Russian television broadcast videos of two Americans missing in Ukraine

9:20 am: Russian state television broadcasts videos of two Americans missing in Ukraine

A Russian public television channel posted on social networks videos on Friday of two former American soldiers who had gone voluntarily to fight Ukrainian forces and had been missing for several days.

On Friday evening, Russian journalist Roman Kosarev, working with the Russian public television channel RT, posted on Telegram a video of one of the two Americans talking in front of the camera.

Alexander Drueke, dressed in military garb and apparently sitting in an office, said, “Mother, I just want to tell you I’m alive and I hope to get home as soon as possible.” “Russian forces have captured our positions. We had to retreat,” says Andy Huynh. “After several hours of hiding, the two men surrendered to Russian forces,” he said.

It is unclear at this stage under what circumstances the two veterans were speaking and who was holding them.

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9:10 am: Russians consolidate their hold on Snake Island

The Russian military has strengthened its control of Snake Island in the Black Sea by deploying various defense systems, showing that it does not intend to give up this strategic point easily, despite the threats posed by new artillery systems and Ukrainian missile fire. The latest open-source satellite images of this islet off the coast of Ukraine and Romania make it possible to distinguish between different surface-to-air defense systems, and the Russians have also placed it on nearby ships to further strengthen the protection bubble.

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07:55: “Ukraine will become a semi-colonial of Western countries”

Speaking at the Saint Petersburg Economic Forum, President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that Russia has “nothing” to Ukraine’s membership of the European Union, but claimed that Ukraine would become a “semi-colonial” of Western countries.

Maria Zakharova, spokesperson for Russian diplomacy, was more direct: “Western society has been manipulating the story of Ukraine’s involvement in integration structures for years, and since then Ukraine has been going more and more wrong.”

What awaits Ukraine before it hopes to join the European Union?

The European Commission recommended on Friday that Ukraine be granted EU candidate status. The European Council will approve or not approve this decision next week. But even if Ukraine gains candidate status, it will still be far from being a member of the EU.

>> We explain why In this article.

07:45: 2000 “foreign mercenaries” killed

The Russian military claimed that about 7,000 “foreign mercenaries” from 64 countries have arrived in Ukraine since the start of the conflict, and about 2,000 died. Moscow describes Poland as the “absolute leader” in Europe in terms of fighters, followed by Romania and the United Kingdom.

06:55: The humanitarian drama continues in eastern Ukraine

On the conflict front, Ukrainian forces are struggling in the eastern part of the country, Donbass, which has been partially controlled by pro-Russian separatists since 2014 and which Moscow aims to conquer for itself. The UN stressed on Friday that “the humanitarian situation across Ukraine, particularly in eastern Donbass, is extremely worrying and continues to deteriorate rapidly.”

Clashes have been intensifying for weeks in Severodonetsk and Lyssytchansk, two key cities for control of Donbass, which have been subjected to constant bombardment. The Governor of the Lugansk Region said on Friday that the evacuation of the large Azot chemical plant in Severodonetsk, where about 500 civilians took refuge with Ukrainian soldiers, was impossible without a “full ceasefire” due to “continuous shelling and fighting”. , Sergii Gaïdaï.

06:50: Condition on the ground

in LysychanskThree people were killed and seven injured in a missile attack on the House of Culture in the twin city of Severodonetsk in eastern Ukraine. Another civilian was killed in the bomb attack in the middle of the street.

– Russian strike on a residential area mycolaiv It left at least two dead and 20 injured, according to the district governor. An interim report. This port and industrial city, still under Ukrainian control, is close to the Kherson region, which has been occupied by the Russians since the beginning of the occupation. The latter continues to consolidate rear positions in the northwest of the region.

– Also, the Ukrainian Navy claimed to have destroyed a Russian tugboat carrying weapons and ammunition. To Snake Island in the Black Sea.

Friday’s main information

  • Britain’s Chief of the Defense Staff, Admiral Tony Radakin, said Russia “has already strategically lost” its war in Ukraine and will “never regain control” of the country.
  • Network manager GRTgaz announced that France no longer receives Russian gas through the pipeline.
  • The European Commission expressed its support for the EU candidate status of Ukraine and Moldova.
  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also paid a visit to Kiev on Friday. A surprise visit the day after the visit of the four EU leaders.
  • The European Broadcasting Union announced on Friday that in the current state of the conflict, Ukraine will not host Eurovision 2023.

06:45: Hello everyone and welcome to this live broadcast where we will follow the situation around the conflict in Ukraine on the 115th day of the Russian occupation.