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Ukraine Warns Russian Cyber Onslaught Is Coming 

Ukraine is bracing for a new wave of Russian cyberattacks likely aimed at freezing its citizens in coming months and crippling its spending power.

The attacks, according to an assessment shared Friday by a top Ukrainian cyber official, are expected to include precision cyber strikes, combining virtual efforts against key systems with physical action targeting critical infrastructure as winter approaches.

“We saw this scenario before,” Deputy Minister of Digital Transformation Georgii Dubynskyi told reporters on the sidelines of a cybersecurity conference in Washington.

“They [Russia] are trying to find a way how to undermine, how to defeat our energy system and how to make circumstances even more severe for Ukrainians,” he said. “We are preparing.”


Dubynskyi is not the first Ukrainian official to sound alarms about Russia’s efforts in cyberspace.

A number of Ukraine officials have described the war with Russia as the world’s first cyber war.

And in August, Victor Zhora, the deputy head of Ukraine’s State Special Communications Service, told an online conference that the pace of the Kremlin cyberattacks was relentless.

“We continue registering new cyber incidents almost every day,” said Zhora at the time, estimating there have been at least 1,600 major incidents since the start of the year.


Moscow has consistently denied involvement in offensive cyberattacks, including some that targeted Ukraine on the eve of the Russian invasion.

A report issued Thursday by the U.S.-based cybersecurity firm Check Point Software found that since February, cyberattacks on Ukrainian government and military websites “more than doubled, increasing by a staggering 112%.”

It also found that corporate networks in Ukraine are being hit by more than 1,500 attacks each week, an increase of 25% since the war began.

Check Point’s researchers believe there is more reason to worry.

“For the first time, we’ve also seen coordination between cyberattacks and kinetic, military assaults,” the report said, citing a March 1, 2022, Russian missile attack on a television transmission tower in Kyiv that was accompanied by a cyberattack designed to knock out all of the city’s broadcasting capabilities.

Dubynskyi on Friday warned that Russia is actively developing various types of malware that he described as cyberweapons, for use in Ukraine and maybe even beyond.

“We cannot compare it with nuclear weapons, but the effectiveness of that is enough,” he said.

Making matters worse, Dubynskyi alleged Russia has help on the inside.

“They are developing classical operations, using not only cyber, not only software, also using some human resources,” he said. “Using some traitors.”

Ukrainian officials say they are working to root out any spies and are focused on integrating cybersecurity officials — trained on what to do in the case of a severe cyberattack — into regional and local governments.

They also say they are getting considerable help from the U.S. and other Western allies, though there are ongoing requests for more aid and more training.

Despite the concern expressed by some Ukrainian officials, not all experts see Russia’s cyber exploits during the war as insurmountable.

“Some of the things they’ve done … was impactful,” said Dmitri Alperovitch, the founder of the Silverado Policy Accelerator and the former chief technology officer of cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike, at the Billington CyberSecurity Summit on Friday.

“But they have tried a lot of stuff and clearly much of it is not working because of the resilience and the preparation that was taking place [in Ukraine],” he said.

And Ukraine believes the Kremlin’s efforts to recruit and use cyber gangs or hackers for hire may also be suffering because of Russia’s military setbacks on the battlefield.

“We believe that many of them are scared and that many of them are scared [of] what is going on in Russia,” Dubynskyi said, citing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s propensity to rule with an increasingly iron fist.

“For hackers and IT experts, freedom is one of the dimensions of their existence,” he said. “This atmosphere also is not productive, neither for IT experts nor even for hackers.”

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UN Weekly Roundup: September 3-9, 2022 

Here is a fast take on what the international community has been up to this past week, as seen from the United Nations perch.

IAEA chief briefs Security Council on Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

IAEA Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi said Friday that the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant’s power infrastructure had been destroyed in shelling, leading to a complete blackout in the surrounding town of Enerhodar. The IAEA said the plant’s Ukrainian operator is considering shutting down the plant’s only remaining working reactor. Earlier in the week, Grossi briefed the Security Council on his mission to the plant.

