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Two arrests, an unmasking and a sentencing- POLITICO

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The gears of the criminal justice system are turning today, as a suite of high-profile arrests, criminal charges and verdicts led the day’s news across the country and abroad.

— Puerto Rico: The FBI arrested former Puerto Rico Gov. WANDA VÁZQUEZ today on corruption charges, El Nuevo Día’s Carlos Tolentino Rosario and Alex Figueroa Cancel scooped. Vázquez, who served from 2019 to 2021, was charged with bribery relating to her 2020 campaign, along with two other people. A rash of public corruption scandals has rattled Puerto Rico lately.

Striking detail, in the write-up from AP’s Dánica Coto: “Shortly after she was sworn in, Vázquez told the AP that her priorities [included] to fight corruption … During the interview, she told the AP that she had long wanted to be in public service: as a girl, she would stand on her balcony and hold imaginary trials, always finding the supposed defendants guilty.”

— Louisville: The FBI today arrested four former and current Louisville, Ky., police officers in connection with the 2020 killing of BREONNA TAYLOR. A.G. MERRICK GARLAND announced the federal charges against JOSHUA JAYNES, BRETT HANKISON, KYLE MEANY and KELLY HANNA GOODLETT, which variously include using excessive force, civil rights violations and obstruction. More from the Courier-Journal

— Syria: The Air Force revealed the identity of the service member accused of an insider attack in Syria in April: DAVID DEZWAAN JR. was charged today with dereliction of duty, aggravated assault and more for the explosion that injured four Americans. His first hearing is set for later this month. More from the AP

— Russia: American basketball player BRITTNEY GRINER was found guilty on drug charges and sentenced to nine years in a penal colony by a Russian court on Thursday, per the NYT. The WNBA star’s sentencing marked the end of a closely watched trial that spotlighted the tense relationship between Moscow and the U.S. “The verdict, virtually preordained in a legal system in which defendants are rarely acquitted, leaves Ms. Griner’s fate subject to diplomatic bargaining between Russia and the United States.”

MONKEYPOX LATEST — The Biden administration is working on plans to declare monkeypox a public health emergency, which would grant officials tools to accelerate the distribution of the vaccine, Erin Banco, Betsy Woodruff Swan and Adam Cancryn scooped. An HHS memo laying the groundwork for such a decision “has circulated through U.S. health agencies and secured broad support from agency heads.” WaPo’s Dan Diamond adds that the declaration (along with a related HHS move) could come as soon as today.

THE LATEST ALEX JONES TWIST — After the shocking revelation that Jones’ attorneys had accidentally sent years of his messages to the lawyers for Sandy Hook plaintiffs, the plaintiffs’ counsel said today in court that he does plan to turn over the messages to the House Jan. 6 committee, per CNN’s Oliver Darcy. He said “various federal agencies and law enforcement” had asked for them. And he revealed that they include “intimate messages to ROGER STONE,” per Vice’s Anna Merlan.

Meanwhile, Jones’ legal team asked that the messages be erased and that the judge declared a mistrial. That didn’t sit well with the presiding, who said it was “like the 17th time” they’d requested a mistrial, per Darcy.

WITH FRIENDS LIKE THESE — South Korean President YOON SUK-YEOL didn’t meet with Speaker NANCY PELOSI as she visits Seoul because he’s taking a staycation, WaPo’s Min Joo Kim reports. The snub stirred up domestic criticism that Yoon is trying to “placate China,” particularly after photos surfaced of him hanging out with theater actors, though his office denied that and said his plans were set before Pelosi scheduled her trip. Yoon and Pelosi spoke by phone instead. While in South Korea, Pelosi visited the demilitarized zone on the North Korea border, as well as Osan Air Base.

Good Thursday afternoon.

PRESIDENTIAL HEALTH UPDATE — President JOE BIDEN is still testing positive with his rebound coronavirus case, though his “occasional cough … is improving” and he feels “very well,” per the latest memo from physician KEVIN O’CONNOR.

JAN. 6 AND ITS AFTERMATH

BREAKING — “DHS to stop wiping phones without backup,” by CNN’s Whitney Wild

FIRST IN PLAYBOOK — The 65 Project, the group that’s trying to secure consequences for lawyers who sought to overturn the 2020 election, is filing new complaints against WILLIAM OLSON and KURT OLSEN in Virginia and Maryland, respectively. They’re asking the offices of bar counsel to investigate both men’s actions. The Olson complaint The Olsen complaint

— Meanwhile, a hearing on whether RUDY GIULIANI should be stripped of his D.C. law license was scheduled for October, Josh Gerstein reports.

