War in Ukraine: Russian strike kills three in Kramatorsk, Russia's GDP plummets

The bombardments continue.

War in Ukraine: Russian strike kills three in Kramatorsk, Russia's GDP plummets

The bombardments continue. On Friday August 12, Russian strikes on the Ukrainian towns of Kramatorsk, in the east of the country, and Zaporijjia, in the south, left at least three dead and 15 injured. Kramatorsk is one of the last major cities still under Ukrainian control in the Donetsk region, a separatist regional capital occupied by Russian forces since 2014. Since the withdrawal of Vladimir Putin's army from the vicinity of kyiv and Kharkiv at the end of March, the he bulk of the fighting is taking place in the Donbass, an industrial basin in eastern Ukraine, and in the south, where kyiv is leading a counter-offensive.

Three people were killed and 15 others injured Friday in Russian bombardments on the Ukrainian cities of Kramatorsk and Zaporizhya, local authorities said. "The shelling damaged at least twenty buildings and a fire broke out," said Pavlo Kyrylenko, the governor of the Donetsk region, on Facebook, again calling on the local population to evacuate. A local official in Zaporijjia, Anatoly Kourtev, for his part reported on Telegram the death of a woman in Russian strikes which also injured two. They were hospitalized.

The Pentagon assured, Friday, not to have information on the cause of the recent explosions on a Russian military base in Crimea, while stressing that the United States had delivered to kyiv no weapon allowing to carry out such a strike.

The Russian military airport of Saki, in Crimea - territory annexed in 2014 by Russia - was heavily damaged on Tuesday by a series of explosions presented as accidental by Moscow, but which experts attribute to an attack by Ukrainian forces. kyiv did not claim responsibility for this attack and the multiple explosions, filmed by witnesses who later posted videos on social networks, remain unexplained. "We have nothing to indicate whether there was a missile launch or not, I can't say whether there was sabotage or not," a senior US military official told reporters. Compatible with the Himars precision artillery systems already available to the Ukrainian forces, these missiles would allow kyiv to strike deep targets in territory controlled by Moscow, which the United States seeks to avoid for fear of an extension of the conflict with NATO countries.

Deliveries of Russian oil to the Czech Republic have resumed after an eight-day suspension linked to sanctions against Moscow and relating to transit rights through Ukraine, the Czech operator Mero announced on Friday. The Russian company responsible for transporting hydrocarbons, Transneft, announced the interruption of oil deliveries to Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, from August 4. According to Transneft, the sanctions imposed on Russia following the invasion of Ukraine prevented it from paying transit fees to kyiv, which therefore halted the transport of oil.

Russia continues to supply oil to these three landlocked European countries which enjoy a waiver from European Union sanctions. Czech Industry Minister Jozef Sikela said on Twitter on Friday that the Czech Republic, which was negotiating on its own, had "found a way to unblock the payment of transit fees for oil deliveries".

Russia's gross domestic product (GDP) contracted 4% in the second quarter compared to the same period in 2021, according to an official statistical estimate released on Friday, showing the impact of economic sanctions against Moscow. GDP amounted "to 96% (of its value) in the same period in 2021, according to preliminary estimates", statistics agency Rosstat said in a statement, adding that a more complete assessment would be published on September 9.

These are the first figures from Rosstat on growth over a full quarter in Russia since the launch of Moscow's offensive against Ukraine in late February. After the outbreak of this military intervention, Western countries imposed heavy sanctions on Moscow which weigh on the Russian economy. If the Russian GDP had recorded in the first quarter of 2022 a growth of 3.5% over one year, according to Rosstat, the country is now sinking into a period of recession.

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