Aug 11 (Reuters) – Satellite pictures released on Thursday showed devastation at a Russian air base in Crimea, hit in an attack that suggested Kyiv may have obtained new long-range strike capability with the potential to change the course of the war.
* Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists blamed each other for renewed shelling of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant on Thursday.
* Western military experts said the scale of the Crimean air base damage and apparent precision of the strike suggested a new capability with potentially important implications. Moscow had said the explosions were detonations of stored ammunition.
* Russia has doubled the number of air strikes on Ukraine’s military positions and civilian infrastructure compared with the previous week, Ukrainian Brigadier General Oleksiy Hromov said on Thursday.
Reuters was unable to verify battlefield reports.
* Western countries on Thursday committed more than 1.5 billion euros ($1.55 billion) in cash, equipment and training to boost Ukraine’s military capabilities.
* Ukraine aims to evacuate two thirds of residents from areas it controls in the eastern battleground region of Donetsk before winter.
* Russia said it had rejected a Swiss offer to represent Ukrainian interests in Russia and Moscow’s interests in Ukraine because it no longer considers Switzerland a neutral country.
* Russia condemned a resolution by Latvia’s parliament that designated Russia as a “state sponsor of terrorism.”
* Ukraine’s overseas creditors backed its request for a two-year freeze on payments on almost $20 billion in international bonds, helping it avoid a default.
* Ukraine expects a ship to arrive on Friday to load grain for delivery to Ethiopia under a deal brokered by the United Nations and Turkey.
“Of course, it’s difficult to even imagine the scale of the tragedy which could come into effect if Russians continue their actions there,” said Ukrainian Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky.
“This means for us that … we have to prepare for any scenario… including the question of evacuations.”
(Compiled by Hugh Lawson, Alexandra Hudson)