Live: Six months into Russian invasion, Ukraine marks its Independence Day

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Issued on: 24/08/2022 – 00:05Modified: 24/08/2022 – 07:37

Ukraine on Wednesday marks both its independence from Soviet rule in 1991 and six months since the Russian invasion on February 24. President Volodymyr Zelensky has vowed a tough response to Russian attacks on the country’s holiday, echoing a national defiance as the war drags on. Follow our liveblog for all the latest developments. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).


  • Six months after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, the conflict rages with no end in sight. Western intelligence sources, however, say the momentum is shifting against Russia.
  • Nearly 9,000 Ukrainian soldiers have died since the February 24 invasion, Ukraine’s military chief said this week.
  • The UN has confirmed the deaths of more than 5,500 Ukrainian civilians. The real toll is likely to be much higher.
  • At an international forum on the eve of Independence Day, Zelensky vowed to take back Crimea, the southern peninsula Russia annexed in 2014.
  • A spate of explosions have rocked Crimea in recent weeks. Ukraine has not claimed responsibility, but has hinted its forces played a role.
  • The Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in southeastern Ukraine has been hit by shelling in recent weeks, prompting calls for an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) mission to the site.
  • Fears of intensified Russian attacks mounted after the killing over the weekend of Darya Dugina, daughter of a prominent Russian ultra-nationalist, in a car bombing near Moscow. Russia blamed Ukraine for the attack, a charge Kyiv denies.

6:46am: Norway, Britain donate micro drones to Ukraine

Norway and Britain will jointly supply micro drones to Ukraine to aid in its war with Russia, the Norwegian defence ministry said on Wednesday.

The cost of the Teledyne Flir Black Hornet drones, used for reconnaissance and target identification, will be up to 90 million Norwegian crowns ($9.26 million), the ministry said in a statement.

4:25am: Russia detains politician critical of Ukraine war

Russian authorities have detained politician Yevgeny Roizman known for his criticism of the Kremlin and, more recently, of the military campaign in Ukraine, Russia’s TASS news agency reported on Wednesday.

Roizman, a former mayor of the city of Yekaterinburg, is being investigated for “discrediting the Russian army”, TASS reported, citing Yekaterinburg security services.

Roizman was one of a handful of Kremlin critics who won mayoral posts following a series of big opposition demonstrations as President Vladimir Putin campaigned for office in 2012.

1:20am: Ukraine prepares for more violence as they mark Independence day

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned late on Tuesday of the possibility of “repugnant Russian provocations” and “brutal strikes” by Moscow to cast a pall over what he said was an important day for all Ukrainians.

Officials have banned public gatherings in the capital Kyiv and imposed a hard curfew in the eastern city of Kharkiv, which has weathered months of shelling on the front lines. Many government officials have been ordered to work from home.

Zelensky has not disclosed details of how the government will mark the public holiday, for security reasons. He said he would be rewarding people such as railway personnel, emergency services workers, electricians, drivers, artists and those in the media.

Authorities urged people to take air raid warnings seriously and seek shelter when sirens sound.



1:05am: Britain and Ukraine launch talks on digital trade

Britain on Wednesday said it had launched talks with Kyiv over removing barriers digital trade as part of its efforts to support Ukraine following Russia’s invasion of the country.

Britain in May removed all tariffs on Ukrainian goods, and is now looking to smooth trade in the digital sphere.

Britain and Ukraine will look to improve efficiency in digital trade, working on areas such as electronic transactions, e-signatures and other technology.

12:58am: Germany, Canada partner on transatlantic hydrogen trade

The leaders of Canada and Germany signed a green hydrogen deal on Tuesday, laying a path for a transatlantic supply chain as Europe seeks to lessen its dependence on Russian energy.

“It’s a vote of confidence for Canada as a leader in clean energy,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said during a joint press conference with visiting German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

“We cannot as a world continue to rely on authoritarian countries that will weaponize energy policy, as Russia is, that don’t concern themselves with environmental outcomes or labor rights or even human rights,” Trudeau added.

Moscow has slashed its energy exports to Europe in response to punishing Western sanctions over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, forcing countries to scramble for alternatives.

12:12am: US set to provide $3 billion in military aid to Ukraine

The United States will announce close to $3 billion in fresh military assistance for Ukraine as the country marks its Independence Day, a US official said Tuesday, in the largest single security package yet in the six-month-old war.

The White House is expected to officially announce the aid, which can be used for arms acquisition, training and other operations, on Wednesday, when Kyiv observes both the anniversary of its independence from Russia and the half-year mark of the invasion launched in February by Moscow.

12:05am: UN nuclear agency renews request to access Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

The UN nuclear agency renewed its request Tuesday to assess the safety and security at Europe’s largest nuclear plant in southeastern Ukraine which Russia and Ukraine accuse each other of shelling, sparking warnings of a possible nuclear catastrophe.

At the start of an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, UN political chief Rosemary DiCarlo announced that Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, requested to send an IAEA mission “to carry out essential safety, security and safeguard activities at the site.”


DiCarlo said the UN has the logistics and security capacity in Ukraine “to support any IAEA mission to the plant from Kyiv, provided Ukraine and Russia agree.”

The Zaporizhzhia plant has been under the control of Russian forces since early March, soon after their invasion of Ukraine. Technical experts from Ukraine continue to operate the nuclear equipment.

© France Médias Monde graphic studio