Day 171 of the Invasion of Ukraine: Russia warns the US of Severing Relations if Declared Sponsor of TerrorismUkraine | August 13, 2022, Saturday // 09:54| views
Here are the highlights of events related to the war in Ukraine over the past 24 hours:
Russia has warned the US of severing relations if it is declared a sponsor of terrorism
Moscow has told Washington that diplomatic ties will be severely damaged and may even be severed if Russia is designated a "state sponsor of terrorism" by the US.
“If the US Senate does follow through on its intention to declare Russia a ‘state sponsor of terrorism,’ it will mean that Washington has crossed the line of no return”, said Alexander Darchiev, head of the North American Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry.
According to him, if Russia is placed in such a category, it will lead to "the most serious damage to bilateral diplomatic relations".
On Thursday, Latvia's parliament declared Russia a state sponsor of terrorism over the war in Ukraine and called on Western allies to impose broader sanctions on Moscow.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky renewed his call to the European Union countries to ban visas for Russian citizens. In his video address, he expressed his gratitude to a number of European countries that brought the issue of visas for citizens of a terrorist state to an official level of discussion in the EU.
"There must be a guarantee that Russian murderers and brokers of state terror will not use Schengen. The very idea of Europe, our common European values cannot be destroyed. That is, Europe cannot be turned into a supermarket where it does not matter who enters, and the main thing is that one simply pays for the goods."
On the battlefield, Ukrainian forces hit the fourth and final bridge over the Dnieper River in the Russian-occupied Kherson region, regional administration official Serhiy Khlan said on Facebook.
The Ukrainian military has said it now has the capability to strike almost all of Moscow's supply lines in Kherson.
So far, there is no comment from the Russian authorities.
The governor of Zaporizhzhia region reported that five Russian missiles hit the Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia last night. As a result, a fire broke out and infrastructure buildings were destroyed.
The city of Kramatorsk in Donbas was also shelled last night, authorities said.
One-third of Ukraine needs to be demined
Almost a third of the territory of Ukraine will have to be cleared of mines and explosives, and this will take 10 years.
This is clear from the latest assessments of the Ukrainian Ministry of Ecology, nearly six months after the start of the war, Reuters reported.
So far, Ukrainian authorities have cleared more than 620 square kilometers of land littered with thousands of explosive devices, including 2,000 bombs dropped from the air.
Nearly 300,000 square kilometers (about 27% of Ukraine's territory) are still considered "contaminated," according to data published by Ukraine's emergency services. Securing this area could take a decade, according to government estimates.
The US State Department has approved $89 million in aid to equip and train 100 landmine and unexploded ordnance disposal teams for one year.
The latest demining efforts have focused on the northeastern region of Sumy, where Ukrainian authorities conducted controlled explosions on Thursday to clear landmines.
Russian forces moved into the Sumy area shortly after the invasion began on 24 February. The Russians withdrew after failing to capture the capital, Kyiv, and Ukrainian forces regained control of the region on 8 April.
Four months later, demining experts searched a site they were clearing, looking for shells and unexploded landmines. Sumy is one of the most polluted regions in the country, said Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky.
According to the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, which updates its website daily, as of Friday more than 175,000 munitions had already been neutralized and an area of 67,639 hectares had been surveyed.
Removing mines from Ukraine's territorial waters is likely to take five to seven years, Monastyrsky said.
Russia's economy shrank by 4% on an annual basis
The Statistical Institute of Russia came out with data that the country's economy shrank by 4 percent on an annual basis. In the first quarter of 2022, an annual growth of the gross domestic product of 3.5 percent was reported, but since the end of March, the effect of Western sanctions has been heavy.
The Russian central bank predicted that the economy would shrink this year by up to 6 percent, but by mid-2023 it would have transformed enough to start a new growth.
Russian oil supplies to the Czech Republic have resumed
Russian oil supplies to the Czech Republic via the “Druzhba” pipeline resumed after an 8-day interruption.
Filing on Druzhba's southern branch was interrupted on August 4 after a European bank refused to accept transit payments from Russia to Ukraine. This caused an increase in the price of the "Brent" variety on international markets.
Slovakia and Hungary began receiving Russian oil again after paying Kyiv the transit costs.
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