Russia Ukraine war news: Kyiv hit by deadly drone attack as Zelensky meets with Nato

The Independent’s Kate Devlin speaks from Nato summit’s second day

A high-ranking Russian general has been killed in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia in an airstrike carried out using British-supplied Storm Shadow missiles, according to multiple reports from both sides.

Lieutenant General Oleg Tsokov was among the Russian military commanders present in the Dune hotel when a barrage of cruise missiles struck the southern region.

Russia’s defence ministry did not immediately confirm the death but it has been reported by the country’s tightly-controlled state media.

An aid to the Ukrainian mayor of Mariupol, Petro Andriushchenko, wrote on his Telegram channel: “It is reported that today in the Berdiansk area, the Russian Lieutenant General Oleg Yuriyovych Tsokov was liquidated.”

In September last year the same general was gravely wounded on the battlefield but survived, the mayor said.

A member of Ukraine’s parliament, Yurii Mysyagin, said that the “the British ‘Storm Shadow’ came to visit accurately”.

This comes as a senior Russian general who was leading Moscow’s forces in Zaporizhzhia said he was suddenly dismissed from his position after he accused the military leadership of betraying his troops with a lack of support.


Russian defence ministry says Wagner is completing handover of its weapons

The Wagner mercenary group is completing its handover of weapons to Russia’s regular armed forces, the Russian Defence Ministry said on Wednesday, more than two weeks after the group staged a brief armed mutiny.

The ministry said Wagner had handed over more than 2,000 pieces of equipment, including tanks and rockets, and more than 2,500 tonnes of ammunition.

The handover follows a deal with the Kremlin under which Wagner and its leader Yevgeny Prigozhin called off their short-lived mutiny last month.

The Wagner fighters, who took part in some of the heaviest fighting of the war in Ukraine, were given the option of joining Prigozhin in exile in Belarus, joining Russia’s regular armed forces or going home.

During the June 23-24 mutiny, the mercenaries took control of the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don and shot down an unspecified number of military helicopters, killing their pilots, as they advanced towards Moscow.

Prigozhin said his men’s actions were intended as a protest against what he called the corruption and incompetence of Russia’s military leadership in its handling of the Ukraine war.

The mutiny is widely perceived as having posed the most serious challenge to President Vladimir Putin since he assumed Russia’s presidency on the last day of 1999.

It was defused in a deal brokered by Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko. Under that deal, which the Kremlin said was struck to avert bloodshed, a criminal case against Prigozhin and his fighters was dropped.

Eleanor Noyce12 July 2023 16:30


Senior Russian general says he was fired after accusing defence ministry of treachery

A senior Russian general who was fighting in Ukraine has said he was suddenly dismissed from his position after he accused the Moscow defence ministry’s leadership of betraying his troops over lack of sufficient support.

In a Telegram post published late last night, General Ivan Popov said he had raised questions about “the lack of counter-battery combat, the absence of artillery reconnaissance stations and the mass deaths and injuries of our brothers from enemy artillery.”

He was the commander of the 58th Combined Arms Army, leading the Russian assault in the Zaporizhzhia region.

“I also raised a number of other problems and expressed it all at the highest level frankly and extremely harshly,” he said in the audio message.

“I had no right to lie, therefore, I outlined all the problematic issues that exist today in the army in terms of combat work and support.”

He added that the Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu “got rid of me” by signing the order.

Popov accused the senior Russian commander of hitting the battalion from the rear “treacherously and vilely decapitating the army at the most difficult and tense moment” while claiming Ukraine could not break through the Russian army from the front.

Arpan Rai13 July 2023 05:37


Russian spy chief spoke to CIA boss about ‘what to do with Ukraine’

Russian foreign intelligence chief Sergei Naryshkin has said he and CIA counterpart William Burns had discussed “what to do with Ukraine“ in a phone call late last month, reported Russia’s TASS news agency.

Mr Naryshkin confirmed that his counterpart had raised “the events of 24 June”, when the Wagner mercenaries took control of a southern Russian city and advanced towards Moscow before reaching a deal with the Kremlin to end the revolt.

This comes after The New York Times and Wall Street Journal reported on 30 June that the CIA director had called the Russian foreign intelligence chief to assure the Kremlin that the US had no role in a brief mutiny a week earlier by Russian mercenary boss Yevgeny Prigozhin and his Wagner fighters.

Mr Naryshkin said that for most of the call, lasting about an hour, “we considered and discussed what to do with Ukraine“.

There were no immediate remarks from the CIA on TASS’s report.

The two leading intelligence officials have maintained a line of communication since the start of the Ukraine war at a time when other direct contacts between Moscow and Washington are at a minimum, with relations at their lowest point since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis.

Arpan Rai13 July 2023 05:11


Zelensky welcomes G7 security pledges: ‘For our children’

Volodymyr Zelensky has welcomed fresh pledges of weapons and ammunition to fight Russia’s invasion along with longer-term security commitments from the West even as he expressed disappointment over the lack of a clear path for his country to join Nato as the alliance wrapped up its annual summit. “The Ukrainian delegation is bringing home a significant security victory for the Ukraine, for our country, for our people, for our children,” he said while flanked by US president Joe Biden and other leaders from the Group of Seven most powerful democratic nations. A joint declaration issued by the G7 lays the groundwork for each nation to negotiate agreements to help Ukraine bolster its military over the long term. Mr Zelensky described the initiative as a bridge toward eventual Nato membership and a deterrent against Russia. “We will not waver,” Mr Biden vowed after the summit in Lithuania ended. “I mean that. Our commitment to Ukraine will not weaken. We will stand for freedom today, tomorrow and for as long as it takes.”

