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Wednesday August 17th, 2022 6:08AM

Live updates | North Korea in 'firm solidarity' with Russia

By The Associated Press
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SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea says leader Kim Jong Un reiterated his support for Russia’s efforts to defend its “dignity” against “hostile forces” in a congratulatory message sent to Russian President Vladimir Putin over an anniversary marking the Soviet Union’s defeat of Nazi Germany.

North Korean state media said Kim in Monday’s message praised Russia’s victory in the “great war of justice to destroy fascism,” an apparent reference to World War II, and expressed hope that the countries would further develop their “strategic and traditional relations of friendship.”

The report by the Korean Central News Agency didn’t include any specific mention of Russia’s war on Ukraine. But it said Kim confirmed North Korea’s “firm solidarity” with Russia over its campaign to “root out the political and military threat and blackmail by the hostile forces and safeguard the country’s dignity.”

North Korea has repeatedly blamed the United States over the crisis in Ukraine, claiming that the “hegemonic policy” of the U.S.-led West is threatening global peace and stability.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has left the U.N. Security Council divided and effectively paralyzed, has also created a favorable environment for Kim to push forward his weapons development as he tries to cement the North’s status as a nuclear power and negotiate a removal of crippling U.S.-led sanctions from a position of strength. North Korea has so far conducted 15 rounds of missile tests in 2022 alone.

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KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR:

— Putin marks Victory Day with little to show for 11-week war

— Biden signs Ukraine bill, seeks $40B aid, in Putin rejoinder

— AP Interview: Lithuania FM calls for regime change in Russia

Follow all AP stories on Russia’s war on Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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OTHER DEVELOPMENTS:

LVIV, Ukraine — A Ukrainian official says authorities have found the bodies of 44 civilians in the rubble of a building destroyed by Russia in March.

Oleh Synehubov, the head of Kharkiv’s regional administration, made the announcement Tuesday via a message on social media. He said the five-story building had collapsed with the civilians inside.

He said, “This is another horrible war crime of the Russian occupiers against the civilian population!”

Synehubov did not identify specifically where the building was.

Russia has been holding Izyum, an eastern Ukrainian city in the Kharkiv region, as a key frontline node.

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LVIV, Ukraine — The Ukrainian military is warning that Russia could target the country’s chemical industries.

The claim by Ukraine’s general staff wasn’t immediately explained in a report Tuesday. However, it comes after oil depots and other industrial sites have been targeted by Russian shelling in the war.

The military said, “The possibility of sabotage at the chemical industry of Ukraine with further accusations of units of the armed forces of Ukraine is not ruled out.”

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LVIV, Ukraine — Satellite pictures analyzed by The Associated Press show two ships off Snake Island, Ukraine, just before 3 p.m. Monday.

The images from Planet Labs PBC showed one appearing to be a landing craft off to its east, another was a ship with two smaller rafts near it. Ukraine has repeatedly struck Russian positions there recently, suggesting Russian forces may be trying to restaff or remove personnel from the Black Sea island.

Satellite photos also show intense fires in Russian-held territory in southern Ukraine on Monday.

A cause for the fires wasn’t immediately clear. However, Planet Labs images showed thick smoke rising to the east of Vasylivka.

Much of the area around Vasylivka is protected nature preserves.

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LVIV, Ukraine ⁠— Russian missile fire targeting the Black Sea port city of Odesa has killed one person and wounded five.

The Ukrainian military’s southern command made the announcement early Tuesday after a barrage of fire throughout the day.

One struck a shopping center and a warehouse, the military said.

Ukraine alleged the munitions dated back to the Soviet era, making them unreliable in targeting. There’s been increasing concern that Russia is running out of guided munitions, making it more likely they’ll fire unguided rockets which can cause wider collateral damage.

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One of the Ukrainian fighters holding out in the Mariupol steelworks said Monday they were still defending the city.

Valeri Paditel, who heads the border guards in the Donetsk region, said the fighters were “doing everything to make those who defend the city in the future proud.”

In his video address, released by the national border guard service, Paditel said the fighters include border guards, soldiers, national police and members of the national guard.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP World News, AP Business, AP World News - International incidents
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