KYIV, Ukraine(AP) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressed gratitude to the country’s soldiers on the 500th day of the war with Russia in a heartfelt video message filmed on Snake Island, a Black Sea island that has come to represent Ukraine’s unwavering spirit in the face of the Russian invasion. Zelenskyy hailed the soldiers who fought for the island, emphasizing that reclaiming control of Snake Island signifies Ukraine’s determination to regain all its territories.
In the emotional video, Zelenskyy conveyed his appreciation to each soldier for their relentless efforts over the past 500 days, extending his gratitude to all those who are fighting for Ukraine. The iconic location of the video, Snake Island, where the Ukrainian military is known to have defied an ultimatum from a Russian warship, lends further meaning to President Zelensky’s message of resilience and unity.
Meanwhile, in other news, the Scottish government, led by the pro-independence Scottish National Party, has proposed decriminalizing possession of drugs for personal use. The move aims to address the high overdose mortality rates in Europe and enable the provision of safe harm reduction services. However, the British government is against the proposal.
In Zimbabwe, the main opposition Citizens Coalition for Change has filed a lawsuit after police banned a rally in the town of Bindura. The party is challenging the decision as the country prepares for elections that will be heavily scrutinized.
Rain on the sixth day of the Wimbledon tennis championships delayed and disrupted the tournament. Bad weather temporarily affected the game on the 18th pitch, forcing ground staff to wear rain covers.
South Koreans have voiced opposition to plans to release radioactive water from Japan’s damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant. Demonstrators protested the Japanese government’s decision during the visit of the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
President Zelensky’s video message from Snake Island on his return to Ukraine was filmed before his visit to Turkey. The island gained notoriety when Russian forces occupied it on February 24, 2022 as part of a planned invasion. Ukrainian forces on the island valiantly resisted Russia’s demands for surrender, becoming a symbol of Ukrainian determination. Ukrainian forces then shelled the Russian garrison, leading to its withdrawal on 30 June 2022, reducing the threat of a naval attack on Odessa. Despite heavy fighting in the east and south of the country, Ukrainian forces continue to counterattack Russia’s defenses. Tragically, a Russian missile attack on the town of Lyman resulted in civilian casualties. Fighting was particularly intense in the town of Bakhmut, where Ukrainian forces were advancing steadily while the Russian garrison faced morale and coordination challenges.
Amid the conflict, Russia and Ukraine have accused each other of plotting to sabotage Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, Zaporizhia. Ukraine’s claims that it has landmines have yet to be verified, but the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency has denied finding mines in the key area, but has called for further access to verify it. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu’s recent visit to the firing range was intended to boost the morale of the militia after the failed rebellion led by mercenary commander Yevgeny Prigozhin.
The Scotland’s proposal to decriminalize drug possession for personal use, which aims to tackle high overdose death rates but faces opposition from the UK government. Additionally, Zimbabwe’s main opposition party challenges a police ban on holding a rally ahead of upcoming elections. The ongoing battles in Ukraine’s east and south are mentioned, where Ukrainian forces continue their counteroffensive against Russian defenses. Tragic incidents, like a Russian rocket strike resulting in civilian casualties, highlight the human toll of the conflict. The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant becomes a point of concern, with accusations of sabotage from both sides.