IAEA Chief: Attacks on Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant ‘Playing With Fire’

UN concerned by Russia’s ‘filtration’ of Ukrainian civilians

The U.N. assistant secretary-general for human rights said Wednesday that her office has verified that Russian soldiers and affiliated groups subject Ukrainian civilians to an invasive process called “filtration,” and she called for access to those being detained by Russia.

UN Concerned by Russia’s ‘Filtration’ of Ukrainian Civilians

UN chief in Pakistan to see flood damage

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres arrived in Islamabad on Friday to meet with Pakistan government officials and visit flood-impacted areas. One-third of the country is under water after deadly and destructive monsoon rains. The U.N. has appealed for an emergency $160 million to assist 5.2 million people.

UN Chief: Flood-Ravaged Pakistan Wrongly Attacked by ‘Blind’ Nature

Pandemic, other crises hurt human development

The U.N. Development Program said in a new report this week that the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, economic uncertainty and other crises have halted progress in human development and reversed gains made over the past three decades. Data from 191 countries show 90% failed to achieve a better, healthier, more secure life for their people in 2020 and 2021.

Crises Halt Progress in Human Development: UN Report

UN official: Sahel must not be forgotten amid other crises

A senior U.N. official for Africa warned this week that the Sahel region risks becoming a forgotten crisis because of the many competing emergencies around the world. Charles Bernimolin told VOA that the world must not ignore the 18.6 million people there who face acute hunger, with many on the brink of starvation. He said 7.7 million children under the age of 5 are malnourished, including nearly 2 million who are severely malnourished and risk dying without prompt treatment.

Sahel Risks Becoming a Forgotten Crisis, UN Official Says

In brief

— Guterres appointed Volker Türk the next U.N. high commissioner for human rights on Thursday, following approval by the General Assembly. Turk, a native of Austria, has held a number of positions in the United Nations system. He succeeds Michelle Bachelet of Chile whose term ended on August 31.

— The General Assembly on Thursday approved a new U.N. Office for Youth Affairs. It will support governments in responding to the world’s 1.2 billion young people and their priorities — namely, education, jobs and peace.

— The World Meteorological Organization said this week in a new report that African communities, economies and ecosystems are being hit hard by water stress and events including drought and severe floods. The State of the Climate in Africa 2021 says high water stress affects about 250 million people in Africa and could displace up to 700 million people by 2030. In addition, four out of five African countries are unlikely to have sustainably managed water resources by 2030.

Good news

Some 23,000 metric tons of Ukrainian wheat arrived in Djibouti by ship late last month. This week, trucks delivered a portion of that wheat to the World Food Program’s main warehouse in Ethiopia. The food-assistance branch of the U.N. said the 23,000 tons of grain is enough to feed 1.5 million people on full rations for one month.

Next week

On September 13, the 77th session of the General Assembly will open. President-elect Csaba Korosi of Hungary will take his place at the dais. The following week, world leaders will convene at headquarters for their first completely in-person annual debate since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020.

In memoriam

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II died on Thursday after a more than 70-year reign. She was respected and admired by millions around the world. Although holding only constitutional powers, she wielded great soft power and was widely regarded as a fine diplomat in her own right. Nothing seduced world leaders like the honor of a state banquet at Windsor Castle or Buckingham Palace presided over by Her Majesty. Guterres on Thursday called her a “good friend of the United Nations.” During her reign, she addressed the General Assembly twice — in 1957 and 2010.

Read our report about her 2010 visit here:

Queen Elizabeth Addresses UN General Assembly

View U.N. video clips from both her visits here.

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As Biden Touts Ohio Intel Plant, Fellow Democrat Questions President’s 2024 Plans

President Joe Biden made an election-year visit to an overwhelmingly Republican part of Ohio on Friday for the groundbreaking of a semiconductor plant that he promoted as evidence that his economic policies are working.

But his trip was punctuated by comments from a fellow Democrat, Ohio Representative Tim Ryan, who is now running for the U.S. Senate. On Thursday, Ryan publicly questioned whether the party needed new leadership after he was asked if the 79-year-old president should run for re-election in 2024.

Biden traveled to Licking County near Columbus to speak at the site of Intel Corp’s new $20 billion semiconductor manufacturing facility and hailed it as a sign of things to come.

