Russian missiles hit apartment block and Ukrainian security service building in Dnipro
Ukrainian sea drones attacked a Russian navy base near the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk, a major hub for Russian exports, early this morning and were destroyed by Russian warships, Russia’s defence ministry said.
The attack prompted the Novorossiysk port to temporarily halt all ship movement, according to the Caspian Pipeline Consortium which operates an oil terminal there.
If confirmed it would be the first Ukrainian attack on one of Russia’s main commercial ports.
Meanwhile, Poland prime minister said that fighters from Russia’s private Wagner mercenary force are being moved close to Nato’s eastern flank to destabilise the military alliance.
Wagner Group soldiers have begun training with the Belarus national army, prompting Poland to start moving more than 1,000 troops closer to the border. On Tuesday it accused Belarus of violating its airspace with military helicopters.
“We need to be aware that the number of provocations will rise,” Mateusz Morawiecki said after meeting Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda in eastern Poland.
“The Wagner group is extremely dangerous and they are being moved to the eastern flank to destabilise it.”
Ukraine, US start talks on security guarantees, official says
Ukraine and the United States started talks yesterday aimed at providing security guarantees for Ukraine, president Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s chief of staff said, a follow-up to pledges by G7 countries at last month’s Nato summit.
Ukraine was told that the Group of Seven (G7) would draw up and honour security guarantees and help bolster its military in light of Russia’s 17-month-old invasion of Ukraine.
The Kyiv government sees the talks as an interim stage pending its accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization military alliance. At the summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, Nato leaders offered support to Ukraine but ruled out any notion of membership until the war with Russia is resolved.
Presidential chief of staff Andriy Yermak, writing on the Telegram messaging app, said the agreement reached in Vilnius was “the basis for working out corresponding bilateral agreements”.
“It is symbolic that the United States – our biggest strategic partner – became the first country with which Ukraine has started this process,” Mr Yermak wrote. “Through this process we will create a successful model for other partners.”
Namita Singh4 August 2023 06:30
Russian defence minister visits troops involved in Ukraine operation – TASS
Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu has visited the frontline headquarters of the “Centre” army group involved in the Ukrainian conflict, TASS cited the defence ministry as saying on Friday.
Mr Shoigu was briefed by group commander Andrei Mordvichev, it said, without disclosing the location of the meeting.
Namita Singh4 August 2023 06:00
Putin foe Navalny expects to be jailed for many more years
Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny expects a court to extend his prison sentence by nearly two decades today, in a criminal case which he and his supporters say was trumped up to keep him behind bars and out of politics for even longer.
Navalny, 47, president Vladimir Putin’s fiercest domestic critic, is already serving sentences totalling 11-1/2 years on fraud and other charges that he says are also bogus. His political movement has been outlawed and declared “extremist”.
State prosecutors have asked the court to hand him another 20 years in a penal colony on six separate criminal charges, including inciting and financing extremist activity and creating an extremist organisation.
Namita Singh4 August 2023 05:30
If Russia wins now it’s the worst-case scenario for humanity, warns Ukraine’s first lady Olena Zelenska
Ukraine’s first lady has warned that Russia winning the war it started is “the worst-case scenario for all humanity”, in a heartfelt plea for the world not to lose interest in her country as its soldiers are fighting for “the democratic balance of the world”.
Speaking exclusively to Independent TV, Olena Zelenska said Ukraine is deeply concerned that the world is underestimating the wider threat from Moscow as the conflict grinds into its 18th month.
Eleanor Noyce4 August 2023 05:00
Blasts and gunfire reported near Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiysk
Russian social media users reported hearing explosions and gunfire near the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiysk this morning.
Videos posted on a local online community and circulated by Russian online news outlet Astra showed the movement of ships just off the coast with the sound of gunfire coming from the direction of the sea.
The emergencies department of the city of Novorossiysk, whose port is one of the biggest in the Black Sea, could not be reached for comment.
