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Kyiv says 9 Russian planes destroyed in blast

August 10, 2022

Ukraine claims that Russia lost nine planes in a blast that rocked a Russian airbase on the Crimean Peninsula. The G7 has criticized Russia's occupation of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. DW rounds up the latest.

Smoke rises after explosions were heard from the direction of a Russian military airbase near Novofedorivka
The blast sent a plume of smoke into the air that could be seen for miles aroundImage: REUTERS

The Ukrainian air force says that nine Russian warplanes were destroyed in massive explosions at an air base on the Crimean Peninsula, without officially claiming responsibility for the attack.

Powerful explosions rocked the Saki air base on the Black Sea on Tuesday, and sent a tower of smoke clouds over the landscape.

Russia has denied any aircraft were damaged or that any attack took place, claiming munitions at the base caught fire and exploded.

While Ukrainian officials have stopped short of publicly claiming responsibility for the explosions, they have ridiculed Russia's explanation.

Officials in Moscow have long said any attack on Crimea would trigger massive retaliation from Russia, including strikes on "decision-making centers" in Kyiv.

In his nightly video address several hours after the blasts, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy vowed to retake the occupied Crimean peninsula.

Zelenskyy: 'Crimea is Ukrainian, and we will never renounce it'

Here are the other main headlines from the war in Ukraine on August 10.

Kyiv says it is vital to finish 'active part of the war' before winter

With the Ukraine war well into its sixth month, Kyiv is hoping to end the fighting before winter colds set in, said Andriy Yermak, chief of staff for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Yermak warned there was a risk of Russia targeting Ukraine's thermal infastructure as temperatures drop.

"This is one of their goals, they do not even hide it," Yermak told Interfax Ukraine. "This is one of the reasons why we want to put in maximum effort to end the active part of the war by the end of autumn."

He also said that Ukraine was doing everything it could to achieve its goal of "de-occupation," adding that this task would grow more difficult the longer Russian troops stay in Ukraine.

UN Security Council to talk Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant — report

The UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting on Thursday to discuss the crisis surrounding the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, which is currently controlled by Russian soldiers.

A diplomatic source cited by the AFP news agency said the meeting was called by Moscow.

Previously, Ukraine accused the Russian military of hiding behind the plant to launch artillery strikes, knowing it would be risky for the Ukrainians to return fire. At least 13 civilians were reported dead in overnight strikes near the plant.

The nuclear facility on the Dnieper River, in southern Ukraine, is considered the biggest in Europe. It has already been shelled in recent days, with Ukraine and Russia trading accusations for the attack. Ukrainian energy agency Energoatom has warned that parts of the facility were "extremely vulnerable" and there was a risk of a nuclear disaster.

Ukrainian military says it disabled bridge near Nova Kakhovka dam

A bridge in the Russian-occupied territory east of the city of Kherson was "unfit for use," Ukrainian military said, as Kyiv attempts to cripple Russian supply lines across the Dnieper River.

"The hit was precise, but effective," a representative of  the Ukrainian operational command "South" said in a Facebook post.

The bridge is located near the Nova Kakhovka dam in southern Ukraine.

Previously, Ukrainian military said they landed more hits the Antonivskiy bridge across the Dnieper River using long-range missiles, preventing the Russians from using the crossing.

UN: Ukraine to start delivering wheat next week

First ships carrying Ukrainian wheat should set sail from the country's ports next week, UN representative Frederick Kenney said.

Russia and Ukraine reached a deal to export Ukrainian grain last month with the mediation of Turkey, with 12 ships already exporting around 370,000 tons of corn and other foodstuffs from Ukraine under UN supervision.

But Ukrainian port authorities needed to clear their backlog since the start of the invasion on February 24 before approving wheat shipments, said Kenney, who serves as the interim coordinator at the joint center in Istanbul.

"We are dealing with three ports that were essentially frozen in time," Kenney said, referring to Ukraine's Odesa, Chernomorsk, and Yuzhny.

 "The silos were full of corn and the ships that were there have been loaded with corn," he said. "It's imperative to get those ships out to get new ships in .... that can deal with the food crisis."

Ukraine creditors agree to freeze payment on $20 billion in debt

Kyiv has managed to persuade its oversees creditors to agree on a two-year debt moratorium.

The freeze applies to payments on nearly $20 billion (€19.4 billion) in international bonds, according to a report by the Reuters news agency. Most of the debt is held by US investment giant BlackRock Inc, as well as UK-based Fidelity International, Amia Capital, and Gemsstock Ltd.

The war-torn country is hoping to avoid defaulting on its debt, even as its economy is projected to contract by 45% this year due to the Russian invasion. The value of Ukraine's debt has also dropped by over 80% since last year.

As the war continues, Kyiv remains heavily dependent on financing from Western countries and international lenders such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. The US has recently announced a new tranche of $4.5 billion in budgetary aid, which would bring to total amount to $8.5 billion since Russia started the war in February.

