Earlier on Thursday:
US says Russia aims to fabricate evidence of deaths in prisons
The White House said on Thursday that new intelligence indicates that Russia is working to fabricate evidence of last week’s deadly strike on a prison holding prisoners of war in a breakaway region of eastern Ukraine.
US intelligence officials have determined that Russia is looking to plant false evidence to make it appear that Ukrainian forces were responsible for the July 29 attack on the Olinivka prison that left 53 dead and dozens wounded, according to White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby.
Separately, a Western government official, who briefed reporters on the condition of anonymity, said that explosives experts who reviewed prison photos released by the Russians after the incident determined that the destruction was not likely due to a “high-explosive strike from the outside” and that it “most likely was burning and from inside the site.”
“We expect Russian officials to try to frame the Ukrainian armed forces in case journalists and potential investigators visit the site of the attack,” Kirby said.
The Russians bomb a city near the largest nuclear plant in Europe
Russian forces bombed a Ukrainian city close to Europe’s largest nuclear power plant Thursday, reinforcing warnings from the United Nations nuclear chief that fighting around the site could lead to a catastrophic accident.
The governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region said Russia fired 60 missiles at Nikopol, across the Dnieper River from the Zaporizhzhya nuclear plant, which has been under Russian supervision since it was captured by Russian forces early in the war.
Valentin Reznichenko wrote on Telegram that about 50 apartment buildings were damaged in the city of 107,000 people, leaving residents without electricity.
Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, warned on Tuesday that the situation was becoming more and more dangerous every day at the Zaporizhzhya plant in the city of Enerhodar.
“Every principle of nuclear safety has been violated” at the plant, he said. “What is at stake is very dangerous, extremely dangerous and dangerous.”
He expressed his concern about the way the factory is operated and the danger posed by the fighting around it. He noted the bombing at the start of the war when it was captured and continuing cases of Ukraine and Russia accusing each other of carrying out attacks there.
EU imposes new sanctions on ex-president of Ukraine
On Thursday, European Union member states imposed sanctions on pro-Russian former 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 list of European sanctions drawn up “in response to Russia’s unjustified military aggression against Ukraine”.
Yanukovych presided over Ukraine from February 2010 until February 2014, when he was ousted in a popular uprising against his government’s shift from the West toward Moscow.
Russia responded to President Putin’s defeat of its ally by seizing Ukraine’s Crimea and an enclave in the eastern region of Donbass. In February, Moscow launched an all-out offensive against Ukraine.
The European Union believes that Yanukovych, 72, who lives in Russia, continues to play a “role in undermining or threatening Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence”.
The statement published Thursday in the Official Journal of the European Union accuses him of plotting to try to return to power in Ukraine if the Russian invasion succeeds in ousting President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Meta dismantles the Russian propaganda network
Meta – the parent company of social media platforms Facebook and Instagram – has revealed that an organization close to Moscow is waging a social media influence campaign in support of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, using “trolley farms” and hack tactics.
“It seemed like a step backwards,” Ben Nimo, one of the group’s security directors in California, told AFP. “But they weren’t very good and there is no evidence that they got the effect and the vibrancy that they had before.”
Meta has dismantled a network of fake accounts on its platforms, created by an entity called “Cyber Front Z” and people formerly associated with the “Internet Research Agency” (IRA), suspected of being a digital arm of the Kremlin.
These fake accounts, operated by employees of the “Troll Farm” located in Saint Petersburg, posted pro-Russian comments under personalities and media content, “to give 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 citizens hostage,” one of these accounts commented in a video posted by Angelina Jolie on Instagram, according to Meta. Report.
In all, the social media giant pulled over 1,000 accounts on Instagram and 45 on Facebook in early April. About 49,000 accounts followed one or more fake Instagram profiles.