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August 16, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news
By Kathleen Magramo, Adrienne Vogt and Aditi Sangal, CNN
Russians are shelling positions up to 800 times daily, Ukrainian official says
From CNN's Tim Lister and Kostan Nechyporenko
Valeriy Zaluzhny, the commander-in-chief of Ukraine's armed forces, has acknowledged that Russian forces "continue to advance" in Donbas but said the "intense" situation is "fully controlled."
"I have informed my counterpart about the situation at the front line. It is intense but fully controlled," Zaluzhny said after talking with Gen. Wayne Donald Eyre, chief of the Defence Staff of Canada.
Zaluzhny added that "the enemy continues to advance along the entire front line. At the same time, the enemy carries out approximately 700-800 [actions of] shelling of our positions every day, using from 40 to 60,000 pieces of ammunition."
That estimate is in line with many made by Western analysts about the volume of ammunition being used by Russian forces, after a relative lull in early July.
"The enemy’s main efforts are concentrated on pushing our troops back from the Donetsk oblast. The most intense situation is now on the axis of Avdiivka-Pisky-Mariinka," Zaluzhny said.
That axis is a stretch of some 25 kilometers (15 miles) west of Donetsk.
Ukraine's state nuclear power company says Russia-based hackers attacked its website
From CNN's Katharina Krebs in London
Ukraine's state nuclear power company Energoatom accused hackers based in Russia of launching a “powerful” attack on the company's website for three hours on Tuesday, but said the attack had not “significantly” affected operations of the site.
"Today the most powerful hacker attack since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of the Russian Federation took place on the official website of the state-owned enterprise NAEK Energoatom. The attack was carried out from the territory of the Russian Federation," Energoatom said in a statement on its verified Facebook page.
The statement blamed the Russian group "People's Cyber Army" for carrying out the attack using 7.25 million bot users, who simulated hundreds of millions of views of the company's main page.
Zelensky warns Ukrainians in occupied areas to stay clear of Russian military sites
From CNN's Tim Lister and Kostan Nechyporenko
President Volodymyr Zelensky has warned Ukrainians living in occupied areas to stay clear of Russian forces' military facilities.
"Every day and every night, we see new reports of explosions in the territory temporarily occupied by the occupiers. I am asking now all our people in Crimea, in other areas, in the south of the country, in the occupied areas of Donbas and Kharkiv region to be very careful. Please do not go near the military facilities of the Russian army and all those places where they store ammunition and equipment, where they keep their headquarters," Zelensky said in his daily video message.
Zelensky's remarks follow a series of explosions in Crimea Tuesday and a surge in attacks on Russian ammunition depots and supply lines in occupied parts of southern Ukraine in recent weeks.
"The reasons for the explosions in the occupied territories can be different, very different. Including, I quote the definition of the occupiers themselves as 'bungling,' but they all have the same meaning. The destruction of the logistics of the occupiers, their ammunition, military and other equipment, and command posts saves the lives of our people," he said.
Ukraine has not officially said it was responsible for last week's major attack on an airbase in Crimea, which destroyed at least seven military aircraft, nor Tuesday's explosions that appear to have destroyed a large stock of munitions.
Referring to long queues of traffic seen leaving Crimea for Russia last week, after the air base attack, Zelesnky said, "The queue these days to leave Crimea for Russia via the bridge proves that the absolute majority of citizens of the terrorist state already understand or at least feel that Crimea is not a place for them. "
UN secretary-general is traveling to Ukraine this week to meet with Ukrainian and Turkish leaders
From CNN's Richard Roth
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres will go to Ukraine this week, traveling to Lviv Thursday for bilateral issues and to Odesa on Friday to discuss the grain deal, the UN announced.
Guterres will hold a trilateral meeting with Ukrainian leaders and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to discuss the inner workings of the Black Sea grain deal, according to spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric. He also plans to hold a bilateral meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the UN said.
In July, Ukraine and Russia agreed to a deal brokered by the United Nations and Turkey to allow the resumption of vital grain exports from Ukrainian Black Sea ports.
Guterres will travel Saturday to Istanbul. The Russians are aware of the secretary-general's travel plans, Dujarric said.
