Day 229 of the Invasion of Ukraine: Bulgarian connection in the Explosion of the Crimean Bridge
Here are the highlights of events related to the war in Ukraine over the past 24 hours:
Explosions in the center of Kyiv. Fighter jets fly over the city
World media reported explosions in the center of Kyiv, a day after the Russian president accused Ukraine of a terrorist attack on the Crimean bridge.
Three loud explosions were heard in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, AFP reported, after a live BBC broadcast from the city was interrupted by the sound of fighter jets flying over.
Reuters quoted the city's mayor, Vitali Klitschko, as saying there had been several explosions in the central Shevchenko district. According to an adviser to the Ukrainian Interior Ministry, quoted by UNIAN, rescuers are already working in the area of one of the strikes in the capital.
There are dead and wounded in the rocket attacks on the Ukrainian capital Kyiv this morning, the Ukrainian emergency service reported, quoted by Reuters.
These are the first strikes against Kyiv in months, and even during the active Russian offensive against the city in the first month of the war, the city center was rarely hit.
This morning, a residential building was hit again in the Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia. The Ukrainian regional administration and the office of President Zelensky are distributing a night photo of a damaged building in the center of the city, while in another part of it the cleanup continues after a similar attack yesterday, in which 13 people died. According to the Ukrainian agency UNIAN, 1 person was killed in the new attack, and 5 others, including a child, were injured.
Zelensky's chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, described it as evidence that peaceful Ukrainians were being attacked by a state sponsor of terrorism. Yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Ukraine of an act of terrorism against the bridge that connects his country's recognized territory with the annexed Crimean peninsula.
On the Russian side, this morning Ukrainian strikes on cities in the separatist-controlled parts of the Donbas were reported. Five civilians were injured yesterday in strikes in the Donetsk region, writes TASS.
John Kirby: The US would like a quick diplomatic solution to the conflict in Ukraine
The US sees no signs of Russia being ready to use nuclear weapons. This was stated by the coordinator of strategic communications at the National Security Council of the White House, John Kirby, in an interview with ABC, quoted by BGNES.
"There is no new intelligence or evidence that Putin has decided to use nuclear weapons. Frankly, there is no evidence that he has made such a decision. We have also seen nothing that would give us a reason to change the state of readiness of our strategic deterrence forces,” Kirby said.
He added that the US and its allies are "watching very closely" but "there is no indication that Putin has done anything to come close to making such a decision".
Kirby noted that the US would like a quick diplomatic settlement of the conflict in Ukraine: "We all want this war to end. It's been going on for too long. It's necessary for both sides to be able to sit down and come to an agreement, find a way out of this peaceful and diplomatic way," he said.
At the same time, Kirby claimed that Russia was obstructing the start of negotiations and "is not showing any signs of willingness to do so."
At the same time, it was reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin has called a meeting with the members of the National Security Council for today. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov indicated that the meeting was with the permanent members of the council. The spokesman did not indicate whether the Crimean bridge incident, which was damaged by an explosion on Saturday, would be among the topics of the meeting.
Ukrainian authorities reported new Russian strikes against buildings in Zaporizhzhia
Amid accusations of terrorism against the Ukrainian authorities, new Russian strikes on residential buildings in the city of Zaporizhzhia were reported.
After Russian President Vladimir Putin described the Kerch Bridge bombing as an act of Ukrainian terrorism, the presidential adviser in Kyiv, Mykhailo Podolyak, reacted by saying such accusations sounded too cynical, even for Moscow.
Ukraine blamed Russian forces for the rocket attack in the early hours of Sunday that killed at least 13 people and injured dozens after a block of flats in the city of Zaporizhzhia were hit.
"This was a deliberate strike. Those who issued the order and those who carried it out knew where they were attacking. Those who want peace negotiations do not do so, and those who are terrorists - they act in this way," said the Ukrainian President.
Last night, the Ukrainian governor of Zaporizhzhia region, which Russia already considers part of its state territory, announced new attacks on the main city, which is under Ukrainian control.
Oleksandr Starukh wrote in Telegram that a multi-story residential building was hit again and that there were wounded.
On the other side of the Dnieper River, the external power supply of the Zaporizhzhia Atomic Energy Plant, which is under Russian control, was restored. This was confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency, which maintains a team at the plant. Power was once again cut due to strikes in the plant's area, which could disrupt its emergency systems.
The head of the agency, Rafael Grossi, described the latest news as "temporary relief in an untenable situation".
Zelensky: It is impossible to negotiate with Moscow
Kyiv's reaction. The adviser to the Ukrainian president, Mykhailo Podolyak, called the accusation of an explosion on the Crimean bridge "too cynical even for Russia."
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said it was impossible to negotiate with Moscow.
"Continuous terrorism against the civilian population is an obvious refusal of Russia for real negotiations," Zelensky also said.
"Do negotiations really help to overcome terror? Now everyone must answer this question honestly. Terrorists must be neutralized. Terrorism is a crime that must be punished. State-level terrorism is one of the most serious international crimes that threatens not only someone in the world but threatens the entire international community," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said.
