Russia stepped up attacks in Kiev on Ukraine’s independence day and six months of special military operations. Also, Russia may target the country’s civilian and government infrastructure in the coming days. Fearing this, the United States has urged American citizens to leave Ukraine. News from Reuters.

The U.S. Embassy said U.S. citizens should now leave Ukraine on their own if possible.

Meanwhile, Ukraine, which gained independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991, is approaching its Independence Day and six months since the Russian invasion. On this occasion, the President of the country, Volodymyr Zelensky, promised a strong response to any attack by Russia on or around Independence Day.

He also said that Ukraine will restore its rule over Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014.

Despite his defiance, there was concern among Ukrainian and Western allied officials that Russia was preparing to attack the capital Kyiv again.

The Ukrainian military recently reported that Russian forces have launched artillery and airstrikes on the battlefield in the Zaporizhia region of southeastern Ukraine, not far from Kyiv. Europe’s largest nuclear power plant is located there.

Meanwhile, leaders of dozens of countries and international organizations are participating in the so-called Crimea Platform. Most of them expressed solidarity with Ukraine on the six-month anniversary of the Russian invasion via video.

Opening the forum, Zelensky told delegates, ‘To defeat terrorism, it is necessary to achieve victory in the fight against Russian aggression. Crimea needs to be liberated. Through this world law and order will be revived.

Italy’s acting Prime Minister Mario Draghi told Zelenskiy at the summit that Rome would continue to support Ukraine. We stand with you in your fight to resist Russian aggression, to restore Ukraine’s territorial integrity, to protect your democracy and freedom.’

Zelensky earlier warned Moscow could try to do ‘something particularly ugly’ in the run-up to Wednesday’s Independence Day.

Asked at a news conference with visiting Polish President Andrzej Duda about the possibility of a Russian missile attack on Kiev, Zelenskiy said there are threats of attacks every day, although their number may increase. Ukraine’s response would be the same for any city attacked by Russia.

He added, ‘They will get a strong response. I want to say that every day … this reaction will grow, it will grow stronger and stronger.’

(23 Aug)