Live blog | Independence Day of Ukraine without celebrations

International24 Aug ’22 06:32Author: BNR Web Editor

Today marks six months since Russia invaded Ukraine. Since then, the war in Ukraine and millions of its inhabitants have fled. Today, Ukraine also celebrates Independence Day to commemorate the separation from the Soviet Union in 1991.

Ukrainian volunteer fighters along the front line in the Donetsk region.
Ukrainian volunteer fighters along the front line in the Donetsk region. (ANP / AFP / Anatolii Stepanov)

Red Cross: Demand for aid in Ukraine continues to rise

06:00 | The Red Cross says it needs to further scale up its humanitarian aid in Ukraine and neighboring countries. The demand for aid continues to rise, even six months after the escalation of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the organization says.

The Red Cross sees the current phase of one of its biggest relief operations worldwide as a ‘critical breaking point’. Francesco Rocca, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (IFRC), emphasizes that many millions of people in Ukraine are now suffering enormously. “This conflict has a knock-on effect: more and more people are in need,” he says. “When the conflict continues, we see, for example, that food and fuel prices rise, leading to a food crisis. The Red Cross is scaling up aid, but we can’t do it alone.’ The colder weather in the coming months is also likely to increase the need for help.

More than 6.6 million people have been displaced by the war in recent months, according to the Red Cross. More than 17.7 million people need help. In response, more than 100,000 local Red Cross volunteers and staff have been mobilized in Ukraine and in neighboring countries such as Poland, Slovakia and Hungary. The Netherlands currently receives more than 63,000 Ukrainians.

The Russian politician Rojzman arrested for criticizing war

05:13 | Russian politician and former mayor of Yekaterinburg Yevgeny Rojzman has been arrested, Russian news agency TASS reported on Wednesday morning. Rojzman, who has been known for years for his criticism of the Russian government and more recently of the war in Ukraine, is suspected of ‘discrediting the Russian army’, according to TASS.

Rojzman was one of the critics of the Kremlin who secured Russian mayoral posts in 2013 through election victories. It happened after a series of large demonstrations in the previous year. He would remain mayor of Russia’s fourth largest city until 2018. However, that year he resigned in protest against the abolition of direct mayoral elections in Yekaterinburg.

In May this year, Rojzman was also arrested and jailed for nine days for urging his followers on social media to take to the streets and demonstrate for the release of opposition leader Alexei Navalni.

Independence Day of Ukraine without celebrations

03:30 | Ukraine celebrates Independence Day today to commemorate the country’s secession from the Soviet Union in 1991. In addition, it will be exactly six months since Russia invaded the country. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky believes that Moscow will use the day to launch a major attack on Ukrainian cities.

Many celebrations in the country have been canceled due to the increased threat from Russian missiles. In Kharkiv, the curfew has been extended, and in Mikolayiv, people must work from home as much as possible. Also in Kiev, all major public events and gatherings have been canceled to reduce the risk of civilian deaths. The capital is far from the front line and has hardly come under fire in recent months, but the Ukrainian army still believes there is a chance of airstrikes on Wednesday.

Another possibility, which Zelensky mentioned, is that on this very day Russia will open a trial against Ukrainian soldiers who have been taken as prisoners of war. It would be a public trial of soldiers who fought in Mariupol. According to Zelensky, this is ‘to humiliate us’. The president said he had discussed all possible scenarios with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Last year there was a military parade in Kiev, but that too will not take place on the 31st Independence Day. Last weekend, a foretaste of the holiday was already taken in the capital by showing crushed Russian tanks on the street.

Demonstrations by Ukrainians in the Netherlands six months after the invasion

03:30 | The Ukrainian Foundation in the Netherlands is demonstrating today in several major cities to draw attention to the situation in Ukraine. It has been exactly six months since Russia invaded the country.

Since then, the war in Ukraine and millions of its inhabitants have fled. Ukraine also celebrates Independence Day on Wednesday to commemorate its 1991 secession from the Soviet Union.

The Ukrainians of the Holland Foundation have announced demonstrations in The Hague, Amsterdam and Rotterdam this afternoon and evening. The organization says protesters will form a human chain, following the international initiative #TheFreeWorldGathering.

A spokeswoman for the foundation does not dare to say how many people will be present at the demonstrations. “Looking at past demonstrations,” there might be about 150 people at a time, but because of Independence Day, there might be more.

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