Russians Left Ukraine village, Fear And Hardship Remain
KALYNIVSKE, Ukraine – When night falls in Tatiana Trofimenko’s village in southern Ukraine, she fills a jar with sunflower oil donated by aid organizations and seals it with a wick-fitted lid. The make-do candle is lit with a flick of a match.
“This is our power,” Trofimenko, 68, says.
It’s been more than 11 weeks since Ukraine troops freed her village in the province of Kherson from Russian control. But the people of Kalynivske, both those who have returned and those who have never left, are still having a hard time. In the dead of winter, a remote area near an active front line is without power or water. The sounds of war can never be far away.
Russian forces left the western side of the Dnieper River, which ran through the middle of the province, but they kept control of the eastern side. A near-constant barrage of fire from only a few kilometers away, combined with the danger of unexploded mines, has made normalcy a distant dream and put a damper on their military’s strategic victory.
Residents have gradually returned to Kalynivske, preferring to live without basic services, reliant on humanitarian aid, and under constant threat of bombardment rather than as displaced people elsewhere in their country. They say that staying is a way to show that they don’t care about the constant Russian attacks that are meant to make the area unlivable.
Some Fled The Ukraine Village Some Stayed And Hid
“This area has been liberated. “I have a feeling,” Trofimenko says. “There were no people on the streets before. They were both empty. Some people fled, while others hid in their homes.”
“When you walk down the street now, you see happy people,” she says.
On Saturday, the Press followed a United Nations humanitarian aid convoy into the village, where blankets, solar lamps, jerrycans, bed linens, and warm clothes were delivered to a distribution center’s local warehouse.
In the early days of the war, Russian forces captured Kherson province. Most of Kalynivske’s nearly 1,000 residents remained in their homes throughout the occupation. Most were too frail or ill to flee, and others lacked the means to do so.
Gennadiy Shaposhnikov is lying on a sofa in a dark room with plates piled up beside him.
The 83-year-advanced old’s cancer makes it difficult for him to speak. When a mortar hit the back of his house, his neighbors rushed to his aid, patching it up with tarps. They continue to visit daily to ensure that he is fed and cared for.
“Please return soon,” is all he can say to them.
Missles Destroyed The Womens Home, Shrapnel In The Front Yard
When the missiles destroyed her small house near the Ukraine village center, Oleksandra Hryhoryna, 75, moved in with a neighbor. Her frail frame covers the shells and shrapnel that litter her front yard. She struggles up the strewn-together bricks that serve as the stairwell to her front door.
She rode her bike to the aid distribution center and left with a bag full of tinned food, her primary source of nutrition these days.
But, as Hryhoryna explains, the main issue is a lack of electricity. “We survive by using handmade candles with oil,” she says.
The main road leading to her house is littered with war relics, an eerie museum of what once was and what everyone here hopes will never return. Rusted-out Russian tanks rust in the fields. Anti-tank missiles gleam as they are embedded in grassy patches. Occasionally, the tail end of a cluster munitions is discovered lodged in the ground.
Passers-by are warned not to get too close by bright red signs with a skull.
Russians Left Empty Ammo Everywhere
During their quick retreat, the Russians left empty ammunition boxes, trenches, and tarp-covered tents. A jacket and men’s underwear hanging from the bare branches some kilometers away. And because the Russians are still attacking Kherson to get back the land they lost, scared people may find it hard to believe that the occupying forces ever left.
“I’m terrified,” Trofimenko says. “I’m even screaming at times. I’m scared to death. And I’m concerned that we’ll be shelled again, and the fighting will resume. This is the worst thing that exists.”
The Ukraine village’s deprivation is mirrored throughout Kherson, from the provincial capital of the same name to the constellation of villages separated by tracts of farmland surrounding it. After a major counteroffensive led to a Russian troop withdrawal, Ukrainian troops reclaimed territory west of the Dnieper River in November, hailed as one of the greatest Ukrainian victories of the war, which is now in its 12th month.
The United Nations increased its assistance, providing cash assistance to 133,000 people in Kherson and food to 150,000 others. Many Kalynivske villagers claim that food aid is the only reason they have something to eat.
“One of the most difficult challenges is that those who are present are the most vulnerable. “”It’s primarily the elderly, many of whom have disabilities, people who are unable to leave the area and are completely reliant on aid organizations and local authorities working around the clock,” says Saviano Abreu, a UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs spokesperson.
The Shelling Is Continuous.
The Ukraine Defense Ministry says that rocket, artillery, and mortar attacks happen almost every day in Kherson and the nearby villages. Most people live closer to the river banks and the front lines, but that doesn’t make those who live further away feel any safer. On Friday, a missile struck the village of Kochubeivka, north of Kalynivske, killing one person.
