Putin appeals to Russian public after Wagner mutiny

At least eight people, including one child, have been killed in twin Russian missile attacks on a shopping mall in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk in frontline oblast Donetsk, leaving rescue workers to comb through debris for casualties.

Another 56 people present at the restaurant inside the mall were injured, the city council in Kramatorsk said.

The missile attack reduced the major shopping hub to a twisted web of metal beams. One of the missiles also hit a village on the fringes of Kramatorsk, leaving five injured.

The city in frontline oblast of Donetsk has been a target of Russian attacks frequently and capturing it a key objective for Moscow.

Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Russia of using S-300 missiles in the attack, which came exactly a year after a similar missile strike on a shopping mall and killed at least 20.

This comes as Mr Zelensky’s top adviser Andriy Yermak said “the countdown has started” for the end of Vladimir Putin’s presidency, as he reels from the aborted mutiny by Wagner mercenary boss Yevgeny Prigozhin.


Russia still likely to withdraw from Black Sea grain deal, state media reports

The probability of Russia withdrawing from the Black Sea grain deal in July remains high, although talks continue, according to the state-backed RIA news agency, which cited an anonymous source.

Moscow has repeatedly complained it is not getting what it wanted from the deal brokered by the UN in a bid to ease global hunger, which has allowed grain to be shipped out of Ukrainian ports and expires on 18 July.

Ukrainian officials have cited Russia’s repeated threats to withdraw from the deal as among reasons why they feel they would be unable to trust Vladimir Putin in negotiations.

Andy Gregory28 June 2023 08:35


Countdown of end to Putin’s regime has begun, says Zelensky’s adviser

Officials in Kyiv are speculating an end to Vladimir Putin’s regime in Moscow after the recent tremor served by a brief mutiny led by Wagner’s Yevgeny Prigozhin alongside the continuing war in Ukraine.

“I think the countdown has started,” said Andriy Yermak, adviser to Volodymyr Zelensky said, refering to Mr Putin’s presidentship.

“What Ukraine has seen since 2014 has become evident for the entire world,” Mr Yermak said at a briefing in Kyiv.

He added: “This is a terrorist country whose leader is an inadequate person who has lost connection with reality. The world must conclude that it’s impossible to have any kind of serious relationship with that country.”

The rebellious mercenary soldiers who briefly took over a Russian military headquarters on an ominous march toward Moscow were gone over the weekend, but the short-lived revolt has weakened Mr Putin just as his forces are facing a fierce counteroffensive in Ukraine.

“Putin is much diminished and the Russian military, and this is significant as far as Ukraine is concerned,” said Lord Richard Dannatt, former chief of the general staff of the British armed forces. “… Prigozhin has left the stage to go to Belarus, but is that the end of Yevgeny Prigozhin and the Wagner Group?”

Arpan Rai28 June 2023 07:55


Senior Russian general knew about Wagner’s mutiny plans – report

General Sergey Surovikin, the deputy commander of Russia’s military operations in Ukraine, had advance knowledge that the mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin was planning a rebellion against Moscow’s defence officials.

The New York Times cited US officials briefed on US intelligence regarding the matter, and reported that the officials were “trying to learn if Gen. Sergey Surovikin, the former top Russian commander in Ukraine, helped plan Mr Prigozhin’s actions last weekend.”

Officials in Washington also said there were signs that other Russian generals also may have supported Mr Prigozhin, the report added.

The Wagner chief flew into exile in Belarus yesterday under a deal that ended a brief mutiny by his Wagner fighters over the weekend, as Vladimir Putin praised his armed forces for averting a civil war.

Arpan Rai28 June 2023 06:45


US sanctions gold companies suspected of supporting Wagner mercenaries in Russia

The US moved to punish companies accused of doing business with the infamous Russian mercenary army known as the Wagner Group, following the group’s insurrection attempt within Russia’s borders.

The move is not thought to be specifically related to the coup, however, instead being a response to Wagner’s participation in some of the bloodiest fighting taking place within Ukraine, where Russian forces launched a full-scale invasion last year.

A statement from the Treasury Department faulted companies in Africa and the Middle East for participating in a gold-selling scheme in violation of US sanctions to fund the Wagner Group’s ongoing activities. One executive at Wagner, Andrey Nikolayevich Ivanov, was also slapped with individual sanctions on his financial dealings.

Read the full story here:

Arpan Rai28 June 2023 06:26


Ukraine’s main troop reserves yet to be used, says defence minister

The liberation of a group of villages under Russian occupation in recent weeks were “not the main event” in Kyiv’s planned attack, Oleksiy Reznikov, Ukraine defence minister told the Financial Times.