Russian anti-war journalist Marina Ovsyannikova charged over protest

Marina Ovsyannikova, Russian journalist known for her on-air demonstration against the Ukraine war, is now facing charges over a separate protest near the Kremlin.

Ovsyannikova drew global attention when she disrupted a live news broadcast in March, holding up a placard that read "No war" and urged Russians not to believe propaganda.

"They are lying to you here," she wrote, referring to the her employer at the time, Russian state-owned Channel One. She was subsequently detained, and then released and ordered to pay a fine.

Marina Ovsyannikova holds up a placard with her anti-war message during a news broadcast
The Russian-language text on the placard reads 'Stop the war, don't believe the propaganda, they are lying to you here'Image: Social Media/picture alliance/dpa

On Wednesday, Ovsyannikova's lawyer said that the 44-year-old reporter was back in detention and is now facing charges over a one-woman protest which she staged near the Kremlin last month.

On that instance, Ovsyannikova held up a banner that said that Russian President Vladimir Putin is a killer and "his soldiers are fascists. 352 children have been killed (in Ukraine). How many more children should die for you to stop?"

If convicted, she could face up to 10 years in prison under a draconian Russian law which virtually outlaws criticizing the military. The law was passed shortly after the Ukraine invasion started in late February.

Russia claims destroyed German Gepard tank

Russia's Defense Ministry says its forces have destroyed a German-supplied Gepard anti-aircraft tank that was deployed by Ukrainian forces in the Mykolaiv region.

Moscow also said it had shot down three Ukrainian warplanes in the Mykolaiv region, as well as seven HIMARS missiles in the neighboring Kherson region.

G7 condemns Russian occupation of nuclear plant

The Group of Seven of industrialized nations has condemned Russia's occupation of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, urging Moscow to immediately hand back full control to Ukraine.

A statement from G7 foreign ministers said Ukrainian staff operating the plant "must be able to carry out their duties without threats or pressure."

"It is Russia's continued control of the plant that endangers the region," the ministers said.

Ukraine: Hospitals under attack

"We remain deeply concerned about the serious threat posed by the occupation of the Ukrainian nuclear facilities and other actions by the Russian Armed Forces to the safety and security of these facilities, which significantly increases the risk of a nuclear accident or incident and the people of Ukraine, neighboring countries and the world community at risk."

Meanwhile, Ukraine said Russia was launching attacks from Zaporizhzhia knowing it would be risky for Ukrainians to fire back.

"The cowardly Russians can't do anything more so they strike towns ignobly hiding at the Zaporizhzhia atomic power station." said Ukraine's presidential advisor Andriy Yermak.

Around 500 Russian soldiers with heavy vehicles and equipment are stationed at the plant, according to Ukrainian sources.

Russian oil transit resumes to 3 EU countries

Transfer of Russian oil via the northern Druzhba pipeline which delivers to Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia has resumed, according to the Russian fuel giant Transneft.

Supplies had been interrupted for days. Anton Molnar, a spokesperson for oil refining company Slovnaft, said that both Ukraine and Russia had agreed to a compromise proposal.

Under that plan, Hungarian refiner MOL and its Slovakian subsidiary Slovnaft will — at least temporarily — pay transit fees to Ukraine.

Pipeline monopoly Transneft, which is Russian state-owned, on Tuesday blamed Ukraine for the supply stoppage.

Military expert says Kyiv hopes to force Russian redeployment

Military analyst Mike Martin told DW he thought Ukraine was behind the blasts, despite Kyiv not officials claiming responsibility.

"The reason of course that the Ukrainians are being slightly coy about this - they're saying maybe it was us maybe it wasn't us - is because what this does is spreads confusion and fear among the Russians - particularly the Russian forces in Crimea and just north of Crimea in Kherson.

"I think it's the continuation of a strategy. Effectively, what they're doing by striking Crimea is pointing out to the Russians that nowhere on occupied Ukrainian territory is safe."

He said the aim might be to force Russia to deploy troops from other areas of Ukraine to Crimea, which was the most important part of occupied Ukraine for Moscow. This would give Kyiv more options in where to mount counteroffensives.

"The momentum really has shifted in this war. It's now the Ukrainians that are dictating the story whereas previously it's been the Russians who've been forcing the Ukrainians to respond to them."
Martin also said it appeared the Russians had lost a sizable quantity of fuel and ammunition in the blasts.

More on the war in Ukraine

Footage circulating on social media showed black smoke rising in the area of a Russian military air base in Crimea. Meanwhile, Russian oil transit has been reportedly halted to three EU countries. Read Tuesday's updates here.

The European Union banned Russian coal imports in response to the invasion of Ukraine as part of sanctions in April. Since then, it's been scrambling to find alternative sources.

The leaders of Estonia and Finland have called for European nations to stop issuing tourist visas to Russians. Both nations are being used as a route for Russian tourists seeking to skirt an EU ban on air travel.

rc/wmr (AFP, dpa, AP, Reuters)