“The future of the chip industry is going to be made in America,” he said. “The industrial Midwest is back.”

The trip is part of a White House push before the November midterm elections to tout new funding for manufacturing and infrastructure that Biden’s Democratic Party pushed through Congress, while decrying opposition Republicans backed by former President Donald Trump as dangerous extremists.

Previous trips to Maryland, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin have landed the president in areas where Democrats have strong support, but Licking County voted Republican 63% to 35% in the 2020 presidential election.

Democrats have lost Ohio in the past two presidential contests, but Republican Senator Rob Portman’s retirement may give Democrats a chance to pick up a Senate seat.

Some recent forecasts show Democrats favored to maintain control of the Senate, after a series of wins in Congress. But not all candidates welcome Biden’s campaigning support.

Ryan, who currently represents Ohio’s 13th congressional district, is running against Republican J.D. Vance, a venture capitalist and author of the book Hillbilly Elegy, who has Trump’s backing.

Asked Thursday if Biden should seek a second term, Ryan told Youngstown, Ohio, network WFMJ, “My hunch is that we need new leadership across the board — Democrats, Republicans, I think it’s time for a generational move.”

Ryan, who has broken with the president on some issues, has not asked Biden to campaign with him in the state, but was present at the Intel groundbreaking for the president’s remarks.

Pressed later by reporters if Biden should run again, Ryan said that was up to the president.

“The president said from the very beginning he was going to be a bridge to the next generation, which is basically what I was saying,” he said.

Vance accused Ryan of hypocrisy.

“It takes a real two-faced fraud for someone to tell Ohioans he doesn’t support Biden running for reelection, the literal day before he appears at an event with him,” he said.

Trump’s political organization announced on Monday that Trump will appear at a rally for Vance in Youngstown, Ohio, on September 17.

Chips and Science Act

Intel backed the Ohio project in anticipation of the passage of the Chips and Science Act, a funding law that Biden signed last month after some Republicans joined Democrats to support it, the White House said.

The Chips act is aimed at jumpstarting the domestic production of semiconductors in response to supply-chain disruptions that have slowed the production of automobiles.

Several other companies have announced new semiconductor plants resulting from passage of the Chips act, which authorized about $52 billion in government subsidies for U.S. semiconductor production and research, and an investment tax credit for chip plants estimated to be worth $24 billion.

“Industry leaders are choosing us — the United States — because they see America’s back and America’s leading the way,” Biden said.

Intel timed an announcement that it has distributed $17.7 million to Ohio colleges and universities to develop semiconductor-focused education and workforce programs, part of a $50 million education and research investment in the state, to Biden’s visit.

The Intel facility will contain at least two fabricating plants that the White House said will be built by union labor, creating more than 7,000 construction jobs and 3,000 full-time jobs producing cutting edge chips.

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ЗСУ звільнили понад 30 населених пунктів на Харківщині – звернення президента

«У частині сіл регіону тривають заходи з перевірки й убезпечення території, поступово беремо під контроль нові населені пункти»

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Суд у Москві відхилив скаргу Google на рішення про штраф у 352 млн доларів

Рішення про штраф було ухвалене за те, що Google не обмежив доступу на YouTube до матеріалів, що містять інформацію, заборонену в Росії

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Зеленський вручив орден гендиректору компанії – виробника «Байрактарів»

Сторони також обговорили деталі будівництва заводу «Байкар» в Україні і виробництво нової продукції з використанням українських деталей

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Ukrainian Children Head Back to School Amid War

Though hundreds of Ukraine’s schools have been destroyed during the war, the new school year has quietly started. And while some things haven’t changed, many Ukrainian schoolchildren are facing new and frightening realities. Lesia Bakalets has the story, narrated by Anna Rice. VOA footage by David Gogokhia.

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Biden Administration to Remove ‘Public Charge’ Immigration Hurdles

The Biden administration finalized a rule Friday to remove hurdles to immigration to anyone deemed “likely” to become dependent on public benefits while trying to obtain a visa or become a U.S. permanent resident.

The final rule, published Friday, is scheduled to take effect December 23.

