Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Ukraine ‘strikes Russian air defences’ in Crimea after downing jet – latest news

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Zelensky says China trying to undermine Ukraine peace summit

Ukraine has claimed it damaged three Russian surface-to-air defence systems overnight in missile attacks on occupied Crimea.

One S-400 anti-aircraft missile unit was hit near Dzhankoi, and two more S-300 anti-aircraft missile units were attacked near occupied Chornomorske and Yevpatoria, Ukraine’s military said.

It comes as Kyiv said it also destroyed a Russian Su-57 plane, a twin-engine stealth fighter worth up to £28million around 370 miles from the frontline.

The strike, believed to have been conducted using drones, comes after Ukraine’s Western allies permitted Kyiv to use their weapons for limited strikes inside Russia.

Earlier, US president Joe Biden said Vladimir Putin was not going to stop with the war in Ukraine, pledging to support Europe against Russia.

Mr Biden said the whole of Europe was threatened by the Russian president. The US president met his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron in Paris, and the two pledged solidarity on the wars raging in Europe and the Middle East.

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Russia undermining Finnish sovereignty with airspace violations, says think-tank

The Kremlin is continuing its mission to undermine Finland’s territorial and sovereign integrity by sending military jets into its airspace, a US-based think-tank said, after Russia violated the Nato nation’s airspace yesterday.

Shortly after breaching Finnish airspace yesterday morning, the Russian defence ministry said it conducted flights using Tu-95MS missile carriers and Tu-22M3 bombers over the neutral waters of the Baltic, Barents and Norwegian seas.

Noting that the Russian ministry of defence has not responded to Finnish reports, The Institute for the Study of War said: “This reported incursion likely forwards the ongoing Kremlin effort to undermine Finnish sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

It noted that the Russian defence ministry had proposed last month that the Russian government should “reassess Russia’s maritime borders in the Gulf of Finland, which some Western officials have warned may be part of an effort to revise maritime zones in the Baltic Sea”.

“The Kremlin has also been running a number of information operations aimed at portraying Finland as an enemy to Russia and Russians, ultimately setting information conditions to justify potential future aggression against Finland,” the ISW said.

Arpan Rai11 June 2024 05:30

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90 countries to attend Ukraine peace summit that Russia is ignoring

Nearly 90 countries and organisations, half from Europe, have confirmed attending the Swiss-hosted Ukraine peace summit over the weekend despite Russia’s refusal to participate in the conference, Switzerland’s president has said.

Viola Amherd told reporters in the Swiss capital that the summit, on Saturday and Sunday, will aim to chart a path toward possible peace nearly 28 months after Russian forces invaded Ukraine and the war grinding on.

Some, including French president Emmanuel Macron and German chancellor Olaf Scholz, are expected to attend the summit at the Buergenstock resort overlooking Lake Lucerne.

Brazil and China said they wouldn’t take part unless both sides – including Russia – were at the table, according to Swiss officials. Beijing has been one of the top supporters of Vladimir Putin since the war started.

“This is not propaganda,” said Amherd. “This is about the basis of humanitarian aid provided by Switzerland… and to initiate a dialogue.”

The Swiss president added that most participants — about half of which will be represented at the level of head of state or government — are country leaders, but “a handful” are from organisations like the United Nations.

Arpan Rai11 June 2024 05:10

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Putin claims Russia may supply long-range weapons to enemies of West

Vladimir Putin has claimed Russia could retaliate in kind against those permitting Ukraine to target Russia with their long-range missiles – by providing such weapons to countries within striking distance of Western nations.

In wide-ranging remarks at his annual economic forum in St Petersburg, the Russian president sought to insist that Moscow “does not care” about the upcoming US election, claimed candidate Donald Trump’s hush money conviction was “political”, and dismissed fears that Russia wants to attack Nato as “nonsense”.

But he warned that the United States and Germany’s recent authorisation for Ukraine to use their weapons to hit specific Russian targets close to Kharkiv could lead to “very serious problems”, calling Berlin’s decision a “very dangerous step”.

Alexander Butler11 June 2024 05:00

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Russian warplane violates Finnish airspace

A Russian military plane breached Finnish airspace yesterday, officials in Helsinki said. This was the first such violation by Russian forces since Finland joined Nato last year.

The warplane entered Finland’s airspace for approximately two minutes on Monday morning, officials from Finland’s defence ministry said, confirming the breach of its air territory in the eastern Gulf of Finland.

The aircraft flew at least 2.5km into Finnish territory.

Finnish defence minister Antti Hakkanen said the country takes the “suspected territorial violation seriously and the investigation has been started immediately”.

This is not the first time Russia has violated Finland’s airspace. In August 2022, it sent two fighter jets inside the European nation’s airspace, sparking international condemnation over its reckless air operations.

