After Kyiv announced the start of a major offensive in the south of the country, the exact situation in the Cherson region remains unclear. Meanwhile, the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant comes under fire again. And reports of Ukrainian dummies are causing a stir. The 188th day of the war at a glance:
Ukrainian offensive with unclear course
After the start of a major Ukrainian offensive in the south of the country, the Ukrainian military has been reluctant to report on the situation. The spokeswoman for the southern command of the Ukrainian army, Nataliya Humenyuk, spoke of "position battles" in the Mykolaiv and Kherson regions. It is still too early to talk about possible recaptured places. "Fighting is going on right now and this requires an information silence."
The day before, Humenyuk had announced the start of a long-awaited offensive north of the Dnipro River. The Russian army confirmed advances by Ukrainian troops, but spoke of successful defense and high Ukrainian losses.
Military expert: Ukrainian offensive a feint
In an interview with ntv, military expert and retired Colonel Ralph Thiele described the alleged major offensive by the Ukrainians in the Cherson region as a ruse. "When you go on an offensive, you don't talk about it, you try to surprise your opponent," said Thiele. He therefore rates the whole thing as an "information-tactical manoeuvre". One reason for this could be to keep the motivation of one's own strength high.
Two explosions near a nuclear power plant storage building
The Russian military administration of the city of Enerhodar reported two explosions near a spent fuel storage building of the Zaporizhia NPP. The administration blamed Ukraine for the attack. Accordingly, their goal should be to disrupt the mission of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The experts are to inspect the Russian-occupied nuclear power plant in the south-east of the country. The IAEA mission, led by IAEA chief Rafael Grossi, is expected to be on site later this week.
Zelenskyj meets IAEA expert team in Kyiv
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has met with IAEA experts in Kyiv. "We want the IAEA mission to get to the nuclear headquarters and do everything possible to prevent the dangers (of a nuclear disaster)," Zelenskyy said, according to a video released by his office. "This is probably one of the most important questions regarding the security of Ukraine and the world," said Zelenskyy. He called for an "immediate demilitarization of the plant," the removal of all Russian soldiers, weapons, and their explosives from the power plant site, and a return of the nuclear power plant to "Ukrainian control" with the establishment of a demilitarized zone around the plant.
Newspaper: Ukraine successfully uses dummies
According to the Washington Post, the Ukrainian military is also using dummy weapons to deceive the attackers. It is about wooden replicas of modern US missile systems, the newspaper wrote, citing unnamed high-ranking officials from the US and Ukraine. In this way, the Russian armed forces were tricked into wasting expensive Kalibr cruise missiles on harmless replicas. In view of the success, the production of the replicas has been expanded.
Ukrainian defector flees from Kherson to Russia
Kirill Stremousov, deputy chairman of the military administration in Kherson, has fled to Russia, users on Twitter report. His two most recent video messages were recorded at the Marriot Hotel in Voronezh, about 200 kilometers from the Ukrainian border. The Ukrainian Stremousov himself recently said in a statement that Ukraine would soon be outnumbered. "It's a steppe where there's nowhere to hide," he told the New York Times. "This region can become a real trap for the Ukrainian armed forces."
US media: Iran delivers first drones to Russia
According to a US media report, Iran has sent the first drones to Russia for use in Ukraine. As the "Washington Post" reported, citing intelligence circles, at least two types of unmanned aircraft were delivered on August 19. These could be used to fire on radar systems, artillery and other military objects. However, the Russian armed forces had to contend with numerous malfunctions during the first tests.
Majority wants negotiations about the end of the war
According to a survey, 77 percent of Germans believe that the West should initiate negotiations to end the Ukraine war. This emerges from a survey by the opinion research institute Forsa for the RTL/ntv "trend barometer". 17 percent thought the West should not do that at the moment. 87 percent of those surveyed think it is right for Western heads of government to continue talking to Russian President Vladimir Putin. 11 percent didn't think that was right.
Federal government for higher visa hurdles for Russians
The federal government has spoken out in favor of the complete suspension of the European visa agreement with Moscow, which makes it easier for Russians to enter the EU. Such an approach could be a "quite good bridge" in the internal EU dispute over possible entry restrictions, said Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on the sidelines of the cabinet meeting at Schloss Meseberg. The approach is pretty much in the middle between those who no longer want to issue visas to Russians and those who want to continue as before. Such a step could significantly increase the costs and effort for applicants and allow EU states to restrict the issuance of visas for the Schengen area.
EU explores options for military training for Ukrainians
The EU wants to start preparations for a military operation to train Ukrainian soldiers. The member states had agreed to start the necessary work for such a support operation, said EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell after deliberations with the defense ministers in Prague. The location and details are still open, but Germany and other member states rule out training the armed forces in Ukraine itself. Specifically, the support operation could include training Ukrainian armed forces in areas such as logistics and protection against nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. Borrell emphasized that the final decision to start had not yet been made.
EU donates millions of iodine tablets
EU countries have announced a donation of five million potassium iodide tablets to Ukraine. "Germany would be responsible for delivering the tablets to Ukraine," said a spokesman for the European Commission. They are intended to serve as a preventive measure to protect people in the vicinity of the Zaporizhia NPP. The tablets are to be used in the event that radioactivity escapes from the nuclear power plant. This is to prevent inhaled or swallowed radioactive iodine from settling in the thyroid gland.
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