Press "Enter" to skip to content

Live blog: Russia repels Ukrainian drone attack on Sevastopol – Moscow

Monday, April 24, 2023

Russia’s defence ministry has said that three Ukrainian naval drones had unsuccessfully attempted overnight to attack Russia’s Black Sea fleet in Sevastopol, on the annexed peninsula of Ukraine, the TASS news agency reported.

All three were destroyed and there were no casualties, the ministry said.

The attack was the latest in a series of attempted strikes on Sevastopol, the main naval base in Crimea that Russia annexed in 2014.

Ukrainian authorities didn’t immediately comment on Monday’s strikes. After previous attacks on Sevastopol and other areas, Ukrainian officials stopped short of openly claiming responsibility but emphasized the country’s right to strike any target in response to the Russian offensive.

Follow more updates 👇

1415 GMT – UN chief criticizes Russia at UN meeting chaired by Lavrov

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has told a meeting chaired by Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine is “causing massive suffering and devastation to the country and its people” and fueling “global economic dislocation triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic.”

“Tensions between major powers are at a historic high. So are the risks of conflict, through misadventure or miscalculation,” Guterres also warned at the UN Security Council meeting.

Lavrov chaired the meeting on multilateralism and the founding UN Charter because Russia holds the monthly rotating presidency of the 15-member body for April. 

1339 GMT – Ukraine says providing modern warplanes to Kyiv will be ‘investment of decade’ in Europe’s security

Ukraine’s foreign minister has said that providing Kyiv with modern combat aircraft would be “the best investment of this decade” in the security of Europe.

“There are no rational arguments why Ukraine cannot get modern Western-type combat aircraft, and I am convinced that this decision will be made. Ukraine is the defender of Europe.

The provision of F-16 aircraft to Ukraine will be the best investment of this decade in the security of the European continent,” Dmytro Kuleba told a meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the EU, according to a Ukrainian Foreign Ministry statement.

The statement said that Kuleba expressed his belief that EU countries are able to play “a leading role in making a decision to provide Ukraine with modern combat aircraft and thus demonstrate their strategic leadership.”

“It is necessary to start training Ukrainian pilots on Western-type aircraft as soon as possible, so that when they are provided, we can immediately use them.

This will save the lives of our soldiers and civilians and guarantee Ukraine’s superiority over the enemy in the air,” he said.

1131 GMT – Russian official claims Poland intends to ‘absorb remnants’ of Ukraine

A senior Russian official has claimed that Poland intends to “absorb the remnants” of Ukraine, with the intention of reviving the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

“Warsaw elites can’t wait to see themselves taking geopolitical revenge on Russia, including reconsidering the Pereiaslav Agreement. Emboldened by the current circumstances, Poland has decided that the chance to absorb the remnants of Ukraine is to be taken now, or never,” Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chair of the Russian Security Council, said on Twitter.

The Pereiaslav Agreement was a treaty signed in January 1654, which placed Ukrainian Cossacks, who were then rebelling against the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, under the protection of the Tsardom of Russia.

Medvedev, who is also a former Russian president, claimed that the Polish are “dreaming” of the idea of “restoring the interstate union with Ukraine and revival of the underdone empire, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth,” further claiming that Warsaw draws inspiration from 400-year-old maps due to having “no intellectual powers for creating a viable image of the future.”

1103 GMT – Kremlin spokesman says his son fought in Ukraine

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said that his son Nikolai had taken part in Russia’s offensive in Ukraine, months after being accused of trying to dodge the draft.

“He took this decision. He’s a grown man. Yes, he did indeed take part in the special military operation,” Peskov told reporters, without giving further details.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Wagner private military company, said last week that Nikolai Peskov had fought as part of his forces for six months in eastern Ukraine.

Prigozhin said the 33-year-old Peskov had served under a different name in a unit operating a multiple rocket launcher.

He said he fought “with courage and heroism”.

0937 GMT – Wagner mercenaries vow to take no more prisoners in Ukraine

The chief of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, has said his men fighting in the flashpoint eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut would kill rival soldiers and take no more prisoners.

He was reacting to a Wagner-affiliated Telegram channel posting an alleged recording of what it said were two Ukrainians deciding to shoot a Russian prisoner of war.

The channel did not say where the recording came from and there is no way of verifying its authenticity.

“We will kill everyone on the battlefield. Take no more prisoners of war!” Prigozhin said in an audio recording on Sunday.

“We don’t know the name of our guy shot by Ukrainians,” Prigozhin said, adding that under international law his group was obliged to “take care, treat, not hurt” any prisoners of war.

He said his group did not want to breach international law and, would kill all soldiers on the battlefield.

After more than a year since the Russian offensive, recent fighting has become a war of attrition, with neither side able to gain momentum. But Ukraine has recently received sophisticated weapons from its Western allies, and new troops freshly trained in the West, giving rise to growing anticipation of a counter-offensive.