“This action ensures fair and humane treatment of legal immigrants and their U.S. citizen family members,” Secretary of U.S. Department Homeland Security (DHS) Alejandro N. Mayorkas said in a statement.

The DHS announcement restores the historical understanding of a “public charge” that had been in place for decades, DHS said.

It means DHS will no longer label a noncitizen as a public charge if they received certain non-cash benefits that were available to them such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or other nutrition programs, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Medicaid — except for long-term institutional care — housing benefits, or anything related to immunizations or testing for communicable diseases.

“Consistent with America’s bedrock values, we will not penalize individuals for choosing to access the health benefits and other supplemental government services available to them,” Mayorkas said.

In 2019, the Trump administration broadened the definition of public charge to deem noncitizens who received assistance to pay for food, housing, energy, child care or used Medicaid and other benefits for more than 12 months within any 36-month period as a public charge and possibly deny them admission or permanent residence, also known as a green card.

Within months of taking office, the Biden administration stopped enforcing the guideline established under the Trump administration.

Before the 2019 rule, almost all non-cash government benefits such as Medicaid or nutrition assistance were excluded from public charge consideration.

Researchers from the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) said confusion and skepticism over the 2019 change likely kept many immigrants and their U.S.-born relatives from accessing benefits and services for which they were eligible.

“Being labeled a public charge or a potential public charge carries high consequences: Denial of admission for certain immigrants seeking to enter the United States, or for those already in the country, the inability to become lawful permanent residents,” according to MPI.

American Immigration Lawyers Association President Jeremy McKinney wrote in an email Thursday that the “public charge regulation caused such fear among immigrants who sought to legally apply for a green card that many chose to forgo health care and vital economic support.”

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ur M. Jaddou said in a statement Thursday that there is “much to do to overcome confusion and fear” the 2019 change created.

“We will continue to work to break down barriers in the immigration system, restore faith and trust with our immigrant communities, and eliminate excessive burdens in the application process,” she wrote.

Even with rule changes published Friday, a noncitizen can still be denied admission to the United States or lawful permanent residence, if they cannot prove they are self-sufficient, meaning not likely to become primarily dependent on the government for survival.

Researchers at MPI wrote that the best way to stop administrations from “oscillating policy changes” would be for Congress to better define public charge in law, “including enumeration of which benefits and services count towards a person’s likelihood of becoming a public charge.”

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New York City’s 9/11 Museum Shuts Down

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«Нафтогаз» починає новий арбітраж проти «Газпрому»

«Нафтогаз» вимагає від «Газпрому» кошти за надану послугу з організації транспортування природного газу територією України, «які не були ним сплачені вчасно та в повному обсязі»

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Голова Пентагону заявив про успіхи України на полі бою біля Херсона і Харкова

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Літаки ЗСУ успішно вдарили по позиціях армії РФ на Херсонщині – ОК «Південь»

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Bernard Shaw, CNN’s 1st Chief Anchor, Dies at 82

Bernard Shaw, former CNN anchor and a pioneering Black journalist remembered for his blunt question at a presidential debate and calmly reporting the beginning of the Gulf War in 1991 from Baghdad as it was under attack, has died. He was 82.

He died of pneumonia, unrelated to COVID-19, on Wednesday at a hospital in Washington, according to Tom Johnson, CNN’s former chief executive.

A former CBS and ABC newsman, Shaw took a chance and accepted an offer to become CNN’s chief anchor at its launch in 1980. He later reported before a camera hurriedly set up in a newsroom after the 1981 assassination attempt on President Ronald Regan.

He retired at age 61 in 2001.

As moderator of a 1988 presidential debate between George H. W. Bush and Michael Dukakis, he asked the Democrat — a death penalty opponent — whether he would support that penalty for someone found guilty of raping and murdering Dukakis’ wife Kitty.

Dukakis’ coolly technocratic response was widely seen as damaging to his campaign, and Shaw said later he got a flood of hate mail for asking it.

“Since when did a question hurt a politician?” Shaw said in an interview aired by CSPAN in 2001. “It wasn’t the question. It was the answer.”