Arpan Rai13 July 2023 04:55


Biden hails ‘unbroken’ Ukrainian people in Nato speech

President Joe Biden hailed the “unbroken” people of Ukraine and the “incredible dignity” with which they’ve acted to repel Russia’s invading forces as he pledged on behalf of the Western world to maintain support for Kyiv’s defence for as long as necessary.

Mr Biden delivered his remarks to a boisterous crowd who’d gathered hours ahead of time to hear him speak in the Great Court at Vilnius University, following the conclusion of this year’s Nato leaders’ summit, at which leaders of the 31-member defence alliance agreed to expedite Ukraine’s bid for membership in the bloc once the war with Russia has been brought to a close.

Arpan Rai13 July 2023 04:25


Overnight drone attack on Kyiv kills one, says mayor

At least one person has been killed after explosive debris from a drone fired by Russia fell on a district in Kyiv, officials said.

Ukraine deployed anti-aircraft units to down Iranian-made Shahed drones fired by Russian forces for a third consecutive night, in and around Kyiv.

The body of one resident was recovered when emergency services put out a fire in the capital’s historic Podil district, mayor Vitali Klitschko said.

He also reported a fire in an apartment building in Kyiv’s Podil district where two people were injured.

Two more people were injured in Shevchenkivskyi district further west, where a balcony caught fire in an apartment building. Debris also struck the central Solomyanskyi district.

The head of Kyiv’s military administration, Serhiy Popko, described the assault as a “mass attack” by Shahed drones that had approached from different directions.

“Anti-aircraft forces identified and destroyed about 10 foreign targets,” he wrote on Telegram.

Pictures on the military administration’s website showed buildings with burnt out areas or damaged facades.

Arpan Rai13 July 2023 03:51


Nato in numbers: Which members have the biggest armies and how has the military alliance grown?

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato), which is currently holding its latest summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, is a political and military alliance of North American and European countries forged in the aftermath of the Second World War – in the hope of avoiding future hostilities between nations.

It sought to achieve this through the realisation of three specific goals: deterring Soviet expansionism, preventing the revival of militant nationalism and encouraging European political integration.

While that first obligation lost its relevance following the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the gradual disintegration of the USSR, Nato has been forced to constantly evolve and adapt in response to global geopolitical tensions over the last half century as the nature of the threats and challenges nations faced changed, from fascism and totalitarianism to Islamist terror factions and cyber-warfare.

Eleanor Noyce13 July 2023 03:00


Ben Wallace accused of ‘scolding’ Ukraine over demands for weapons: ‘We’re not Amazon’

Defence secretary Ben Wallace has been accused of “scolding” the Ukrainians after revealing that he told them Britain was not retail giant Amazon when presented with a list of weapons demands.

In a summit that has revealed cracks between Western leaders and Kyiv, Mr Wallace also said he had advised Ukraine that the international community wanted to see “gratitude” for its support in the war with Russia.

Asked about the row, Rishi Sunak distanced himself from the comments, saying the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky had repeatedly expressed his gratitude. “I think everyone can see that’s how he feels,“ he said.

Eleanor Noyce13 July 2023 02:00


Ukraine’s greatest weapon isn’t on the battlefield

In welcoming fresh pledges of more weapons, ammunition and the long-term security commitments made by members of the G7, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky appeared – at least publicly – a happier figure on the second day of Nato’s summit in Lithuania than he did on the first.

On Tuesday, he had angrily denounced the “absurd” delays to his nation being given a timetable for the Nato membership it craves and then was left frustrated when the communique from the alliance said that Kyiv could join “when allies agree and conditions are met” – without laying out what those conditions were.

A flash of anger over delays to Nato membership gave way to a more conciliatory tone from Volodymyr Zelensky at the summit in Lithuania, writes Chris Stevenson. But don’t expect him to back down on pushing Western allies for more help – his nation’s survival depends on it:

Ukraine’s greatest weapon isn’t on the battlefield

A flash of anger over delays to Nato membership gave way to a more conciliatory tone from Volodymyr Zelensky at the summit in Lithuania, writes Chris Stevenson. But don’t expect him to back down on pushing Western allies for more help – his nation’s survival depends on it

Eleanor Noyce13 July 2023 01:00


Why Ukraine’s plea for Nato membership is such a challenge for the West

For Ukraine, what it is asking for has been simple – a pathway to membership of Nato to protect its future in the wake of Russia‘s invasion. For its Western allies however, making that a reality is not so straightforward.

The advantages of membership for Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky are obvious. Article 5 of the alliance treaty is a cast-iron mutual defence clause that has US, UK and French nuclear weapons at its core. Given the vast swathes of destruction that Moscow’s aggression has wrought, being given a seat at the Nato table would also give Kyiv the extra layer of security needed during what will be a long period of reconstruction (whenever that comes).

Eleanor Noyce13 July 2023 00:01

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