KYIV, UKRAINE (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday he expects a mobilization of army reservists he ordered last month to bolster his country’s troops in Ukraine to be completed in two weeks.
Putin told reporters after attending a summit in Kazakhstan that 222,000 of the 300,000 reservists the Russian Defense Ministry said would get called up have been mobilized. A total of 33,000 of them are already in military units and 16,000 are involved in combat, he said.
The call-up, announced by Putin in September, has proved hugely unpopular in Russia, where almost all men under the age of 65 are registered as reservists. At the same time, the Kremlin has faced domestic criticism of its handling of the war, increasing pressure on Putin to do more to turn the tide in Russia’s favor.
The Russian leader initially described the mobilization as “partial” and said only those with combat or service experience would be drafted. However, a decree he signed outlined almost no specific criteria.
Russian media reports have described attempts to round up men without the relevant experience, including those ineligible for service for medical reasons. In the wake of the president’s mobilization order, tens of thousands of men left Russia.
Putin also said Friday there was no need for more widespread attacks against Ukraine, such as those Russia launched Monday in retaliation for an Oct. 8 truck bomb explosion on a prized bridge linking Russia to Crimea, which Moscow seized from Ukraine in 2014.
The Kerch Bridge explosion followed Ukraine’s recapturing of occupied areas in the country’s east and south in continuing counteroffensives that have restored Ukrainian confidence and embarrassed Russia’s military.
Russia has promised free accommodation to residents of Ukraine’s partially occupied Kherson region who want to evacuate to Russia, a sign that Ukrainian military gains along the war’s southern front are worrying the Kremlin.
The Moscow-installed leader of Kherson, one of four regions illegally annexed by Putin last month, asked the Kremlin to organize an evacuation from four cities, citing incessant shelling by Ukrainian forces.
Vladimir Saldo, the head of the Moscow-appointed regional administration, said a decision was made to evacuate Kherson residents to the Russian regions of Rostov, Krasnodar and Stavropol, as well as to the Crimean Peninsula, which Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014.
“We, residents of the Kherson region, of course know that Russia doesn’t abandon their own, and Russia always offers a hand,” Saldo said Thursday.
Russia has characterized the movement of Ukrainians to Russia or Russian-controlled territory as voluntary, but in many cases those are the only evacuation routes residents of occupied areas can or are allowed to take.
Reports have surfaced that some Ukrainians were forcibly deported to “filtration camps” with harsh conditions. In addition, an Associated Press investigation found that Russian officials deported thousands of Ukrainian children – some orphaned, others living with foster families or in institutions – to be raised as Russian.
The evacuation announcement came as Ukrainian forces pushed deeper into the Kherson region, albeit at a slower pace than a few weeks ago. Ukrainian forces reported retaking 75 populated places in the region in the last month, Ukraine’s Ministry for Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories said late Thursday night.
A similar campaign in eastern Ukraine resulted in most of the Kharkiv region returning to Ukrainian control, as well as parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, the ministry said.
Putin illegally annexed Kherson, as well as the neighboring Zaporizhzhia region and the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of eastern Ukraine last month following “referendums” in the four regions that Kyiv and the West denounced as a sham.
Gen. Valeriy Zaluzhny, the commander of Ukraine’s armed forces, vowed Friday that his forces would succeed in “getting ours back.”
“No one and nothing will stop us,” Zaluzhny said in a video message. “We have buried the myth of the invincibility of the Russian army.”
While reiterating calls for local residents to evacuate to Russia, Saldo’s deputy, Kirill Stremousov, also insisted the evacuation preparations did not mean the Russian-installed officials anticipated Ukrainian forces taking all of the Kherson region.
“No one’s retreating. … No one is planning to leave the territory of the Kherson region,” he said.
For a fifth day, Russia continued missile strikes on critical infrastructure that started Monday in retaliation for an explosion on the Kerch Bridge last weekend that Moscow has said was caused by a truck bomb. The span, which links Crimea to the Russian mainland, holds important strategic and symbolic value to Russia in its faltering war in Ukraine.
In the last 24 hours, at least nine civilians were killed and 15 were wounded, the Ukrainian president’s office reported Friday morning. The victims included an 11-year-old boy and six other people who died after a missile strike in the city of Mykolaiv, where a residential building was destroyed, the regional governor, Vitaliy Kim, said.
