Two more merchant ships leave the Ukrainian port through the navy corridor

Two ships have left the Pivdennyi Port in Odesa Oblast through a corridor organized by the Ukrainian Navy, the Infrastructure Ministry announced on Sep. 1.

The bulk carriers, which have 56,000 tons of pig iron and 172,000 tons of iron ore on board, are operated by a Singapore-based company, the Infrastructure Ministry said.

On Aug. 10, Ukraine's navy announced a new temporary corridor to allow passage for ships docked in Ukrainian Black Sea ports since the start of the full-scale invasion.

Nevertheless, The navy warned that Russian forces' military threat toward merchant vessels persists.

Ukraine proposed this route to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), which has appealed to Russia to cease all threats and adhere to international conventions.

The last merchant ship left Odesa's port on July 16 as Russia unilaterally terminated the Black Sea Grain Initiative the day later. The deal, brokered in July 2022 by Turkey and the U.N., allowed Ukraine to export its grain even amid the ongoing full-scale invasion.

The Ocean Courtesy is now en route to Constanta in Romania, and the Anna-Theresa is sailing to Varna in Bulgaria, according to maritime analytics website MarineTraffic.

On Aug. 16, the container ship Joseph Schulte was the first to travel through the temporary corridor, followed by the bulk carrier Primus on Aug. 26.

Russia delivers tactical nukes to Belarus

Russia recently delivered nuclear weapons to Belarus, Ukraine’s military intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov said in an interview with 1+1 channel, published on Aug. 31.

Budanov also said the Russian Defense Ministry’s 12th Main Directorate responsible for nuclear weapons acknowledged Belarus's “complete unpreparedness for the operating” of these nukes.

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin claimed in mid-June that the first tactical nuclear weapons had arrived in Belarus.

"The first warheads were delivered just a few days ago. Before that, extensive exercises were conducted with nuclear simulators. I read the original documents regarding the exercise results. Quite unfavorable documents for Belarus," Budanov said, referring to Russia’s report on the nuclear simulators for the Iskander missile system exercise.

According to the military intelligence chief, Belarus “received few” Iskander missile systems.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and his Belarusian counterpart Viktor Khrenin signed an agreement on placing Russian non-strategic nuclear weapons on Belarusian territory on May 26.

The West has largely condemned the agreement for violating the International Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and for escalating Russia's unprovoked war of aggression on Ukraine.

In response to increasing Western military support for Ukraine, Russian officials have issued explicit or implied nuclear threats against Kyiv and its allies.

U.S. President Joe Biden said on July 13 that there is no real prospect of Putin using nuclear weapons against Ukraine or the West.

“Not only the West, but China and the rest of the world have said: don't go there,” Biden said in Helsinki, Finland, at a press conference after the NATO summit in Vilnius.

     Russian forces have reportedly tortured 75             Ukrainian children

Russian forces have tortured 75 Ukrainian children throughout the full-scale invasion in at least three regions, Prosecutor General's Office official Yuliia Usenko said in an interview with Interfax-Ukraine news agency, published on Aug. 31.

Most cases of torture were recorded in the village of Yahidne in northern Chernihiv Oblast, which Russian forces occupied for about a month during the initial phase of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine launched in late February last year.

During the occupation of Yahidne at the beginning of the all-out war, Russian troops kept 367 residents, including 50 kids, in a school's basement for 27 days. Eleven people died in the captivity, according to the President's Office.

"The conditions in which the children were (held) together with adults in the school's basement and their treatment equated to torture," Usenko said.

The torture and detention of children were also recorded in Kharkiv and Kherson oblasts. She also reported that the Russian forces claimed that the children provided the Ukrainian military with information about the movement of Russian military hardware.

Ukrainian authorities have launched 3,200 investigations over Russia's alleged crimes against children, including 13 cases of sexual violence, said Usenko.

"These include murders, mutilations, child abduction, forced displacement, deportation, sexual violence against children, and attacks on institutions and facilities for children," Usenko said, adding that kidnapped children had often been tortured and illegally detained.