0915 GMT – EU’s Borrell sees deal soon to buy ammunition for Ukraine

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has expressed confidence that the bloc would finalise a plan within days to buy ammunition for Ukraine after Kiev expressed frustration at wrangling among EU member states.

“Yes, still there is some disagreement. But I am sure everybody will understand that we are in a situation of extreme urgency,” Borrell told reporters as he arrived for a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg.

“I am sure that in the following days we will reach (an agreement),” he said.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba expressed frustration in a tweet last week that the landmark deal sealed last month for EU countries to jointly buy artillery shells for Kiev has not yet been implemented due to disagreements over how much of the business has to stay within Europe.

 0903 GMT – Turkish foreign minister, NATO chief discuss situation in Ukraine

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg discussed the latest situation in Ukraine engaged in war with Russia.

Cavusoglu and Stoltenberg also exchanged views on the upcoming NATO summit and the alliance’s enlargement over the phone, according to Turkish diplomatic sources.

Lithuania will host a NATO summit in the capital Vilnius on July 11-12.

0854 GMT – Russia ‘will not forget, forgive’ failure to issue US visas to Russian journalists: FM

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said Moscow “will not forget or forgive” the failure to issue US visas to Russian journalists who were expected to accompany him on the New York trip to participate in UN Security Council meetings.

“And most importantly, rest assured, we will not forget, we will not forgive,” Lavrov said in a statement, shared by Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova before departing for the US.

Lavrov said he was aware that US officials are known for taking such actions, but that this time the situation would be different considering “the attention drawn to their disgraceful behavior.”

“But I was wrong. The country, which calls itself the strongest, the smartest, the freest, and the most fair, has lost the nerve and made, I am sure, a silly thing demonstrating what its vows about the freedom of speech, access to information, and etc. are really worth,” he added.

Sunday, April 23, 2023

1831 GMT – Ukrainian troop positions spark counteroffensive speculation

Ukrainian military forces have successfully established positions on the eastern side of the Dnieper River, according to a new analysis, giving rise to speculations that the advances could be an early sign of Kiev’s long-awaited spring counteroffensive.

The Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based think tank, reported that geolocated footage from pro-Kremlin military bloggers indicated that Ukrainian troops had established a foothold near the town of Oleshky, along with “stable supply lines” to their positions.

Analysts widely believe that if Ukraine goes ahead with a spring counteroffensive, a major goal would be to break through the land corridor between Russia and the annexed Crimean Peninsula, which would necessitate crossing the Dnieper River in the country’s south.

While neither confirming nor denying the ISW report, Natalia Humeniuk, spokesperson for Ukraine’s Operational Command South, said only that details of military operations in the Dnieper delta couldn’t be disclosed for operational and security reasons and called for patience.

The Kremlin-installed head of the Kherson region, Vladimir Saldo, denied that Ukrainian forces have established a foothold on the east bank of the Dnieper, saying Russian forces are “in full control” of the area.

0821 GMT – China says respects ex-Soviet states’ sovereignty after envoy sparks outrage

China said it respected the “sovereign state status” of all ex-Soviet countries, after Beijing’s ambassador to France sparked outrage in Europe by questioning the sovereignty of those nations.

“China respects the sovereign state status of the participating republics after the dissolution of the Soviet Union,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning told reporters on Monday.

Beijing’s ambassador to France Lu Shaye triggered a furore after suggesting that countries that emerged after the fall of the Soviet Union “don’t have effective status under international law because there i s not an international agreement confirming their status as sovereign nations”.

The ambassador’s comments appeared to refer not just to Ukraine, but also to all former Soviet republics which emerged as independent nations after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, including members of the European Union.

1640 GMT – Anger as Chinese envoy questions post-Soviet nations

China’s ambassador to France has sparked anger in eastern Europe and Ukraine while drawing a rebuke from Paris and the European Union after questioning the sovereignty of post-Soviet countries.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell branded the remarks “unacceptable” in the latest sign of indignation in Europe, tweeting: “The EU can only suppose these declarations do not represent China’s official policy”.

The foreign ministers of Baltic countries Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, all former Soviet republics which joined the EU after independence, condemned the comments from Lu.

1133 GMT – Russia says it has gained more ground in battle for Bakhmut

Russia’s defence ministry on Sunday said its forces had captured more territory in Bakhmut as they pursue their bid to seize full control of the city.

The battle for Bakhmut has turned into one of the bloodiest of the 14-month war, with the Eastern Ukrainian city almost completely destroyed by artillery shelling and urban combat.

Russia says capturing Bakhmut will allow it to mount further offensives into eastern Ukraine. If they succeed, Moscow’s forces are likely to face even larger urban battles for the nearby towns of Kramatorsk and Sloviansk.

Russia’s defence ministry on Sunday said troops secured two more blocks in Bakhmut’s western districts and that airborne units were providing reinforcements to the north and south.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the private Wagner military force which is leading the assault on the city, has claimed his troops control 80 percent of Bakhmut.

