Day 242: Russian Defense Sec. Calls Western Counterparts, Kherson Residents Told to Flee

On Sunday, US defense secretary Lloyd Austin spoke by phone with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu, marking their second call in three days. According to the Russian ministry of defense, they again discussed the situation in Ukraine, though no further details were provided.

Day 242: Russian Defense Sec. Calls Western Counterparts, Kherson Residents Told to Flee
Image credit: time

Facts

  • On Sunday, US defense secretary Lloyd Austin spoke by phone with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu, marking their second call in three days. According to the Russian ministry of defense, they again discussed the situation in Ukraine, though no further details were provided. The Pentagon is reportedly expected to provide a brief readout later on Sunday.
  • Shoigu also reportedly held calls with his French, British and Turkish counterparts on Sunday, during which he alleged Ukraine was planning to use a "dirty bomb" — i.e. a device that scatters nuclear waste using explosions — as a provocation to escalate the conflict, with the help of the West. Ukraine and British officials have vehemently denied this.
  • Meanwhile, according to the French Ministry of the Armed Forces, Shoigu told his French counterpart Sebastien Lecornu that the situation is quickly deteriorating and "trending towards uncontrollable escalation." Lecornu reportedly told Shoigu that France "refuses any form of escalation, especially nuclear." In a statement afterwards, Lecornu also emphasized that France is "determined to contribute to a peaceful resolution of the conflict."
  • This comes as, amid an anticipated Ukrainian counteroffensive, Russia on Sunday reportedly told residents in the annexed region of Kherson to flee for their lives. Russian education minister, Sergei Kravtsov, said: “The situation today is difficult. It’s vital to save your lives … It won’t be for long. You will definitely return.”
  • Russia's proxies are currently attempting to evacuate 60k residents living on the western bank of the Dnipro River. 25k have been evacuated so far since Tuesday, with Russian officials at one point on Sunday reporting a shortage of boats to transport people across the river due to the sudden increase in the number trying to flee. Kyiv has condemned the evacuations as attempts to forcibly relocate Ukrainian citizens.
  • Elsewhere, two people were reportedly killed in Russian strikes in Donetsk, while Russian missiles reportedly struck two apartment blocks in Mykolaiv on Sunday morning. No one was reported killed in Mykolaiv.

Sources: CNN, Associated Press, Guardian, and Moscow Times.

Narratives

  • Anti-Russia narrative, as provided by PBS News. This invasion is an egregious violation of international law. Putin's ultimate aim is to restore the Soviet empire, even if it takes massive bloodshed and false pretexts such as calling the 2014 Ukrainian revolution after an election a "coup". This unprovoked attack is the latest chapter in Putin's Orwellian attempt to rewrite history.
  • Pro-Russia narrative, as provided by NSA. NATO and the US have ignored Russia's security concerns by breaking its promise not to expand eastward in return for German reunification. These concerns are legitimate and taking them seriously would have avoided the Ukraine tragedy.