Aftermath of Russian missile strike on Ukraine mail depot that killed six
Russian troops have been executed for retreating from Putin’s offensive in the eastern city of Avdiivka, Donetsk, according to the White House.
“We have information that the Russian military has been actually executing soldiers who refuse to follow orders,” White House spokesperson John Kirby told a media briefing on Thursday.
Ukrainian forces have been repelling the Russian onslaught on the frontline in Donetsk for several weeks since mid-October.
It comes as the Russian Army has been forced to regroup while suffering over 400 casualties a day in a drive to capture the eastern town, Kyiv said.
“The enemy is trying to move forward and then we beat them back,” Oleksandr Shtupun, a spokesperson for Ukraine‘s southern groups of forces, said.
“So by no means can you speak of a fixed situation of some sort. Heavy fighting is continuing, though activity has subsided somewhat. The enemy is going through some kind of regrouping.”
Mr Shtupun said Russian forces had suffered over 400 casualties a day in its campaign which has relied on small assault groups of 30 to 40 men.
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US says executing own soldiers is ‘barbaric’
The White House on Thursday said Russia is executing soldiers who have failed to follow orders and threatening entire units with death if they retreat from Ukrainian artillery fire.
It’s a development that U.S. national security officials believe reflects Russia’s morale problems 20 months into its grinding invasion of Ukraine, said White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby.
“It’s reprehensible to think about that you would execute your own soldiers because they didn’t want to follow orders and now threatening to execute entire units, it’s barbaric,” Kirby told reporters. “But I think it’s a symptom of how poorly Russia’s military leaders know they’re doing and how bad they have handled this from a military perspective.”
The White House has downgraded and released intelligence findings about Russian action over the course of the war. In the past, the administration has said it has acted to disclose the intelligence to highlight plans for Russian misinformation and other activity so allies remain clear-eyed about Moscow’s intent and Russia thinks twice before carrying out an operation.
This latest unveiling of intelligence about Russia’s struggles comes as President Joe Biden is pressing the Republican-controlled House to go along with providing more funding for Ukraine as Kyiv tries to repel Russia in a war that has no end in sight.
Sam Rkaina27 October 2023 04:00
Pro-Russian Ukrainian politician is shot and wounded
Former Ukrainian lawmaker Oleg Tsaryov, a pro-Russian figure who was reported to have been lined up by Moscow to lead a puppet administration in Kyiv after Russia’s invasion, is in intensive care after being shot, a Russian official said.
The official, Vladimir Rogov, did not say where the shooting had taken place. “Oleg’s condition is very serious. He is currently in intensive care,” said Rogov, a senior Russian-installed official in southern Ukraine.
“Oleg was shot,” he added on Telegram, asking Orthodox Christian believers to pray for Tsaryov.
Previously Tsaryov had been a member of the Ukrainian parliament and then speaker of the parliament of “Novorossiya” an entity formed after Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine broke away in 2014 and began fighting Ukrainian forces.
Alexander Butler27 October 2023 10:25
Russian missile injures eight, Kyiv says
A Russian missile hit a fire department building in the northern region of Kharkiv, injuring at least eight rescuers, Ukraine’s interior minister said.
The attack targeted the town of Izium, the minister, Ihor Klymenko, said in a post on the Telegram messaging app that was accompanied by images of the wrecked building and fire trucks.
“The building itself and 13 pieces of equipment were also damaged,” he added, but did not say what type of missile had been used.
Five of six drones were destroyed in two waves of Shahed drone attacks that Russia launched overnight on the southern regions of Mykolaiv and Kherson, said Natalia Humeniuk, a spokesperson for the southern military command.
Alexander Butler27 October 2023 10:05
Ukraine attempted to attack Kursk nuclear plant with drones, Russia claims
Russia said it had thwarted a Ukrainian drone attack near a nuclear plant in the country’s south, where two news outlets said an explosion had damaged the facade of a warehouse storing nuclear waste.
Air defences foiled “an attempt by the Kyiv regime to carry out a terrorist attack” when they intercepted a drone near the settlement of Kurchatov in the southern region of Kursk, Russia’s defence ministry said.
Kurchatov is the location of the Kursk nuclear power station, which said in a separate statement that an attempt to attack it with not one but three drones had been thwarted.
It said there were no casualties or damage, and that radiation levels were normal and the plant was operating as usual.
Alexander Butler27 October 2023 09:24
Russia likely to attack Ukrainian energy infrastructure over winter long range munitions
Russia will “likely use” its airforce’s long range aviation fleet of heavy bombers to strike Ukrainian energy infrastructure over winter, the UK’s Ministry of Defence said.
