Crimean Bridge badly damaged after ‘multiple blasts’ in early hours
Wagner mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin was “betrayed” by his second-in-command Andrei Troshev, who refused to back his shortlived mutiny against Moscow last month, a report claims.
Investigative outlet Gulagu.net cited Wagner sources as claiming that Mr Troshev earned president Vladimir Putin’s favour by being the first Wagner commander to refuse to take part in the armed rebellion, and instead to transfer inside information to the Federal Security Service (FSB) and Russian defence ministry.
It came as Russia launched overnight drone attacks on Ukraine’s south and east, as Volodymyr Zelensky’s troops drove out Russian forces from villages in the south.
A fire broke out at one of the “facilities” in the port of Mykolaiv late on Monday, the city mayor said. The port city provides Ukraine with access to the Black Sea. “It’s quite serious,” mayor Oleksandr Senkevich said of the fire.
The southern port of Odesa and the Mykolaiv, Donetsk, Kherson, Zaporizhzhia and Dnipropetrovsk regions were under threat of Russian drone attacks, the Air Force said on Telegram.
US general defends Ukraine counter-offensive, says ‘far from failure’
The top US general has warned that while Ukraine’s slow-moving counteroffensive against Russian invasion is far from failure, the war ahead will be long and bloody.
“I think there’s a lot of fighting left to go and I’ll stay with what we said before: This is going to be long. It’s going be hard. It’s going to be bloody,” General Mark Milley, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told reporters.
Asked whether the counter-offensive was a failure, at least so far, he said: “It is far from a failure. I think that it’s way too early to make that kind of call.”
He confirmed that the counteroffensive will be slow, and was asked about another round of talks on arms for Ukraine.
In a delayed counteroffensive that began only a few weeks back, casualties on both sides mount and the frontlines have moved only incrementally.
The United States and other allies have spent months building Ukraine a “mountain of steel” of weaponry and training Ukrainian forces in combined arms techniques to help Kyiv pierce formidable Russian defences during its counteroffensive.
Kyiv has recaptured some villages in the south and territory around the ruined city of Bakhmut in the east, but has yet to attempt a major breakthrough across heavily defended Russian lines.
Kyiv says it is deliberately advancing slowly to avoid high casualties on fortified defensive lines strewn with landmines, and is focused for now on degrading Russia’s logistics and command. Moscow says the Ukrainian counteroffensive has failed.
Arpan Rai19 July 2023 04:07
Ukraine making ‘slow but sure progress’
Ukrainian Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar said the initiative in the area had switched to Ukrainian forces in northeastern Ukraine.
It came after Moscow reported advances by its troops.
Ms Mailiar said Ukrainian forces were “making slow but sure progress” in the south as they try to approach occupied ports on the Sea of Azov to sever a land bridge Russian forces have set up between the east and the Crimean peninsula, annexed in 2014.
“The enemy’s key task is to stop us here. They are doing this with all their might,” she told national television. “Our forces must first overcome these obstacles and prepare the ground so we can advance more effectively.”
Matt Drake19 July 2023 04:00
Russia continues overnight attack on Kyiv, Ukrainian air defences active
Russia is continuing its spate of overnight attacks on Ukraine as the sounds of blasts have been heard near Kyiv.
The Ukrainian air defence systems were engaged in repelling the attacks on Kyiv, the capital’s military administration said on the Telegram channel.
Witnesses have reported hearing blasts and smoke rising near Kyiv.
Arpan Rai19 July 2023 03:54
EU likely to retain Iran ballistic missile sanctions after supplying Russia
In June, sources told Reuters that European diplomats had informed Iran they planned to retain EU ballistic missile sanctions set to expire in October under the nuclear deal.
It is a step they said could provoke Iranian retaliation.
The sources cited three reasons for keeping the sanctions: Russia’s use of Iranian drones against Ukraine; the possibility Iran might transfer ballistic missiles to Russia; and depriving Iran of the nuclear deal’s benefits given Tehran has violated the accord, albeit only after the United States did so first.
Keeping the EU sanctions would reflect Western efforts to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them despite the collapse of the 2015 deal, which then-US President Donald Trump abandoned in 2018.
Matt Drake19 July 2023 03:00
Aftermath of Russian missile attack on Odesa captured in bodycam footage
Ukrainian police have released bodycam video said to show the aftermath of a Russian missile attack on Odesa.
The attack on Odesa, one of Ukraine’s main ports for exporting grain, followed a pledge of retaliation by Moscow after a blast on a bridge linking Russia to the Crimean Peninsula on Monday 17 July.
Ukraine’s air force said all six Kalibr missiles that were fired overnight, and 31 out of 36 drones, were shot down. The missiles and most of the drones were downed over Odesa and Mykolaiv regions in the south.
Falling debris and blast waves damaged several homes and unspecified port infrastructure in Odesa.
There was no word of any deaths, but an elderly man was wounded, Ukraine’s southern military command said.
