UKRAINE UPDATE: 22 AUGUST 2022
Biden, three European leaders hold talks; Zelensky warns of possible ‘cruel’ Russian action
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz spoke to the leaders of the US, France and the UK on Sunday about the need to continue supporting Ukraine’s defence against Russia, according to a German government spokesman. The call had not been previously announced.
President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that Moscow “may try to do something particularly nasty, particularly cruel” as Ukraine prepares to celebrate its Independence Day on Wednesday, which is also the invasion’s six-month mark.
Russia is investigating the car bombing death of the daughter of a prominent Russian nationalist and ally of President Vladimir Putin on Saturday. Darya Dugina had been sanctioned by the US and UK over her role in spreading disinformation about the Ukraine war.
- Russia probes car bomb that killed daughter of Putin ideologist
- Germany may resort to nuclear plants to plug Russian gas gap
- Pentagon announces $775m of weapons in new Ukraine package
- Kremlin may delay annexation moves as invasion progress slows
On the ground
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is nearing the six-month mark, which will arrive on Wednesday — also Ukraine’s Independence Day. Overnight, Russia fired five Kalibr missiles from the Black Sea at Odesa with three missiles hitting a Ukrainian agriculture company’s assets, including grain storage. Moscow’s troops continued shelling Nikopol city in the Dnipropetrovsk region, knocking out electricity to 3,000 people. Russia also continued to shell Kharkiv and the Kharkiv region; local authorities there extended curfew hours from Monday. Russia’s defence ministry said it had destroyed an ammunition depot in Odesa containing missiles for US-donated HIMARS rocket systems, as well as US howitzers at combat positions in the Kherson region.
Germany may resort to nuclear plants to plug gas gap
Germany may not be able to replace all its imports of Russian natural gas this winter and might have to resort to nuclear power to plug part of the gap, the nation’s two most powerful leaders said. Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Economy Minister Robert Habeck emphasised that extending the lives of the nation’s last three atomic reactors is only an option because of worries that Germany can’t replace dwindling natural gas supplies from Russia.
Russia to probe Dugina car-bomb death; Ukraine denies role
Russia’s Investigative Committee said it had opened a murder case in the death of Darya Dugina in an apparent car bombing near Moscow on Saturday night. Dugina, a journalist sanctioned by the US and UK for spreading disinformation about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, is the daughter of far-right political strategist Alexander Dugin. An SUV driven by Dugina exploded in flames as she was driving about 20km west of the capital, according to reports. Andrey Krasnov, a family friend, told Tass that the Toyota Land Cruiser belonged to Dugin, who had intended to travel home with his daughter from an event, but “went in a different way”. Dugin, 60, is believed to be an ally of Vladimir Putin and to have influenced the Russian president’s views. He was sanctioned by the US in 2015 for his alleged involvement in Moscow’s annexation of Crimea. Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Russia would investigate possible Ukrainian involvement in the incident. Mykhailo Podolyak, a senior adviser to Ukraine’s president, said on Ukrainian television that Kyiv had “absolutely nothing to do with this”.
More grain ships on the move, Turkey says
Seven ships carrying grains or other foodstuffs departed Ukraine’s Black Sea ports in the past day, Turkey’s defence department said: four from Chernomorsk, two from Odesa and one from Yuzni. Five ships en route to Ukraine were expected to be inspected by Turkish authorities on Sunday under the month-old safe transit agreement brokered by Turkey and the UN.
German politicians call on government to do more
Politicians from Germany’s SPD, Greens and FDP united to urge Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government to provide more weapons aid to Ukraine. Kristian Klinck, Sara Nanni and Alexander Mueller wrote in a joint article for Der Spiegel magazine that a permanent pipeline of weapons systems to Kyiv should be created “instead of repeatedly just reacting to current challenges.”
Russia ‘to start mass production of Zircon missiles’
Russian Defence chief Sergey Shoigu said on the Zircon nuclear-capable hypersonic cruise missiles in a televised interview from Russia’s Army-2022 forum that, “We are starting mass production of the Zircon missiles,” according to state news service Tass. “In fact, we have put it into service, and it will be documented as early as this year.” Russia’s defence minister also said that the air-launched “Kinzhal” (Dagger) missiles had been used three times in Ukraine this year, repeating a claim from March. At the time, Russia said it used the missiles to target a site storing missiles and aviation ammunition, and other targets, less than a month into the Kremlin’s invasion. Last week, Russia stationed three MiG-31 aircraft equipped with Kinzhal missiles in the Kaliningrad exclave.
Turkey pledges not to allow Russian sanction busting
Turkey’s Ministry of Treasury and Finance vowed not to allow any individual or organisation to circumvent sanctions imposed on Russian entities, according to a readout of a call on Friday with the US Treasury. Deputy Minister Yunus Elitas told his US counterpart Wally Adeyemo that Turkey’s “position” on the issue of sanctions remained unchanged. While opposing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and providing drones to help Kyiv’s efforts in the war, Turkey has refrained from joining Western sanctions on Moscow, which remains a key supplier of natural gas and crude oil. In Friday’s call, Adeyemo raised “concerns that Russian entities and individuals are attempting to use Turkey to evade sanctions” put in place by the US and 30 other countries.
Zelensky hails Ukrainian heavyweight boxer after title win
Ukraine’s president took to Twitter after countryman Oleksandr Usyk retained his world heavyweight boxing titles on Saturday, beating Anthony Joshua of the UK in a bout in Saudi Arabia.
“I devote this victory to my country, to my family, to my team, to all the military defending this country,” the 35-year-old Usyk said through a translator, according to the Associated Press.
Ukrainian president’s warning ahead of invasion’s six-month mark
Ukraine’s president warned that the Kremlin might have special actions in store around the six-month mark of Russia’s invasion, which will fall on Wednesday. “We should be aware that this week Russia may try to do something particularly nasty, something particularly cruel,” Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly video address on Saturday. “One of the key objectives of the enemy is to humiliate us,” and “to sow despondency, fear and conflict,” he said. “We must all be strong enough to resist any enemy provocations.” DM