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Latest news on Russia and the war in Ukraine

Zelenskyy: ‘I have no doubt that Ukraine will win’

In a Twitter post and accompanying video late Thursday night, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy declared that he has “no doubt that Ukraine will win.”

Zelenskyy also gave an update on Ukraine’s fledgling export shipping corridor in the Black Sea.

“I am grateful to all those who are fighting and working to ensure Ukraine’s access to the global market,” he said.

“The results are good. Russia is gradually losing control of the Black Sa and retreating to the eastern part of the waters. We will reach them there as well.”

Elliot Smith

Russian drones strike civilian targets in Kharkiv, local officials say

Russian drone strikes hit civilian targets in and around Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, in the early hours of Friday morning, according to Ukrainian officials.

Oleh Synehubov, head of the Kharkiv regional state administration, wrote on Telegram that attacks damaged civilian infrastructure shortly after midnight in the northeastern city along with a nearby village, according to a Google translation.

He also shared video and images of a fire blazing in Kharkiv city and said eight residents received medical attention on the spot, but nobody was injured. Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov said the fire was in the process of being contained, but did not elaborate.

Elliot Smith

Ukraine risking nuclear disaster with drones, Russia says

Ukrainian drones are increasing the threat of nuclear disaster, Russia’s defense ministry said, according to a Google translation of a report by state media outlet TASS.

Russian forces intercepted nine Ukrainian drones close to the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant and then described the attacks as having “the aim of creating the threat of a man-made disaster.”

— Hannah Ward-Glenton

U.S. introduces new sanctions targeting Russia

The U.S. government extended its list of sanctions against Moscow, the Treasury said in a press statement Thursday, with almost 100 new measures targeting energy production, mining and defense.

The list of measures also includes a crackdown on sanctions evasion in the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and China.

“Russia is dependent on willing third-country individuals and entities to resupply its military and perpetuate its heinous war against Ukraine and we will not hesitate in holding them accountable,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in the statement.

— Hannah Ward-Glenton

Wagner Group reportedly begins recruiting again after Prigozhin’s death

Russia’s Wagner mercenary group has begun to recruit fighters again several months after the death of its founder Yevgeny Prigozhin, according to Russian media reports.

After halting recruitment following Prigozhin’s failed military uprising in June, and his subsequent death in a plane crash in August, recruitment is again taking place in at least two regions months, the Moscow Times reported, citing other media outlets in Russia.

A member of private mercenary group Wagner pays tribute to Yevgeny Prigozhin and Dmitry Utkin after their apparent deaths in a plane crash on Aug. 23, 2023.

Vladimir Nikolayev | Afp | Getty Images

“According to the online news outlets 59.ru and NGS.ru, the private military company has started to recruit fighters as part of Russia’s National Guard (Rosgvardia) in the central Perm region and the Novosibirsk region in Siberia,” the English-speaking news outlet said.

“The emblems and symbols remain the same,” an anonymous Wagner spokesperson was quoted as saying by 59.ru, while the Novosibirsk outlet NGS.ru was told by another Wager source that the new “contracts are signed not with the Defense Ministry, but Rosgvardia.”

Prigozhin’s 25-year-old son Pavel is reportedly heading the new National Guard unit under the nominal title of “Wagner,” the Moscow Times said.

The Wagner Group’s mercenaries had been fighting alongside regular Russian units in Ukraine but Prigozhin rejected plans announced earlier this year by the Russian Defense Ministry, of which he was highly critical, to force Wagner fighters to sign contracts with the ministry.

Russia rejected accusations that it had a role in Prigozhin’s death and said it was investigating the plane crash in which he died.

— Holly Ellyatt

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