Date—August 19, 2022
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1. Dan Rapoport, a businessman and investor, the creator of the Moscow club Soho Rooms, died in Washington. The circumstances of the death of 52-year-old Rapoport are unclear. Journalist Yunia Pugacheva, who was the first to report Rapoport’s death, claimed that the businessman committed suicide – and that before that, he allegedly released a dog into the park with a suicide note. He recently separated from his wife, Ukrainian Alena Rapoport. Alena Rapoport herself, however, rejected the version of suicide and also stated that she and her husband did not part. According to her, an investigation into the cause of the businessman’s death is now underway. The Washington police said that at the moment, they do not believe that the businessman was killed. The police report states that on August 14, information was received about a man who committed suicide. An ambulance arrived at the scene and took Rapoport to the hospital, where doctors pronounced him dead. The deceased found glasses, a broken mobile phone, a driver’s license, and $2,620 in cash. Rapoport was born in Riga in 1970. When he was ten, his family emigrated to the United States. In the 1990s, he came to Russia and became an investment banker. In 2007, Rapoport and its partners founded the Soho Rooms club, which has become one of the cult clubs in Moscow. In 2012, Rapoport left for the United States – according to one version, they began to put pressure on him because of ties with the Russian opposition: in particular, since 2010, the businessman has supported Alexei Navalny. In 2016, Rappoport moved to Kyiv, where he married a second time. He sold the house in Washington to the daughter of US President Donald Trump, Ivanka. In 2018, Bellingcat wrote that Rapoport may have been one of the creators of David Jewberg, a fictitious “Senior Pentagon Russia Analyst.” The latter has been cited in the media as an authoritative critic of the Russian authorities. After the start of the war with Ukraine, the businessman openly criticized Russia’s actions on his social networks and in comments to the media. (Source: Meduza).
1. The air defense system worked in Kerch in the east of Crimea. “Preliminarily. Air defense systems worked in Kerch. There is no danger for the city and the Crimean bridge,” Oleg Kryuchkov, adviser to the head of the region, wrote, without specifying why the systems worked. Volodymyr Rogov, a spokesman for the Russian-controlled authorities in the Zaporizhzhia region, said that, according to preliminary information, a Ukrainian drone was shot down “at a great distance” from the Crimean bridge. As usual, the press service of the Taman Federal Highway Administration said that traffic on the Crimean bridge is carried out. The press service of the administration of Kerch, in an interview with TASS, noted that a sound similar to thunder was heard in the city, and alarms went off in cars. A video was published on social networks, allegedly of the operation of air defense systems in Kerch. The local public reported that several explosions were heard in the city. The Governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozzhaev, said that, according to preliminary data, air defense systems shot down a drone near Belbek military airfield. He added that there were no injuries, and no one was injured. Residents told reporters about the sounds of explosions and smoke in the airfield area. (Source: Meduza).
1. ISW: For the first time since July 6, Russia has not reported any territorial acquisitions. Russian forces tried to attack south of Seversk and northeast of neighboring Bakhmut. The Russian army continues offensive operations near Donetsk, including to the north, west, and southwest of the city. Russian forces carried out an unsuccessful offensive attempt in the Zaporizhzhia direction, in particular, from Yegorovka to Shevchenkovo - both of these settlements are located east of the border of Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions. The Russian Ministry of Defense is probably trying to create an information background for future “false flag operations” at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. (Source: BBC).
Economy, Social life, and Culture
1. Negotiations with Russia are possible if Russian troops leave the occupied territories of Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said following talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and UN Secretary-General António Guterres in Lviv. Erdogan said during the meeting that the initiative to export Ukrainian grain provides a “diplomatic window” for agreements to end the war. “I told the President of Turkey my opinion that there is no faith in the Russian Federation. I believe that Russian weapons are in this “window.” I am shocked that they (RF) are ready for some peace. The people who kill, rape, and bombard our cities with rockets daily cannot want peace. Therefore, it seems to me that they must liberate our territories. Then… Then it will be later, ”said the President of Ukraine. The head of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, Dmitry Kuleba, following the results of the trilateral meeting, said that “no one persuaded Ukraine to make concessions in favor of Russia.” In turn, Erdogan believes that the international community should take on more responsibility to “revive” the diplomatic process on the situation in Ukraine. The President of Turkey will discuss with Russian President Vladimir Putin the results of a trilateral meeting in Lviv. The office of the third participant in the talks, UN Secretary-General Guterres, confirmed that the parties discussed the settlement of the situation. “But we are still very far from when we can discuss efforts for a complete cessation of hostilities,” a UN spokesman said. Vladimir Putin, during a meeting with Erdogan in Sochi in early August, “hinted” at the possibility of negotiations with Zelensky. Channel sources noted that the prospects for such a meeting depend on the results of the Ukrainian leader’s summit with Erdogan and Guterres. (Source: Suspilne).
1. UK Intelligence: Russian strikes on residential areas of Kharkiv killed at least 12 civilians on the afternoon of 17 August 2022. Although the front line in this sector has moved little since May, Ukraine’s second city has been one of the most consistently shelled since the start of the invasion, when Russian forces probably aimed to reach the outskirts within 24 hours. Sitting around 15 km from the Russian front line, Kharkiv has suffered because it remains within range of most types of Russian artillery. Multiple rocket launchers and generally inaccurate area weapons have caused devastation across large parts of the city. Russian forces hold the Kharkiv sector relatively lightly but continue to conduct local raids and probe attacks against Ukrainian forces. They are probably trying to force Ukraine to maintain significant troops on this front to prevent them from being employed as a counter-attack force elsewhere. (Source: Twitter).
1. The United States is going to provide Ukraine with an additional $800 million in military aid, Reuters reports, citing sources. According to them, the White House may announce this as early as Friday or next week. US President Joe Biden plans to use his powers to transfer excess weapons from US stockpiles to Ukraine, sources told Reuters. They added that the amount of military assistance may change before the official announcement. The White House declined to comment. (Source: Reuters).
1. An ammunition depot caught fire near the village of Timonovo in the Belgorod region. There were no injured or dead. Emergency services are on the scene of the fire. The cause of the fire is being established. Residents of the villages of Timonovo and Soloti are taken to a safe distance. Videos of explosions in a warehouse on fire are being posted on social media. The village of Timonovo is located about 50 kilometers from the border with Ukraine. After the outbreak of the war, the territories of the Belgorod region bordering Ukraine were repeatedly subjected to shelling from the Ukrainian side. A “yellow” (high) level of the terrorist threat has been set in the region. (Source: Meduza).
2. In the Shebekinsky urban district, which borders Ukraine, mines “Petal” were found. “We had several attacks on the territory of the Shebekinsky urban district in the area (village) of Seredy, so we still cannot decide on the return of residents there. And the “petals” were scattered in large numbers and at a great distance. Now all measures are being taken to remove everything,” said Vyacheslav Gladkov, Governor of the Belgorod Region. The threat is increasing, so schools in the border zone will switch to distance learning from September 1. The governor also recalled a teenager who found such a mine, tried dismantling it, and lost his hand. (Source: Interfax).
3. The US State Department informally warned Congress of its concerns about the intentions of US lawmakers to recognize Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism. The State Department fears that this could disrupt the grain deal, under which Ukrainian food exports across the Black Sea resumed. In addition, it will cut off American companies from contacts with Russia (including those involved in the grain deal) and complicate relations between the two countries in areas where they still cooperate. The State Department has yet to comment officially on Congressional plans to designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism, noting only that Secretary of State Anthony Blinken must decide on the matter and that the sanctions already imposed on Russia are almost equivalent to the effects of being a state sponsor of terrorism. The recognition of Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism began to be sought by Ukraine after the Russian invasion. In July, Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi warned US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken that Congressmen would recognize Russia as a country sponsoring terrorism if the State Department did not. Moscow warned Washington that granting this status would be a “point of no return” in bilateral relations, the Russian Foreign Ministry said. In August, the Saeima of Latvia declared Russia a country that supports terrorism. The official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, called this a manifestation of “animal xenophobia.” (Source: Politico).