Russia-Ukraine Updates: Prisoners of War and ‘Tortured’ Civilians in the Occupied South | News | DW


Russian armed forces are torturing prisoners of war and civilians in southern Ukraine, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Saturday.

The rights group said it conducted interviews with dozens of people in the occupied regions of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, uncovering 42 cases where Russian forces either disappeared civilians or arbitrarily detained them.

Some had had no contact with the outside world and many had been tortured.

HRW also documented the torture of three members of the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces who were POWs. Two of them died.

The non-profit agency said the purpose of the abuse appeared to be to obtain information and instill fear so that people would accept the Russian occupation.

Russian forces have turned the occupied areas of southern Ukraine into an abyss of fear and savage anarchy,” said Yulia Gorbunova, senior Ukraine researcher at Human Rights Watch.

here are the other headlines from the July 23 war in Ukraine.

White House announces new military package for Ukraine

The United States has approved an additional military aid of 270 million dollars (264 million euros) to Ukraine.

The aid includes four new M142 high-mobility artillery rocket systems, bringing the number of Himars delivered to Kyiv to 20.

Ukraine has called the Himars, which can accurately hit targets within 80 kilometers (50 miles), a game-changer in the fight against Russia.

The Pentagon said Ukraine would also receive up to 580 Phoenix Ghosts – small, highly portable drones that explode on their targets.

The latest aid also includes 36,000 rounds of artillery ammunition and four command post vehicles, armored posts that can serve as centers of operations on the battlefield.

More than half of the aid comes from a $40 billion package for Ukraine approved by Congress in May.

Zelenskyy hails UN-brokered grain export deal

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he was satisfied with the agreement signed with Russia allowing the export of millions of tons of grain from the Black Sea ports of his country.

Russian forces blockaded Ukrainian ports during the first stage of the February invasion, causing food prices to spike and food shortages in many parts of the world. The deal means grain exports can start flowing again, alongside security checks on ships.

The document signed in Istanbul on Friday was “fully in line with Ukraine’s interests”, Zelenskyy said in his Friday night video address.

“Now we can not only resume the work of our Black Sea ports, but also maintain the necessary protection for them,” he added.

The agreement was brokered by the United Nations and Turkey.

Lithuania lifts Kaliningrad rail transit ban

Lithuania has lifted a ban on rail transport of sanctioned goods to and from the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, according to the RIA news agency.

Last week, the European Union said the transit ban only affected road transit.

The Kaliningrad region borders Poland and Lithuania and depends on importing goods from the rest of Russia through EU territory.

Lithuania blocked Russia from sending sanctioned goods by rail to Kaliningrad in June.

Advisor to Zelensky: 1,000 Russian troops surrounded in the Kherson region

More than 1,000 Russian troops have been surrounded by Ukrainian forces in the Kherson region of southern Ukraine, an adviser to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.

Oleksiy Arestovych said the Russians were caught in a “tactical encirclement” not far from the village of Vysokopillya after an unsuccessful attempt to break through Ukrainian lines.

The Ukrainian military has recently launched several counter-offensives in the Kherson region, which has been largely under Moscow’s control since the invasion began in February.

In its latest update, British military intelligence said supply lines to Russian forces west of the Dnipro River in the Kherson region are under increasing threat.

The German-Polish tank plan does not go as planned

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has admitted that a circular swap scheme for indirect arms supplies to Ukraine is not working as planned.

However, she dismissed strong criticism from the Polish government, which accused Germany of deception

The proposed deal involved Poland sending Soviet-era tanks to Ukraine, while Poland would receive new replacements from Germany or other allies. This would allow Ukraine to quickly obtain heavy military equipment that it was used to using without extensive training in new technologies.

But Warsaw accused Berlin of offering older tanks to replace those Poland was sending to Ukraine.

Baerbock fired back, recounting an event for Image newspaper that there was no deception. She admitted the plan was ‘unsatisfactory for both parties’ but appeared to be ‘the best and quickest way [of helping Ukraine] at the time.”

Catch up on DW’s Ukrainian content

Germany currently hosts approximately 900,000 Ukrainian refugees. Despite improved security around Kyiv and the West, many are reluctant to return home.

Western sanctions against Russia are starting to bite. But growing ties between Moscow and Tehran could help President Vladimir Putin figure out how to get around the restrictions.

Despite rumors that Minsk forces could join the war in Ukraine, Belarusian opposition figure Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya told DW the concerns were likely unfounded.

mm/jcg (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

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