Ukraine Day 970: LIVE UPDATES BELOW.
Yesterday’s live coverage of the Ukraine conflict can be found here.
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The new Azov National Corps political party has held its first congress this morning.
The party, born out of the activist corps tied to the Azov Regiment — a National Guard unit that began as a volunteer battalion — espouses a nationalist, anti-EU political stance.
Novosti Donbassa reports that 292 delegates were registered to attend today’s congress.
According to the Novosti Donbassa report, delegate Dmytro Vakarchuk told the congress that Ukraine needed to build a nuclear arsenal.
Ukraine, which was left with the world’s third largest nuclear arsenal after the break-up of the Soviet Union, voluntarily gave up nuclear weapons in 1994. That year the United States, Russia and the United Kingdom signed the Budapest Memorandum with Ukraine, affirming their commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity
Vakarchuk also called for the reintroduction of the death penalty (abolished in Ukraine in 2000) for “especially large thefts from the budget and national treason.”
On the EU:
“The European Union, the USA have revealed their incompetence, therefore we will create our own union with Latvia and Poland, which will be able to hold its own in the political arena.”
The identification in the imagery above of Azov and Ukraine with the Empire from the Star Wars films is a little odd. One should also note the replacement of the fictitious Empire’s insignia on the TIE fighter pilot’s helmet with the Black Sun – an emblem used on the patches worn by Azov soldiers in the Donbass. While the Black Sun symbol has some loose bronze-age analogs, the symbol as presented here originates from a mosaic on the floor of a chamber in Wewelsburg castle in Germany. The mosaic was commissioned as part of restorations ordered by the leader of the Nazi SS, Heinrich Himmler.
In the Donbass, the Ukrainian military reports 25 attacks by Russia-backed forces yesterday.
According to this morning’s ATO Press Center report, Ukrainian positions to the east of Mariupol, near Shirokino and Vodyanoye, were shelled with 120 mm mortars and 122 mm artillery.
To the north of Donetsk, Ukrainian positions in Avdeyevka came under fire from 82 and 120 mm mortars, in addition to lighter weaponry.
In the Lugansk region, Russia-backed fighters reportedly used 152 mm artillery to shell positions in Novozvanovka.
Colonel Andriy Lysenko, spokesman for the Ministry of Defense, claimed today that no Ukrainian soldiers had been killed or wounded in the last 24 hours.
There are reports of further heavy shelling today.
A delegation of Italian politicians and businessmen has arrived in Russian-occupied Crimea.
Russia’s state-owned RIA Novosti news agency reports that the delegation of 18 Italians will stay in the occupied peninsula until October 16.
Another state news outlet, TASS, reports that among the visitors is the President of the Regional Council of Veneto, Roberto Ciambetti.
“We want to give an impetus to economic relations (between Italy and Crimea – TASS), because our people, our voters believe that their well-being is the basis of their rights,” the lawmaker said. According to Ciambetti, the current visit will also help build a new bridge of friendship between Italy, Crimea and Russia in general, “because the ties that bind our two peoples are much deeper than one can imagine.”
In May this year, the Veneto council passed a resolution calling on the Italian government to recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea and push the EU to lift sanctions imposed in response to the occupation.
Ciambetti is a member of the far-right Lega Nord party. Anton Shekhovtsov, an expert on the European far-right, has identified several other members of the delegation as members of the Lega Nord or its regional subsidiaries.
— Pierre Vaux