Zelenskyy: Ukrainians ‘Sensitive’ to Attacks on Israel

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his daily address Saturday that Ukrainians are “particularly sensitive to what happened” in Israel – “Thousands of missiles in the sky … people killed right in the streets … Riddled cars with civilians.”

“Our position,” he said, “is absolutely clear: anywhere in the world, anyone who brings terror and death must be held accountable.”

Meanwhile, a 27-year-old woman and her baby were among a dozen people wounded in a Russian attack in Ukraine’s Kherson region, the regional governor said Saturday.

United Nations investigators are in the Ukrainian village of Hroza, where a Russian missile strike this week killed 52 people during a wake for a slain soldier being held at a café.

The team leader of the investigators said in a statement, “My initial conversations with local residents and survivors indicate that virtually all those killed were civilians and that the target itself, a busy village cafe and store, was also clearly civilian.”

Among the dead were the village leader, a couple who left behind four children and the dead soldier’s wife and son.

Russia’s new silo-based intercontinental ballistic nuclear missile system is nearly combat-ready, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Saturday, after he inspected the manufacture of Sarmat missiles, one of Russia’s most advanced weapons.

“Re-equipping the Strategic Missile Forces with this system, which will become the basis of Russia’s ground-based strategic nuclear forces, is a priority in ensuring the country’s defense capability,” Shoigu was quoted as saying.

His comments reflect Russia’s escalating nuclear rhetoric in its standoff with the West over the war in Ukraine.

Known to NATO military allies by the codename “Satan,” the Sarmat missiles reportedly have a short initial launch phase, which gives little time for surveillance systems to track their takeoff.

On Friday, the Russian parliament speaker, Vyacheslav Volodin, said lawmakers will reevaluate whether to revoke the ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, or CTBT, a global nuclear test ban.

Volodin’s statement came after Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that Moscow could consider rescinding the ratification of the international pact since the United States never ratified it. 

The 1996 treaty prohibiting “any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion” anywhere in the world has been signed by 187 nations but not ratified by eight of them, including the United States.

The U.S. did not ratify the treaty, but it has observed a moratorium on nuclear weapon test explosions since 1992 that it says it will continue to abide by.

“It would be concerning and deeply unfortunate if any state signatory were to reconsider its ratification of the CTBT,” Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization Executive Secretary Robert Floyd said in a statement.

There are widespread concerns that Russia could move to resume nuclear tests to try to discourage the West from continuing to offer military support to Ukraine.

Ukraine-Russia strikes

Ukraine and Russia launched several strikes against each other Saturday. 

Russia’s defense ministry said the country’s air defense systems had “detected and destroyed” a Ukrainian S-200 anti-aircraft missile deployed in an attempted attack on the Crimean Peninsula.

Reuters, which reported the development, could not verify the statement by the Russian defense ministry, which did not say where the missile was shot down.

Ukrainian shelling killed one person in the Russian border region of Belgorod, according to regional Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov.

A party official in the Russian-held town of Nova Kakhovka in Ukraine’s Kherson province was killed by a car bomb Saturday, the provincial governor said.

Vladimir Malov, executive secretary of the town branch of Russia’s governing United Russia party, died in a hospital, Vladimir Saldo said in a post on his Telegram channel, calling it “a terrorist attack,” meaning one orchestrated by Ukraine.

There was no immediate comment from Kyiv.

Russia, meanwhile, launched a missile strike on Ukraine’s Odesa region overnight.  Local officials say four people were wounded in the attack that was launched from Russian-occupied Crimea.

Russian forces downed a Ukrainian drone near Moscow early Saturday, according to Tass, a Russian state news agency.

Some information for this report came from Reuters and The Associated Press. 

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