ALL POLITICS

AFTER ALL THAT — Rep. PETER MEIJER (R-Mich.) introduced JOHN GIBBS, who defeated him in a contentious primary this week, at a GOP unity event today, per WOOD’s Jacqueline Francis. Yet Meijer told Sirius XM’s Julie Mason he has no regrets about voting to impeach DONALD TRUMP.

IMMIGRATION FILES — Texas Gov. GREG ABBOTT and Arizona Gov. DOUG DUCEY have now bused thousands of migrants to D.C. in protest of the Biden administration’s immigration policies, with hundreds more arriving every week — creating a significant strain on the capital’s resources, NYT’s Miriam Jordan reports. The new arrivals, many of them Venezuelan, “are overwhelming immigrant nonprofits and other volunteer groups, with many ending up in homeless shelters or on park benches.” A significant number are traveling on to NYC. And the finger-pointing among the governors, the mayors, the federal government and the aid organizations is reaching a fever pitch.

“As El Paso struggles to heal, Walmart shooter’s rhetoric builds in GOP,” by the El Paso Times’ Martha Pskowski: “Politicians from Brackettville to Austin to Amarillo have embraced the language of a border invasion, language that El Paso leaders fear could inspire another attack on the majority Latino community.”

BEHIND THE AIPAC BONANZA — Having had significant successes in their first primary season, AIPAC PAC Director MARILYN ROSENTHAL and United Democracy Project CEO ROB BASSIN tell Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod that the pro-Israel group has helped several candidates to victory by emphasizing “the issues that are foremost on the minds of voters,” as Bassin says. The PAC hasn’t made a decision yet on whether it’ll play in the general election. And they’re not sweating blowback from progressives: “Bassin and Rosenthal said they’re not concerned that AIPAC’s involvement in electoral politics will impact its reception on Capitol Hill or among Democrats.”

DOWN BALLOT — Challengers are increasingly taking on incumbent GOP state legislators, arguing that they’re not conservative enough and especially not committed enough to false election fraud claims. And it’s having an impact: “With more than half the state legislative primaries concluded, Republican incumbents this year have been losing at nearly twice the average rate of the past decade,” report AP’s Todd Richmond and David Lieb. A whopping 30% of Idaho GOP lawmakers who sought reelection lost their primaries. The Democratic incumbent loss rate hasn’t changed nationwide, meanwhile. Next up: Nine Wisconsin GOP legislators, including Speaker ROBIN VOS, have contested primaries next week.

AD WARS — In Arizona, GOP Senate nominee BLAKE MASTERS is wasting no time in tacking to the center: His first general-election ad calls him a “true independent” and doesn’t mention his party affiliation, per WaPo. … Meanwhile, Senate Majority PAC launched a new $1.2 million ad campaign calling Masters “extreme” and focusing on abortion.

The campaign between Masters and Democratic Sen. MARK KELLY kicks off as Kelly enjoys some incumbency advantages while Masters benefits from a more favorable environment, NBC’s Sahil Kapur reports from Chandler, Ariz.

PRIMARY COLORS — It’s Election Day in Tennessee, where the most notable races include a crowded GOP congressional primary and a partisan battle for DA in the county that contains Memphis. Details from The Tennessean

BATTLE FOR THE SENATE — The latest assessment from Sabato’s Crystal Ball’s Kyle Kondik declares the Senate a toss-up, as Republicans’ favorable environment balances out their very untested candidates. The landscape looks like “a stoppable force versus a movable object,” he writes.

GABBY GIFFORDS SPEAKS — The former congresswoman and gun safety advocate takes part in Esquire’s “What I’ve Learned” feature, via Mark Warren: “I get asked a lot if I’m bitter about what could have been. I can honestly say that I’m not. This acceptance has taken me a while to come by, and I won’t pretend it’s been easy, but that’s been one of the keys to my recovery.”