Russian forces on Friday carried out at least four missile strikes on Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second- largest city. Mayor Ihor Terekhov reported several explosions in the northeastern city without offering any details on the extent of the damage or saying if there were any casualties.
The Ukrainian army recaptured most previously occupied areas of the Kharkiv region, which includes the city of the same name, during a fierce counteroffensive last month that forced Russian troops to withdraw and inflicted a stunning blow on Moscow’s military prestige.
The region’s governor, Oleh Syniehubov, urged residents not to ignore air raid sirens and to get to bomb shelters. Earlier Russian strikes on Thursday night cut off the electricity in the regional capital, which had a pre-war population of 1.4 million.
Multiple Russian missile strikes shook the city of Zaphorizhzhia overnight. The capital of the annexed region remains in Ukrainian hands and has come under repeated bombardment as Ukraine pushes its southern counteroffensive.
Several explosions were reported overnight at infrastructure facilities, causing fires, regional Gov, Oleksandr Starukh said. There were no victims in preliminary reports, and further details about specific damage were unavailable.
Starukh told Ukrainian state television that Russian soldiers remained unable to enter the city but their “missiles remind us of the evil and grief that the army of the occupiers carries.”
In addition to the missile strikes on the regional capital, there was also shelling in three cities closer to the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. In Nikopol, Marhanets, Chervonohryhorivka, drone and artillery strikes destroyed residential buildings and damaged water supply and power lines.
The regional capital is about 100 miles by road from the plant, the largest nuclear power plant in Europe. Two days ago, it was forced to revert to diesel-fueled generator power to maintain its reactor cooling systems after an Russian missile attack on distant electrical substation.
Friday is Defender’s Day in Ukraine, but celebrations were muted because of the war. In Kyiv, a concert at the central opera house was canceled because of planned, rotating power outages across the city as repairs to the city’s energy infrastructure continue following Russia’s wide-ranging missile attacks.
Missile, drone and rocket attacks on Ukraine have kept the country on edge with air raid sirens occurring more frequently and bringing a heightened sense of urgency after Monday’s strike killed 19 people and wounded more than 100, including many in the capital.
Putin has vowed to retaliate harshly if Ukraine or its allies strike Russian territory, including the annexed regions of Ukraine. Russian officials reported Friday that Ukrainian shelling blew up an ammunition depot in Russia’s Belgorod region on the border with Ukraine.
An unspecified number of people were killed and wounded in the incident, according to Russia’s Investigative Committee. Unconfirmed media reports said three Russian National Guard officers were killed and more than 10 were wounded.
The Kerch Bridge explosion temporarily halted rail and road traffic on the 12-mile span, undermining a vital supply route for the Kremlin’s forces. The Russian government said Friday that repairs were scheduled to be completed by July 2023.
Also on Friday, a court in Simferopol, the second-largest city in Crimea, formally arrested and placed five suspects in pre-trial detention in connection with the explosion, according to Russian news agency Interfax.
Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) stated on Wednesday that it had identified 12 suspects involved in the explosion. The FSB reported the involvement of Ukrainian, Armenian and Russian citizens in what it described as a “terrorist act”.
Sylvanie Burton to become the first woman President of Dominica
DOMINICA – The second and final term of Hs Excellency Charles Savarin will end of October 1, 2023 and a new President will be inaugurated on October 2.
The Government of Dominica has nominated career public officer Mrs. Sylvanie Burton for the position. Mrs. Burton is set to be the first woman and first person of Kalinago decent to hold Dominica’s highest office.
A sitting of Parliament to elect a President became necessary when Prime Minister Skerrit informed the Speaker of the House that he and Leader of the Opposition Hon. Jesma Paul-Victor had not agreed on a joint nominee for the position of President.
“I have received a letter form the Hon. Prime Minister, which I shall read. It says that ‘Dear Hon. Speaker, in accordance to Section 19:3 of the Commonwealth of Dominica Constitution Order 1978, I hereby inform you that the Leader of the Opposition and I have been unable to agree on a joint nominee of a candidate for election as President. Signed Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister.’, the Hon. Speaker stated.
Chapter II of the Constitution outlines the procedures to follow once the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition do not agree on a joint nominee.