“When it happens, you will all see it… Everyone will see everything,” he told FT in an interview published today, brushing aside media coverage of slow progress against well-fortified Russian positions.

Ukraine‘s main troop reserves, including most brigades recently trained in the West and equipped with modern Nato tanks and armoured vehicles, have yet to be used in the operation, Mr Reznikov said.

Arpan Rai28 June 2023 06:12


Death toll in Kramatorsk attack rises to eight

The death toll has risen to eight from Russia’s attack on the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk, Ukraine’s emergency services said today.

Another 56 people were injured, officials said.

“Rescuers are working through the rubble of the destroyed building and searching for people who are probably still under it,” officials of the emergency services said on the Telegram messaging app.

Two Russian missiles struck Kramatorsk yesterday, targeting a crowded restaurant in the city centre. Three people were pulled from the rubble, the emergency services added.

Arpan Rai28 June 2023 05:53


Wagner chief walks free after armed revolt. Other Russians defying the Kremlin aren’t so lucky

Mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin led an armed rebellion against the Russian military – and walked free.

Others who merely voiced criticism against the Kremlin weren’t so lucky.

On Tuesday, Russia’s main domestic security agency, the FSB, said it had dropped the criminal investigation into last week’s revolt, with no charges against Prigozhin or any of the other participants, even though about a dozen Russian troops were killed in clashes.

The Kremlin had promised not to prosecute Prigozhin after reaching an agreement with him that he would halt the uprising and retreat to neighboring Belarus.

That came even though President Vladimir Putin vowed to punish those behind the rebellion.Asked about this U-turn by The Associated Press during a conference call with reports on Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov refused to comment.

Prigozhin’s escape from prosecution – at least for now – was in stark contrast to how the Kremlin has deals with anti-government protests like speaking out against the war in Ukraine or challenging Putin’s rule.

Arpan Rai28 June 2023 05:18


UN report finds Russia tortured, executed civilians in Ukraine; Kyiv also abused detainees

Russian forces carried out widespread and systematic torture of civilians who were detained in connection with its attack on Ukraine, summarily executing dozens of them, the United Nations human rights office said Tuesday.

The global body interviewed hundreds of victims and witnesses for a report detailing more than 900 cases of civilians, including children and elderly people, being arbitrarily detained in the conflict, most of them by Russia.

The vast majority of those interviewed said they were tortured and in some cases subjected to sexual violence during detention by Russian forces, the head of the U.N. human rights office in Ukraine said.

Joe Middleton28 June 2023 05:00


Zelensky says ‘Russian savages’ shelled Kramatorsk with S-300 missiles

Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Russia of using S-300 surface-to-air missiles on the shopping mall in Kramatorsk in Donetsk.

“Exactly on the anniversary of the Russian terrorists’ attack on Kremenchuk, on the shopping mall, when 22 people were killed, Russian savages again fired missiles at the Kremenchuk district,” the Ukrainian president said in his nightly address yesterday.

He added: “Today, Russian terrorists also brutally shelled Kramatorsk. S-300 missiles. Three people were killed, including a child. My condolences to the families and friends. As of this hour, more than 40 people are wounded. Assistance is being provided to all. The rubble is being cleared.”

“Each such manifestation of terror proves over and over again to us and to the whole world that Russia deserves only one thing as a result of everything it has done – defeat and a tribunal, fair and legal trials against all Russian murderers and terrorists,” Mr Zelensky said.

The S-300 is a family of surface-to-air missiles, originally developed by the Soviet Union. It was first put into operation in the late 1970s after a decade of development. Military analysts say Russia has appeared to use repurposed S-300 missiles to strike ground targets during the war in Ukraine – a sign of potentially dwindling missile supplies.

S-300 missiles are intended to shoot down aircraft, drones and incoming cruise and ballistic missiles.

Arpan Rai28 June 2023 04:41


Photos capture grim attack on civilians in Donetsk’s Kramatorsk

Search and rescue efforts continue after a Russian missile attack hits Ria restaurant in Kramatorsk

(Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

People walk past a restaurant in Kramatorsk, eastern Ukraine, after a missile strike hit

(AFP via Getty Images)

Rescuers and volunteers work to rescue people from under the rubble after Russian missile strike hit a restaurant and several houses in Kramatorsk

(AFP via Getty Images)

A wounded woman waves while speaking on the phone as rescuers and volunteers work to rescue people from under rubble

(AFP via Getty Images)

Wounded people are seen as search and rescue efforts continue after a Russian missile attack hits Ria restaurant in Kramatorsk

(Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Arpan Rai28 June 2023 04:18

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