Scholz and Biden criticized Moscow's nuclear threats
In a telephone conversation, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and US President Joe Biden criticized Moscow's latest nuclear threats and described them as "irresponsible". According to government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit, they agreed that such a step would have extremely serious consequences for Russia, reports "Der Standard", quoted by BGNES.
The two leaders continue to call on Russian President Vladimir Putin to end hostilities and fully withdraw his forces from the entire territory of Ukraine.
The Kremlin has repeatedly threatened indirectly to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, the publication recalls. Putin, for example, had announced that he would use all available means to defend Russia. However, the US government has no evidence that the Russian president has decided to use nuclear weapons.
Kyrgyzstan canceled military exercises with Russia and allies this week
Kyrgyzstan said it had pulled out of the "Unbreakable Brotherhood 2022" drills that were due to take place this week under the Russian-dominated military alliance, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).
This was reported by RIA "Novosti", citing the Kyrgyz Ministry of Defense.
The exercises, planned for the period September 10-14, were supposed to coincide with the upcoming meeting of the CSTO - which, together with Russia, includes three Central Asian countries, Belarus and Armenia - in Kazakhstan.
Russian President Vladimir Putin will arrive in Astana for the summit amid strained relations between Moscow and its Central Asian allies, exposed by the war in Ukraine.
The latest episode of tension was with Kazakhstan over the Ukrainian ambassador in Astana, but according to Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov, Putin is expected to discuss current issues with his Kyrgyz counterpart Sadyr Zhaparov.
A month ago, at a meeting of the Shahnai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Uzbekistan, where leaders from South Asia and China were also present, Zhaparov left Putin waiting in front of cameras before showing up.
Turkey offers Russia and 4 Western countries to negotiate in Istanbul about the war
Turkey wants to bring together Russia, the United States, France, Germany and Great Britain to negotiate a way out of the war in Ukraine.
This is reported by the Turkish newspaper Milliyet, and Ismail Karayel, who heads the Turkish delegation in the joint parliamentary commission between Turkey and the European Union, confirms this possibility for RIA Novosti.
In his words, Istanbul - where the agreement between Russia and Ukraine was concluded with Turkey and the UN on the export of Ukrainian grain through Black Sea ports - can become a place for this format.
According to analyst Ozai Shendir, who reported on the idea in Milliyet as early as last week, not all countries were officially aware of the plan (the information is from October 7), but it reached the United States, where among "influential persons" the first comments were positive. According to Karayel, Istanbul can be mutually acceptable to all countries.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is trying to mediate the war and maintains relations with both Kyiv and Moscow, recently issued a new call for talks.
However, the latest initiative does not include Ukraine, which is actually waging war with Russia, although supported by the West diplomatically and with weapons.
Russian representatives insist that there is actually a conflict with NATO on the territory of Ukraine.
On Saturday, Erdogan's close adviser Ibrahim Kalan predicted that talks between Kyiv and Moscow would resume soon. Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said after the annexation of four regions of his country last month that he would not negotiate with Russia while Vladimir Putin is president. Turkey also rejects the annexation of Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
Russian war correspondent: The Crimean bridge bomb was placed In foil pallets In Bulgaria
The explosive used to blow up the Crimean bridge came from Bulgaria and was planted in the goods transported by the truck-bomb in Bulgaria. This is what Russian military correspondent Alexander Kots claims in "Komsomolska Pravda".
According to Kots, two trucks were used in the operation to blow up the Crimean bridge. According to him, the cargo consisted of 22 euro pallets with foil, 9 rolls in each, each pallet weighing about 1 ton. The goods arrived by sea in the Georgian port of Poti from Bulgaria. The order was placed in the name of a citizen of Ukraine. It was then loaded onto a truck with foreign license plates and from Poti the truck traveled to Armenia, where it was cleared at customs under the rules of the customs union.
After that, the truck returned to Georgia again, and from there, through the Verkhniy Lars border crossing, entered the territory of Russia. The end point was the city of Armavir, where the pallets were reloaded into another truck and from there to Crimea. Kots hypothesizes that the blast was somehow embedded in the rolls of foil so that they would not be detected by X-ray examination. "And this was done in Bulgaria, which means that in addition to Ukraine, foreign services could have participated in the organization of this terrorist act."
Kots also published photos of the truck with which the cargo left Bulgaria.
On Sunday, the chairman of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation reported to President Vladimir Putin that before exploding on the Crimean bridge, the truck bomb passed through the territories of Bulgaria, Georgia, Armenia, North Ossetia and Krasnodar.
The tractor itself with the cargo could not have been in Bulgaria, because the tractor is of the "conventional" type, of the American type with an engine in front of the cab, while in Europe tractors move with a cab above the engine.
The "conventional" ones cannot be driven on the territory of the EU, because with the semi-trailer they exceed the maximum length of 17.60 meters. But they move in Georgia and Russia, and according to truck drivers, the normal practice for such courses is for a semi-trailer truck to drive the semi-trailer to Georgia, and there a local will pick it up.
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