April 24, 2024

Russia-Ukraine war latest: Putin’s forces suffer ‘significant losses’ as Kyiv vows more drone strikes

Russia’s war in Ukraine

Ukraine has claimed fresh success in its counteroffensive against Vladimir Putin’s forces, with the recapture of another village – a liberation that the army says is “key to success in all further directions”.

The announcement by the General Staff of Ukraine’s armed forces said that Russian forces had faced “significant losses” in the battle. The village of Andriivka is about 10 kilometres south of the Donetsk town of Bakhmut, which Russia captured in May after some of the bloodiest fighting of the war.

Meanwhile, Britain’s most senior military officer said Ukraine had taken the initiative over Russia, even if gains are gradual. Sir Tony Radakin said: “In the north they are holding and fixing Russian forces there and in the south they are making progress between 10 and 20km.”

His comments came as Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky hailed the destruction of a Russian air defence system in the annexed Crimea peninsula, as a Ukrainian minister vowed that “there will be more drones, more attacks, and fewer Russian ships”.

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Ukraine recaptures another village from Putin’s forces – as it keeps up attacks on Russia’s ships

Ukraine has claimed fresh success in its counteroffensive, with the recapture of another village, this time near Bakhmut – a liberation that the army says is “key to success in all further directions”.

Here are the latest battlefield developments from our international editor Chris Stevenson:

Andy Gregory16 September 2023 12:48

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Russia claims to shoot down three drones

The Russian defence ministry claims its air defence systems have destroyed a drone launched from Ukraine into Russia’s neighbouring Belgorod region.

Earlier, the ministry claimed Russian air defences had shot down two Ukrainian drones over the Kaluga and Tver regions.

We’ll bring you more details on this as we get them.

Andy Gregory16 September 2023 12:26

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ICYMI: Russian journalist’s horror journey in grips of suspected poisoning

Prior to Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, Irina Babloyan hosted Russia’s most popular morning radio show, on the country’s sole independent station, Echo of Moscow.

But within days of Ukraine being plunged into full-scale war, Echo of Moscow – established in 1990, prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union – was taken off air and then shut down completely, as part of the Kremlin’s unsparing clampdown on information about its so-called “special military operation”.

Stalked by the FSB, Ms Babloyan – among the first people to talk publicly about Ukrainian children being forcibly taken to Russia – eventually decided to leave Moscow for Tblisi last October, where she spent 10 days before moving to Berlin, where Echo of Moscow planned to resume programming.

But on the eve of her journey, with stops in both Armenia and Moldova, she very suddenly “felt something strange going on” – and still suffers “burning” skin to this day.

Ms Babloyan told The Independent her story, which you can read here:

Andy Gregory16 September 2023 12:21

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Russia likely compiling ‘significant stockpile’ of missiles for winter attacks Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, UK says

Russia is likely to be able to compile a “significant stockpile” of cruise missiles to potentially launch attacks on Ukraine’s national energy infrastructure once again over the winter, the UK’s Ministry of Defence has said.

“Air launched cruise missiles (ALCMs), especially the modern AS-23a KODIAK, were at the heart of most of these strike missions. Russia uses strategic bomber aircraft to release these munitions from deep within Russian territory,” according to the ministry.

“Open source reports suggest that since April 2023, ALCM expenditure rates have reduced, while Russian leaders have highlighted efforts to increase the rate of cruise missile production.

“Russia is therefore likely able to generate a significant stockpile of ALCMs. There is a realistic possibility Russia will again focus these weapons against Ukrainian infrastructure targets over the winter.”

Andy Gregory16 September 2023 11:50

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Ukrainian children describe being taken by to Russia force

Ukrainian orphans Ivan and Maksym, 17 and 16, escaped shelling and hunger in besieged Mariupol only to be captured and taken to the Russian-occupied city of Donetsk where they were held incommunicado for months with dozens of other children.

They are now among about 400 Ukrainian children to have returned from Russia or Russian-held territory since Moscow’s full-scale invasion began in February, 2022 – a tiny fraction of the 20,000 children that Kyiv has identified as taken without the consent of family or guardians.

The boys and four other Ukrainian children told their stories in The Hague, where the campaign “Bring Kids Back UA” was launched this week by Netherlands-based NGO Orphans Feeding Foundation with the backing of Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

The boys, students at the Mariupol Technical School of Building, were living in a dormitory when the area came under fierce bombardment by Russian forces. Food and water ran out, and they fled on foot in March to a nearby village.

“When we arrived, we went to the hospital, because there was nowhere else to go. We said we were orphans, and they informed the Donetsk hospital. Then child protection services came and asked where our parents were. So we were taken away,” Maksym told Reuters.

