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.
Pope Francis’ apology to Native Americans
On a visit to Canada, the Pope has apologised to Indigenous peoples for abuse in church-run schools
Pope Francis has made a historic visit to Canada to apologise to Indigenous peoples for the abuse missionaries gave them in residential schools.
The pontiff will spend the next week on a “pilgrimage if penance,” in an effort to atone for the Catholic Church’s grim reputation in the nation.
The visit, named Walking Together, is the first to Canada in two decades, and centres mostly around reconciliation and recognition of the harm caused by the church-run school system.
And on the papal plane trip from Rome to Canada, the Pope told journalists that he yearns to visit Ukraine.
Reports say he has a great desire to go to Kyiv soon after his Canada trip.
Francis has repeatedly condemned the now 5-month old Russian war on Ukraine, saying Moscow’s actions is a “cruel and senseless war of aggression.”
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