July 19, 2024

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LIVE – War in Ukraine: Russia shuts down oil refinery after drone attack

⚫ Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in an exclusive interview with AFP, expects a broad attack by the Russian army in the north and east, where it continues the large-scale offensive launched on May 10, which will capture the major city of Kharkiv.

⚫ Nevertheless, despite Russian advances in the Kharkiv region in the northeast in recent days, he assured Ukrainian forces that the situation was better than when enemy troops were surprised to cross the border a week ago.

⚫ According to him, Russia wants to attack Kharkiv, the country’s second largest city, only a few dozen kilometers from the front.

⚫ Mr. Zelensky admitted to the AFP that military personnel were not enough. “A significant number of regiments are lying vacant,” he said. To counter these shortcomings, a controversial law to speed up mobilization by lowering the minimum age from 27 to 25 came into force on Saturday. On Friday, Mr. Zelensky also announced legislation allowing the recruitment of prisoners in exchange for conditional release.

⚫ Speaking to Westerners, he lamented that Ukraine had only a quarter of the air defense systems it needed, adding that it needed 120 to 130 F-16 fighter jets.

⚫ On Saturday, Russia announced the capture of the village of Staritsa near the town of Vovtsansk, fifty kilometers from Kharkiv, in the Kharkiv region, ensuring its forces “advance deep into the enemy’s defensive positions.”

⚫ Nearly ten thousand people were forced to flee their homes in the Kharkiv region, Ukrainian officials said. “A total of 9,907 people have been evacuated,” Governor Oleg Sinekobov said on Saturday.

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