Shaw memorably reported, with correspondents Peter Arnett and John Holliman, from a hotel room in Baghdad as CNN aired stunning footage of airstrikes and anti-aircraft fire at the beginning of U.S. invasion to liberate Kuwait.

“I’ve never been there,” he said that night, “but this feels like we’re in the center of hell.”

The reports were crucial in establishing CNN when it was the only cable news network and broadcasters ABC, CBS and NBC dominated television news. “He put CNN on the map,” said Frank Sesno, a former CNN Washington bureau chief and now a professor at George Washington University.

Shaw, who grew up in Chicago wanting to be a journalist and admiring legendary CBS newsmen Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite, recognized it as a key moment.

“In all of the years of preparing to being anchor, one of the things I strove for was to be able to control my emotions in the midst of hell breaking out,” Shaw said in a 2014 interview with NPR. “And I personally feel that I passed my stringent test for that in Baghdad.”

Shaw covered the demonstrations in China’s Tiananmen Square in 1989, signing off as authorities told CNN to stop its telecast. While at ABC, he was one of the first reporters on the scene of the 1978 Jonestown massacre.

On Twitter, CNN’s John King paid tribute to Shaw’s “soft-spoken yet booming voice” and said he was a mentor and role model to many.

“Bernard Shaw exemplified excellence in his life,” Johnson said. “He will be remembered as a fierce advocate of responsible journalism.”

CNN’s current chief executive, Chris Licht, paid tribute to Shaw as a CNN original who made appearances on the network as recently as last year to provide commentary.

So guarded against any appearance of bias that he didn’t vote, Shaw asked tough questions of several politicians. He asked George H.W. Bush’s pick for vice president, Dan Quayle, if “fear of being killed in Vietnam” led to Quayle joining the National Guard in 1969.

As a member of the U.S. Marines, Shaw angled for a meeting with one of his heroes, Cronkite, in Hawaii in 1961.

“He was the most persistent guy I’ve ever met in my life,” the late Cronkite told the Washington Post in 1991. “I was going to give him five begrudging minutes and ended up talking to him for a half hour. He was just determined to be a journalist.”

He got a radio job in Chicago, where an early assignment was covering an appearance by Martin Luther King. Shaw recalled for CNN King telling him, “one day you’re going to make it. Just do some good.”

In retiring at a relatively young age, Shaw acknowledged the toll on his personal life that went with being a successful journalist. Because of all the things he missed with his family while working, he told NPR that “I don’t think it was worth it.”

His funeral will be private, with a public memorial planned for later, Johnson said. He is survived by his wife, Linda, and two children.

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Zelenskyy Meets with US Secretary of State

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his daily address that he and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in an unannounced visit Thursday to Kyiv, talked about a variety of topics, including designating Russia as a terrorist state.

“The legal reality must always correspond to the actual reality. And it is a fact that Russia has become the biggest source of terrorism in the world,” Zelenskyy said.  “The world must receive an unequivocal signal that Russian terror will not be forgiven.”

Also in his daily address, Zelenskyy said, “More than a thousand square kilometers of our territory have been liberated since September 1.”  The president said, “I am grateful to everyone who made it happen. I am grateful to the army, intelligence officers, and special services for every Ukrainian flag that has been hoisted these days.”

“Ukraine’s extraordinary front-line defenders continue to courageously fight for their country’s freedom,” Blinken said in a statement after meeting with Zelenskyy. The top U.S. diplomat reaffirmed President Joe Biden’s commitment to support Ukraine “for as long as it takes.”

Meanwhile, the United States said Thursday it plans to send $2.2 billion in long-term military aid to Ukraine and 18 other European countries threatened by Russian aggression, and another $675 million directly to the Kyiv government in a new munitions package to fight Moscow’s invasion.

A news pool report said Blinken “entered Ukraine’s fortified presidential administration building through a series of dark hallways with sandbags stacked over windows that eventually led to a white room with gold trim and crystal chandeliers.”

Zelenskyy expressed his gratitude for the “enormous support” the United States has sent Ukraine, praising Biden and the U.S. Congress for helping Ukraine “return our territory and lands.”

