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Battle Rages In Ukraine Town; Russia Shakes Up Its Military



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KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Kyiv, Ukraine In one of Russia’s bloodiest battles on Wednesday, the fate of a destroyed salt-mining town in eastern Ukraine hung in the balance. At the same time, Ukraine’s stubborn resistance and other problems forced Moscow to shuffle its military command.

Russian soldiers launched an unremitting attack on Soledar, employing jets, mortars, and rockets.

Even though the fall of Solar isn’t likely to be a turning point in the almost 11-month-long war, it would be a relief for the Kremlin, which hasn’t heard much good news from the battlefield in recent months. It would also serve as a springboard for Russian troops to take other sections of Donetsk province still under Ukrainian control, such as the nearby key city of Bakhmut.

Moscow’s stated territorial goals when it invaded Ukraine were to get Donetsk and the nearby province of Luhansk, both of which are in the Donbas region, which borders Russia. Most of the fighting has stopped, though.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said that the commander of Russian forces in Ukraine was fired after only three months on the job, which shows that battlefield losses were taken into account. Gen. Valery Gerasimov, the chief of the military’s General Staff, was appointed to replace Gen. Sergei Surovikin, who was demoted to the deputy.

During his short time as commander of troops in Ukraine, Surovikin was praised for making coordination better and making control stronger. But, in November, he ordered a humiliating pullout from Kherson, the lone regional hub Russian forces had occupied just weeks before the Kremlin unlawfully annexed the province. His dismissal indicated that Russian President Vladimir Putin was dissatisfied with his performance.

On the other hand, Gerasimov was seen as the main person behind Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and critics held him responsible for Moscow’s military losses.

russia ukraine

Leadership Changes In Ranks

The Defense Ministry said that the leadership changes were needed because the military had more jobs to do and needed “closer contact between branches of the military” and “better supplies and more efficient direction of units of forces.”

On the battlefield, a Ukrainian officer near Soledar said that the Russians send one or two waves of men, many of them from the private Russian military contractor Wagner Group, who suffer high casualties as they probe Ukrainian lines. The Ukrainian officer, who asked to remain anonymous for safety reasons, said that when Ukrainian troops are tired and have lost people, the Russians send in a new wave of highly skilled soldiers, paratroopers, or special forces.

Serhiy Cherevaty, a spokesman for Ukraine’s Eastern Group of Forces, and Hanna Malyar, Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister, both said that Russian claims that Soledar had fallen were false.

The Wagner Group’s owner, Yevgeny Prigozhin, claimed on Wednesday that Ukrainian forces had been defeated in Soledar, a claim he had made the day before.

“Once again, I want to confirm the entire liberation and cleansing of Soledar area from Ukrainian armed units,” Prigozhin said on his Russian social media site. “Civilians were removed. Ukrainian units that refused to surrender were annihilated.” According to him, 500 people were killed, and “the entire city is littered with the remains of Ukrainian forces.”

The Associated Press was unable to independently verify his statements.

Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Kremlin, stopped short of saying that the settlement had been taken. Instead, he told reporters that Russian forces had made “good progress” in Soledar. “Let us not hurry and await official comments,” he continued.

“Now the terrorist state and its propagandists are trying to pretend that some part of our city of Soledar – a city that the occupiers almost destroyed – is allegedly some kind of Russia’s achievement,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address on Wednesday. He stated that Ukrainian forces in the area are resisting the Russians.

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Soledar is Known for Mining

Soledar is known for mining and processing salt, but that is all it is good for. However, it is 10 kilometers (six miles) north of Bakhmut, which Russian forces want to encircle.

Taking Bakhmut would hamper Ukraine’s supply lines and allow the Russians to advance on Kramatorsk and Sloviansk, two vital Ukrainian strongholds in Donetsk province.

The fall of Soledar would make “keeping Bakhmut considerably more hazardous for Ukraine,” according to Michael Kofman, head of Russia Studies at the CAN nonprofit research group in Arlington, Virginia.

