Moscow detains politician for criticizing Ukrainian invasion; war crosses six-month mark

 Moscow detains politician for criticizing Ukrainian invasion;  war crosses six-month mark

Members of the Honor Guard attend a rising ceremony of the Ukraine’s biggest national flag to mark the Day of the State Flag, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv. (Reuters)

The UN nuclear agency renewed its request to assess the safety and security at Europe’s largest nuclear plant in southeastern Ukraine which Russia and Ukraine accuse each other of shelling, sparking warnings of a possible nuclear catastrophe. UN political chief Rosemary DiCarlo announced at the start of an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant that Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, requested to send an IAEA mission “to carry out essential safety, security and safeguard activities at the site.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told representatives of about 60 states and international organizations attending a virtual summit on Crimea that Kyiv would drive Russian forces out of the peninsula by any means necessary, without consulting other countries beforehand.

The war has killed thousands of civilians, forced over a third of Ukraine’s 41 million people from their homes, left cities in ruins and shaken global markets. It is largely at a standstill with no immediate prospect of peace talks. In addition to Crimea which it annexed in 2014, Russia has expanded its control to areas of the south including the Black Sea and Sea of ​​Azov coasts, and chunks of the eastern Donbas region comprising the provinces of Luhansk and Donetsk.

Ukraine’s armed forces have said almost 9,000 military personnel have been killed in the war so far. Russia has not publicized its losses but US intelligence estimates 15,000 killed in what Moscow calls a “special military operation” to “denazify” Ukraine. Kyiv says the invasion is an unprovoked act of imperial aggression.

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