ministry official Yuriy Sak placed the blame squarely on Moscow in what he called a “genocidal campaign to freeze Ukrainians to death, to deprive Ukrainians of electricity.”

ZNPP is the biggest nuclear power plant in Europe, and a serious accident there risks exceeding the consequences from Chernobyl or Fukushima. The IAEA mission continues to monitor the operation of the plant, as Ukraine and Russia trade accusations of who is to blame for the rising risk of a nuclear accident.

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The Prigozhin Method: Inside Wagner Group's Russian Prison Recruitment

An inmate of the penal colony in the town of Kopeysk reveals the different ways convicts are recruited in the Russian mercenary Wagner Group, whose founder and Putin confidante Yevgeny Prigozhin personally sought the most violent criminals with vows to pay big sums and expunge their sentences.

The Wagner Group, also known as Wagner PMC, is a private military force with close links to Vladimir Putin. Officially, they do not exist. Their presence in Ukraine made headlines and caused concern as UN investigators and rights groups have accused the group of targeting civilians and conducting mass executions.

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The group first emerged in 2014, reportedly financed by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Russian businessman and associate of Putin. Videos emerged online of Prigozhin recruiting prisoners to fight in Ukraine in exchange for shortened sentences. Just last week a new video emerged of the execution of the Russian prisoner Evgeny Nuzhin who had joined Wagner and later surrendered to the Ukrainian army and testified against the Russians. The video in question shows Wagner recruits executing Nuzhin by smashing in his head with a sledgehammer.

Independent exiled Russian news outlet Vazhnyye Istorii was the first to report on the recruitment of convicts to the Wagner PMC in July from the St. Petersburg area, which has since expanded to penal colonies in the Ural, Siberia, the Far East, and even the Arctic Circle.

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Ukraine Cities Targeted, Xi v. Trudeau, Lego Eiffel

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Welcome to Thursday, where Russia continues major airstrikes of Ukrainian cities, the Republicans win control of the U.S. House of Representatives with a slim majority, and Lego releases its tallest set ever. Meanwhile, Global Press Journal zooms in on an unlikely leading candidate ahead of next year’s presidential election in Zimbabwe.

[*Barev - Armenian]

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Swan Lake In Kherson? Why Russia’s Future Is Looking So Dark

Ukrainians, Russians and much of the rest of the world are still trying to make sense of Moscow’s decision last week to abandon the southern city of Kherson. Do not, for certain, underestimate the significance.

Through the fog of war, we are beginning to see more clearly the significance of the Russian army’s stunning retreat from Kherson, territory that Vladimir Putin had declared his own with an annexation ceremony just a month before.

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Yes, events are accelerating. The war in Ukraine now appears suddenly to be heading toward its inevitable conclusion, and Putin toward his demise.

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In The News
Anna Akage, Sophia Constantino and Emma Albright

G20 Pushing China To Join Resolution That Would Isolate Russia

French President Macron used his bilateral meeting with Xi Jinping to try to convince China to take a tougher line with Moscow.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz gave the clearest indication Tuesday that the G20 members are moving toward a resolution critical of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which would also denounce any threats about using nuclear weapons.

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"This is a consensus that is gaining ground here," Scholz told journalists in Bali.

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In The News
Anna Akage, Sophia Constatino and Emma Albright

After Kherson, How Russia's Army Could “Fold Like A House Of Cards”

Kyiv has no intentions of letting Russian troops regroup with any "operational pause." Events will begin to move quickly in Donbas, and may be heading for Crimea sooner rather than later.

Following last week’s recapture of Kherson, the Ukrainian army does not intend to allow Russia any “operational pause” to regroup and regain strength.

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The U.S. Institute for the Study of War predicts that Russia will likely launch a new offensive in the Donetsk region. Ukraine is then expected to use the forces freed up after pushing the Russian army out of the western Kherson region to reinforce the current offensive in the Luhansk region.

In an interview after the liberation Friday of Kherson, Mykhailo Podolyak, top advisor to the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, said that the situation at the front will develop very quickly from now on.

"The heaviest battles will be in the direction of Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhya. Especially in the Donetsk direction, where combat-capable Russian military units exist,” he said.

