The poor performance of the Russian armed forces during its invasion of Ukraine appears to have led to a reshuffle of command, the British Ministry of Defense said on Sunday.
General Alexander Vladimirovich Dvornikov, who had been given overall command of the operation in Ukraine, was removed from his post last week, the ministry said. General-Colonel Aleksandr Zhuravlev, who has commanded Russia’s Western Military District since 2018, was absent from Russian Navy Day in St. Petersburg a week ago and was likely replaced, the ministry said. in his assessment of the war.
Another general was relieved of the command of the Forces du Groupement du Sud, the ministry said.
“These dismissals are compounded by at least 10 Russian generals killed on the battlefield in Ukraine,” the assessment said. “The cumulative effect on command coherence likely contributes to Russian tactical and operational difficulties.”
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►US Secretary of State Antony Blinken began his three-nation African tour on Sunday in South Africa, one of many countries on the continent that have remained neutral in the face of Russia’s war in Ukraine. In recent weeks, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and French President Emmanuel Macron have also traveled to Africa, seeking support for their positions on the war.
►Five civilians were killed in recent Russian and separatist attacks on towns in the Donetsk region, the part of Donbass still under Ukrainian control, regional governor Serhiy Haidai reported.
►The city of Mykolaiv, a major shipbuilding center near Ukraine’s largest port in Odessa, now faces daily Russian bombardment, according to local officials.
►The Russian invasion which began on February 24 “is about to enter a new phase” in which the fighting would move west and south along a 217-mile line that stretches from near the town of Zaporizhzhia in Russian-occupied Kherson, the British Ministry of Defense said.
Senators urge Biden to declare Russia a state sponsor of terrorism
A prominent senator from each party is pushing the Biden administration to declare Russia a state sponsor of terrorism for its invasion of Ukraine, and they are jointly taking their case to the airwaves.
Democrat Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, both with more than a decade in the Senate, told CNN on Sunday that if President Joe Biden did not support the nomination, they would work to get Congress pass a bill. issue one. Generally, these designations are made by the Department of State.
“I hope the president decides to take that position voluntarily, and he hasn’t taken it off the table,” Blumenthal said.
Graham, who served in the Senate with Biden, was more pointed in trying to get the president to put more pressure on Russia by adding it to the current US list of state sponsors of terrorism, which includes Iran, North Korea, Syria and Cuba.
“Whether or not we have to legislate for this to happen, we are prepared to do so,” Graham said. “I urge the administration to act now.”
Six more grain shipments leave Ukrainian ports
Another six ships carrying agricultural goods stranded by war in Ukraine have been cleared to leave the country’s Black Sea ports, carrying more than 236,000 tonnes of grain.
The body overseeing an international deal to bring 20 million tonnes of grain out of Ukraine to feed people in Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia says the loaded ships have been cleared starting on Sunday. Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the United Nations agreed last month to create a maritime corridor that would allow cargo ships to travel safely from Ukraine’s southern coast.
The process has moved slowly and the ship which left Ukraine last Monday to much fanfare as the first under the deal saw its scheduled arrival in Lebanon delayed on Sunday, Lebanese officials said. The reason was not immediately clear.
The expeditions are seen as a hopeful first step but far from the solution to a global food crisis that has been exacerbated by war.
Ukrainian nuclear power plant under Russian fire
The operator of the Ukrainian nuclear power plant, Energoatom, announced that the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, located in the south-east of Ukraine, came under Russian fire on Saturday evening. Bombing of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant damaged three radiation monitors and injured one worker.
Russian forces have occupied the station for months. Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, recently said he was concerned about the way the plant was run and that the fighting around it posed serious threats to the health and the environment.
“All nuclear safety principles were violated” at the plant, Grossi said.
Ukrainian leader of Amnesty International resigns in protest
The head of Amnesty International’s Ukraine section has resigned after the human rights organization published a report claiming that Ukrainian forces were endangering civilians by basing themselves in populated areas. In a Facebook post, Oksana Pokalchuk accused Amnesty International of failing to recognize the realities of the war in Ukraine and of ignoring the advice of staff members, who urged the group to revise its report.
The report, which angered senior Ukrainian officials and Western scholars of international and military law, alleged that Ukrainian forces had violated international humanitarian law by setting up bases and operating weapons systems in schools, hospitals and other populated areas.
Pokalchuk claimed that Ukraine’s Defense Ministry had not had enough time to respond to the findings, calling the report a “Russian propaganda tool”. Russian forces defended attacks in civilian areas by suggesting that Ukrainian fighters set up firing positions at targeted locations.
Contributor: Ella Lee, USA TODAY; The Associated Press