Due to the high number of deaths in the attrition battle, a Russian victory may be just as dangerous as a loss.

“I don’t think the outcome at Bakhmut is that big compared to what it costs Russia to achieve,” Kofman tweeted.

The Wagner Group, which now comprises a sizable force of criminals recruited in Russian jails, led the assault on Soledar and Bakhmut.

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Warner Group Accounts For A Quater Of All Troops

According to Western intelligence, the Wagner Group accounts for up to a quarter of all Russian troops in Ukraine.

Success in Soledar and Bakhmut would boost Prigozhin’s clout in the Kremlin, as he has openly challenged Russia’s military leadership, including Gerasimov.

Russian troops have battled to regain control of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and another Ukrainian province that the Kremlin illegally took in September. In 2014, Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula. After Russian soldiers retreated from Kherson, the fighting intensified around Bakhmut.

Putin designated the Donbas region as a focal point for the war, and Moscow-backed separatists have been fighting there since 2014. During the summer, Russia seized nearly all of Luhansk. Donetsk dodged the same fate, and the Russian military put resources and troops around Bakhmut.

According to the Institute for the Study of War, Russian forces were facing “concerted Ukrainian resistance” around Bakhmut.

“The dynamic nature of urban battle obscures the reality of block-by-block control of territory in Soledar… and Russian troops have mainly struggled to make meaningful tactical gains in the Soledar area for months,” the Washington-based think tank stated.

According to Western intelligence assessments, some of the fightings in Bakhmut has taken place around the entrances to disused salt mine tunnels that stretch for 200 kilometers (120 miles).

russia ukraine

Advances Made

Other recent advances include:

Putin said on Wednesday that Russia had been able to stand up to pressure from the West, especially sanctions, over its invasion of Ukraine. He also said that his country has enough money to strengthen its military, keep social programs going, and reach other development goals. “Nothing of what our adversaries predicted has occurred,” Putin said during a video call with his Cabinet. Using the Kremlin’s name for the conflict, he added, “We will improve our ability to defend ourselves and, without a doubt, solve all worries about supplying military forces taking part in the special military operation.” According to reports, Russia is straining to provide enough weapons, equipment, and clothes for its forces fighting in Ukraine.

— Polish President Andrzej Duda has stated that his country is willing to supply German-made Leopard tanks to Ukraine as part of a bigger multinational tank aid alliance. Duda commented after he and Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausda met with Zelenskyy in Lviv, who stated that Ukraine requires tanks to win the conflict. In Britain, another close Ukraine friend, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s office, said no final decision on sending tanks had been taken. The United Kingdom has been debating whether to supply Challenger 2 combat tanks.

— According to a Russian official reported by Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency, the Russian and Ukrainian human rights commissioners agreed to swap more than 40 military captives. In one of the few instances of collaboration, the two opposing parties have exchanged detainees several times. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey, said that his government had proposed making a corridor so that injured people could get medical care in Turkey. “We can ensure they get medical attention and send them back,” Erdogan added. “This is our humanitarian and moral obligation.




CNN Ousts CEO Chris Licht After A Brief, Tumultuous Tenure




THE NEW YORK CNN fired Chief Executive Chris Licht, After a turbulent year in charge of the faltering news organization, culminating in a stinging magazine feature and the growing realization that he’d lost the trust of the network’s journalists, CNN fired Chief Executive Chris Licht.

Just two days after Licht declared he would “fight like hell” to earn the respect of those around him, the change was revealed at CNN’s editorial meeting on Wednesday morning.

In addition to appointing a four-person interim leadership team, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav announced during the editorial meeting that he would conduct a comprehensive search for Licht’s replacement.

Republicans had grown increasingly wary of the network due to frequent attacks by the late President Donald Trump. Thus, Licht was mandated to try and make CNN more appealing to both sides of the country’s political spectrum.

However, several network employees viewed Licht’s call for change as a rejection of their prior efforts, and a live town hall interview with Trump last month generated strong opposition.

