Ukraine update: Russia challenges Western resolve to avoid military confrontation, Moscow accused of ‘nuclear terrorism’

by Chris Lange

Chris Lange, FISM News


A top Kremlin security official praised separatist referendums proposed by Russian-backed leaders in the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk’s People’s Republics. Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev, who now serves as deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, touted the proposals as a way for Russia to annex the territories.

The move would test the resolve of the U.S. and European allies who have been careful to avoid direct military conflict with Russia.

“Encroachment onto Russian territory is a crime which allows you to use all the forces of self–defense,” Medvedev said in a post on Telegram. “This is why these referendums are so feared in Kyiv and the West.”

He then added, “It is equally important that after the amendments to the constitution of our state, no future leader of Russia, no official will be able to reverse these decisions.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin officially recognized the independence of both regions just before he invaded Ukraine, now stretching into its seventh month, which has triggered the worst tensions between Washington and Moscow since the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Annexing Donetsk and Luhansk would give Russia veto power over Western influence in Ukraine; namely, NATO membership. Putin cited Ukraine’s potential to join the international military alliance as a key justification for the war, saying such a move would pose a significant security threat to Russia.

Ukrainian forces recapture village in Luhansk

Ukrainian troops continue moving further east into recaptured villages and cities abandoned by Russian soldiers amid a punishing counteroffensive, setting the stage for a possible attack on Kremlin occupiers in the Donbas region. 

Ukraine’s armed forces said they have recaptured Bilohorivka, a village in the Luhansk province. Ebullience over Kyiv’s swift and shockingly successful counteroffensive, however, has been tempered by grim discoveries of mass graves and torture chambers left behind in areas occupied by Russian soldiers since the early days of the war. 

Meanwhile, Britain’s defense ministry reported on Tuesday that Russia’s prized Black Sea fleet appears to have been forced to withdraw submarines from the port of Sevastopol in Crimea to an area further south in response to Ukraine’s acquisition of Western-supplied long-range missile systems. 

Moscow accused of ‘nuclear terrorism’ 

Elsewhere in Ukraine, Kyiv authorities are accusing Russia of “nuclear terrorism” following a strike near the Pivdennoukrainsk nuclear power plant in Ukraine’s southern Mykolaiv region.

The attack follows weeks of fighting around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station and has heightened fears of a nuclear disaster. The strike also perpetuates fears that Russia is purposefully using nuclear fallout fears in an attempt to strong-arm the West into relaxing its support of Ukraine.

Ukraine’s state nuclear company Energoatom said Pivdennoukrainsk’s reactors did not sustain damage in the strikes and are working normally.

Russian atrocities revive calls for war crimes tribunal 

Following reports of the discovery of roughly a dozen torture chambers in newly-liberated villages, Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky, whose country currently holds the presidency of the EU, called for the establishment of a special international tribunal.

“We stand for the punishment of all war criminals,” Lipavsky said in a tweet. “In the 21st Century such attacks against the civilian population are unthinkable and abhorrent. We must not overlook it,” he continued, calling on world leaders to create a “special international tribunal that will prosecute the crime of aggression.”

Moscow has repeatedly denied committing atrocities against Ukrainians.

Zelenskyy to call on world leaders to speed up weapons deliveries at UN General Assembly

Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy is expected to call on nations to speed up weapons and aid deliveries in a planned video address to the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, Reuters reported.

“The occupiers are clearly in a panic,” the Ukrainian leader said in a televised address late on Monday, adding that he was now focused on “speed” in liberated areas.

Ahead of the 77th meeting of the General Assembly world leaders, which convenes today in New York, U.N. Chief Antonio Guterres warned that the world is in “great peril” due to climate change, inequality, and poverty, all made worse by Russia’s war on Ukraine, the Associated Press reported. Guterres will open the meeting with a ‘state of the world’ speech billed as “a sober, substantive and solutions-focused report card.”