AMERICA AND THE WORLD

AUTOCRAT IN AMERICA — Hungarian PM VIKTOR ORBÁN will deliver the opening speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas today. Preview from NPR

IRAN LATEST — As countries meet today to try one more time to revive the Iran nuclear deal, Iran has stepped up its rhetoric about building a nuclear weapon, reports AP’s Jon Gambrell. “The remarks could be bluster to force more bargaining-table concessions from the U.S. without planning to seek the bomb. Or … Iran could reach a point like North Korea did some 20 years ago where it decides having the ultimate weapon outweighs any further international sanctions.”

WILD STORY — For U.S. aid worker and veteran DAN SMOCK, the killing of AYMAN AL-ZAWAHRI included an extra element of surprise: It happened at his old house, reports The Guardian’s Emma Graham-Harrison in Kabul. “Reports said the CIA had intelligence that he liked to stand on the balcony, and I thought, ‘Of course he would, it was a nice balcony.’”

THE ECONOMY

THE UNEMPLOYMENT PICTURE — New jobless claims ticked up last week to 260,000, the highest level since November and another sign of a red-hot labor market beginning to cool. Details from CNBC

THE TRADE PICTURE — The trade deficit shrunk 6.2% in June, dipping just below $80 billion, as U.S. energy, food and gold exports rose and lower consumer demand pulled down import numbers. More from MarketWatch

BEYOND THE BELTWAY

FORMULA FUROR — A whistleblower at the embattled Abbott baby formula plant in Michigan says the place had “constant roof leaks, lax food safety and recordkeeping, and a culture of fear, raising new questions about why such problems were allowed to continue and the FDA did not discover them earlier,” Helena Bottemiller Evich reports for POLITICO. The former frontline supervisor describes troubling practices that were papered over when inspectors rolled around.

GUNS IN AMERICA — The Supreme Court ruling striking down a New York gun law has reshaped the legal landscape for firearm restrictions around the country, report AP’s Lindsay Whitehurst and Alanna Durkin Richer. “And given the sheer number of cases now working through the courts, a lot more time will be spent in courtrooms no matter who wins.”

“Gun Trafficking Surges Across State Lines: One Pistol’s 1,200-Mile Journey to a Boston Homicide,” by WSJ’s Dan Frosch and Zusha Elinson: “More firearms are being brought illegally from states with loose gun laws into states with tighter restrictions.”

DESANTIS’ CULTURE WARS — Florida Gov. RON DESANTIS today suspended a prominent Democratic state attorney who’s been an outspoken criminal justice reform advocate. DeSantis said the “woke” ANDREW WARREN wouldn’t enforce particular laws and “cited positions Warren has taken on abortion laws, gender confirmation surgery and other issues,” per the Tallahassee Democrat.

PLAYBOOKERS

OUT AND ABOUT — The White House’s Adrian Saenz had a going-away celebration Wednesday night on the Eaton rooftop, where friends toasted him with tequila and tacos. Earlier in the day, his send-off toast at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building included a surprise mariachi performance. SPOTTED at the Eaton: Cedric Richmond, Julie Rodriguez, Jennifer Molina, Nathaly Arriola Maurice, Carlos Sanchez, Natalie Montelongo, Angela Ramirez, Gabe Amo, Howard Ou, Erika Dinkel-Smith, Carlos Paz, Eduardo Lerma, Carli Kientzle, Melody Gonzales,Mariel Saez, Stephanie Valencia, Marcela Urrutia Zamora, Mark Maurice, Sandra Alcala, Sam Jammal and Joan Gregory Saenz.

MEDIA MOVES — Grid is adding Leah Askarinam and Justin Ray. Askarinam previously co-authored the On Politics newsletter at the NYT. Ray previously wrote the Essential California newsletter at the L.A. Times.

NSC ARRIVAL LOUNGE — Maxwell Hamilton is now director for North America in the Western Hemisphere affairs directorate at the NSC. He most recently was chief of staff to the assistant secretary of State for Western Hemisphere affairs.

STAFFING UP — Jake Rubenstein is now special assistant to the representative for global partnerships at the State Department. He previously was senior adviser and chief of staff for Terry McAuliffe.

TRANSITIONS — Derek Lyons has been named president and CEO of Restoring Integrity and Trust in Elections. He previously was counselor to the president and White House staff secretary in the Trump administration. … Mayealie Adams is now VP and head of government affairs at Danaher. She most recently was managing director for government and external affairs at Phillips.




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Criminal activity in the Bull Mountains must be stopped – Daily Montanan

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The Bull Mountains just north of Billings are home to Montana’s only underground coal mine, owned by Signal Peak Energy.

