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Ukraine: Portuguese couple accused of defrauding philanthropists in several countries

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At least three people contacted by Lusa accused the couple, who live in Portugal, of fraudulently exploiting the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, a country invaded by Russia in February. process.

The war mobilized countless organizations to help people and, later, animals. In the case of animals, several organizations took advantage of social media to call for transportation and subsequent adoption, and it is in this context that the Portuguese Rui de Souza and the Ukrainian Alina Kozak will act, offering their services to deliver food and medicine, asking for donations.

Debra Michaud lives in Chicago and claims to have received a contact from Ruy de Souza saying that he would go to Ukraine on a humanitarian mission to support the military and that he would have ten days off to help animals.

Activist Debra Michaud “was in contact with several families, with a lot of animals that needed to be saved” and Rui Souza promised to help “people and animals outside of Mariupol”.

“He told me that he only needed 1,400 euros for the trip as he had several GoFundMe campaigns but they weren’t raising money fast enough. So I thought, if I lend him 1,400 euros and he gives me back the money when the funding comes in, he can leave now, get the insulin and supplies he needs for the army, and then be free to help these families. [com animais] who are asking for help,” he said.

Debra Michaud told Luce that she sent him $1,550 via the Wise platform, money that will be used for fuel that will carry three donation trucks to Ukraine.

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As the days passed, Ruy de Souza continued to call for donations, which made Debra suspicious. “I sent him an annoyed text asking why he was collecting money instead of going on the road when I had already sent what he said he needed.”

According to Debra Michaud, Ruy de Souza would present several excuses that he was first in Ukraine, then in Poland, until he found out from someone that he would be in Portugal.

“At that moment, I realized that it was a scam and started to find other people who were also scammed by it,” he said.

The couple have set up several Facebook groups — first Soutal Nova and now Slava UA — where they post recurring photos of animals supposedly in need of rescue, others supposedly rescued, and more goods they claim were purchased with the money. collected donations.

Alyn Kozak also created the Power of the World page, which bills itself as “a small organization that provides shelter, medical support, and food distribution for people and animals.”

The names listed on the organization team are Aline Kozak, Rui de Souza and Jozef Reba, while the MBWay donation number is Rui de Souza’s mobile phone used on other pages (Souta Nova and Slava UA).

Rui de Souza denies the allegations and says he is asking for the goods he has collected to be transferred to Ukraine and says he is the victim of baseless attacks, which he attributes to people connected to illegal situations such as the animal trade.

Without specifying the amount collected so far, claiming that once he receives a donation, he spends everything on buying goods to send, he promises in statements to Luce to bring all those who accuse him to justice.

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Ann Holvoet, a Belgian living in Romania, where she built a shelter for stray dogs, offered to accept animals rescued from the war in Ukraine.

“Our teams rescued dogs from all over Ukraine, and for those who remained, we delivered tons of food and supplies,” he told Lusa.

At that time, Ann became aware of the existence of Alina Kozak and Rui de Souza when she realized that they had been misusing on their Facebook page (Sotal Nova) photos of food deliveries that her team and another were doing in Kharkiv and Odessa.

The two use the page of Laika Global Rescue, an organization Ann founded, “to advertise themselves using our organization’s banner and using social media to denigrate those who do serious work by calling us drug dealers.”

“They are criminals, they are in Portugal, pretending to be in Ukraine,” he accused.

In Portugal, Carlos Gómez, who works in the security sector and is president of the 1122 technical training and humanitarian association, has been raising funds for fuel, supplies and medicine.

“Our mission was clear: medical assistance in refugee areas, delivery of food to a military unit in Lviv, diapers and products for children to an orphanage, and food for animals. On the way back, we brought a couple with three dogs,” he told Luce.

While preparing the mission and gathering funds and resources, he received an indication that Rui de Souza was carrying out similar activities and tried to contact him, but received no response.

“Only when we posted on our page what we have collected, what we have and what we are going to do, he contacted us and said that he was also interested in going with our caravan,” he said.

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At that time, he added, he realized that the Soutal Nova page had posted images of goods collected by the 1122 association and a call for donations with the account number of Rui de Souza.

“I contacted him and said that he could not ask for humanitarian aid at private expense and that he had to justify what he received, as people become very embarrassed,” he recalls, claiming that Rui de Souza ignored him .