Ivan said: “We didn’t want to go there, but we didn’t have a choice. We were fed four times a week. We spent time in our rooms and played on our phones. They let us go outside for one hour a day, and not every day. There was nothing for us to do.”

Reuters16 September 2023 11:15

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Ukrainian minister vows ‘more drones, more attacks, and fewer Russian ships’

A Ukrainian minister who has played a key role in building the country’s drone industry has vowed there “will be more drones, more attacks, and fewer Russian ships”, after a recent series of sea raids.

Digital transformation minister Mykhailo Fedorov told Reuters that Ukraine’s aerial drone production had increased by over 100 times in 2023 from last year, adding: “I think it’ll be an increase of around 120 to 140 times by the end of this year, if you compare it to the previous one.”

According to the minister, Ukraine is testing AI systems that can locate targets several kilometres away and guide drones to them even if external communications are disrupted by electronic warfare measures.

“We need AI, for instance the technology for finding targets, just like how the Lancet (a Russian drone) operates, so that a target can be located under electronic warfare and destroyed.

“At the moment it’s all at the testing stage, but some drones we are buying use AI to recognise targets. In a forest, it can detect a target and recognise whether it’s a person, tank, or a certain vehicle. These technologies are being used actively.”

Andy Gregory16 September 2023 10:39

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Russia has ‘seemingly mismanaged’ defences in Zaporizhzhia, analyst says

Russia appears to have “mismanaged” its defences in Zaporizhzia, where Ukrainian troops have broken through Moscow’s first line of defence, perhaps fuelled by differences in approach by Russian generals.

“Russia has seemingly mismanaged fortifications in Zaporizhzhia,” said Samuel Ramani, an associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, on Twitter/X.

“It devoted so many IFVs, forces and artillery defending the first line of fortifications, it is poorly prepared to retreat and strengthen the second line of defence. So Ukraine’s counter-offensive can gather pace.”

He pointed to remarks to the Kyiv Independent by Michael Kofman, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment think-tank, who said Ukraine is “widening that breach at this stage to enable the flow of armored vehicles and logistics so they can exploit it”.

Referring to the fact that Moscow has been committing troops beyond its first line of defence despite having prepared deep and multi-layered fortifications ideal for conserving manpower and attriting Ukraine’s forces in exchange for only minimal battlefield gains, he continued: “The Russians have constructed a defence in depth in the south of Ukraine but spent most of the counteroffensive not using it.”

The analyst suggested that former Russian war chief Sergei Surovikin had wanted a classic positional defence when he ordered construction of the vast fortifications – but that chief of general staff Valery Gerasimov opted instead for an active defence with regular counterattacks on the flanks.

Andy Gregory16 September 2023 10:20

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Russian businessman’s conviction for insider-trading scheme ‘politically motivated’, insists Kremlin

Moscow has dismissed the conviction of Russian businessman Vladislav Klyushin in a US court for participating in a $93m insider-trading scheme as “politically motivated”, state news agencies reported.

Klyushin, who has ties to the Kremlin, was sentenced last week to nine years in prison after being found guilty in February of trading shares using hacked secret earnings information about multiple companies.

Hackers from 2018 to 2020 viewed and downloaded yet-to-be-announced earnings reports for hundreds of companies including Tesla and Microsoft, whose shares Klyushin and others then traded before the news was public, according to prosecutors.

But Russia’s foreign ministry insisted the charges against Klyushin, the owner of a Moscow-based information technology company called M-13 that did work for the Russian government, were completely far-fetched and fabricated”, according to RIA.

It claimed he was “another victim of the fanatical Russophobia that now reigns in the power structures overseas”.

Andy Gregory16 September 2023 10:03

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US ambassador to Russia visits jailed WSJ reporter Evan Gershkovich

Washington’s ambassador to Moscow has visited imprisoned Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, the US Embassy in Russia has said.

Lynne Tracy’s visit comes a day after Gershkovich’s parents and sister appeared in the United Nation’s headquarters in New York and called on world leaders to urge Russia to free the reporter, who was arrested earlier this year in espionage charges he and his employer reject.

Mr Gershkovich, a 31-year-old US citizen, was detained in late March in Yekaterinburg, more than 1,000 miles east of Moscow, while on a reporting trip. He has been held in Moscow’s Lefortovo pre-trial detention centre, notorious for its harsh conditions, ever since.

The US government declared him to be wrongfully detained. The case against Mr Gershkovich, shrouded in secrecy, has rattled journalists both inside and outside Russia.

Evan Gershkovich was detained in March

(AP)

Andy Gregory16 September 2023 09:11

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Watch: Kim Jong-un tours aviation plant in Russia’s Far East during arms deal visit

Kim Jong-un tours aviation plant in Russia’s Far East during arms deal visit

Andy Gregory16 September 2023 08:50

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