1,500 cases of treason, dummy nuke warheads, report from POW camps

31 January, 03:11 PM

Your slice of the top headlines in Ukraine. Daily. Tuesday, January 31st, 2023.

•    Since Feb. 24, 2022, Ukraine’s SBU security service has opened over 1,500 criminal cases on treason and espionage charges.

A third of that number have already been referred to the courts, the SBU said. At the same time, the number of explicit Russian agents and spies, involved in intelligence gathering and sabotage, is around 600 individuals, according to the security service. SBU Press Secretary Artem Dekhtyarenko said charges of high treason were mostly levied against civil servants.

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•    The dummy nuclear warheads used in some Russian missile during mass missile attacks on Ukraine are meant to serve as decoys for Ukrainian air defenses.

The dummy warhead matches the weight of an actual nuclear device, but lacks any fissile elements, Air Force spokesperson Yuriy Ihnat noted, and explained that Ukrainian air defenses are forced to prioritize those targets, depleting air defense resources.

•    Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers has appointed former MP Mustafa Nayyem as the head of the State Agency for Reconstruction and Development of Infrastructure.

The said agency will deal with post-war reconstruction, oversee the rebuilding of damaged infrastructure facilities, and coordinate with international donors. the newly created agency represents a reformed iteration of former Ukravtodor (State Agency of Automobile Roads of Ukraine), which absorbed Ukrinfraprojekt (State Agency for Infrastructure Projects) on Jan. 13.

•    Yevgeny Prigozhin, the so-called warlord of the Russian Wagner mercenary company, has little control of its military command and is basically a figurehead for the group.

That’s according to Ukrainian military intelligence, who said that "Prigozhin primary plays media and political roles. He doesn't run (Wagner’s) combat units or the general staff.” Prigozhin is mainly responsible for funding Russian mercenaries, military intelligence added.

•    Amid ongoing large-scale personnel changes in the government, Minister of Youth and Sports Vadym Gutzeit and Minister of Strategic Industries Pavlo Riabikin are to be dismissed.

Citing its sources in the government, online newspaper Ukrainska Pravda said that Gutzeit had already been elected to head the National Olympic Committee, and Riabikin is predicted to be appointed ambassador to China. The paper added that the head of the President's Office, Andriy Yermak, is considering the candidacy of Olena Hovorova, a Sydney Olympic triple jump medalist, a member of the Kyiv City Council and an advisor to Volodymyr Zelenskyy's chief-of-staff, for the post of Minister of Youth and Sports.

•    The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine has passed a bill that cancels a preferential single tax rate (2%) from July 1, 2023.

Thus, after the bill is passed as amended and signed by the president, small businesses will lose their tax benefits starting July 1, 2023, even if the war does not end by that time. In addition, the moratorium on conducting business document checks will also be lifted.

•    Ukraine’s Prosecutor-General’s Office has frozen UAH 32 million ($871,000) in corporate funds of Mykolayiv Bauxite Refinery, owned by Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.

The cash was in a deposit account with Ukraine’s Customs Service, the PGO stated. Earlier, Ukrainian law enforcement has frozen the refinery’s assets: 12 plots of land, port facilities, administrative and industrial buildings, 46 transport vehicles, and 240 pieces of industrial equipment.

•    Ukrainian MPs and former members of the outlawed Opposition Platform – For Life (OPZZh) party Natalia Korolevska and her husband Yuriy Solod have given up their mandates as lawmakers.

Journalists had established that both MPs moved to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates after the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. According to the Ukrainian political movement Chesno, Korolevska, 47, missed all the government sessions after Feb. 24. Korolevska is known for her pro-Russian views – in particular she spread false Russian propaganda narratives about Ukraine's lack of political willingness to solve the "Donbas' conflict," and blamed Ukraine in the war in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts that had lasted since 2014.

•    The European Union will support Ukraine for as long as is needed.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen made the pledge ahead of an EU-Ukraine summit. "Ukraine is fighting for our shared values, it is fighting for respect for international law and for the principles of democracy, and that is why Ukraine has to win this war", the EU commission president said.

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•    The day’s long read: The conditions in Ukraine’s prisoner of war camps – NV report

NV has visited one of the camps where Ukraine holds prisoners of war — soldiers of the Russian army, fighters from LNR/DNR quasi-formations and mercenaries of the notorious Wagner mercenary company. In this story, we’ll you what their everyday life looks like, and the conditions of their detention.

•    Don’t miss: The Russians have been preparing for this for 30 years: How can we end the war in Ukraine?

Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar explains the steps that Ukraine has been taking on the international stage, and at Davos, to ensure that Russia faces accountability for its crimes after the war.

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