Overall, the new U.S. assistance would bring its Ukraine-related aid total to $15.2 billion since Biden took office in January last year. The $675 million in military assistance includes heavy weaponry, ammunition and armored vehicles.

Blinken said the $2.2 billion in long-term aid would “bolster the security of Ukraine and 18 of its neighbors, including many of our NATO allies, as well as other regional security partners potentially at risk of future Russian aggression.”

In a separate statement, the State Department said the aid would help those countries “deter and defend against emergent threats to their sovereignty and territorial integrity” by bolstering their military integration with NATO, the U.S.-dominated Western military alliance.

Pending expected congressional approval, about $1 billion of $2.2 billion would go to Ukraine and the rest will be divided among Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia, the State Department said.

In New York, Russia called a U.N. Security Council meeting to criticize the West for sending military support to Ukraine in what its envoy said has become a proxy war.

“NATO basically manually directs Kyiv in the theater of war,” Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia claimed.

He said it is “empty fantasies” that Western weapons will bring the Ukrainians victory on the battlefield.

“New weapons will not change the balance of forces and will only extend agony of the Zelenskyy regime,” he said.

Washington’s envoy said Moscow had nerve to suggest countries should step aside as it seeks to destroy another U.N. member state.

“The United States is committed to supporting the people of Ukraine as they defend their lives, their liberty and their democracy. We are not hiding this support,” Ambassador Richard Mills said. “Ukraine and all U.N. member states have every right to defend themselves, and we won’t stop our support to Ukraine just because Russia is frustrated that its attempt at regime change has not gone to plan.”

Earlier, at a meeting of Western officials in Germany coordinating support for Ukraine, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said, “the war is at another key moment,” with Ukrainian forces in the midst of a counteroffensive to try to reclaim lost territory in the south of the country. He said, “Now we’re seeing the demonstrable success of our common efforts on the battlefield.”

Even so, U.S. officials indicated diplomatic talks between Ukraine and Russia do not appear to be a top priority for Ukraine.

“Right now, the Ukrainians do not have a viable map from which to negotiate,” one senior State Department official said. “Twenty percent of their territory has gone, something like 30% of their industrial and agricultural potential is gone. That’s why they’re launching this counteroffensive.”

Defense ministers from Germany and the Netherlands said on the sidelines of the meeting with Austin that their countries would provide new training for Ukrainian forces on how to deactivate Russian mines and send demining equipment to the Kyiv government.

In addition to fighting in the southern reaches of Ukraine and the eastern industrialized Donbas region, shelling continued near Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Europe’s largest.

Both sides have blamed each other for the attacks, even as the United Nations atomic energy watchdog agency has called for the creation of a safe zone around the facility to prevent a catastrophe akin to the nuclear plant disaster at Chernobyl in 1986.

Some information in this report came from The Associated Press.

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У Бахмуті за добу через обстріли військ РФ 8 людей загинули і 17 поранені – Донецька ОВА

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Влада попередила, що сьогодні на Київщині проводять знешкодження російських мін

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На одному з пунктів на польському кордоні почали пропускати порожні вантажівки на виїзд з України

У пункті пропуску «Устилуг-Зосін» у п’ятницю з 8:00 почали пропускати порожні вантажні транспортні засоби на виїзд з України, повідомляє Державна прикордонна служба України.

«Таких домовленостей досягнуто між Головними прикордонними уповноваженими України та Польщі. Ці заходи мають сприяти вирішенню питання з рекордними чергами, які через блокування польськими перевізниками утворилися перед пунктом пропуску «Ягодин-Дорогуськ», – йдеться в повідомленні.

У ДПСУ рекомендують водіям порожніх вантажівок обирати для виїзду до Польщі пункт пропуску «Устилуг-Зосін».

«Змін щодо руху через цей пункт пропуску легкових автомобілів та автобусів і вантажних транспортних засобів вагою до 7,5 тонни не відбулося», – вказали у відомстві.

За даними ДПСУ, минулої доби 23 тисячі громадян перетнули кордон з Польщею.

До України за минулу добу прослідували 34 тисячі людей, майже 31 тисяча з них – громадяни України. Оформлено 90 вантажівок з гуманітарною допомогою.

