Russia-Ukraine war news: Russia and Belarus disinvited to Nobel ceremony; Ihor Kolomoisky detained


Ukrainian oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky arrives at court in Kyiv on Saturday. (Reuters)

The Nobel Foundation will not invite ambassadors from Russia and Belarus to this year’s award ceremony in Stockholm, reversing its earlier decision after backlash from officials in Sweden and Ukraine. Russia and its ally Belarus were left out of the event last year because of the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine. This year’s Nobel Prizes are set to be announced in early October.

Ukrainian billionaire Ihor Kolomoisky, the onetime governor of Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk region and the former owner of a major bank in the country, is being held by Ukrainian authorities on a roughly $13 million bail over charges of fraud and money laundering. The United States imposed sanctions on him in 2021 “due to his involvement in significant corruption” while serving as governor.

Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson lauded the Nobel Foundation’s decision to rescind its invitations to Russia and Belarus. “The many and strong reactions show that the whole of Sweden unambiguously stand on Ukraine’s side against Russia’s appalling war of aggression,” his office said in a social media post.

Kolomoisky is accused of fraud and laundering criminally obtained property, according to Ukraine’s state security service, known as the SBU. The agency announced the charges on Telegram and released photos appearing to show authorities surrounding the oligarch, who previously owned Ukraine’s PrivatBank and served as governor of Dnipropetrovsk from 2014 to 2015. When U.S. sanctions were levied against Kolomoisky in 2021, Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed concern about his “current and ongoing efforts to undermine Ukraine’s democratic processes and institutions.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the country’s forces were continuing to make progress in their counteroffensive after weeks of a near stalemate. “Despite everything and no matter what anyone says, we are advancing, and that is the most important thing. We are on the move,” he said Saturday on social media. White House spokesman John Kirby said this week that Ukraine achieved “notable progress” in retaking territory in the southern region of Zaporizhzhia.

About 80 percent of the nearly 13,000 schools operating in Ukraine have shelters to protect from wartime attacks, Ukrainian state news agency Ukrinform reported. The country’s second school year spent amid the war started on Friday. Zelensky said Friday that more than 3.7 million Ukrainian children had started the new school year, most of whom were in the country.

Two more ships successfully passed through a temporary Black Sea grain corridor, Zelensky said Saturday, bringing the total number of vessels that have done so to four, according to Reuters. Concerns over grain transport and global food security have been exacerbated since Russia pulled out of the Black Sea Grain Initiative in July.

At least two people were killed and two others injured during a strike on a residential building in the town of Vuhledar, in Ukraine’s southeastern Donetsk region, the regional prosecutor’s office said on Facebook late Saturday. The attack killed a couple in their 40s, and the couple’s 19-year-old daughter and a 53-year-old resident were among the injured, the prosecutor’s office said.

A Russian strike on houses in Kherson killed an undisclosed number of civilians and injured at least four, regional governor Oleksandr Prokudin said Saturday.

Another attack injured four people in the Dnipropetrovsk region, local military administrator Serhiy Lysak said. He posted photos on Telegram showing several damaged cars and a building with a destroyed roof and blown-out windows.

Russia risks “dividing its forces” as it seeks to confront Ukraine’s counteroffensive, the British Defense Ministry said. Such a move is considered undesirable in standard military doctrine. Russian forces were trying to halt Ukraine’s southern counteroffensive while also continuing their own offensive around Kupyansk, in the northeast of the country, in a likely attempt to “distract Ukraine,” it said on social media.

The war in Ukraine halted adoptions. Now some orphans are stuck in limbo: Wendy and Leo Van Asten first met “M and M” — a brother and sister from eastern Ukraine — when the children stayed at the couple’s home near Madison, Wis., for four weeks at the end of 2018, as part of a program connecting Ukrainian orphans and foster children with American families. The bond with the children was immediate, they said.

The couple instantly started the adoption process, maintaining contact with M and M — whom they call by the initials of their first names out of affection and to protect their identities. But nearly five years later, it is unclear whether the couple will ever get their wish, David L. Stern reports.

Ukrainian officials have halted international adoptions until the end of the war. And many Western officials and analysts say fighting could continue for years — a prospect that fills families such as the Van Astens with desperation.


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