“When we went to Ukraine to fulfill our mission, he continued to publish images, including of our departure, and to call for donations to his personal account,” he said.

After returning from Ukraine, Carlos Gomes filed a complaint against Ruy de Souza for fraud at PJ de Aveiro.

Lusa was contacted by a source from the Attorney General’s Office (PGR), who said that the DIAP Regional de Coimbra was under investigation and that the information received relates to facts that may be part of the crime of fraud. According to information collected by Lusa, there are complaints in other countries, namely in the United States.

Rui de Souza told Luza that he was not aware of any investigation and that he had not been contacted by any authorities so far.

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Wagner group leader confesses to recruiting Zambian student murdered in Ukraine – Columnist

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whitefish here our liveblog from the war in Ukraine

The founder of the Wagner group and associate of the President of Russia Yevgeny Prigozhin confirmed that the Zambian student who died in Ukraine fought on the side of the mercenaries.

Lemehani Natan Nyirenda, 23, was supposed to serve a sentence of nine years and six months in a prison near Moscow, but was killed on September 22 at the front line. Zambia demanded an explanation from Russia about the case, and Prigozhin, who recruits prisoners in Russia, finally broke his silence. admitting that the young man was recruited by the Wagner group.

A Zambian student arrested in Russia died in combat in Ukraine. Zambia needs an explanation

“Yes, I remember him well. I spoke with him in the Tver region, ”he said, quoting Moscow Times🇧🇷 The oligarch said that he tried to dissuade him from participating in the military actions of Russia, but the young man voluntarily decided to fight in Ukraine, praising Russia for “helping Africans gain independence.”

I asked him: “Why do you need this war?” In a couple of years you will be ahead of your time, soon you will be able to be at home and see your family.”

The young man did not return home, but, according to Prigogine, he was one of the first who broke into the enemy trenches and “the hero died”.

According to Telegraph, Lemehani Nathan Nyirenda was admitted to the Engineering Physics Institute in Moscow in 2018. Two years later, he was arrested for drug possession after he was stopped by the police while he was working in time to have fun in the delivery service. He is one of the prisoners recruited by the Russian oligarch to reinforce troops on the war front in Ukraine.

“Putin’s boss” and leader of the Wagner group recruits prisoners for the war in Ukraine. And to those who do not like it, he answers: “Send your children.”

Ukraine accuses Prigozhin of sending thousands of militants recruited directly from Russian prisons to the front in exchange for the promise of salaries and amnesty.

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Zelensky says Russia is avenging military defeats with hundreds of terrorist attacks

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“In just one week, the enemy bombed 258 times 30 settlements in our Kherson region,” in the south of the country, Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his usual evening message, which was broadcast on television.

“They are not capable of anything, only destruction. This is what they leave behind. What they are doing now against Ukraine is an attempt at revenge. Revenge for the fact that the Ukrainians defended themselves several times against them,” he said.

According to the official news agency Ukrinform, Russia has attacked Kherson 21 times over the past 24 hours, hitting residential buildings and civilian infrastructure with its missiles.

As in previous days, air raid sirens sounded again over Ukraine, but without a massive attack.

Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Yuriy Ignat said flights by Russian strategic bombers had been recorded, but “threats of attack by ground-launched missiles” had also been recorded.

According to the US Institute for the Study of War (ISW), Russian troops are preparing to launch another wave of missile strikes on Ukraine next week.

“But most likely, these preparations are aimed at maintaining the pace of recent attacks, and not increasing them due to the limited Russian missile arsenal,” ISW said.

On Monday, Zelenskiy warned of a possible new massive attack later this week.

The military offensive launched on February 24 by Russia in Ukraine has already caused the flight of more than 13 million people – more than six million internally displaced people and more than 7.8 million – to European countries – according to the latest UN figures. which classifies this refugee crisis as the worst in Europe since World War II (1939-1945).

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The Russian invasion, justified by Russian President Vladimir Putin on the need to “denazify” and demilitarize Ukraine for Russia’s security, was condemned by the international community at large, which responded by sending weapons to Ukraine and imposing them on Russia. political and economic sanctions.

The UN has presented as confirmed 6,655 civilian deaths and 10,368 wounded since the start of the war, stressing that these figures are much lower than the real ones.

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