Parliament will meet again on September 27, where the Government of Dominica will officially nominate Mrs. Sylvanie Burton. Leader of the Opposition Hon. Jesma Paul Victor has given no indication as to who will be nominated by the Opposition.
“If you oppose, then you should have something else to propose. So we look forward to her proposed nominee if she has one, then there will be an election in the next fourteen days. We will come to Parliament so we can have a President Elect who will take up office on the 2nd of October 20223. So today was important. It was a fulfillment of the obligations mandated by the constitution that I inform the Speaker that there is no joint nominee and the Speaker convenes Parliament to inform the Parliament of that situation and advising Parliament of the process involved in the nomination and election of a President for Dominica as per the provisions of the constitution,” Prime Minister Skerrit explained.
The nomination by Government of the first woman and first indigenous person for the position of President has been described as historic. Many have expressed surprise that the Opposition has not supported the nomination.
“It’s unfortunate that she allowed an opportunity to be a part of history to pass her as a woman, and I think that recognizing that our nominee is not only a woman but an Indigenous person. And I think that this has received tremendous regional and international accolades for not only a woman but an indigenous person. Those of us who are students of history understand and appreciate the contributions of Indigenous people to the protection and preservation of our patrimony,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Parliamentary Representative for the Marigot Constituency Hon. Anthony Charles has expressed support for Government’s nominee Mrs. Sylvanie Burton. Hon. Charles is calling for unity in the process of the election of the President.
“It’s not you come with one and you come with one and we agree. I think we should come together, call out some names and pick the best candidate together. We should have a mutual agreement. I have no problem with the young lady. Mrs. Sylvanie Burton is a close family friend, so I have no problem with the candidate, but it’s the process,” Hon. Charles stated.
A person shall be qualified to be nominated for election as President once he or she is a citizen of Dominica, above the age of forty and who at the date of his nomination has been resident in Dominica for five years immediately preceding his or her nomination.
NASA Administrator to Head to South America; Discuss Space Cooperation
As part of a series of meetings with key government officials, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson will travel to Brazil, Argentina, and Colombia beginning Monday, July 24.
Nelson will meet with space officials in each country as well as Argentinian President Alberto Fernández to deepen bilateral cooperation across a broad range of innovation and research-related areas, especially in Earth science to achieve our nations’ mutual goals of addressing climate change and achieving net zero emissions by 2050.
Students in each country also will have the opportunity to meet with Nelson to discuss science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and their roles as members of the Artemis Generation.
NASA is engaged in a wide range of activities with the nations, including SERVIR Amazonia, which uses NASA’s Earth science data to empower scientists and decisionmakers across the region to track and understand environmental changes in near real-time, evaluate climatic threats like deforestation and food security, and rapidly respond to natural disasters.
US Secretary Antony J. Blinken on the Global Food Crisis
The United States has long been at the forefront of tackling global food insecurity, and we remain steadfast in our leadership through our focus on two crucial dimensions: immediate emergency response and long-term strategies for sustainable productivity.
Global food demand will increase by more than 50 percent in 2050, but due to climate change, agriculture yields of major crops could decrease over that same period. This dangerous combination could lead to price spikes, food insecurity, social unrest, political tensions, and conflict.
We will never achieve food security without fertile soils and adapted and productive crops. The United States is providing an initial $100 million through the Vision for Adapted Crops and Soils (VACS) program. As part of Feed the Future, VACS will initially focus on the African continent and will include mapping and analyzing soils, promoting better farm management, and mitigating drought effects. It will also foster crop varieties resilient to climate change, pests, extreme weather, and variable rainfall.
With this assistance, we are continuing to support critical agricultural development programs. We are also committed to partnering with the international community on food security initiatives that lead to nutritious adapted crops and healthy soils for sustainable agriculture.
- Sports4 days ago
Miami Dolphins Make NFL, Franchise History in 70-20 Win Over Denver Broncos
- Jacksonville4 days ago
Jaguars Fall to Texans 37-17
- Business12 hours ago
PHOTOS: Legendary Actor Edward James Olmos Honored by U.S. Hispanic Chamber in Orlando
- World8 hours ago
Sylvanie Burton to become the first woman President of Dominica