Don Lemon was fired from the network’s morning show earlier this year after Licht tried to modernize it, but it was unsuccessful. Creating a new prime-time lineup was protracted, as Kaitlan Collins was only recently chosen to host the 9 p.m. hour, which has been without a permanent host since Chris Cuomo was let go in December 2021.


CNN fired Chief Executive Chris Licht.

Just over a year ago, Zaslav appointed Licht to succeed Jeff Zucker, a well-liked predecessor who had created shows like MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” CBS’ morning news program, and Stephen Colbert’s late-night show. Zucker was let go for failing to disclose a mutually beneficial relationship with another CNN executive.

The position “was never going to be easy, especially at a time of great disruption and transformation,” Zaslav wrote in a memo to CNN employees.

He remarked, “Chris put his heart and soul into it. It has been clear throughout his tenure that he has a great affection for journalism and this industry. Unfortunately, things did not turn out as we had intended, and in the end, I was responsible.


An inquiry for comment from Licht has yet to receive a response.

“Inside the Meltdown at CNN,” a lengthy profile of Licht that appeared in Atlantic magazine on Friday, proved embarrassing and probably sealed his demise. Before he arrived, Licht criticized some of CNN’s COVID coverage, which infuriated some journalists.

According to a Wall Street Journal piece published Tuesday night, Jake Tapper, Anderson Cooper, and Erin Burnett, three of CNN’s top anchors, reportedly privately voiced their disapproval of Licht’s management.

In the meantime, viewers were leaving. With 494,000 viewers in May, CNN’s prime-time audience was down 16% from April and fell short of MSNBC, its nearest competitor in the news market.

Amy Entelis, Virginia Moseley, Eric Sherling, and David Leavy, four current CNN executives, were chosen by Zaslav to lead the network while a replacement is sought.

In the message, Zaslav stated, “We are in good hands, allowing us to take the time we need to run a thoughtful and thorough search for a new leader.”


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Navalny Supporters Hold Demonstrations To Mark Russian Opposition Leader’s 47th Birthday




Russia — As Navalny followers held pickets and demonstrations to mark the imprisoned opposition leader’s 47th birthday on Sunday, with at least 90 people reportedly arrested, Alexei Navalny expressed hope for a better future in Russia despite a crackdown on dissent.

Navalny is currently serving a nine-year sentence for fraud and contempt of court, accusations he claims were made up to get him for his efforts organizing anti-Kremlin protests and exposing state corruption.

His next trial on allegations of extremism could land him in jail for many years. Critics of the Kremlin see the lawsuit as another effort by the Russian government to isolate its main adversary, President Vladimir Putin.

On Sunday, Navalny’s supporters urged protests to show solidarity with him in Russia and overseas.

Some Navalny fans in Russia held solitary pickets to commemorate his birthday, while others spray-painted walls, running the risk of receiving their prison sentences. The organization that tracks political arrests, OVD-Info, reports that at least 90 people were held.

Police increased their presence in central Moscow and moved swiftly to apprehend anyone attempting to set up a lone picket on Pushkin Square or elsewhere in the city.

One individual was able to distribute flyers before being taken away.

One of those arrested was a woman wearing a hoodie with the words “You aren’t alone” inscribed, holding a small black balloon with “Happy Birthday!” on it. She questioned the officers about why they were holding her, but they remained silent.


On Sunday, Navalny’s supporters urged protests to show solidarity with him in Russia and overseas.

Additionally, Navalny’s fans appeared in St. Petersburg and other Russian cities, holding solitary pickets and leaving graffiti and placards in his favor.

Demonstrations in favor of Navalny were held in many European towns.

In a social media statement made public by his allies, Navalny stated that while he would undoubtedly prefer to celebrate his birthday with a family breakfast, kisses from his kids, and gifts, “life is such that social progress and a better future can only be achieved if a certain number of people are willing to pay for the right to have beliefs.”