“Kherson was able to get most of the essential services back up and running, but the fighting is still making it hard to keep them going,” Abreu says. “It’s been getting worse and worse since December. There is an increase in the number of attacks and hostilities.”
There is only one way to pump piped drinking water with electricity. Residents in Ukraine complain that many people queue to get well water, but many more are required to perform daily tasks.
Many people forage for firewood around the village to stay warm, a dangerous task post-occupation.
Nina Zvarech’s story is well known in Kalynivske. She went to the nearby forest to look for firewood and was killed when she stepped on a mine.
Her body was left there for over a month because her family was too afraid to look for her.
SOURCE – (AP)
UN Head Says Survival Depends On How People Manage Water In 2023
WATER The United Nations Humanity’s survival depends on how people manage water, said United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday at the close of a three-day conference on global water resources, during which developing countries made urgent requests for assistance with cleaner drinking water and better sanitation.
In his final remarks, Guterres stated, “All of humanity’s hopes for the future depend, in some way, on charting a new course to sustainably manage and conserve water.”
He stated that water “needs to be at the center of the global political agenda” and that this implies more aggressive action against climate change.
According to the United Nations World Water Development Report, released on the eve of the conference, 26% of the world’s population—2 billion people — lacks access to safe drinking water, while 46% — 3.6 billion people — lack access to basic sanitation. According to UN studies, nearly half the world’s population will face acute water stress by 2030.
Many rhetorical pledges to enhance water supply were made at the conference, but there needed to be more precise commitments to translate aspirations into better daily lives for regular people.
Throughout the meeting, water-stressed states, particularly those in the developing world
“We have such lovely, ambitious initiatives,” said Lina Taing, senior researcher at the global think tank United Nations University.
“We know that we are completely off track,” she stated, regarding providing them with clean water and sanitation. Taing stated that the world’s actions must be increased “fourfold.”
Throughout the meeting, water-stressed states, particularly those in the developing world, told U.N. members of their need for international aid to provide their people with drinking water and sanitation facilities.
“Waging a war on two fronts at the same time to address water issues and climate change is no easy task, especially for a small island nation like Kiribati, which has very limited resources at its disposal,” said Teburoro Tito, the United Nations representative for the Pacific island nation of fewer than 200,000 people. He claimed that Kiribati was particularly unprepared to deal with natural calamities.
SOURCE – (AP)
1 Million March In France, Unions Call New Pension Protests
PARIS MARCH — After more than a million people rallied across France on Thursday against unpopular pension reforms, French unions called for further statewide strikes and protests the following week, coinciding with King Charles III’s anticipated visit to France.
According to the Interior Ministry, the march in Paris attracted 119,000 participants, setting a record for the city’s capital during the pension demonstrations. However, as were many other marches, the march was plagued by violence. According to polls, most French people are against President Emmanuel Macron’s proposal to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64, which he claims is vital to maintain the system.
The unions quickly announced fresh demonstrations and strikes for Tuesday, the day the British king is expected to visit Bordeaux as part of his trip to France, building on the significant turnout. According to the Sud Ouest newspaper, on Thursday night, participants in an unofficial demonstration set fire to and completely demolished the heavy wooden entrance of the Bordeaux City Hall.
According to the ministry, in cities and towns around the nation on Thursday, more than a million people participated in protest marches.
Gerald Darmanin, the interior minister, went to the police headquarters on Thursday night march as fires were still raging in some Parisian neighborhoods hours after the march had concluded.
The protests were conducted the day after Macron infuriated his detractors even more by refusing to back down on the retirement bill that his administration rushed through parliament without a vote.
The eight unions organizing the protests march stated that “while the (president) tries to turn the page, this social and union movement… confirms the determination of the world of workers and youth to obtain the withdrawal of the reform.” On Tuesday, further nationwide strikes and protests were called for in addition to localized action this weekend.
Thursday night march as fires were still raging in some Parisian neighborhoods
Strikes disrupted travel as demonstrators surrounded ports, refineries, and Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris.
In Paris, clashes between police and groups wearing black masks that attacked at least two fast food establishments, a supermarket, and a bank reflected the violence’s escalation and diverted attention from the tens of thousands of nonviolent demonstrators.
Police charged repeatedly and fired tear gas to disperse the protestors after being attacked with objects and pyrotechnics. After the march, protesters gathered at the Place de l’Opera, partially obscured by a tear gas haze. The “radical elements,” according to the police, number around 1,000 persons.
