Human rights group, Amnesty International is accusing Russia of war criminality in the city of Kharkiv
Amnesty says cluster bombs have killed hundreds of civilians in the northeast of Ukraine.
In a newly-released report, the group says “the repeated bombardments of residential neighbourhoods are indiscriminate attacks”.
Cluster bombs release dozens of grenades into mid-air.
It comes as Russia continues to move in with full force in the east, where they are reportedly using artillery bombardment to gain ground.
“In addition, cluster munitions have a high dud rate, with a high percentage failing to explode on impact and thus effectively becoming land mines, which pose a threat to civilians long after deployment,” Amnesty says.
The United Nations Convention on Cluster Munitions bans the use of such weapons. But like the U.S., Russia is not party to the treaty, which came into effect in 2010.
Donatella Rovera is Amnesty International’s Senior Crisis Response Adviser, who says civilians have faced a “relentless barrage” of attacks.
Researchers say they found evidence of seven strikes in different areas of Kharkiv.
Worsening food crisis
Ukraine is establishing two routes through Poland and Romania to export grains in a bid to avert a global food crisis.
“Those routes are not perfect because it creates certain bottlenecks, but we are doing our best to develop those routes in the meantime,” says Ukraine’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Dmytro Senik.
The war-torn nation is the world’s fourth-largest grain exporter. It is understood there are 30 million tonnes of grain stored in Ukrainian-held territory and awaiting exportation.
Senik says Ukraine is in talks with Baltic states to add a third corridor for exports.
Zelensky’s hometown in Russian crosshairs
Ukraine said on Wednesday that Russia might be building a strike force to target Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskyy’s hometown
Ukraine has warned that Moscow could be preparing new offensive operations in southern Ukraine.
Russia occupies broad stretches of Ukrainian territory in the south of the country,
Much of which Russia captured early on in the war after it launched its February 24 invasion.
Ukraine has also said that Russia has begun to assemble a military strike force – and may be aiming for Kryvyi Rih – the hometown of the Ukrainian president.
“It’s also quite likely that the enemy is preparing a hostile counter-offensive with the subsequent plan of getting to the administrative boundary of Kherson region”Ukraine southern military command
However, Ukraine has also said it was to mount a counter-offensive to regions of Ukraine that Russia currently holds.
Kryvyi Rih is a steel-producing town around 50km (30 miles) from the southern frontline of the war.
Grain vessel allowed to leave Ukraine waters
A cargo vessel carrying grain for export has been permitted to leave Ukrainian waters via the Black Sea in a rare Russia-Ukraine agreement
The vessel, named “Razoni” under a Sierra-Leone registration left the port of Odesa bound for Lebanon, carrying 26,000 tonnes of grain on board.
It’s the first cargo vessel that’s been permitted to carry cargo on the Black Sea following an export agreement between Ukraine and Russia that was brokered by Turkey and the United Nations.
Russia and Ukraine account for a third of the world’s global wheat supply between them.
But Russian blockades of Ukraine’s Black Sea coast as well as the ongoing war have meant exports have plummeted – leading many nations to worry over interrupted food supplies.
Crew aboard the vessel spoke of their concerns about sea mines.
Abdullah jendi, junior engineer aboard razoni
“To be honest, I am scared from the fact that there are naval mines. This is the only thing that I fear during this trip, as for the other things, we are used to them as sailors.”
But they also spoke of their joy at being allowed to sail through.
Junior engineer Abdullah Jendi said it was a great feeling.
“Everyone on the ship was very happy,” he said. “I can say that it was the best feeling we have had in 2022.”
Russia cuts down European gas supply
Russia cuts gas capacity to Europe to a fifth of normal supplies, sending prices soaring and EU nations agreeing to voluntary rationing
Russia has cut down supplies of gas via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany to a fifth of its usual capacity.
Gazprom, Russia’s state run energy and gas firm, has blamed the current reduction on a turbine that was undergoing repairs in Canada.
But the German government has said there’s no technical reason for the current supplies to be limited.
It comes as the European Union member states agreed to voluntary rationing of gas supplies – aiming for a 15 per cent reduction in gas usage between August and March next year.
But the agreements have been messy, with many exemptions being granted for several EU nations where a 15 per cent reduction is not feasible.
Moscow says that the recent spike in gas prices is down to Western sanctions, and that it’s not responsible for the price hike – insisting it is a reliable business partner when it comes to gas.
But critics of Moscow say that it’s using blackmail, holding supplies of gas hostage as a weapon of war.
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