17 dead as Russian missiles rain on Zaporizhzhia
Seventeen people died following a night missile attack in Zaporizhzhia in southern Ukraine. The provisional death number was communicated on Telegram by Anatoly Kurtev, secretary of the city council. “According to preliminary data,” he wrote, “five private houses have been destroyed and 40 others have been damaged. Right now, 17 people are known to have died.” According to local media reports there are also 44 injured. Also on Saturday the city had suffered an attack that had caused another 17 deaths.
Shelling of Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant ‘irresponsible’
Overnight shelling that cut the power line supplying cooling systems at the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine was “tremendously irresponsible”, the UN atomic watchdog said on Saturday, calling again for a protection zone around the plant. “The resumption of shelling, hitting the plant’s sole source of external power, is tremendously irresponsible,” the International Atomic Energy Agency said, quoting IAEA chief Rafael Grossi. The watchdog confirmed the plant is now relying on diesel backup generators. Grossi will visit Russia and Ukraine “soon” to discuss setting up a protection zone at the plant.
‘Conditions for a coup in Russia’ – Kiev
Russian President Vladimir Putin has lost control of the secret services and “it is very likely that the explosions on the Crimean Kerch bridge were organised by representatives of the Russian security forces who oppose each other,” according to Mykhailo Podolyak, advisor to Ukrainian President Zelinski. On TV, as UNIAN reports, Podolyak stated that in his opinion “the situation in the Russian Federation could very likely turn into a coup” and in fact “the military personnel are already detained in Moscow”. Podolyak, took to Twitter to post a picture of a long section of the bridge half-submerged in the water. “Crimea, the bridge, the beginning,” he wrote. “Everything illegal must be destroyed, everything stolen must be returned to Ukraine, everything occupied by Russia must be expelled.” Podolyak has previously said that Ukraine will not participate in negotiations with Russia until it leaves Ukrainian territory, including Crimea. The Ukrainian Ministry of Defence celebrated the destruction to the “notorious” Russian symbol on Saturday, comparing it to the sinking of Russia’s flagship missile cruiser earlier in the war. “The guided missile cruiser Moskva and the Kerch Bridge – two notorious symbols of Russian power in Ukrainian Crimea – have gone down,” the ministry wrote on Twitter. “What’s next in line…?”
Putin orders more security for Crimea bridge, energy supplies
President Putin on Saturday ordered tighter security for the bridge from Russia to Crimea as well as the infrastructure supplying electricity and natural gas to the peninsula, Interfax said. In a decree issued hours after the bridge was damaged by a blast, Putin said the FSB security service would be responsible for strengthening protection measures. As the war in Ukraine reached the 228th day, General Sergey Surovikin, head of the forces in Syria, was appointed to command the special military operation in Ukraine. Rail traffic on the bridge resumed in the early evening with two trains leaving the peninsula for Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Russian investigators on Saturday said three people were killed when a truck exploded on the bridge. The explosion caused partial collapse of the bridge, after the car bomb ignited a huge fire on the bridge, Russia’s sole land link with Crimea. Russian authorities said the blast set ablaze seven oil tankers being transported by train and caused the collapse of two car lanes of the giant road-and-rail structure. The anti-terrorism committee has opened a criminal probe into the explosion and sent detectives to the scene. President Putin opened the bridge in 2018 following Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014, a move that resulted in Western sanctions.
Italian centre-right leaders meet: “Important steps forward”
Prime Minister-in-waiting Georgia Meloni, Lega Nord’s Matteo Salvini and Forza Italia’s Silvio Berlusconi met in Arcore and and reported “important steps forward” were made in the direction of a “strong government capable of responding to the country’s urgencies, starting with energy costs”. The leaders of the coalition agreed, according to internal sources, on the need to “proceed as quickly as possible along the road to the formation of the executive”. For its part, sources from Salvini’s Lega Nord have made it known, their priorities are “the defense of salaries, pensions and the work of Italians, starting with a bill-stop decree which, given the European delays, can no longer be postponed”.
Hong Kong detains first teenagers under security law
Five teenagers have been sentenced to three years’ detention in Hong Kong for advocating overthrow of the Beijing government. It is the first time the national security law has been used in court against under-18s in Hong Kong. Beijing introduced the wide-ranging law, which made it easier to prosecute protesters, in the city in 2020. The court heard the defendants had used social media and street booths to advocate a “bloody revolution” to overthrow the Chinese state in the former British colony.
North Korea fires two more missiles
North Korea fired two ballistic missiles into the sea on Sunday, the South’s military said, the latest in a blitz of launches amid tensions over US-led military exercises in the region, the ‘Yonhap’ newspaper reported. The South Korean military’s joint chiefs of staff announced the launches from the southeast of the country – the seventh and eighth in two weeks – without giving further details. North Korea on Saturday had defended its recent flurry of missile tests as a legitimate counter to US military threats, following days of joint military exercises between the South, Japan and the United States.
FBI has enough evidence to prosecute Biden’s son
US federal agents believe there’s enough evidence to criminally charge President Biden’s son, Hunter, with tax crimes and making a false statement related to a gun purchase, according to undisclosed sources familiar with the matter. The younger Biden has been under federal investigation since 2018. The probe initially focused on finances related to his overseas business ties and consulting work but, more recently, has reportedly centred on his income reporting and whether he lied on gun purchase paperwork in 2018. The alleged evidence has reportedly been sent to the US Attorney’s office in Delaware.
Dozens of Gambia children died from imported medicines
Police in Gambia have launched an investigation into the deaths of 66 children, most from acute kidney failure. The news came a day after President Adama Barrow promised to boost health measures including better quality control over imported medicines, amid mounting concern that imported cough syrups caused the deaths. The World Health Organization on Wednesday issued an alert over four cough and cold syrups made by Maiden Pharmaceuticals in India over possible links to the deaths.
10 die in Irish petrol station blast
Four men, three women, a teenage boy and girl and a younger girl were killed in a huge explosion at a petrol station in the Republic of Ireland. The blast happened at the Applegreen service station in the County Donegal village of Creeslough. It destroyed the building and a section of an apartment block, with police saying the evidence gathered so far suggested it was a tragic accident. Seven people who were hurt are in a stable condition in hospital.
$165 million to women abused by gynecologist
Two New York hospitals have agreed to pay more than $165 million (€169 million) to 147 former patients who accused a former gynecologist of sexual abuse and misconduct. The doctor, Robert Hadden, was convicted in 2016 on two charges of forcible touching and third-degree sexual abuse and had surrendered his medical license. He has not worked as a doctor since 2012. The agreement established a compensation fund to be distributed among the women, including dozens who sued the doctor and the hospital network when victims came forward. In a statement Friday, Columbia University Irving Medical Center said it “deeply regrets” the pain that Hadden’s patients suffered.