Arpan Rai11 June 2024 04:39

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Ukraine appoints commander of drone systems

The Ukrainian military has appointed a commander of drone forces in a newly created position, bolstering its most active air defence unit, as it continues to fight back against Russia’s 27-month-old war.

Ukraine has repeatedly underlined the importance of drone warfare in reconnaissance and combat operations it is carrying out against Russian forces. The drones have been used by Ukrainian forces in overwhelming numbers to strike positions on the frontline, bordering Russian villages and cities, and deep inside Russia.

A statement by the General Staff of the Armed Forces said Vadym Sukharevskyi, deputy armed forces commander, had been named to the post by order of defence minister Rustem Umerov. Sukharevskyi was appointed deputy commander in February with responsibility for drones.

Mr Zelensky had issued a decree in February calling for the creation of a separate branch of the armed forces devoted to drones and the order was endorsed last week by the government.

Ukraine will be producing a million of its own drones in the course of 2024, Mr Zelensky said. Alongside the Ukrainian military has ramped up its use of drones. Commander-in-chief Oleksandr Syrskyi has also met in recent days with the country’s most successful drone units.

Arpan Rai11 June 2024 04:20

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Pictured: Belgian prime minister and Zelensky next to an F-16 fighter jet

Belgium's Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, right, and Belgium's Defense Minister Ludivine Dedonder, left, pose with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in front of an F-16
Belgium’s Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, right, and Belgium’s Defense Minister Ludivine Dedonder, left, pose with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in front of an F-16 (AP)

Alexander Butler11 June 2024 04:00

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Biden to lift ban on Ukrainian unit using US weapons – report

The Biden administration will lift its ban on allowing a controversial Ukrainian military unit to use American weapons, the Washington Post reported citing State Department officials.

The State Department reversed a decade-old prohibition on the Azov Brigade from using American training and weapons after a new analysis found no evidence of human rights violations by the unit, the Washington Post reported.

“After thorough review, Ukraine’s 12th Special Forces Azov Brigade passed Leahy vetting as carried out by the US Department of State,” the State Department said in a statement obtained by the newspaper.

The Leahy Law bars US military assistance to foreign units found to have committed such violations.

The Azov Regiment, which has far-right and ultra-nationalist roots, is part of Ukraine’s National Guard and evolved out of a battalion that was formed in 2014 and fought against Russian-backed separatists who carved out breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine.

The regiment is lionised in Ukraine for defending the country against Russia’s invasion and in particular the southern city of Mariupol, but they are reviled by Russian president Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin.

Arpan Rai11 June 2024 03:57

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Putin’s forces killed his brother. He takes revenge using hundreds of suicide drones to blow Russian troops up

Many soldiers will insist that killing their enemies is not personal. But when Stepan Barna’s suicide drone unit takes Russian soldiers’ lives, he does not disguise his feeling that every killing is a very personal payback for the death of his brother last year.

Stepan and his older brother, Oleh, were both well-known Ukrainian politicians long before Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Stepan had been the governor of the Ternopil region in the country’s west.

Oleh had been a member of the Ukrainian parliament. He gained notoriety in 2015 when he grabbed the then prime minister, Arseniy Yatseniuk, whose politics he disagreed with, while Yatseniuk was addressing the parliament, and dragged him off the podium.

Alexander Butler11 June 2024 03:00

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Zelensky lays out plan to protect Ukraine, includes ‘America’s leadership’

Volodymyr Zelensky said he is aiming to amp up support for the war-hit nation and hinted a new agreements of support for Kyiv in progress in a long-term plan for Ukraine’s recovery.

“One of our primary goals right now is to increase support for Ukraine in order to strengthen our society’s resilience in terms of energy, recovery after strikes, and all of the other foundations of normal life. We must protect life despite Russia’s attempts to bring more pressure and destruction,” he said last night.

Mr Zelensky added: “We are working with European partners on new agreements, particularly on additional support steps from Germany. These days, we are also working diligently to prepare a bilateral security agreement between Ukraine and the United States.”

Alexander Butler11 June 2024 02:00

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Russian military bloggers criticise Moscow for not protecting Su-57

Angry Russian military bloggers have slammed Moscow and the Russian military command after a drone strike by Ukraine damaged a top-tier warplane.

Mil-bloggers “seized on the 8 June strike to criticise the Russian military command for not constructing hangars to hide Russian aircraft from Ukrainian strikes and claimed that Russian forces could construct hangars at every military airfield in Russia for the cost of one Su-57 aircraft,” said the Washington-based think-tank The Institute for the Study of War.

An Su-57 costs an estimated $35m, it added.

Citing Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command, the ISW said that the Ukrainian forces struck one of Russia’s six operational Su-57 aircraft and that Russian forces are constructing another six aircraft.

“GUR Spokesperson Andriy Yusov stated that there may have been two Su-57 aircraft at the airfield during the 8 June strike and that the GUR is assessing battle damage,” the ISW said in its latest analysis.

Alexander Butler11 June 2024 01:00

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