17 August 2022, 03:00 PM

Unattributed explosions in Crimea cause mass panic and flight, Russian advances on all fronts stall, and 2022 budget increases

Romeo Kokriatski

Managing Editor at the New Voice of Ukraine

This newsletter was compiled by Romeo Kokriatski, Managing Editor of the New Voice of Ukraine, August 17, 2022.

Explosions were reported near the town of Dzhankoy and the city of Simferopol, the peninsula’s capital. Ukrainian authorities have not taken responsibility for the attacks, while the Russian occupation authorities have attempted to play down any evidence of Ukrainian attacks, first attributing the explosions to ‘accidents’, and only later to ‘sabotage.’ An ammunition depot, military camp, and an airfield are all said to have been damaged by the explosions.

  • The blasts have sparked wide-scale evacuations from the peninsula, with the Kerch Strait bridge, connecting Crimea to Russia, reportedly backed up for kilometers.

Ukraine’s General Staff reports a successful defense in both the Pivdennyi Buh axis in the south, and near the Donetsk and Luhansk oblast borders in the east. Russian forces have yet to significantly advance in either direction, and Ukrainian activities against Kherson Oblast have trapped the Russian garrison there without the possibility of resupply.

Russian propaganda outlet RIA Novosti reported on the start of the “trial” for Mathias Gustafsson (Sweden), Vjekoslav Prebeg (Croatia), John Harding (UK), Andrew Hill (UK) and Dylan Healy (UK), painting them as “mercenaries”, despite the inaccuracy of that claim. Gustafsson, Prebeg, and Harding have all been threatened with execution. The UK has condemned Russia’s use of prisoners of war for political gain.

According to the Deputy Chairman of the Kherson District Council, Stanislav Troshyn, this chamber has been built into one of the basements in the city, and contains over sixty prisoners, including the city’s rightful mayor. Over 560 people have disappeared in total in Kherson since the start of the Russian occupation. “People come out with broken ribs, arms, legs. This is a mini analog of ‘Isolation’ in Donetsk (a notorious Russian torture camp in Russian-occupied Donetsk Oblast). This is hard to imagine in the XXI century,” Troshyn said.

Local mayor Ivan Fedorov said the explosions occurred at around 7:00 am near a power substation, and damage the television transmission cable. Earlier, on Aug. 13, Ukrainian partisans blew up a railway bridge near the city.

Ukrainian investigative journalism outlet bihus.info has noted that several MPs, mostly current or former members of the ruling Servant of the People party, have been photographed with vehicles they did not seem to possess prior to the outbreak of full-scale war. In particular, the deputy head of the parliamentary Servant of the People faction, Andrey Motovilovets, was noted to be driving a 2022 Audi Q7 (claiming it was his brother’s.) While under Ukraine’s anti-corruption reforms, MPs are required to declare all owned assets, martial law has has waived this obligation, and classified the current asset register.

Nearly the entire sum will be allocated to defense spending, with only $7 million going to non-defense spending. However, this budget increase does not take into account a proposal of granting state-owned oil and gas company Naftogaz $343 million in order to purchase Canadian gas for the upcoming winter.

Cabinet of Ministers Resolution No. 894 states that retailers will be obliged to ensure that they can take payment by card, app, or device, throughout a phased three-year transition from 2023 to 2026. Exceptions apply to merchants in occupied or hostile territories, artisanal salespeople, vending machines, and others.

JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Barclays, and Jefferies Financial Group have all restarted Russian bond trading to provide investors with the chance to dump what are increasingly seen as “toxic” assets, though these trades are accompanied by increased KYC/AML oversight. According to Reuters, banks are working carefully following U.S. Treasury guidelines to ensure that these trades remain outside the remit of the sanctions regime against Russia.

Maksym Zharikov, a representative of Doctors Without Borders, spoke to NV about his work in Donetsk Oblast during the hottest points of the ongoing Russian invasion, and received a glimpse of what these medical heroes on the front lines are facing on a daily basis. 

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