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Britain Mourns the Death of Queen Elizabeth

Britain’s King Charles III is returning to London on Friday from Balmoral Castle in Scotland where his mother, Queen Elizabeth, died Thursday.

Charles, who is 73 and the oldest monarch to ascend the throne, is scheduled to deliver a televised address to a nation in mourning Friday, his first address as head of state.

The king is also set Friday to hold his first audience with Prime Minister Liz Truss at Buckingham Palace. Elizabeth appointed Truss to her new position as prime minister on Tuesday, just two days before Britain’s longest-reigning monarch died.

Parliament is holding a special midday session Friday to pay respect to the queen.  Truss and other ministers are also set to attend a remembrance service Friday for the queen at St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Later, gun salutes are scheduled to be held at Hyde Park and other locations.

Elizabeth’s funeral will be held in the coming days at London’s Westminster Abbey and that day will be designated as a National Day of Mourning, a public holiday.

Growing mountains of flowers and tributes to the queen are gathering not only at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, but also at British embassies and cathedrals around the world.

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Biden, US Officials Mourn Death of Queen Elizabeth II

The White House is mourning the death of Queen Elizabeth II, with President Joe Biden describing the long-reigning British monarch as a key contributor to the strong relationship between the US and UK. Anita Powell reports from Washington.

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Reporter’s Notebook: Former Foreign Correspondents and a Historic Week in UK

Editor’s note: VOA’s Sonya Lawrence Green happened to be in London during a historic week: Prime Minister Boris Johnson resigned, Liz Truss became the new prime minister, and Queen Elizabeth II died after a 70-year reign. Here is her account.

I was sitting in a pub in London, on a weeklong visit to the United Kingdom, when the head barman rang a bell and shouted: “The queen is dead! Long live the king!”

Everyone stood up. All eyes turned to live coverage on the large TV screen. The mood was grave and respectful and hushed for several minutes. The whole country had been on what was being called “queen health watch,” and now Queen Elizabeth II had passed away at the age of 96. The queen’s death was not unexpected, but somehow it still came as a shock.

What a week to be in London. Boris Johnson delivered his farewell speech as outgoing prime minister, Liz Truss became the new prime minister and formed a new government, and the queen passed away after a historic reign.

There we were, a group of former foreign correspondents, once colleagues, now scattered around the globe, but reunited briefly in London for the memorial of a colleague. And now, a few days later, we were chatting in a pub when this news broke. Not on duty. But still.

At our table, we got to work. Not official work, but as journalists, if there is news happening, it’s instinctual to reach for more details: call, text, share memes, ask, “Have you seen this?” “Did you know that?” “What have you heard?”

I read aloud the accession protocols, which I found on an email from my news agency, and we marveled at the incredibly specific and arcane rituals of the British monarchy, while admiring their consistency in applying those customs for 900 years.

After getting all the facts straight, we turned to more personal reactions and talk. Nina sent video, sharing the atmosphere at the pub on her social media. Josh leaned over to ask if we had seen this tweet from @TheTweetOfGod, which said: “I can only save the Queen for so long.” Jane, who was awarded an MBE by the queen at Buckingham Palace for her services to broadcasting, sent a WhatsApp message speculating that the visits by outgoing Prime Minister Johnson and incoming Prime Minister Truss this week may have added undue stress to “Betty,” as she called the queen.

I decided to walk back to my hotel to monitor the ongoing coverage. In the rainy streets of central London, people were gathered in clusters, some sharing their thoughts about what happened. Flags were being lowered; plans were being made for ceremonies to come.

A swell of pedestrians headed toward Buckingham palace with flowers, in a heartfelt urge by some to express their condolences and convene with others to share this historic moment. A double rainbow had appeared over Buckingham Palace, drawing media attention and wishful talk of it being a sign that Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth were bidding a final farewell.

I took a moment to breathe in the damp London air and reflect on the life of a woman who had served her country as queen during unprecedented change in Great Britain and the world — to reflect on those who loved or hated or were indifferent to her and all she stood for — and to know that whatever comes next, she was released from this world now, her legacy complete.