Other marches were plagued by violence, particularly in Lyon in the southeast and the western cities of Nantes, Rennes, and Lorient, where an administrative building was stormed, its courtyard set ablaze, and its windows destroyed.
The nine union-organized rallies around the country on Thursday were the ninth to occur since January, when opponents of Macron’s proposal to raise the retirement age still hoped that parliament would reject it. However, the administration used a unique constitutional provision to force it through.
In a French interview on Wednesday, Macron remained steadfast in his belief that new legislation is required to maintain retirement funds. Other suggestions made by opponents included raising taxes on the affluent or businesses, which according to Macron, would harm the economy. He maintained that by the end of the year, the government’s law to raise the retirement age must be implemented.
The proposal now has to be approved by the Constitutional Council. But the opposition won’t give up.
The strikes on Thursday caused the Eiffel Tower and the Versailles Palace.
The chief of the moderate CFDT labor union, Laurent Berger, “We are trying to say before the law is enacted… that we have to find a way out and we continue to say that the way out is the withdrawal of the law.”
Public transportation networks in other significant cities, the Paris metro, and high-speed and regional trains were all affected. At Paris Orly Airport, almost 30% of scheduled flights were canceled.
The strikes on Thursday caused the Eiffel Tower and the Versailles Palace, where the British monarch will dine with Macron, to be shuttered.
Violence, a regular problem during demonstrations, has been worse recently. 12,000 security personnel, including 5,000 in Paris, would be on French streets on Thursday, according to Gerald Darmanin.
In a statement, the Education Ministry stated that 15% of instructors in high schools and roughly 24% of primary and intermediate school teachers took a sick day on Thursday.
Several hundred strikers wielding flares and yelling, “Macron, go away,” marched on the Paris Gare de Lyon train station rails to stop trains from moving. They were carrying flares.
Maxime Monin, 46, expressed concern that his and other public transportation workers’ holidays this year might be less enjoyable. He emphasized that such workers are not paid on strike days. But the price was worthwhile.
A bus depot in Pantin, in the northern suburbs of Paris, was blocked by several dozen union members during rush hour, preventing 200 vehicles from leaving.
A 48-year-old bus driver involved in the protest, Nadia Belhoum, condemned Macron’s choice to push through the higher retirement age.
She declared, “The president of the Republic is not a monarch, and he should listen to his people.
SOURCE – (AP)
Nigerian Politician Found Guilty In UK Organ Harvesting Plot
LONDON — In a scheme to take a street vendor to the U.K. as part of the harvesting of organs, a senior Nigerian politician and his wife were found guilty on Thursday.
Ike Ekweremadu, a lawyer and the vice president of the Nigerian Senate, and his wife Beatrice were charged with organizing a 21-year-old man’s flight to the United Kingdom to use him as a kidney donor.
According to the prosecution, the lawmaker and his wife recruited the man from a Lagos street market and set up the victim’s kidney donation for their 25-year-old daughter Sonia during an 80,000-pound (almost $100,000) transplant procedure at a London hospital.
According to the prosecution, the victim thought he was being taken to London in February 2022 for employment and that he would be paid thousands of pounds as part of the arrangement.
Although giving a kidney is legal in the UK, it is against the law to give someone money or another material benefit in exchange.
The conviction is the first under the U.K.’s modern slavery statutes of suspects in an organ harvesting conspiracy.
Ike Ekweremadu, a lawyer and the vice president of the Nigerian Senate, and his wife Beatrice were
To pull off the scam, the victim falsely claimed to be Sonia’s Nigerian cousin on his U.K. visa application, and the Ekweremadus pretended to be Sonia’s family to medical professionals.
However, a physician at the Royal Free Hospital determined the intended procedure couldn’t proceed after growing uneasy about the conditions. Prosecutors claim that the Ekweremadus then looked for additional possible contributors in Turkey.
The victim told British authorities that he had been smuggled from Nigeria and that someone was attempting to transplant his kidney, which is how the case was discovered.
Joanne Jakymec, the chief crown prosecutor, called the case “horrific.”
The victim had little awareness of what was happening, the victim’s statement read. “The convicted defendants showed utter disregard for the victim’s welfare nigerian, health, and well-being and used their considerable influence to a high degree of control throughout,” it stated.
At London’s Central Criminal Court on Thursday, Dr. Obinna Obeta, identified by the prosecution as a medical “middleman” in the scheme, was also found guilty. The jury found Sonia Ekweremadu, who has significant kidney disease, not guilty.
The accused were instructed to stay in detention, and their sentence was set for May 5.
SOURCE – (AP)
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