On the eve of Ukraine’s Independence Day and half of Russia’s invasion of its neighbour, unease grew in the country on Tuesday that Moscow might target specific government and civilian targets during the holidays. .
The United States reinforced those concerns when its embassy in Kyiv issued a security alert, saying it “has information that Russia is stepping up efforts to launch strikes against civilian infrastructure and government installations in the United States.” Ukraine in the next few days”.
On National Flag Day on Tuesday, President Volodymyr Zelensky emphasized defiance rather than concern when he raised the flag at a memorial.
“The blue and yellow flag of Ukraine will fly again where it rightfully should be – in all temporarily occupied towns and villages of Ukraine,” he said, including the Crimean peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014.
Over the weekend, Zelensky warned of an imminent threat when he said in his daily speech that “we have to be aware that this week Russia might try to do something particularly nasty, something particularly cruel”.
The U.S. Embassy warning follows Russia’s claim that Ukrainian intelligence was responsible for the car bombing that killed the daughter of a prominent Russian political thinker in right this weekend. Ukraine has denied any involvement.
Hundreds of people lined up on Tuesday to pay their respects to Darya Dugina, a 29-year-old Russian nationalist TV commentator who died when her SUV exploded on Saturday night as she was driving in the outskirts of Moscow.
Her father, Alexander Dugin, a philosopher and political theorist who was believed to be the target, ardently supports Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to send troops to Ukraine.
“She lived for victory and she died for victory. Our Russian victory, our truth,” Dugin said at a farewell ceremony.
Much of the fear over the war centers on Europe’s largest nuclear power plant at Zaporizhzhia in southeastern Ukraine, where continued bombing and fighting in the region has raised fears of a nuclear catastrophe.
On Monday evening, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned of the nuclear threat in general, especially since Russia hinted at its massive nuclear arsenal at the start of the war.
António Guterres on Monday demanded an end to ‘nuclear chatter’, saying the world was in a ‘moment of maximum danger’ and that all countries with nuclear weapons must pledge ‘not first use’ .
That didn’t stop shelling near Zaporizhzhia early on Tuesday. Regional Governor Valentyn Reznichenko said Russian forces fired on nearby Marhanets and Nikopol on the right bank of the Dnieper, continuing weeks of relentless nighttime shelling.
Meanwhile, the fate of Ukrainian POWs is also causing concern. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said she was “concerned by reports that the Russian Federation and armed groups affiliated with Donetsk are planning – possibly in the coming days – to try Ukrainian prisoners of war”. She said Russia calls it an “international court”, but due process and a fair trial would not be guaranteed.
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In the midst of death and destruction, there was a small point of light. All professional football was halted in February, but a new league season kicks off in Kyiv on Tuesday.
The Olympic Stadium will see the opening encounter of Shakhtar Donetsk and Metalist 1925 from Kharkiv – teams from eastern cities fighting for their very survival.
No fans will be allowed in the 65,000-capacity City Center Stadium for kick-off at 1 p.m. local time, and players must be rushed to bomb shelters if the sirens aerial sound.
“The teams, the players will be proud of this event,” Shakhtar captain Taras Stepanenko said in a phone interview with The Associated Press on Monday.