Clashes in the Black Sea and adjacent ports have escalated since Russia refused last month to extend a deal allowing for the safe exports of grain from Ukrainian ports; Russian drones and missiles have struck several Ukrainian port facilities and grain silos on or near the Black Sea.
Russia has also reported an attack by Ukrainian sea drones on its warships which were escorting a civilian vessel.
Namita Singh4 August 2023 04:30
Mapped: The latest strikes on Ukraine and Russia as war rages on
“Gradually, the war is returning to the territory of Russia – to its symbolic centres and military bases, and this is an inevitable, natural and absolutely fair process,” he said in a video address from the western city of Ivano-Frankivsk.
Russia’s defence ministry conceded on Sunday (30 July) that a 50-storey building containing the offices of a number of government agencies and a shopping precinct in the capital’s western Moskva-Citi business district were both hit by drone strikes it blamed on Ukraine, claiming to have brought down three more devices.
Eleanor Noyce4 August 2023 04:00
Face to face with a mercenary: Inside Wagner and its blood-soaked role in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
Amid the ravages of war, Sergey, a seasoned Wagner mercenary, found himself grappling with the relentless violence that has become a way of life and death on the front line. The savage conflict, the sense of betrayal from the Kremlin, and rumours of plots, all combined to create an atmosphere of uncertainty and dread.
At the end he decided to abandon the Wagner group and the savage, meat-grinding combat of Donbas where corpses piled up, and towns and cities were razed.
With the future of the mercenary group in the balance after Yevgeny Prigozhin’s failed march on Moscow and fear of future retribution, Sergey cannot forget the terrible things he witnessed in the months of bloody conflict.
Kim Sengupta meets a fighter – a father of two – who has recently left the mercenary group and hears about the daily routine of ‘fight, eat, pray’ on some of the fiercest frontlines in the war:
Eleanor Noyce4 August 2023 03:00
Drones, military confusion and cracks in Putin’s authority: Ukraine’s push to sow discord in Russia’s ranks
With Moscow facing a flurry of drone attacks in recent weeks – the latest over the weekend – Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, has said the war in his country is “returning to Russia”.
While Kyiv is always very cagey about claiming direct responsibility for attacks on Russian soil, the number of incidents has coincided with the Ukrainian counteroffensive to retake territory occupied by Moscow’s forces. All while the Kremlin is still dealing with the fallout from a mutiny last month by the battle-hardened mercenaries of the Wagner Group, led by Yevgeny Prigozhin.
The attempted uprising, which was halted after 24 hours with Prigozhin’s fighters about 125 miles from Moscow, opened the way for a barrage of criticism of Moscow’s top military leadership by some of its own most senior generals commanding Russia’s invasion forces in Ukraine. Kyiv’s aim? To take advantage of this discord, and to increase it. Anything that will help them on the front line.
Askold Krushelnycky speaks to Ukrainian officials about the ongoing counteroffensive and how Kyiv is seeking to exploit the extended fallout from Wagner’s short-lived mutiny:
Eleanor Noyce4 August 2023 02:00
EU imposes sanctions on dozens in Belarus over protest crackdown and support for Russia
The European Union on Thursday imposed sanctions on several Belarus police, justice and prison officials over a crackdown on anti-government activists, and on media personnel and a company accused of supporting Russia’s war on Ukraine.
Travel bans in Europe and asset freezes were slapped on 38 officials, including several judges and prosecutors. The EU also froze the assets of state oil and chemicals giant Belneftekhim.
It said the company “represents a fundamental asset for the Belarusian economy and foreign policy, in particular in relation to the cooperation between Russia and Belarus in developing a common oil market.”
Eleanor Noyce4 August 2023 01:30
Why did Russia invade Ukraine?
Ukraine has fought back courageously against Mr Putin’s warped bid to restore territory lost to Moscow with the collapse of the Soviet Union and has continued to defy the odds by defending itself against Russian onslaughts with the help of Western military aid.
Thomas Kingsley and Joe Sommerlad:
Eleanor Noyce4 August 2023 01:00