February 2, 2023

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War in Ukraine: Russia strikes Kherson center, Zelensky condemns “terrorist” act

According to Ukrainian President and regional governor Yaroslav Yanushevich, “(the Russian) attack killed 7 people and injured 58 residents, 18 of whom are in critical condition,” he said in a Telegram.

An earlier report by the Ukrainian prosecutor’s office put eight people dead and 17 injured.

“The world must see and understand what absolute evil we are fighting against,” lamented Volodymyr Zelensky. “This is the real life of Ukraine and Ukrainians,” he defended the ten-month war.

In Ankara, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Agar admitted that the mediating country “is not ready for an easy end to this war.”

Read more – War in Ukraine: 10 months of drama today, in 10 key films

In Kherson, an AFP team found several lifeless bodies strewn on the ground.

“The rescuers tried to save him, but he wasn’t breathing,” laments a woman whose husband, Oleksy, died instantly. Crouching next to him, staring into space, she holds her husband’s bloody jacket in her hands.

According to 38-year-old Leonid Tatarin, “there was an explosion over a shop, then in the center of the market”, he told AFP.

Oleksandre Koudriachov, 43, struggling to recover from the disappearance of “Lyocha”, “worked here for 20 years or more. (…) he sold meat”.

At the time of the strike, “he had gone outside to smoke a cigarette,” she says. “We pulled his body and he was already dead.”

Without life

Near the Kherson market, AFP saw a man with serious head injuries after his car was blown up by the force of the blast. A woman, wearing a red coat, lay lifeless a few meters away, arms outstretched. A paramedic was comforting a tearful man nearby.

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Also, two people were seriously injured at the pedestrian crossing.

Flames also rose from the market, which is frequented on Saturday mornings and is located in the heart of the city of Kherson, which was liberated by the Ukrainian army on November 11 after eight months of Russian occupation.

“While families in Europe, North America and beyond prepare festive dinners, don’t think about Ukraine fighting evil,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba pleaded on Twitter.

Now under Ukrainian control, Kherson is a regular target of Russian bombers.

On Friday, the regional administration said the city had already been the target of 74 Russian strikes, with a total of five dead and 22 injured.

In the east, Russian strikes are still “regular” on Baghmoud, which the Russians have been trying to take since the summer, the Ukrainian president lamented on Saturday, indicating that “the city center was bombed several times” the previous day. .

$45 billion in US aid

To counter this Russian offensive, Kyiv has been calling for new Western financial and military aid for weeks.

On Friday, two days after Volodymyr Zelensky visited Washington, the US Congress passed a sweeping federal service funding bill that would include $45 billion going to Ukraine.

“This is not really — as the president of Ukraine said the other night — about charity. It’s about security, it’s about working together,” said Nancy Pelosi, the outgoing speaker of the House of Representatives.

Read more – War in Ukraine: Five killed, 20 injured in Russian bombing in center of Kherson

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The Russian invasion is deeply affecting the Ukrainian economy, which is now focused almost exclusively on the war effort.

According to the estimates of AFP’s sector experts, the grain harvest in the country, one of the world’s main producers, will decrease by about 40% this year compared to 2021.

In addition, a Ukrainian judge has sentenced “two mercenaries” and “two Russian soldiers” to 11 years in prison, accused of “torturing” three Ukrainian soldiers in the Izium region in early September, the prosecution announced on Saturday.

“They were abducted and kept in a recreation center without water or food. Residents beat one (soldier) on the bones with a hammer,” he said, adding, “All four confessed their guilt and apologized.”