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The Champions League final was moved to Kiev, UN inspectors are moving toward the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, and the Ukrainian postal service is continuing to pay pensions. In addition, the Russian military has launched strikes in the eastern Donetsk region.

UEFA moves Champions League final out of St. Petersburg

A number of European lawmakers have called on UEFA to move the Champions League final out of St. Petersburg. They say the tournament is being held in a city with high political tensions and that it is risky to host such an event. Furthermore, they want UEFA to cut its ties with Gazprom, the state energy giant which sponsors the competition.

Russia was originally scheduled to host the Champions League final on May 28 at the Gazprom Arena, home to Zenit, in St. Petersburg. But the Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military operation against Ukraine has led to heightened security concerns, and UEFA has moved the final to a neutral stadium. Several countries have criticized the Russian military operation and have expressed concern about the venue.

Initially, UEFA said that there was no plan to move the Champions League final out of St. Petersburg, but the organization added that it was monitoring the situation closely. However, it was unclear whether the sanctions would prevent the tournament from taking place. UEFA is now exploring alternative venues for the match.

Following Russia’s invasion of two rebel-held areas of Ukraine, UEFA decided to move the Champions League final to another city. The decision was made after an emergency meeting of UEFA’s top board. The decision came just days before Putin announced that he had officially recognized the two rebel-held parts of the country as independent republics.

It’s unclear when the tournament will be held again. There was a coronavirus outbreak in Russia, which affected travel restrictions. The resulting outbreak forced UEFA to move the 2021 final from St. Petersburg to Istanbul. Istanbul has the rights to host the 2023 final.

UN inspectors move toward Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant

A UN nuclear inspector mission is heading to Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Russia and Ukraine. Unlike previous inspection missions, this one is more involved, examining both the reactors and the safety systems. They will also test fuel levels in the diesel generators that keep the plant’s water flowing through the reactor cores even if the plant goes dark. These checks are important because they help keep the nuclear fuel cool when it’s shut down.

The UN inspectors’ convoy left Kyiv early Wednesday and arrived in Zaporizhzhia, where they will spend the night and attempt to enter the nuclear plant on Thursday. IAEA chief Rafael Grossi has said he understood the implications of this mission.

The mission’s objective is to assess whether the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant has suffered serious damage or not. It will also speak to Ukrainian workers at the plant, who have been targeted by Russian forces. Last week, fighting in the area knocked out the main power grid to the plant. This posed a serious risk until the line could be repaired.

Ukraine and Russia are locked in a fierce battle over control of the area. Both sides have claimed to have carried out air strikes, but Moscow and Kyiv have refused to provide any proof. The international community is trying to protect Ukraine by ensuring it doesn’t fall victim to war.

Ukrainian postal service continues to pay pensions

Ukrainian postal service continues to pay pensions to its employees. The government has set new tariffs for pensions and allowances. These rates were approved by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine on 4 December. The new tariffs will increase the service cost by 1.15% in the cities and 2.3% in the villages. The new tariffs are part of the State Budget of Ukraine for 2020.

During the conflict with Russia, the Ukrainian postal service has continued to deliver letters and packages. Private courier companies have also continued to carry out financial services and transfer money. Pensions were also paid for workers, despite the war. While Ukraine’s postal service is not a highly visible institution, its function is crucial for the functioning of society.

The Ukrposhta employs about 73,000 people. In the conflict, 15 employees have died and 14 were injured. But the postal service continued to deliver mail and packages to the occupied regions. Despite the risk to its operations, Ukrposhta continues to pay pensions to its employees.

The US Department of Justice is investigating Ukraine’s postal service for war crimes. But to be charged with war crimes, the US Department of Justice must prove that there is a nexus to the US. For example, in Vil’khivka, Ukrainian postal workers donned bulletproof vests to deliver cash to elderly residents who were unable to leave their village after Russian troops arrived. The post office is pockmarked with bullets and shrapnel.

While Ukrposhta is still struggling, it is doing its best to keep its operations going. It has set up a temporary solution for the current year, but there is still no plan in place for 2020. Thankfully, there are many ways for the postal service to continue providing its services, including a new program for displaced citizens.

Russian strikes hit eastern Donetsk region

On Thursday, as Russian air strikes hit eastern Donetsk region, Ukrainian residents were caught off guard. In the town of Olenivka, about 20 people – mostly elderly people – boarded a minivan to evacuate. All shops had closed and the streets were deserted. Those who remained said they had no place to go and were scared to leave their homes. Residents of the area typically seek refuge in basements and depend on aid distributed by groups such as the Ukrainian Red Cross.

The Russian air strikes in eastern Ukraine have caused heavy damage. At least seven civilians have died in the past 24 hours. Among them was a 17-year-old girl found under rubble in the city of Kramatorsk, the administrative center of the Donetsk region. Earlier Monday, a rocket struck a residential area and killed one person and injured six others. According to a spokesman for the Russian defense ministry, the attacks on the region had increased.

According to Donetsk regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko, the Russian military launched an attack on the town of Avdiivka, a city in the Donetsk region. Ukrainian authorities have repeatedly warned residents to evacuate the area. Meanwhile, pro-Russian separatists have alleged that Russia has used cluster munitions on civilians and mercenaries in the area. The mercenaries, who are backed by Russian government forces, have made gains in the area, according to the Institute for the Study of War in Washington.

The Russian military has been forced to merge depleted units and redeployed in the region, resulting in weak morale and limited air support. The Russian military’s advance in eastern Ukraine is likely a prelude to a full-scale assault. As of Wednesday, Russian forces were in control of the Luhansk region, and continued to make advances in the Donetsk region.

Russian president Vladimir Putin’s recollections of the attacks on Kherson and Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine

Ukrainian forces are continuing their offensive to push back Russian troops in the south, with two villages recently liberated. Meanwhile, the Russian-occupied city of Kherson is undergoing a counteroffensive. Recent footage has shown explosions near the Antonivskiy bridge, a vital route between Kherson and the eastern Dnieper River. There are also reports that Ukrainian forces are using US-supplied Himars multiple rocket launchers in the area. The Russian military has also conducted multiple assaults near the city of Mykolaiv, a river port.

The attacks on Kherson and Mykolaivov have led to the evacuation of thousands of civilians. As the war continues to destabilize the region, Ukrainian citizens are unable to return home. Some have feared they may be forced to flee Ukraine. Fortunately, Russian volunteers have been stepping up efforts to keep the area safe.

The shelling that targeted the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has been causing fires to erupt. The fires have been preventing the plant from operating, according to officials. Ukrainian fighters are trying to hold onto the plant while trying to repel the Russian attacks.

The Ukrainian president described Vadatursky’s death as a “great loss” to the whole country. He had been working to create an efficient grain market in Kherson by building a network of transhipment terminals and elevators. The attack on Mykolaiv, meanwhile, claimed at least three lives, including a journalist and a doctor. Moreover, the city of Kharkiv has been subject to repeated shelling by Russian forces.

The battle for Kherson will shape the course of the war in southern Ukraine. The Russian army needs to hold Kherson if it wants to advance to Odesa and occupy the entire Black Sea coast. A Ukrainian victory here would likely limit Russia to the Left Bank of the country and lead to counteroffensives to push Putin’s army out of southern Ukraine.

 

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