I have ranched in these hills my entire life, just like my parents before me. We have ranched alongside coal production for generations. It’s always been a challenge because coal mining inherently causes damage to the land and water we depend on for our cattle and livelihood. But we’ve always found a way to make it work. 

We try to be honest and forthright. We work to maintain respectful relationships with the workers earning a living for their families. When dealing with corporate executives, we stand up for our rights, uphold our values, and do our best to protect our community without undercutting the livelihoods of others. Managing these relationships takes work and patience. It requires civility and understanding others’ perspectives. Fourteen years ago, Signal Peak moved into our community. Soon after that, civility and respect were shoved aside, and it’s only gotten worse since. 

Headlines about Signal Peak’s repeated criminal convictions, investigations, and the wild details involved are plentiful. They sound sensational and would be hard to believe if not for the facts detailed in criminal court proceedings and law enforcement reports. In one case, a workplace injury led to a finger amputation, and the worker’s superiors bribed him with a cash-filled envelope to refrain from reporting it. 

In another case, former mine executive Larry Price, Jr., staged his own kidnapping while trying to outrun business investors he had swindled $20 million from. He was sentenced to five years in prison for fraud and lying to the FBI about the false abduction. 

In January, Signal Peak was sentenced in federal criminal court to a $1 million fine and three years’ probation after pleading guilty to multiple counts of health and safety violations. One violation involved pumping toxic waste slurry into the ground, threatening the safety of our community’s water sources. 

A Department of Justice statement about the investigation says, “….mine managers lied about the mine’s expenses, its safety record, and other matters, which… resulted in individual criminal convictions and charges for nine persons, including former mine vice presidents and their associates, on crimes ranging from embezzlement, tax evasion and bank fraud to money laundering, drugs and firearms violations.”

This toxic culture has extended to the treatment of landowners who ranch over the mine. Signal Peak is trying to drive us off our land by tearing out spring developments and water storage facilities (as documented in a DEQ complaint and order for Signal Peak to provide replacement water), cutting us off from water sources we have the legal right to use, and by forcing us into endless legal cases, one of which was ruled harassment to landowners by the District Court in Billings.

Now Signal Peak is canceling long-term leases we’ve held for over 65 years, claiming they can kick us off our own deeded land and block access for the next eight years, imperiling our ranching operations and our livelihoods.  

The toxic culture and criminal behavior of Signal Peak is not surprising given the history of the parent companies that created it. Wayne Boich, Jr., FirstEnergy Corporation, and Gunvor Group jointly own Signal Peak. These entities have a disturbing history of criminal charges, bribery schemes, and well-documented international corruption. In 2014, the U.S. Treasury found that Russian President Vladimir Putin has investments in Gunvor and may have access to Gunvor funds. 

Court documents show that former FirstEnergy CEO Chuck Johnson passed along an image of himself, Wayne Boich, and other associates’ faces Photoshopped onto Mount Rushmore with the caption “F*** ANYBODY WHO AIN’T US.” They were bragging about a $60 million bribery scandal and legislative bailout scheme in Ohio that analysts have called “the worst energy policy in the country.” 

Apparently, “F*** ANYBODY WHO AIN’T US” is their version of the golden rule. Signal Peak and its owners have held to this rule with us and the rest of Montana. These are not the type of people we want doing business in our state. The Department of Environmental Quality has an obligation to protect our communities from habitual criminal offenders who have no morals and no respect for ranchers, local residents, or even their own employees.

Steve Charter is a Bull Mountain rancher and member of Northern Plains Resource Council, a conservation and family agriculture group founded in 1972 by Bull Mountain ranch families and others.


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Outspoken Former Police Commissioner Hamasaki Will Challenge Brooke Jenkins for SF DA

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By David M. Greenwald
Executive Director

San Francisco, CA – For many who supported recalled DA Chesa Boudin, had Mayor London Breed selected someone who could unite the city, they might have gone quietly.  But when Breed selected Brooke Jenkins, who was one of the faces of the recall, that changed the dynamics.

He waited until the literal last moment to file, but former Police Commissioner John Hamasaki filed his paperwork on Friday and the next three months figures to be, if nothing else, interesting.

“I think after the recall, everybody was ready to stand down and was hoping that the mayor was going to appoint somebody who was moderate, but reasonable, sensible, ethical—and instead what we’ve got is just the opposite,” he told the Vanguard in a phone interview on Friday afternoon.