Podolyak added that the push will happen independently of weather conditions. “No one will give Mr. Putin, Mr. Surovikin, or Mr. Shoigu any opportunity to get an operational pause", he said, referring to Russia’s President, the general in charge of the war in Ukraine, and Russia’s defense minister.

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In The News
Anna Akage, Bertrand Hauger and Emma Albright

"No One Is Forcing Us" — Kyiv Pushes Back On Reports About Negotiations

A senior Ukrainian official said that Kyiv was not being pressured to negotiate with Russia, but would do so under certain strict conditions: restoring Ukraine’s borders, compensation for Russian attacks and punishing those responsible for war crimes.

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Mykhaylo Podolyak, a Ukrainian official advisor to the head of the Office of the President, speaking to Radio Liberty, dismissed reports that the U.S. was forcing Ukraine to sit down at the negotiating table with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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In The News
Anna Akage, Sophia Constantino and Emma Albright

Russia’s Sudden U-Turn On Black Sea Grain Exports Averts Food Crisis

Turkish-Brokered deal Is back on after a call between Putin and Ergogan.

It was a turn of events that could avert a deepening global food crisis: Russian said Wednesday that it will resume participation in the Black Sea grain deal, which ensures safe passage for ships carrying food exports from the country.

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After Moscow had pulled out of the deal earlier over the weekend, Russian Ministry of Defense spokesman Igor Konashenkov announced the U-turn Ukraine had submitted “the necessary written guarantees” that it would not use any agricultural export ports to launch military operations.

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In The News
Anna Akage, Alex Hurst, and Bertrand Hauger

Both Kyiv And Moscow Refuse To Back Down In Fight For Kherson

As Moscow and Kyiv direct their troops toward the southern Ukrainian city, the strategic and symbolic value cannot be overstated.

Kyiv and Moscow both appear ready for a major battle to control the contested Ukrainian city Kherson. Statements by Ukrainian officials and recent troop movements from both sides indicate heavy fighting to come in the key southern city.

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Russia still controls the city despite recent Ukrainian counteroffensives in the area that have retaken significant territory, and Moscow has reportedly been reinforcing areas around Kherson with more soldiers. Russian media Vazhnyye Istorii spoke Wednesday with several local residents in Kherson who reported an uptick in looting and forced evacuations by occupying forces loyal to Moscow.

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In The News
Anna Akage, Bertrand Hauger, Meike Eijsberg, Sophia Constantino, and Emma Albright

Is He Bluffing? Warnings Issued After Putin’s Nuclear Threat

Backed in a corner with this month’s successful Ukrainian counter-offensive, Russian President Vladimir Putin made allusions last week to Moscow’s nuclear arsenal. Putin’s veiled threat has prompted a mixture of warnings and posturing over the past 72 hours.

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U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said in a weekend interview on U.S. network NBC that “If Russia crosses this line, there will be catastrophic consequences for Russia. The United States will respond decisively.” Sullivan added that the United States has been in frequent and direct contact with Russia to discuss the situation in Ukraine as well as Putin’s actions and threats.

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In The News
Anna Akage, Meike Eijsberg, Shaun Lavelle and Emma Albright

Putin Appears Eager To Please Xi At First Meeting Since Invasion

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping met on Thursday at a summit in Uzbekistan, their first face-to-face encounter since Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine.

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The meeting comes as Russia is reeling from major Ukraine advances on the ground in the six-month-old war, and with the Western alliance holding firm in its support of Kyiv. In their meeting, Russia state media reported that Putin told Xi Jinping he appreciated China’s “balanced position” regarding the conflict in Ukraine. The Kremlin leader also condemned U.S. “provocations” in the Taiwan Strait.

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In The News
Anna Akage, Bertrand Hauger, Lisa Berdet, and Emma Albright

Zelensky Orders Major Counteroffensive To Retake South

Deploying up to one million troops to try to regain territory would be a significant political and morale boost. But there are also key economic reasons to preserve access to the Black Sea.

The Ukrainian Defense Minister said that the army high command was ordered by President Volodymyr Zelensky to de-occupy the south of the country, to reclaim the regions on the Black Sea coast that are of vital importance to the economy of the country.

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“We understand that politically it is necessary for our country," says Reznikov.

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