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Russian forces pound Ukraine’s Donetsk region

Ukrainian forces report heavy Russian shelling and attempts at advance on several towns within the eastern region Donetsk, which has been a major focus of the nearly six-month-long war. However, they claim that they have repelled many of these attacks.

According to the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces, Russian troops also shelled more than a dozen villages along the southern front, particularly in the Kherson region. This is a main control area for Russian forces but Ukrainian troops are steadily capturing territory.

Many people have been paying attention to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine, amid concerns about a disaster from renewed shelling in recent times that Russia and Ukraine blame each other.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has called for the creation of a demilitarized zone. Volodymyr Zelenskiy, President of Ukraine has warned Russian soldiers that if they shoot at Europe’s biggest nuclear power station or use it to launch their attacks from, they will be a “special target”.

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The Zaporizhzhia Plant dominates the Dnipro River’s south bank. The Russian-held side has been pounding the Ukrainian-held cities and towns on the other bank.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been trying to inspect the plant and warned of a nuclear catastrophe if fighting does not stop. Experts in nuclear technology fear that fighting could cause damage to the reactors or spent fuel pools of the plant.

Zelenskiy stated that Ukraine has repeatedly proposed various formats to the Russian leadership in peace negotiations, but without any progress.

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He said late Sunday (14 August) in video remarks: “So we must defend ourselves, and we have to answer any form of terror, all instances of shelling – the fierce shelling that does not stop for a single day,”

Kyiv has been stating for weeks that it plans a counteroffensive in order to recapture Zaporizhzhia, the neighboring Kherson province and the largest portion of territory Russia seized following its 24 February invasion.

The Ukrainian military command stated that Russian soldiers continued to unsuccessfully attack Ukrainian positions near Avdiivka. This area has been a stronghold for Ukrainian forces since 2014.

Oleg Zhdanov, a Ukrainian military expert, said that the situation is particularly difficult in Avdiivka (and nearby towns like Pisky).

In a video posted online, he stated that “we have insufficient artillery strength in place” and requested more support to defend Pisky. “But, the town is basically under Ukrainian command.”

Lilia Ai-Talatini (48), watched in Russian-occupied Luhansk as her mother was exhumed from a temporary grave and taken to a proper cemetery.

Ai-Talatini explained to Reuters that it took her 10 days for her to reach her parents’ apartment. It was located on the Russian-held-side of Rubizhne during heavy fighting in March.

She said: “Mother was already in her final days… her hands were blue and her complexion was pale. There were also circles under her eyes. The next day, mother died.”

Officials from the Luhansk People’s Republic (a statelet created by pro-Moscow separatists) stated that a team had been in Rubizhne for ten days and exhumed at least 104 sets.

Anna Soroka stated that although shrapnel wounds are most prevalent, there are also bullet injuries. She estimated there were 500 unofficial graves within the city.

Reuters was unable to independently verify the battlefield accounts.

Russia considers its invasion of Ukraine a special military operation to demilitarize and “denazify” Ukraine, while its Western allies view Moscow’s actions in Ukraine as a war against aggression.

Moscow and Washington have fallen to a low point in relations, with Washington warning that it could cut ties.

Russia, which has been mostly isolated on the international diplomatic stage, is gaining more sympathy from China. This has happened due to Washington’s deteriorating relations with China.

On Monday, North Korean state media reported that Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, told Kim Jong Un that they would increase “comprehensive” and constructive ties.

North Korea recognized as independent the Russian-backed “people’s republics”, Donetsk & Luhansk. Officials raised the possibility of their workers being sent to assist in construction.

Over the incident, Ukraine severed all ties to Pyongyang.

As part of an agreement to alleviate a global food shortage, ships carrying Ukrainian grain departed or were prepared to leave the conflict zone amid fighting.

Sources said that an Ethiopian-bound cargo was about to depart in the coming days. Meanwhile, sources claimed that the first UN-negotiated grain ship was approaching Syria.

Marianne Ward, deputy country director for the World Food Programme, stated that the world “needs the food from Ukraine”. “This is the beginning for what we hope will be normal operations for hungry people around the world.”

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