Russian attempt to break through north of Sloviansk foiled but fresh battles brew in southern Donetsk
From CNN's Tim Lister
Russian forces tried to advance again from north of Sloviansk but their offensive was unsuccessful and they withdrew, the Ukrainian military said.
The battle occurred near Mazanivka on the border of Donetsk and Kharkiv regions, an area that first saw Russian efforts to break through more than 40 days ago, according to the General Staff.
Another Russian assault further east also failed, despite support from combat aircraft, it added. "Near Ivano-Dariivka, with the support of aviation, the enemy conducted unsuccessful assault actions. It suffered losses and withdrew."
Fighting has been going on in that district for well over a month.
Ukrainians say Russian objectives remain the same — they are "focused on conducting active offensive and assault actions in the Kramatorsk, Bakhmut, and Avdiivka directions," the General Staff said.
Bakhmut and Avdiivka have been within a few miles of the front lines for several months, but they remain in Ukrainian hands.
The Ukrainians say further efforts to advance in the Bakhmut area had been rebuffed.
"Offensive and assault actions of the occupiers in the Soledar, Zaitseve and Maiorsk districts ended with losses and withdrawal," it added, saying another attack just south of Bakhmut (in the Vershyna area) had also been foiled.
Meanwhile, the Russians appear to have put renewed effort into breaking through Ukrainian lines in southern Donetsk, between Pavlivka and Novomykhailivka, where "hostilities continue," according to the General Staff.
Further north, in the Kharkiv region, the Ukrainian General Staff said nearly 20 settlements had come under fire, including several close to the border with Russia.
The mayor of Kharkiv, Ihor Terekov, urged civilians to stay indoors after shells landed in the Saltivka district.
UK rejects Russian claims that British reconnaissance aircraft violated Russian air border
From CNN's Katharina Krebs in London
The UK has denied Russia's claims that a British electronic surveillance aircraft violated their state border on Monday, saying Britain's Royal Air Force aircraft carried out a "routine operation" in international airspace over the Norwegian and Barents seas.
“A Russian MIG-31 jet conducted an unsafe close pass of an RAF RC-135W Rivet Joint aircraft as it carried out a routine operation in international airspace over the Norwegian and Barents Seas on Monday 15 August. The UK aircraft was in communication with Russian civilian air traffic control and its crew operated in a safe and professional manner," a UK Defense spokesperson told CNN on Tuesday.
The spokesperson added that the RAF aircraft did not enter Russian sovereign space and later returned safely to its base in the UK.
In call with Zelensky, Macron endorses IAEA proposal to send a mission to Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant
From CNN’s Joseph Ataman in Paris
French President Emmanuel Macron expressed his support for a proposal by the International Atomic Energy Agency to deploy an agency mission to the Russian-occupied Ukrainian nuclear plant at Zaporizhzhia to examine the situation there, according to a readout of Macron’s call with his Ukrainian counterpart Tuesday.
Macron and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky discussed the terms of such a mission, which would commence “as soon as possible” according to the proposal of the IAEA’s director general, according to the readout.
Macron “underlined his concern” to Zelensky regarding the threat posed by the presence and actions of Russian forces around the nuclear plant and called for their withdrawal.
Both Ukraine and Russia have accused each other of attacks near the plant. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres described recent artillery and rocket fire around it as “suicidal.”
The two presidents also discussed the cargo ship chartered by the UN to transport Ukrainian grains, which left Odesa earlier on Tuesday and is headed to Africa.
Following the export of 2.8 million tons of Ukrainian grains via road and river “solidarity routes” in July, the pace of such exports ”continues to accelerate,” according to the readout.
Zelensky also tweeted after the call, calling for more sanctions on Russia.
Town near Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant is under Russian rocket fire again, Ukrainian officials say
From CNN's Kostan Nechyporenko
The town of Nikopol across the river from the occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has again come under rocket fire from the Russians, Ukrainian authorities say.
Residential areas had been hit and four people were injured, said Valentyn Reznichenko, head of Dnipropetrovsk regional military administration.
Twenty rockets from multiple rocket launchers called GRAD and 10 shells from artillery hit Nikopol, he added.
Nikopol has frequently come under fire from Russian forces' base on the opposite bank of the river Dnipro, where the nuclear power plant is situated.