Kiev has repeatedly denied claims that its forces are poised to withdraw.

1115 GMT – Russia’s Medvedev warns Moscow will scrap grain deal if G7 bans exports

Russian former president Dmitry Medvedev said on Sunday that if the G7 moved to ban exports to Russia, Moscow would respond by terminating the Black Sea Grain deal that enables vital exports of grain from Ukraine.

The Group of Seven (G7) countries are considering a near-total ban on exports to Russia, Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported last week, citing Japanese government sources.

1028 GMT – Ukraine slams Chinese envoy’s ‘absurd’ remarks on post-Soviet nations

Ukraine on Sunday condemned what it called “absurd” comments from China’s ambassador to France, who questioned the sovereignty of post-Soviet countries.

Speaking Friday on the LCI news channel, Ambassador Lu Shaye suggested countries that emerged after the fall of the Soviet Union “don’t have effective status under international law because there is not an international agreement confirming their status as sovereign nations.”

The comments cast doubt not just on Ukraine, which Russia invaded last February, but all former Soviet republics which emerged as independent nations after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, including many members of the European Union.

Ukrainian presidential aide Mykhaylo Podolyak replied on Sunday that the status of post-Soviet countries was “enshrined in international law”.

“It is strange to hear an absurd version of the ‘history of Crimea’ from a representative of a country that is scrupulous about its thousand-year history,” Podolyak said, referring to China.

0825 GMT – Son of Vladimir Putin’s spokesman says he served with Wagner in Ukraine

The son of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said in an interview published on Saturday that he had served in Ukraine under an assumed name as an artilleryman in the Wagner mercenary force, the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper reported.

Nikolai Peskov, the 33-year-old son of Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, told the privately-owned newspaper that he had served in Ukraine, a rare, public example of the son of a senior Russian official fighting in the war.

“It was on my initiative,” Peskov, whose father has served as Putin’s spokesman since 2008, said in an interview. 

“I considered it my duty.”

He said that he had served out his contract for a little under half a year under an assumed name to hide his true identity.

He received a medal for bravery, the newspaper said.

Russia’s 2022 war with Ukraine has triggered one of the deadliest European conflicts since World War Two and the biggest confrontation between Moscow and the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

As many as 354,000 Russian and Ukrainian soldiers have been killed or injured in the Ukraine war which is grinding towards a protracted conflict that may last well beyond 2023, according to a trove of US intelligence documents posted online.

0303 GMT – G7 backs extension, full implementation of Black Sea grain deal

The Group of Seven (G7) economic powers called on Sunday for the “extension, full implementation and expansion” of a critical deal to export Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea, the group’s agriculture ministers said in a communique.

Brokered by Türkiye and the UN, the deal was signed in Istanbul last July, allowing Ukraine to export more than 27 million tonnes of grain from several of its Black Sea ports.

Russia, which invaded its neighbour in February 2022, has strongly signalled that it will not allow the deal to continue beyond May 18 because a list of demands to facilitate its own grain and fertilizer exports has not been met.

In the communique after a two-day meeting in Miyazaki, Japan, the G7 agriculture ministers “recognised the importance” of the deal, saying: “We strongly support the extension, full implementation and expansion of (the Black Sea Grain Initiative) BSGI.”

“We condemn Russia’s attempts to use food as a means of destabilisation and as tool of geopolitical coercion and reiterate our commitment to acting in solidarity and supporting those most affected by Russia’s weaponisation of food,” the communique added.

2300 GMT – Ukraine announces round of fresh sanctions against Russia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has announceed new sanctions against hundreds of companies who he said “invest in and support Russian aggression”.

“This is another package of sanctions against the Russian defense industry enterprises that maintain the terrorist army. This time, 322 companies were added to the sanctions lists – manufacturers of weapons, components, etc,” Zelenskyy said in his address.

“It is important that global restrictive measures against the Russian nuclear industry have begun. This industry not only generates funds for the aggressor’s budget, but also helps to make other states dependent on the territory of which allegedly ‘energy’ nuclear projects are being implemented. For the Kremlin, any energy is a weapon. Nuclear energy is also a weapon for them. And this is exactly what is happening at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, which Russia is using as a weapon to blackmail the world.

2008 GMT – Kharkiv, surrounding districts hit by five missiles: officials

At least five Russian missiles hit the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv and surrounding districts late on Saturday night, causing some damage to civilian buildings, local officials said.

Regional governor Oleh Sinegubov, writing on Telegram, said one missile hit a house in the village of Kotliary, just to the south of Kharkiv, while another sparked a major fire in the city itself.

Russia has for months been launching drones and missiles against a wide variety of Ukrainian targets in a bid to damage vital infrastructure.

For our live updates from Saturday (April 22), click here.

More from EuropeMore posts in Europe »

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *