Ukraine to depart the country immediately ahead of fresh Russian strikes expected on Wednesday.
The US on Monday issued a security alert warning that Russia was ramping up its efforts to launch strikes in the coming days, particularly during Ukraine’s independence day tomorrow.
The State Department issued the alert after the intelligence community declassified a finding that determined Russia would increasingly target Ukrainian civilian infrastructure, according to a US official familiar with the intelligence.
“If you hear a loud explosion or if sirens are activated, immediately seek cover,” the State Department said in its alert.
“If in a home or a building, go to the lowest level of the structure with the fewest exterior walls, windows, and openings; close any doors and sit near an interior wall, away from any windows or openings.”
The new intelligence comes as Russia’s brutal war on Ukraine will reach the six-month mark on Wednesday, coinciding with Ukraine’s independence day from Soviet Union rule.
Russian soldiers forced to sleep in rubbish to avoid freezing in Ukraine
Russian soldiers wrapped themselves in rubbish and rags to stop them freezing to death in Ukraine, an exiled paratrooper has said.
Pavel Filatyev called Moscow’s justification for invading Ukraine “a lie” as he became the first serving member of Putin’s military to criticise the war and flee the country.
Two weeks after he posted a 141-page testimony to his VKontakte social media page, he told CNN: “We understood that we were dragged into a serious conflict where we are simply destroying towns and not actually liberating anyone… That all of it is a lie. We are just destroying peaceful lives. This fact immensely influenced our morale. That feeling that we are not doing anything good.
“Our barracks are about 100 years old and are not able to host all of our servicemen… all of our weapons are from the times of Afghanistan. Several days after we encircled Kherson many of us did not have any food, water or sleeping sacks on them. Because it was very cold at night, we couldn’t even sleep. We would find some rubbish, some rags, just to wrap ourselves to keep warm.”
He added: “Now that I am out of there and without a gun, I think this is the worst, stupidest thing our government could have done. I do not know where the government is leading us. What is the next step? Nuclear war?
“I see what is happening to my country and I am terrified. Everything is destroyed, corrupted. The only laws that function well are repressive ones. I will either be put in prison… or they will just silence me by taking me out. There were a lot of cases like that in the past. I do not see any other way out. If it happens, it happens.”
Over 5,000 dolphins have died in Black Sea due to Russian ammuniution and vessels, biologist argues
More than 5,000 dolphins in the Black Sea have died as a result of Russian ammunition and vessels since the invasion of Ukraine, according to scientists.
Ivan Rusev, biologist and employee of the Tuzly Lagoons National Nature Park in Ukraine’s southern Odessa region, said that the actual figure may be higher than 5,000.
He explained that no more than 5 per cent of all dead animals wash up onshore, while the remaining 95 per cent sink to the bottom of the sea and remain undiscovered.
“They are not available for detection and counting from the shore, so we believe that during the Russian barbarians’ war against Ukraine, tens of thousands of Dolphins have already died,” Rusev told the animal rights group Open Cages Ukraine.
He had previously suggested that Russian ships and submarines may be causing dolphins in the Black Sea to die since the country’s invasion of Ukraine, because the powerful sounds created by the vessels’ sonar devices can affect the health of the animals.
“Dolphins fall into the radiation zone of ships’ navigation devices, which disables their organs of navigation and echolocation,” Rusev said.
Ukrainian fighter jet and two US Howtizer guns destroyed, Russian defence ministry says
Russian forces downed a Ukrainian SU-27 fighter jet over the Kharkiv region of eastern Ukraine, its defence ministry said in its latest daily briefing.
Moscow also said it destroyed two US-made M777 Howitzer artillery guns.
Ukrainian woman ‘threatened celebrating Russians with a knife’ in Cyprus
Cypriot police have arrested a Ukrainian woman suspected of threatening a group of Russians with a knife as they celebrated their National Flag Day, local reports say.
The 55-year-old woman appeared holding a knife as a group of about 20 flag-waving Russians gathered in the coastal town of Larnaca on Monday night. They were due to start a car convoy through the town.
She was being held on custody on suspicion of common assault, public drunkenness, possession of a weapon and of disrupting the peace, police spokesman Harris Hadjiyiasemis told the semi-official Cyprus news agency.
Thousands of Russians and Ukrainians live in Cyprus. On Saturday a small group of Russians gathered in the city of Limassol, waving flags and creating the “Z” symbol which has become synonymous with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
US embassy issues new security alert for Ukraine urging citizens to leave
The US Embassy in Kyiv, warning of an increased possibility of Russian military strikes on Ukraine in the coming days around Ukrainian independence day, has again urged American citizens to leave if they can.
“The Department of State has information that Russia is stepping up efforts to launch strikes against Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure and government facilities in the coming days,” the embassy said in an alert on its website.
“The US Embassy urges US citizens to depart Ukraine now using privately available ground transportation options if it is safe to do so,” the alert said, repeating the advice of previous security warnings.
Kyiv has banned public celebrations in the capital on the anniversary of independence from Soviet rule on Wednesday, citing a heightened threat of attack.
Russian forces have begun constructing a floating bridge over Dnipro river, MoD warns
In the latest Defence Intelligence update about the war in Ukraine, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has warned that over the weekend, Russian forces might have begun moving barges into position to construct a substantial floating bridge over the Dnipro river.
The MoD said that this crossing, currently only possible through use of a ferry, is “the key link between Russian-occupied Kherson and the east”.
The update continued: “If Russia completes the improvised bridge, it will almost certainly increase the capacity of the crossing point compared to the ferry”.
The defence ministry said that a floating bridge “would likely still be vulnerable to Ukrainian offensive action”.
Polish President Duda arrives in Kyiv to discuss aid for Ukraine
Polish President Andrzej Duda arrived in Kyiv on Tuesday to discuss further support for Ukraine, including military aid, his office said, as Russia’s invasion of the country approaches the six-month milestone.
Warsaw is one of Kyiv’s strongest supporters and nearly six million Ukrainian refugees have crossed the border into Poland since Russia invaded their country on Feb. 24. Poland, a NATO and European Union member, has often criticised some other EU nations for not doing more to help Ukraine.
“The visit will include a meeting with President Volodymyr Zelensky and talks on military support and defence of Ukraine in the economic, humanitarian and political sense,” Pawel Szrot told reporters.
“The presidents will discuss the political support Poland could offer to convince other countries to keep helping Ukraine,” Szrot said.
Duda has met Zelenskiy five times this year, including on three visits he has made to Ukraine since the start of the invasion, which Russia calls a “special military operation”.
Ukraine’s key food exports have fallen by almost half since Russian war
Exports of key Ukrainian agricultural commodities have fallen by almost half since the start of the Russian invasion earlier this year compared to the same period in 2021, data from the agriculture ministry showed on Monday.
Russia began its attack on Ukraine on February 24, calling it a “special military operation”, and as a result of the fighting, Ukrainian seaports were blocked, leaving a vast amount of crops either unharvested or destroyed.
Agricultural exports between February 24 and August 15 this year fell to 10 million tonnes from around 19.5 million in the same period last year, the ministry data showed.
During this period, Ukraine has exported 3.8 million tonnes of corn, 1.4 million tonnes of sunflower seeds, almost 1 million tonnes of sunflower oil and around 640,000 tonnes of wheat.
The country, whose food production, according to the government, is capable of feeding up to 400 million people, also exported barley, soy beans and oil, sunflower and soybean meals.
The 2022 grain harvest in Ukraine is forecast to fall to around 50 million tonnes from a record 86 million tonnes in 2021.
[Read more: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/08/23/ukraine-news-russia-war-kherson-bridge-crimea-latest-updates/]