He added, “It’s been a nightmare of ethical issues, Brady issues, getting paid by Republicans and not disclosing it issues, and hiring back people with really problematic records, and people who have had the same ethical issues as Ms. Jenkins.”

For Hamasaki the last week or so might have been the straw that brought him into the race.

“I think as a community, people have been looking for somebody to step up and I decided to start looking into it after Friday, when she had appointed Don Dubain because I just felt it was really a slap in the face to everybody in the criminal justice world to bring somebody with his record.”

He added, “Then the story broke about her taking $200,000 for something like six months of work…  It just seemed like we can’t survive like this.”

John Hamasaki has over a decade of experience in the courtroom, earning him a reputation as one of the Bay Area’s most tenacious and effective litigators.

“I’m here today because San Francisco needs an independent District Attorney who will hold everyone accountable to the law,” said Hamasaki in a release. “Whether you are a drug dealer selling deadly fentanyl in the Tenderloin, a multi-million corporation exploiting workers and small business owners, or a political machine selling influence in City Hall, I will fight for safety and justice.”

After earning his Juris Doctorate degree from the University of San Francisco School of Law, he opened Hamasaki Law, a top-rated criminal defense law firm that represents individuals in the criminal justice system.

Hamasaki also served as a San Francisco Police Commissioner from 2018 to 2022, where he was the lead commissioner on the Domestic Violence Working Group, which modernized the guidelines for the San Francisco Police Department’s interactions with domestic violence victims. He was one of the attorneys for the family of Cecilia Lam, who was killed by her ex-boyfriend despite calling SFPD five times in 2014.

Hamasaki is a fourth-generation Japanese American and has lived with his family in North Beach for nearly three decades. If elected, Hamasaki would be San Francisco’s first Japanese American District Attorney.

Hamasaki has been an active part of the Bay Area legal community, serving as President of the Asian American Bar Association in 2020 and on the Board of Governors for California Attorneys for Criminal Justice. He has done extensive pro bono legal work through the National Lawyers Guild.

Anyone who has followed Hamasaki on Twitter for any length of time knows this will not be a dull campaign.

Hamasaki is concerned with the influence of the mayor on her appointee.

“I’ve heard that basically the mayor is running the office, including putting one of her top people in as a new hire to be one of Brooke’s top people,” he said.  “This all goes back to the mayor’s tough-on-crime, make life hell speech for December, when she made it clear that her police was kind of to open war on people in poverty, people who are unhoused, people who are struggling with substance abuse and other disorders.”

What will John Hamasaki’s campaign look like?

“John Hamasaki campaign looks like a campaign by the regular people of San Francisco,” he said.  “It’s not Chesa Boudin’s campaign.”

He pointed out they did the filing and had 40 people there supporting him, “really dedicated social justice driven people.”

In a campaign release, Hamasaki listed his priorities:

  • Protecting the San Francisco community while ensuring that justice is served in every case—from car break-ins to wage theft to violent crimes.
  • Restoring integrity and trust to the District Attorney’s Office through independent leadership, transparency, and data analysis of criminal case outcomes.
  • Protecting vulnerable victims, including Asian elders and domestic violence victims.
  • Investing in culturally competent victim services including language access and wrap around services.
  • Partnering with local and federal agencies to investigate and prosecute corruption in City Hall.

This week Brooke Jenkins announced some of her early supporters, not surprisingly including Mayor London Breed, and three Supervisors—Matt Dorsey, Rafael Mandelman and Ahsha Safai, plus State Senator Scott Wiener and Treasurer Fiona Ma.

John Hamasaki is endorsed by former State Senator Mark Leno, former State Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, former President of the Board of Supervisors Norman Yee, former President of the Board of Supervisors Matt Gonzalez, Supervisor Dean Preston, former Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer, former Supervisor John Avalos, former Police Commissioner Angela Chan, and former Police Commissioner Petra DeJesus among others.

“San Francisco deserves a District Attorney who is going to fight to keep us all safe, not just the super rich and powerful in our city,” said former Police Commissioner Petra de Jesus, “I’m very excited to support John Hamasaki’s campaign.”

“Hamasaki’s years of experience and unshakeable integrity uniquely qualify him for the role as District Attorney,” said former Board of Supervisors President Norman Yee. “It’s time for San Franciscans to have true representation in our criminal justice system.”

