#UKRAINERUSSIAWAR. Kiev celebrates Independence. Fighting at the front. Azov goes on trial

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Today is Ukrainian Independence Day. And in the Donbass in Mariupol, the trials of the men and women of the Azov battalions begin. Remember that the snipers in the Ukrainian volunteer battalions are often women. 

In Russia, 22 August was celebrated as Russian Flag Day. On the pro-Russian social sphere on 22 August, many accounts in honour of National Flag Day changed their profile pictures to include the Russian flag. A gesture that makes one reflect on the strong sense of patriotism online. 

President Vladimir Putin, on the occasion of the holiday, said that the flag has now established itself as a symbol of loyalty to the motherland and the fact that Russia is ready to defend its interests. “The national flag also symbolises traditional values from which we will never depart,” the President said. Finally, bizarre events include the fact that on the day of the Russian flag in Odessa, unknown persons hung a Russian flag with the inscription: ‘Odessa is a Russian city’ on the façade of an apartment building at 3a Nebesnaya Hundred. 

And now we come to the report from the front updated at 15:00 on 23 August. A Ukrainian S-300 surface-to-air missile launcher was destroyed in the Kharkiv region, while the DNR destroyed a Buk-M1 surface-to-air missile launcher and a US-made counter-battery radar system. In Kharkiv, a large fire broke out in an ammunition depot. 

Up to 100 Ukrainian soldiers and militias were killed, 2 tanks and 15 vehicles were destroyed by the Russian attack, according to the Russian social sphere, in Zaitsevo and Yakovlevka in the direction of Artemivsk (Bachmut). A counter-battery battle is ongoing in the vicinity of Bachmut and Kodemo. 

In the Pervomaisky direction, between Nevelskoye and Peski, the 100th Brigade attacked the Ukrainians. In the Mariinskiy direction, the Russian units managed to break through the Ukrainian defence and penetrate the settlement covering about 40% of it. 

In the southern direction, more than 50 Ukrainian soldiers and militiamen were killed and 7 units of armoured and special vehicles were destroyed in the Nikolaev region. The Ukrainian General Staff, during the morning briefing, again reported the presence of Russian forces advancing near the village of Blagodatnoye.

The Ukrainian armed forces again shelled Donetsk. The Ukrainian army again hit the Antonov bridge in Kherson – there were casualties. There are reports of another shelling by AFU fighters of the NPP in Zaporizhzhia – a civilian driver was killed. In addition, incoming attacks were reported in Oleksandrivka, Yasynuvata and Horlivka. 

The Russian Air Force carried out missile attacks against strategic military facilities and checkpoints in the Zaporizhzhya, Donetsk and Kharkiv regions. In the Zaporizhzhia oblast, the command post of the 102nd Territorial Defence Brigade was hit – up to 30 Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 14 pieces of military equipment destroyed.

On the day of 23 August. Russian heavy artillery hit Ukrainian positions in Peski. The Ukrainians continued shelling Dnipropetrovsk. Kiev artillery shelled the centre of Donetsk, hitting a Pushylin administration building and the Tsentral hotel, where Russian journalists were staying. The shelling was carried out by a battery of 155mm howitzers from the direction of Orlovka.

The marine artillery unit of the Vostok Group is hitting the positions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the direction of Ugledar, near Pavlovka. From the front it is reported that, according to radio intercepts, the fighters of the 68th unit are asking the command to retreat to Ugledar due to heavy losses, but the Ukrainians of the 53rd unit Oshb Aydar shot 7 mobilised men demonstrably because they wanted to leave the front. As a result, the unit is ready to surrender in its entirety, prompting the Ukrainian deputy commander to go to these positions.

The Ministry of Defence reports successes in the direction of Nikolaev. The units of the 28th Ukrainian brigade were defeated. In the morning briefing of the Russian forces it was stated that: “Our troops have advanced 3 kilometres towards Mykolaiv. The village of Komsomolskoye has been liberated’.

According to statements by the Russian Defence Ministry, there are other developments: Marinka is 75% taken; fighting has begun near Zaitsevo (near Bachmut). Blagodatovka has been taken. Kodoma is already covered on three sides.

Graziella Giangiulio