Earlier on Thursday:
US says Russia wants to fabricate evidence on prison deaths
The White House said Thursday that new intelligence indicates that Russia is fabricating evidence about last week’s deadly attack on a POW prison in a separatist region of eastern Ukraine.
US intelligence officials have determined that Russia is looking for false evidence to make it appear that Ukrainian forces were responsible for the July 29 attack on Olenivka prison, which left 53 dead and dozens injured, spokesman John Kirby said. of the White House National Security Council.
Separately, a Western government official, who briefed reporters on the condition of anonymity, said explosives experts who reviewed photos of the prison released by the Russians after the incident determined that the destruction was likely not caused by “an explosive attack.” from outside” and that it was “much more likely to be a fire hazard and from inside the site.”
“We expect Russian officials to try to frame the Ukrainian armed forces while waiting for journalists and potential investigators to visit the site of the attack,” Kirby said.
Russians shell city near Europe’s largest nuclear power plant
Russian forces shelled a Ukrainian city near Europe’s largest nuclear power plant on Thursday, bolstering the UN nuclear chief’s warnings that the fighting around the site could lead to a disastrous accident.
The regional governor of Dnipropetrovsk said Russia fired 60 rockets at Nikopol, across the Dnieper River from the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, which has been under Russian control since Moscow’s troops captured it early in the war.
About 50 residential buildings were damaged in the city of 107,000 and residents were without electricity, Valentyn Reznichenko wrote on Telegram.
Rafael Grossi, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, had warned on Tuesday that the situation at the Zaporizhzhya plant in the city of Enerhodar was getting more dangerous by the day.
“Every principle of nuclear safety has been violated” at the plant, he said. “What is at stake is extremely serious and extremely serious and dangerous.”
He expressed concern about the way the factory is being operated and about the danger of the fighting around it. He cited shelling at the start of the war when it was taken over and continued cases of Ukraine and Russia accusing each other of attacking there.
EU imposes new sanctions on ex-Ukraine president
European Union member states on Thursday imposed sanctions on former pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and his son Oleksandr for their alleged role in the security threat to Ukraine.
The European Council said in a statement that the two men had been added to a European sanctions list prepared “in response to unjustified Russian military aggression against Ukraine”.
Yanukovych was President of Ukraine from February 2010 to February 2014, when he was overthrown in a popular uprising against the turn of his government from the West to Moscow.
President Putin’s Russia responded to its ally’s defeat by taking Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula and an enclave in the eastern region of Donbass. In February, Moscow launched a large-scale offensive against Ukraine.
The EU believes that Yanukovych, 72 years old and living in Russia, still “plays a role in undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine”.
The statement published Thursday in the EU’s official journal accuses him of plotting to try to return to power in Ukraine if the Russian invasion succeeds in overthrowing President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Meta dismantles Russian propaganda network
An organization near Moscow is campaigning to influence social media in support of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, using “troll farms” and hackneyed tactics, Meta – the parent company of social media platforms Facebook and Instagram – revealed. Thursday.
“It seemed like a step back,” Ben Nimmo, one of the California group’s security managers, told AFP. “But they weren’t very good and there’s no evidence they got the impact and virality they had before.”
Meta has dismantled a network of fake accounts on its platforms, created by an entity called “Cyber Front Z” and people linked in the past to the “Internet Research Agency” (IRA), suspected of having a digital arm of the Kremlin.
Operated by employees of a “troll farm” in St. Petersburg, these fake accounts posted pro-Russian comments among personalities and media content to “create the impression of popular support for the invasion of Ukraine.”
“Russia is sending tons of humanitarian aid to Ukraine, where the local Nazis (…) are holding the civilians hostage,” said one of these accounts under a video Angelina Jolie posted on Instagram about the war, according to the Meta. report.
In total, the social media giant withdrew more than 1,000 accounts on Instagram and 45 on Facebook in early April. Some 49,000 accounts followed one or more of the fake profiles on Instagram.