Wagner chief Prigozhin killed
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At least four military transport planes were destroyed in a drone attack at the Pskov airport in western Russia, the regional governor has said.
Moscow on Wednesday accused Ukraine of targeting six Russian regions in what appeared to be the biggest drone attack on Russian soil since the beginning of the invasion.
The strike, which was first reported minutes before midnight, hit the airport and damaged four Il-76 transport aircraft, Russia’s state news agency Tass reported. All flight operations to and from the airport have been suspended to assess the damage.
The strike comes a day after Ukraine said its armed forces have gained a foothold in the southern Zaporizhzhia region, where they are believed to be advancing towards Russia’s second line of defence.
Kyiv’s General Staff said its forces had “achieved success … within the re-captured frontiers” and were attacking detected enemy targets with artillery as well as carrying out counter-battery measures.
Meanwhile, the Kremlin said Vladimir Putin had no plans to attend the funeral of Yevgeny Prigozhin, as the Wagner chief’s press service said a closed-door “farewell” service was held for him on Tuesday, with mourners welcome at a cemetery in his native St Petersburg.
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White House says Kremlin has ‘long history’ of killing its opponents
The White House has declined to say whether the US has officially implicated Russian president Vladimir Putin in the death of late Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin but noted the long list of those perceived as opponents to Mr Putin meeting early demises.
Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked about Mr Putin’s non-attendance at a funeral service for Prigozhin, who died earlier this month after his private aircraft broke up mid-air in Russian airspace.
US officials have said the break-up of Prighozin’s airplane was likely caused by a bomb planted on board.
“I don’t have any new assessment for you. But it seems pretty evident what happened here … as the president said … ‘there’s not much that happens in Russia that Putin is not behind,’” she said.
Alisha Rahaman Sarkar30 August 2023 06:00
Two killed in Kyiv as Russia launches own drone strikes
A Russian attack on Kyiv killed two people early on Wednesday, Ukrainian officials said, while Russia accused Ukraine of launching what appeared to be the biggest drone attack on Russian soil since the invasion.
Falling debris killed two people and injured another in Kyiv after Russia launched a “massive combined attack” on the Ukrainian capital using drones and missiles, head of the military administration Sergei Popko wrote on Telegram.
Russia launched Shahed drones at Kyiv from various directions and then targeted the capital with missiles from Tu-95ms strategic aircraft, Mr Popko said, adding that more than 20 targets had been brought down by Ukraine’s air defences.
Explosions in Ukraine were also reported in the southern city of Odesa and the Cherkasy region.
Also this morning, Russian officials said drones hit an airport in its western Pskov region near the border with Estonia and Latvia and started a massive fire.
More drones were shot down over Oryol, Bryansk, Ryazan, Kaluga and the Moscow region surrounding the Russian capital, the defence ministry added.
Russia says Ukraine has been steadily escalating its drone attacks on Russian soil and Russian-occupied territory in recent weeks.
Ukraine has not formally claimed responsibility for such attacks, but officials including Volodymyr Zelensky have defended them in principle and expressed satisfaction at the results.
Alisha Rahaman Sarkar30 August 2023 05:30
Russian nationalist ordered to stay in prison after accusing Putin of weakness
A Moscow court has ruled that a prominent hard-line nationalist who accused Russian president Vladimir Putin of weakness and indecision in Ukraine should remain in prison on charges of extremism.
Igor Strelkov, a retired security officer who led Moscow-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine in 2014 and was convicted of murder in the Netherlands for his role in the downing of a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet that year, has argued that a total mobilisation is needed for Russia to achieve victory.
He has previously criticised Mr Putin as a “nonentity” and a “cowardly mediocrity”.
Moscow’s District Court ordered the 52-year-old Strelkov, whose real name is Igor Girkin, to remain in custody until 18 September.
He was arrested on 21 July and faces charges of making calls for extremist activities. He could receive five years in prison if convicted.
Alisha Rahaman Sarkar30 August 2023 05:00
An explosion lights up the sky as the Russian military repell a drone attack on Pskov
(TELEGRAM / @MV_007_PSKOV/AFP via)
Alisha Rahaman Sarkar30 August 2023 04:30
How many casualties has Russia suffered in Ukraine?
Establishing accurate data on the number of military casualties sustained since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began on 24 February 2022 is difficult for two reasons. The severity of the fighting on the ground and the fact that both sides are inclined to keep their cards close to their chests to avoid damaging morale – especially at a time when the war is entering a pivotal new stage.
The Kremlin, in particular, is unlikely to admit to high fatality rates among its troops because to do so would amount to a confession that Vladimir Putin’s spurious war to “de-Nazify” Russia’s neighbour state is not going according to plan and, in fact, represents a monumental miscalculation on the part of its leader, who is already under pressure at home over the attempted uprising by Wagner Group mercenaries.
Eleanor Noyce30 August 2023 04:00
Drone attack shuts Russian airport, damages transport planes
A drone attack on an airport in Russia’s western city of Pskov has damaged four military transport planes, the regional governor has said.
The Ilyushin 76 transport planes were caught in the fire that erupted following the drone strikes early on Wednesday, governor Mikhail Vedernikov said.
All flights to and from the airport were canceled on Wednesday so the damage could be assessed during daylight, he added.
Footage and images posted on social media showed smoke billowing over the city of Pskov and a large blaze.
Mr Vedernikov said there were no casualties, and the fire had been contained. Unconfirmed media reports said between 10 and 20 drones could have attacked the airport.
According to the Russian defence ministry, more drones were shot down over Oryol, Bryansk, Ryazan, Kaluga and the Moscow region surrounding the Russian capital.
Alisha Rahaman Sarkar30 August 2023 03:58
ICYMI: Vatican seeks to tamp down outrage over pope’s words of praise for Russian imperial past
The Vatican on Tuesday sought to tamp down an uproar that erupted after Pope Francis praised Russia’s imperialist past during a video conference with Russian Catholics youths, insisting that he never intended to encourage modern-day Russian aggression in Ukraine.
The Vatican spokesman, Matteo Bruni, said Francis merely wanted to praise the positive aspects of Russia’s spiritual and cultural history when he praised Russia’s imperial rulers Peter and Catherine the Great, encouraged young people to remember that past and praised their way of “being Russian.”
Francis “certainly didn’t want to exalt imperialistic logic or government personalities, who were cited to indicate certain historic periods of reference,” Bruni said in a statement.
Eleanor Noyce30 August 2023 03:00
The key to Ukraine punching through Russia’s defences – and putting Putin’s forces on the back foot
Long-range strikes by drone and missile and a raid on territory in occupied Crimea that took Russian forces by surprise – all part of Kyiv’s recent push towards the peninsula that is a symbol of Vladimir Putin‘s territorial ambitions.
Perhaps most significant of all is the capture of the key village of Robotyne, about three hours drive east of Crimea. Gaining that foothold will help Ukraine build a foundation to punch through to the coastline of the Sea of Azov.
Kyiv has been stepping up drone attacks on Crimea as it looks to break key supply lines from the Russian-occupied peninsula, writes Askold Krushelnycky in Ukraine:
Eleanor Noyce30 August 2023 02:00
ICYMI: Who is ‘Juice’? The ‘mega talent’ Ukrainian pilot killed in mid-air plane crash
Singled out for particular praise by president Volodymr Zelensky and Ukraine’s airforce is Captain Andriy Pilshchykov, a pilot who went by the military callsign “Juice”.
The late pilot, who was 30 years old when the crash occurred over the western Zhytomyr region on Friday, had become known not just for his defence of Ukraine, but also for his passionate advocacy for the United States to provide Kyiv with F-16 fighter jets.
Eleanor Noyce30 August 2023 01:00
The Ukraine war, propaganda-style, is coming to Russian movie screens. Will people watch?
The movie centres around a renowned violinist from Belgium arriving in Kyiv to perform. The date is February 2022, and his trip is upended as Russia starts bombing Ukraine. The musician survives a series of “inhuman crimes and bloody provocations by Ukrainian nationalists,” and he wants to tell the world “what it was really like.”
“The Witness” — a state-sponsored drama that premiered in Russia on 17 August – is the first feature film about the 18-month-old invasion. It depicts Ukrainian troops as violent neo-Nazis who torture and kill their own people. One even wears a T-shirt with Hitler on it; another is shown doing drugs. It also has the main character’s young son wondering: “Isn’t Ukraine Russia?”
It’s the narrative the Kremlin has been promoting since the first days of the war — all packaged up in a motion picture.
Eleanor Noyce30 August 2023 00:01