“The Russian airforce’s long range aviation fleet (LRA) of heavy bombers has not conducted air launched cruise missile strikes into Ukraine for over a month, one of the longest gaps in such strikes since the conflict began.
“Russia will likely use any recently produced inventory LRA munitions to strike Ukrainian energy infrastructure over the winter.
“Russia will highly likely continue to supplement any such campaign with Iranian-designed one-way attack uncrewed aerial vehicle attacks,” it said.
Alexander Butler27 October 2023 08:39
EU strategy on Ukraine has failed, Orban says
The European Union’s Ukraine strategy has “failed” and Ukraine will not win on the front line, Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orban said.
Mr Orban said he saw no reason for Hungary, which shares a border with Ukraine, sending any taxpayers’ money to the EU budget for financial support for Ukraine.
It comes after the new Slovakian prime minister Robert Fico said his country would no longer be providing military aid to Ukraine, but it would continue to send humanitarian assistance.
Alexander Butler27 October 2023 07:51
German prosecutors receive evidence of Russian war crimes
A non-governmental organisation founded by Amal and George Clooney handed over dossiers of evidence regarding Russia’s alleged war crimes in Ukraine to German federal prosecutors on Thursday.
At least three cases were filed by the Clooney Foundation for Justice (CFJ) which called on the German prosecutors to investigate Russia’s actions since its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
“The organisation submitted detailed dossiers against the perpetrators and is representing 16 survivors and families of victims,” CFJ said in a statement. One of the cases was filed jointly with CFJ’s partner, the Ukrainian NGO Truth Hounds.
Alexander Butler27 October 2023 07:20
Moscow succession: What would happen if Putin dies?
Thyroid cancer, Parkinson’s disease, leprosy or declining in the aftermath of a stroke – just a few of the many unproven ailments rumoured to have afflicted the Russian leader in recent years.
Just this week, the Kremlin were forced to deny rumours that Vladimir Putin had suffered a cardiac arrest in his bedroom, months after they were forced to deny that he had soiled himself.
Since gripping the reins of power in 1999, Putin has established himself as one of the most infamous politicians in modern history, with a vicelike grip over Russia.
Sam Rkaina27 October 2023 06:00
‘If Western weapons to Ukraine stop, Ukraine would have a week to live’
Kirby pointed to the information as he renewed a plea for Congress to pass a nearly $106 billion supplemental funding request that Biden unveiled last week. The funding request includes more than $61 billion for Ukraine.
“President Putin is not giving up on his aspirations to take all of Ukraine and as long as Russia continues its brutal assault we have to continue to support the Ukrainian people and their self defence, because his intentions are clear,” Kirby said.
Putin “basically said that if Western weapons to Ukraine stop, Ukraine would have a week to live. So to ensure that we can continue to do that it’s critical that Congress step up and pass the supplemental requests that the president put forward last week.”
Kirby did not provide any details on how many Russian troops have been executed for failing to follow orders or any specific examples of units threatened with execution for retreating from Ukrainian fire.
The Wagner Group military contractor was reported to have had a practice of executing those who fled. The contract soldiers were pulled out of Ukraine after their leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, mounted an armed rebellion in June.
There also have been reports, including from the British Defence Ministry, that the regular Russian military has deployed “barrier troops” that threaten to shoot any deserters.
“They are in such desperate need to make some kind of progress, particularly in the Donbas, the Donetsk areas, that they are literally throwing young men into the fight who haven’t been properly trained, haven’t been properly equipped, and certainly are not being properly led,” Kirby said.
Sam Rkaina27 October 2023 05:00
700,000 tons of grain have left Ukraine via new route since August
Ukraine launched a “humanitarian corridor” for ships bound for African and Asian markets in August to try to circumvent a de facto blockade in the Black Sea after Russia quit the deal that had guaranteed Kyiv’s seaborne exports during the war.
Later, a senior agricultural official said the route – which runs along Ukraine‘s southwest Black Sea coast, into Romanian territorial waters and onwards to Turkey, would also be used for grain shipments.
About 700,000 tons of grain have left Ukrainian ports via the new route since it began operating in August. Ukraine shipped up to six million tons of grain a month from its Black Sea ports before Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022.
Kubrakov said 23 ships were loading in the ports of Odesa, Chornomorsk and Pivdennyi.
“A total of 51 vessels used the entrance corridor. 33 vessels exported more than 1.3 million tons of Ukrainian agricultural products and other cargo,” he said.
Sam Rkaina27 October 2023 03:00