7:30am: military operations slowed by bad weather
Poor weather conditions on the front are slowing the pace of military operations in recent days, according to the latest report from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) in Washington. The ISW says that the armed forces, which have to deal with heavy rain and muddy ground, are slowing down their progress.
But this situation is not expected to last: the pace of operations could indeed accelerate again in the coming weeks as temperatures drop and the ground freezes. However, the ISW says that “it is difficult to know whether either side is preparing a major offensive or counter-offensive” in Ukraine.
7:00am: Ukraine launches grain export programme to African countries
On the 90th anniversary of the Holodomor, the great famine orchestrated by the Stalinist regime in the 1930s, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has launched the “Grain from Ukraine” programme, a plan to export grain to the poorest countries in Africa.
“We plan to send at least 60 ships from Ukrainian ports to the countries most threatened by famine and drought,” said the Ukrainian president.
Volodymyr Zelensky announced that he had raised $150 million from more than 20 countries and the European Union to export to Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen.
In a video message broadcast during the summit, Emmanuel Macron promised €6 million in additional aid for Ukrainian grain exports, which are vital for supplying many African and Asian countries. The French president also recalled the “immense tragedy” of the famine of the 1930s.
“From yesterday to today, the Ukrainian nation shows its determination and forces our admiration,” the French president said. “Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine (…) threatens the world with a food crisis.”
6:30am: Russian bombing has killed at least 32 people in Kherson since its liberation
At least 32 people have been killed in Russian shelling on Ukraine’s southern Kherson region since the withdrawal of pro-Moscow forces a fortnight ago, the local police chief said Saturday.
“Daily Russian bombing is destroying the city and killing peaceful residents. In total, Russia has killed 32 civilians in the Kherson region since the de-occupation,” national police chief Ihor Klymenko said in a Facebook post.
2:43pm: Snow to blanket Kyiv from Sunday as power still in short supply
Heavy snowfall was expected in Kyiv starting on Sunday, with temperatures dropping below freezing day and night, while millions of people who still live in and around the Ukrainian capital remain with little electricity and heat.
Grid operator Ukrenergo said on Saturday that electricity producers were able to cover only three-quarters of consumption needs, necessitating restrictions and blackouts across the country. Sergey Kovalenko, chief operating officer of YASNO, which provides energy to Kyiv, said the situation in the city has improved but still remained “quite difficult”. He indicated that residents should have at least four hours of power per day. “If you haven’t had at least four hours of electricity in the past day, write to DTEK Kyiv Electric Networks, colleagues will help you figure out what the problem is,” Kovalenko wrote on his Facebook page.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and Reuters)
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