September 23, 2022

Ukraine: 9,000 of its soldiers killed since Russia started the war | Q control policy

NIKOPOL, Ukraine (AP) — The Russian invasion of Ukraine has already killed some 9,000 Ukrainian soldiers since it began nearly six months ago, a general said, and Monday’s fighting has not showed no sign of abating from the war.

At an event for veterans, Ukraine’s military leader, General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, said many Ukrainian children needed to be cared for because “their father went to the front and, perhaps, is one of those close of 9,000 heroes who died”.

In Nikopol, across the river from Ukraine’s main nuclear power plant, Russian shelling injured four people on Monday, an official said. The city on the Dnieper River has faced relentless shelling since July 12, which has damaged 850 buildings and forced about half of its population of 100,000 to flee.

“I feel hatred towards Russians,” said Liudmyla Shyshkina, 74, standing on the edge of her destroyed fourth-floor apartment in Nikopol that has no walls left. She is still injured by the August 10 explosion that killed her 81-year-old husband, Anatoliy.

“The Second World War did not take my father, but the war in Russia did,” noted Pavlo Shyshkin, his son.

The UN says 5,587 civilians were killed and 7,890 injured in the Russian invasion of Ukraine that began on February 24, though the estimate is likely an understatement. The United Nations children’s agency said Monday that at least 972 Ukrainian children have been killed or injured since the Russian invasion. UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell said these were figures verified by the UN, but “we believe the number is much higher”.

US President Joe Biden and the leaders of Britain, France and Germany pleaded on Sunday for Russia to end military operations so close to the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant – the largest in Europe – but Nikopol was the target of three shots rockets and mortar shells. Homes, a kindergarten, a bus station and shops were hit, authorities said.

Many people fear that continued bombing and fighting in the region could lead to a nuclear disaster. Russia has called for an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council on Tuesday to discuss the situation – a “bold” move that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky decried in his evening video address.

“The total number of different Russian cruise missiles that Russia has used against us is approaching 3,500. It is simply impossible to count Russian artillery strikes; there are so many and they are so intense,” Zelensky said Monday.

Western nations had already scheduled a council meeting for Wednesday – the sixth anniversary of the Russian invasion – on its impact on Ukraine.

Vladimir Rogov, an official of the administration installed by Russia in the occupied region of Zaporizhzhia, claimed that due to the Ukrainian bombardments, the staff of the nuclear power plant had been greatly reduced. Ukrainians say Russia is stockpiling weapons at the plant and has blocked off areas to Ukrainian nuclear workers.

Monday’s announcement of the scale of Ukrainian military deaths contrasts sharply with the Russian military, which provided an update on March 25 by saying 1,351 Russian soldiers had been killed in the first month of fighting. US military officials estimated two weeks ago that Russia had lost between 70,000 and 80,000 troops, killed and wounded in action.

On Monday, however, Moscow turned its attention to a specific civilian death.

Russia has blamed Ukrainian spy agencies for the weekend car bombing on the outskirts of Moscow that killed the daughter of a far-right Russian nationalist who ardently supports the invasion of Ukraine.

Russia’s Federal Security Service, the main successor to the KGB, said on Monday that the murder was “planned and carried out by Ukrainian special services”. He blamed the bombing that killed 29-year-old TV commentator Darya Dugina, whose father, political theorist Alexander Dugin, is often referred to as ‘Putin’s mastermind’, of being carried out by a Ukrainian citizen who left Russia for Estonia shortly thereafter.

Ukrainian officials have vehemently denied any involvement in the car bombing. Estonian officials say Russia did not ask them to search for the suspected suicide bomber or even tell them about the attack.

On the front line, the Ukrainian military said it carried out a strike on a key bridge over the Dnieper in the Russian-occupied Kherson region. Local officials based in Russia said the strike killed two people on Monday and injured 16 others.

Photos on social media showed thick plumes of smoke rising over the Antonivskiy Bridge, an important supply route for the Russian military in Kherson.

In the Russian-occupied Crimean peninsula, anxiety has spread following a series of fires and explosions at Russian facilities over the past two weeks. The Russian-backed Governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhaev, ordered signs indicating the location of bomb shelters to be placed in the city, which had long seemed untouchable.

Razvozhaev said on Telegram that the town is well protected but “it is better to know where the shelters are”.

Sevastopol, the Crimean port that is home to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, has seen a series of drone attacks. A drone exploded at fleet headquarters on July 31 and another was shot down last week. Authorities said air defense systems also shot down other drones.

On Monday evening, residents of Sevastopol reported hearing loud explosions on social media. Razvozhaev said the air defense system shot down “an object … at high altitude”.

“The preliminary (conclusion) is that it is, again, a drone,” he wrote on Telegram.

Russian President Vladimir Putin did not directly mention the war during a speech on Monday marking National Flag Day, but echoed some of the justifications cited for the invasion.

“We are determined to pursue on the international stage only those policies that meet the fundamental interests of the motherland,” Putin said. He argues that Russia sent troops to Ukraine to protect its people from Western encroachment.

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Follow AP coverage of the war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine