US delivers confiscated weapons to Ukraine

A significant shipment of confiscated weapons, originally intended for Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen, has now been delivered to the Ukrainian military, according to a report from the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) on April 9.

The delivery includes over 5,000 AK-47s, machine guns, sniper rifles, RPG-7s, and a staggering 500,000 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, all now in the hands of Ukrainian forces. This substantial arsenal is sufficient to outfit an entire Ukrainian brigade with small arms rifles.

These weapons were intercepted from four stateless vessels that were transferring them from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to the Houthis in Yemen, spanning from May 2021 to February 2023.

This isn't the first time such actions have been taken. Late last year, CENTCOM delivered over a million rounds of 7.62mm ammunition to Ukraine, also confiscated from the IRGC, in a similar manner.

These interceptions are part of a broader effort to enforce international resolutions, such as United Nations Security Council Resolution 2216, aimed at stemming the flow of arms into conflict zones like Yemen.

Emphasizing the commitment to thwarting destabilizing activities, U.S. CENTCOM stated, "We will continue to do whatever we can to shed light on and stop Iran’s destabilizing activities."

It's noteworthy that amidst these developments, military and political ties between Tehran and Moscow have strengthened, particularly following Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Iran's support to Russia includes the provision of thousands of Shahed kamikaze drones used in airstrikes against Ukraine, as well as assistance in establishing a drone factory in Russia.

In a concerning revelation, Reuters reported in February that Iran had purportedly shipped 400 ballistic missiles to Russia, although Ukrainian authorities have yet to confirm this claim.

NGO Save Ukraine rescues 2 more children from Russian occupation

Save Ukraine, a Ukrainian humanitarian NGO, announced on April 9th that they successfully rescued two more children, including an orphan, from territories under Russian occupation, as reported by the organization's founder, Mykola Kuleba.

The ongoing conflict in Ukraine has tragically separated many children from their families, leaving them orphaned or without parental care due to the hostilities and the challenges of crossing into Ukraine-controlled territory safely.

According to the National Social Service of Ukraine, Russia's aggressive actions have resulted in approximately 1,800 Ukrainian children losing their parents and becoming orphans, as reported by the Kyiv Independent in March.

Kuleba shared the heartbreaking story of an orphaned boy who had been living with his grandmother for the past seven years in a village occupied by Russian troops. Their village endured frequent shelling, and the decision to flee came after a shell destroyed part of their home during an explosion in their yard. Kuleba revealed on Telegram that the journey was arduous, recounting how Russian special services subjected the elderly woman and the orphaned boy to abuse, including a thorough search of their belongings. The grandmother also faced health issues during the difficult journey, experiencing problems with her legs.

Another rescued child, an eight-year-old girl, had experienced the horrors of living in a town occupied shortly after Russian troops invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022. Kuleba described the harrowing conditions they faced, with mobile connections and internet disappearing, leaving only the distant sounds of explosions. The atmosphere was filled with fear, especially following the news from Bucha and Irpin in Kyiv Oblast, causing residents to avoid venturing outside and attempting to remain inconspicuous.

Save Ukraine's tireless efforts have resulted in the return of 284 children, including 73 orphans, from Russia and occupied territories to the government-controlled areas of Ukraine since the start of Russia's full-scale invasion.

Tragically, according to the Children of War database, at least 19,500 Ukrainian children have been confirmed as abducted by Russia, with fewer than 400 of them successfully reunited with their families.

Russian guided bombs hit Kharkiv downtown

On April 9th, Russian forces launched a devastating attack on a civilian enterprise located in downtown Kharkiv, using guided aerial bombs, which resulted in injuring at least three people, as confirmed by local authorities.

Recent weeks have seen a significant escalation in Russia's aggression against Ukraine's second-largest city, with reports indicating the use of missiles, glide bombs, and drones, causing extensive damage to almost all of the city's energy infrastructure.

The latest assault led to buildings catching fire and being completely destroyed, as reported by Kharkiv Oblast Governor Oleh Syniehubov. Tragically, all three victims were employees of the targeted enterprise.

Mayor Ihor Terekhov stated that rescue operations are currently underway, with concerns that additional individuals may be trapped under the rubble, underscoring the urgency and complexity of the situation.

This latest attack follows an earlier strike by Russian forces on April 7th, targeting an industrial zone and a central park in Kharkiv, resulting in one person being injured and four others suffering from shock, according to local authorities.

The toll of the conflict on Kharkiv has been staggering, with Ukrainian officials reporting that over 20,000 buildings have been destroyed since the onset of hostilities on February 24, 2022, highlighting the immense human and infrastructural devastation inflicted upon the city.