For Hamasaki, “Brooke was very much a part of the recall, I think everybody wants to put that behind us.  It’s a reminder of the power of right wing Republicans to undermine lawful democracy.”

He noted, “Brooke’s not really a known figure until this, but I’m a pretty known figure in San Francisco.”  He said that the media is probably more excited than anyone, because they are “hoping for the next three months to be a knock down, drag it out battle for the spot.”




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Kyiv Renews Call For EU Visa Ban On Russians; Russian Official Warns U.S. Of Complete Diplomatic Breakdown

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Ukraine and Russia have accused each other of risking nuclear disaster by shelling the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, which the United Nations says should have a demilitarized zone declared around it.

Western countries have called for Moscow to withdraw its troops from the plant, but there has been no sign so far of Russia agreeing to move its troops out.

“The facility must not be used as part of any military operation. Instead, urgent agreement is needed at a technical level on a safe perimeter of demilitarization to ensure the safety of the area,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell also weighed in on the situation, echoing Guterres in saying the power plant must not be used as part of any military operation.

“I support call for demilitarisation of area starting with full withdrawal of Russian forces, and urge the @iaeaorg to visit,” he said on Twitter, referring to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

“Russia must immediately hand back full control to rightful sovereign owner Ukraine,” he said.

Ukraine’s Enerhotam agency said the Zaporizhzhya complex in south-central Ukraine was struck five times on August 11, including near where radioactive materials are stored. The governor of the Zaporizhzhya region said the plant was hit again on the evening of August 12.

Russian-appointed officials, meanwhile, accused Ukraine of shelling the plant twice, disrupting a shift changeover, the state-run TASS news agency said.

Vladimir Rogov, a member of the Moscow-installed regional administration, said on August 12 that Ukraine’s strikes may lead to an emergency reactor shutdown.

The Ukrainian military denies having struck the plant, saying Russian troops struck it themselves and are using it as a shield to provide cover while they bombard nearby towns and cities.

Shelling overnight of one of those towns, Marhanets, injured three civilians, said Valentyn Reznichenko, governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region.

Ukrainian forces control Marhanets and other towns and cities on the opposite bank of the Dnieper River, and they have come under intense bombardment from the Russian-held side in recent days.

A UN Security Council meeting on August 11 discussed the situation, and Guterres called on both sides to stop all fighting near the plant.

The United States backed the call for a demilitarized zone and urged the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to visit the site.

Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vasily Nebenzya, said IAEA officials could visit the site as soon as this month.

Speaking at the Security Council meeting, he said the world was being pushed “to the brink of nuclear catastrophe” comparable in scale with the 1986 Chornobyl disaster.

Ukrainian UN Ambassador Serhiy Kyslytsya accused Russia of using “elaborate plans of deceit, sabotage, and cover-ups” to stage the shelling, which he said poses “an unprecedented threat to nuclear security for Ukraine, to Europe, and the world as a whole.”

The Ukrainian military’s General Staff, meanwhile, on August 12 reported widespread shelling and air attacks by Russian forces on scores of towns and military bases, especially in the east where Russia is trying to expand territory held on behalf of separatist proxies.

Other parts of the main front line have been comparatively static in recent weeks, but fighting has been intensifying in anticipation of a planned counteroffensive in the south.

In the province of Mykolayiv, the governor’s press officer said the region is still experiencing shelling, but it has become “a little quieter.”

Dmytro Pletenchuk, the press officer of the Mykolayiv military administration, said this is because there is currently a shortage of ammunition in the Russian military.

Ukrainian forces have hit Russian ammunition warehouses, and the Russian forces have now switched to more outdated weapons systems, he said on Ukrainian television.

“Now the situation has changed. There is a shortage of ammunition among the Russians. And that is very good. We feel the result of the work on their warehouses — it has become a little quieter in Mykolayiv, but the region is being shelled,” he said.

Elsewhere on the battlefield, shelling killed two civilians and wounded 13 others in Kramatorsk, the last major city under Ukrainian control in the eastern Donetsk region.

Pavlo Kyrylenko, governor of the eastern Donetsk region, said on Facebook the bombardment damaged at least 20 buildings and caused a fire to break out. He called for remaining residents to evacuate.

With reporting by RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service, AP, and Reuters




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