“The price each has to pay is smaller the more there are of such people,” he remarked. And there will undoubtedly come a time when speaking the truth and defending justice in Russia will be commonplace and completely safe.

After recovering in Germany from the nerve agent poisoning he claimed the Kremlin was responsible for, Navalny was detained upon his return to Moscow in January 2021.

He was first given a 22-year prison term for breaking his parole. He received a nine-year term for fraud and contempt of court last year. He is incarcerated in a maximum-security facility 250 miles (150 kilometers) east of Moscow.


On Sunday, Navalny’s supporters urged protests to show solidarity with him in Russia and overseas.

The allegations of extremism against Navalny, which carry a potential 30-year sentence, include his anti-corruption foundation and remarks made by his closest friends. His allies claimed that the accusations retrospectively criminalize all of Navalny’s foundation’s actions since its establishment in 2011.

The fresh claims coincide with an increased crackdown on dissent by Russian authorities amid the battle in Ukraine, which Navalny has sharply criticized.

A Moscow court denied a plea from Navalny’s attorneys for more time to review the extensive new charges, which he dismissed as “absurd,” and set a preliminary hearing for Tuesday to discuss technical matters associated with a fresh trial of Navalny.

Navalny cited an investigator saying he would be tried in a different military court on terrorism-related accusations, which might result in a life sentence.

In a social media statement on Sunday, he thanked his supporters and saw his prison sentence “just as an unpleasant part of my favourite job.”

“This is where loss begins,” he said. “My aim for the previous year was not to become nasty and enraged and not to lose the nonchalance of behavior. And if I was successful, it was only because of your help.


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Delta Air Lines Hit With Lawsuit Over Claims Of Carbon Neutrality




A class action complaint was filed against Delta Air Lines on Tuesday, claiming the company falsely advertised itself as the “first carbon-neutral airline” in the world. The complaint filed in California federal court alleges the airline used fraudulent carbon offsets.

Carbon credits are purchased by businesses worldwide to offset carbon dioxide emissions by funding initiatives that promise to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere or avoid pollution that would have otherwise occurred. However, suggestions that their benefits are overstated have recently put them in the spotlight.

According to the complaint, Delta is a major customer that has purchased credits from various projects, including wind and solar farms in India and a wetland in Indonesia.


When asked for comment, the airline remained silent.

Mayanna Berrin, a resident of Glendale, California, has filed a lawsuit claiming to represent all Californians who have flown on Delta since March 2020. It claims that any gains from the offsets will be short-lived and would have occurred anyway. A carbon credit is only legitimate if it results in a positive outcome that would not have occurred without the credit.

Three years ago, Delta stated it would become carbon neutral, producing no more greenhouse gas emissions than it removed from the atmosphere. It may also need financial outlay to ensure its absorption in another setting.

According to Berrin, this allowed the company to increase its share of the market and its prices. Berrin, a writer for Nickelodeon, told The Associated Press that individuals her age, just on the cusp of their thirties, are particularly vulnerable to climate concerns.


A class action complaint was filed against Delta Air Lines on Tuesday, claiming the company falsely advertised itself as the “first carbon-neutral airline” in the world.

“I felt comfortable paying more because I was neutralising when I needed to travel for work or to see my family,” she explained. She claimed she was frustrated and sad that she had second thoughts regarding Delta’s adjustments.

“They can’t just claim neutrality if that’s not factually accurate,” she argued. “Lawsuits are scary, and there are probably a lot of people who share my frustrations but don’t realise they have rights or can make a difference if they speak up.” According to her lawyer, Jonathan Haderlein, it is one of only a handful of “greenwashing” claims in the United States based on consumer protection law and the first of its kind against a major American airline.

2:23-cv-04150 is the official case number.

The International Energy Agency estimates that by 2021, aviation will have contributed over 2% of global CO2 emissions.

According to FlightRadar24, which monitors GPS data beamed to satellites and receivers, Delta, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, has 672 flights in the air worldwide as of Tuesday morning.

Source – (AP)

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