Aftermath of Russian missile attack on Odesa captured in bodycam footage
Ukrainian police have released bodycam video said to show the aftermath of a Russian missile attack on Odesa. The attack on Odesa, one of Ukraine’s main ports for exporting grain, followed a pledge of retaliation by Moscow after a blast on a bridge linking Russia to the Crimean Peninsula on Monday 17 July. Ukraine’s air force said all six Kalibr missiles that were fired overnight, and 31 out of 36 drones, were shot down. The missiles and most of the drones were downed over Odesa and Mykolaiv regions in the south. Falling debris and blast waves damaged several homes and unspecified port infrastructure in Odesa. There was no word of any deaths, but an elderly man was wounded, Ukraine’s southern military command said.
Matt Drake19 July 2023 02:00
IOC’s Bach says key to Russian decision for Paris Olympics is athletes’ respectful conduct
The key factor in weighing the IOC’s ultimate decision on letting Russians participate at the 2024 Paris Games is how well athletes behave in international competitions, the Olympic body’s president Thomas Bach said Tuesday.
“It’s too soon to draw final conclusions,” Bach said, adding “we have the responsibility not to punish athletes for the acts of their government.”
The International Olympic Committee has pushed sports governing bodies this year to approve some athletes from Russia and its military ally Belarus competing as neutrals for international competitions including Paris qualifying events.
Bach has previously said the IOC can take its own final decision “at the appropriate time, at its full discretion” which could include barring Russians and Belarusians as their countries’ war on Ukraine continues.
Matt Drake19 July 2023 01:00
EU-Latin America summit clouded by wrangling over war in Ukraine
European, Latin American and Caribbean leaders proclaimed a new era of increased political and economic cooperation on Tuesday but their summit meeting was clouded by wrangling over how to address Russia’s war in Ukraine.
The gathering of some 50 leaders from the three regions in Brussels was intended to revitalise their relations as the EU seeks to revamp its international alliances in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and a growing wariness of China.
But while leaders at the summit declared they share common values such as democracy, human rights and the rule of law, their struggles over the war in Ukraine highlighted differences on an issue of paramount importance to Europe.
EU officials had hoped the summit with the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) would clearly deplore Russia for invading its neighbour in February last year. But the final declaration did not mention Russia.
Matt Drake19 July 2023 00:00
US says Ukraine has significant combat power not yet committed to the war
Ukrainian forces have a “significant amount of combat power” that hasn’t yet been committed to the war, the top U.S. military officer said Tuesday, saying Kyiv is conserving some of its tactical effort while troops slowly work their way through deadly Russian minefields.
Speaking to reporters after defense leaders from around the world met to discuss Ukraine‘s military needs, Army Gen. Mark Milley was asked about the slow pace of Ukraine’s offensive to take back territory seized by Russia. He said Ukraine will decide when to use the combat power and complex training the U.S. and allies have provide. He flatly dismissed suggestions the offensive is failing.
“It is far from a failure, in my view. I think that it’s way too early to make that kind of call,” said Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “Right now they are preserving their combat power. And they are slowly and deliberately and steadily working their way through all these minefields, and it’s a tough fight. It’s a very difficult fight.”
Matt Drake18 July 2023 23:00
South African leader says that arresting Putin if he comes to Johannesburg next month would be ‘war’
South Africa’s president said Tuesday that arresting Russian President Vladimir Putin — should he show up at an economic summit next month in Johannesburg — would amount to a “declaration of war” by his country.
The August summit is bringing together Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — a bloc of developing economies known as BRICS. Officials have said that Putin wants to attend the gathering but have been trying to persuade him to stay away to avoid the legal and diplomatic fallout over his international arrest warrant.
Putin is the subject of a warrant of arrest by the International Criminal Court related to alleged war crimes during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. As a signatory to the Rome Statute that established the ICC, South Africa would be obligated to arrest Putin if he visits the African nation.
South Africa’s biggest political opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, has tried to compel President Cyril Ramaphosa‘s government to pledge to arrest Putin in an action before the High Court in Pretoria.
But in a strongly worded affidavit to the court, made public on Tuesday, Ramaphosa reiterated his past statement that such an action against Putin could also derail any efforts to end the war in Ukraine.
Matt Drake18 July 2023 22:00
Ukraine dismisses reports of Russian advance
Russia and Ukraine presented vastly different accounts of fighting in northeastern Ukraine on Tuesday, with Moscow reporting advances by its troops and Kyiv saying it had seized the initiative in the region.
Both sides reported no letup in the fighting.
A Russian Defence Ministry spokesman said its forces had advanced by up to 2 km (1.2 miles) in the direction of Kupiansk, an important railway junction in the northeastern Kharkiv region.
But Ukrainian Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar said the initiative in the area had switched to Ukrainian forces.
“The enemy’s offensive in the Kupiansk sector is having no success at this time,” Maliar wrote on the Telegram messaging app. “Fighting is continuing, but we have taken the initiative.”
Maliar said Ukrainian forces made new gains near Bakhmut, captured by Russian forces in May after months of battles.
Matt Drake18 July 2023 21:30
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