Wagner boss Prigozhin has accused the Ministry of Defense in Moscow of failure in view of the shelling of the Belgorod region. Ukrainian President Zelenskyy sees his country ready for a counteroffensive. The developments in the live blog.
According to the authorities there, at least two people were killed in renewed airstrikes in the Russian region of Belgorod, which lies on the border with Ukraine. The governor of Belgorod, Vyacheslav Gladkov, said in the online service Telegram that the Shebekino district had been under Ukrainian fire again since the morning.
In the village of Novaya Tavolshanka, an “elderly woman” died as a result, and in the village of Beslyudovka, another woman died from her numerous injuries from shrapnel. At least two other people were injured, according to the governor. This information cannot be verified. According to Russian information, the city of Schebekino, located in the district of the same name, had been heavily shelled in the past few days, causing hundreds of residents to flee.
After talks with South Korea’s defense minister, top EU diplomat Josep Borrell spoke positively about possible support for Ukraine. “Good meeting with Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup at #SLD23. We (…) talked about Ukraine’s need for ammunition,” Borrell tweeted after the meeting on the sidelines of the “Shangri-La Dialogue,” the most important security forum Asia. The United States and NATO countries have long been urging South Korea to supply arms and ammunition to Ukraine. So far, South Korea has refused. According to a media report, however, South Korean ammunition is now on its way to Ukraine via the USA.
The head of the Russian Wagner mercenary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, has again attacked the Russian Defense Ministry. The ministry in Moscow is failing in view of the shelling of the Belgorod border region, Prigozhin told the Telegram news service. According to Russian authorities, the shelling came from the Ukrainian side. “The ministry is unable to do anything. Chaos reigns in the ministry,” Prigozhin said. The 62-year-old announced that he would invade the region that had been under fire for days with his Wagner troops if the Russian military did not “quickly” establish order there. The people there need protection. However, the Russian military must provide ammunition. “Otherwise, as they say, we’ll be sitting on the frost with our bare ass.”
Russia has announced that it will again comply with the “New START” nuclear weapons treaty with the USA under certain conditions. Russian agencies quote Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying that the prerequisite for a return to a fully functioning treaty is that the United States abandon “its fundamentally hostile attitude towards Russia”. In February, Russia suspended the central nuclear weapons control program with the United States. Among other things, the treaty limits the number of strategic nuclear warheads that the US and Russia can deploy and the deployment of land- and submarine-launched missiles and bombers to transport them. Yesterday the US government had Russia and China Nuclear arms control talks offered “without preconditions”.
Ukraine’s plans for a counteroffensive against the Russian occupation remain on course, according to Deputy Defense Minister Volodymyr Havrylov – despite an “unprecedented” wave of missile and drone attacks across the country in recent weeks. Havrylov said in an interview with the Reuters news agency that the Russian rocket fire did not affect the timing. The modern anti-aircraft systems supplied by the western partners, which were “more than 90 percent effective” against the attacks, also contributed to this.
“Nothing can stop our efforts, our desire and our confidence that we will win this war,” Havrylov said. Ukraine will “launch the counter-offensive with the aim of liberating our territories this year,” he added.
According to British military experts, the Russian armed forces in Ukraine have lost some of their flexibility as a result of the withdrawal of the Wagner mercenary unit from Bakhmut. Units of the VDV airborne troops, once known as elite troops, are now deployed at the front in Bakhmut, according to the British Defense Ministry’s intelligence report on the war in Ukraine. “The VDV have lost much of their ‘elite’ status since the invasion,” the British said. Russian commanders would have tried to save some of these troops as reserves. Due to their deployment at the front in Bakhmut, however, the entire Russian armed forces are now less able to react flexibly to challenges. Months of fierce and costly fighting had taken place over the eastern Ukrainian town of Bakhmut.
Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto has proposed a peace plan for Ukraine. Subianto called on defense and military officials from around the world gathered at the Shangri-La Dialogue Defense Meeting in Singapore to issue a statement calling for a cessation of hostilities.
He proposed a multi-point plan calling for a ceasefire “at the current positions of both parties to the conflict” and the establishment of a demilitarized zone. The demilitarized zone should be observed and monitored by a United Nations-based peacekeeping force, Subianto said, adding that a UN referendum should be held “to objectively ascertain the wishes of the majority of residents in the various disputed areas.”
Secretary of Defense Subianto at the Shangri-La Dialogue Security Forum
Federal Defense Minister Boris Pistorius and his US counterpart Lloyd Austin are also taking part in the Shangri-La security forum in Singapore.
According to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Ukraine is ready to launch its long-awaited counter-offensive to recapture the territories occupied by Russia. In an interview with the “Wall Street Journal” Zelenskyj said: “We firmly believe that we will be successful”. He does not know how long the offensive will last and how it will develop. “But we will do it and we are ready.” The government in Kiev hopes that a counteroffensive to retake territory will change the dynamics of the 15-month war. Zelenskyy said last month that Ukraine would have to wait for more western armored vehicles to arrive before launching the counteroffensive.
At the same time, Zelenskyj again called for significantly more “Patriot” anti-aircraft systems. In the interview, he mentioned the number 50. At numerous meetings with Western heads of state and government this week, he spoke out in favor of a “patriot” coalition to protect Ukrainian airspace.
In the Russian border region of Belgorod, according to the authorities, there has again been massive shelling from the Ukrainian side. Two people were killed and six others injured. Heavy projectiles fell on private property in a village near the border town of Valuiki, Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said on Friday evening. Two children were among the injured. He also published a photo of a burning property. Gladkow spoke of an unsafe situation in the region due to the shelling that had been going on for days.
According to Russian information, the border town of Schebekino, from which many people had fled, was particularly hard hit by the artillery fire. It is still not safe to return there, said Gladkow. The Russian Defense Ministry said more than 120 Ukrainian “terrorists” and “saboteurs” had been killed in the region. Ukraine denies direct responsibility for the attacks. Russia has been attacking the neighboring country from Belgorod for more than 15 months.
Shaded: territories occupied by Russia
conflicting parties as a source
Information on the course of the war, shelling and casualties provided by official bodies of the Russian and Ukrainian conflict parties cannot be directly checked by an independent body in the current situation.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz loudly defended himself against troublemakers at a Europe festival organized by the SPD and defended aid for Ukraine. One group yelled, among other things, “War mongers”, “Make peace without weapons”, “Get lost!”. “Dear screamers,” Scholz shouted in front of the town hall in Falkensee near Berlin. Putin is “the warmonger” “that you shout out here if you had any sense in your brains”. The chancellor made it clear that he sees no alternative to supporting Ukraine with weapons.
The rating agency Moody’s pushed its rating for the creditworthiness of Belarus even deeper into the junk zone. Moody’s announced that the credit rating would be downgraded to “C” from the previous “CA”. The outlook is “stable” after previously “negative”. The reason is the Western sanctions against the country in connection with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The punitive measures are likely to harm the state’s growth potential in the long term.
The federal government wants to support Ukraine with 66 troop transporters. According to the authorities, two people were killed and others injured when a Russian shelled a village in the Zaporizhia region. The live blog from Friday to read.