Live: Russia accuses Ukraine of shelling border town

  • Ukrainian forces shelled a Russian town close to the border for the third time in a week, injuring four people, damaging buildings and setting vehicles on fire, the governor of the region says.
  • Fighting intensifies in eastern Ukraine as Moscow-backed officials say shelling by Kyiv’s forces in occupied Luhansk kills five people, while the Ukrainian governor in Donetsk says one person has died in Russian attacks.
  • Drones targeted two oil refineries within Russia located near main export terminals, officials say.
  • The United Kingdom’s defence ministry says Russia has had “little success” in neutralising Ukraine’s improved air defence and destroying Kyiv’s counterattack forces.
    • NATO launches Arctic exercises and pledges to defend Finland

      NATO countries have kicked off Arctic military exercises with a pledge to defend their newest member, Finland, which is hosting its first joint training since becoming part of the Western alliance in April.

      Nearly 1,000 allied forces from Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States – as well as NATO applicant Sweden – joined approximately 6,500 Finnish troops and some 1,000 vehicles for exercises this week, which mark Finland’s biggest modern-time land-force drill above the Arctic Circle.

      Ukraine says Russian officials in Luhansk tell workers to register at Russian banks

      The General staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces said in a statement that Russian-installed officials in the Luhansk region were threatening to withhold wages of workers who refused to register at a Russian bank.

      Luhansk has been under the Kremlin’s occupation since 2014.

      Kyiv bridge damaged by Russian drone attack to reopen: Mayor

      Kyiv’s Mayor Vitali Klitschko says the city’s Havanskyi bridge, built across the harbour, will reopen after rocket fragments from Russian drones fell on the bridge and damaged parts of its road surface.

      “Road services have already finished asphalting the damaged part of the road surface and lighting networks, which were also partially damaged,” he said in a statement on Telegram and added the bridge will open on Wednesday evening.

      Earlier this week, Ukrainian officials said Russian drone attacks had intensified in Kyiv and targeted the capital city’s central districts.

      Ukraine’s air defence forces said their air defence systems destroyed most Russian drones targeted at Kyiv.

      Berlin orders closure of four Russian consulates in Germany

      The German government has ordered the closure of four out of five Russian consulates.

      Berlin said the German diplomatic presence in Russia will also be reduced and announced the closure of its consulates in Kaliningrad, Novosibirsk and Yekaterinburg.

      Last month, according to Russian state media reports, Moscow expelled more than 20 German diplomats following the “mass” removal of Russian embassy staff from Germany and accused Berlin of destroying ties.

      Kyiv says EU ban on Ukrainian grain helps Putin

      Ukraine’s agriculture ministry has warned that European Union bans on its grain exports will help Russian President Vladimir Putin in his plan to divide Europe.

      “Continuation of restrictions means putting additional weapons in Putin’s hands against unity in Europe,” the Ukrainian agriculture ministry said.

      “Current restrictions must be cancelled.”

      Several EU nations, including Ukraine’s staunch ally Poland, imposed bans on Ukrainian grain earlier this year, in an effort to protect EU farmers.

      On Tuesday, the 27-member bloc’s agriculture commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski called for the current ban to be extended at least until the end of October.

      Russia to evacuate children in Belgorod region: Governor

      The governor of Russia’s Belgorod Vyacheslav Gladkov says Russia will begin evacuating hundreds of children from the border region given the “worsening situation”.

      “The situation in the border village of Shebekino is worsening,” he said in a message on Telegram.

      “We are starting to evacuate children from the Shebekino and the Grayvoron districts,” he said.

      “Today, the first 300 children will be taken to Voronezh,” he added.

      Wagner chief reignites tensions with Russian officials

      Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Russian mercenary group Wagner, has again criticised the Russian military and political elite following the drone attack on Moscow.

      In an expletive-drenched statement posted on the messaging app Telegram by his press service on Tuesday, Prigozhin blamed the assault on out-of-touch officials living in Moscow’s affluent suburb of Rublyovka.

      “You, the Defence Ministry, have done nothing to launch an offensive,” Prigozhin said. “How dare you allow the drones to reach Moscow?”

      A Kremlin spokesperson told reporters that Russia’s air defence was working perfectly, but there was room for improvement.

      Two former Ukrainian defence ministers on Russian wanted list: TASS

      Russia’s interior ministry has put two former Ukrainian defence ministers on its wanted list and accused them of “genocide” in Donbas, according to Russia’s TASS news agency.

      Ukraine’s former Chief of the General Staff has also been added to the list.

      Russia has claimed all of Donbas, which comprises the Luhansk and Donetsk regions of eastern Ukraine.

      Four injured in Ukrainian shelling of Russia’s Belgorod: Governor

      The governor of Russia’s Belgorod region said Ukrainian shelling in the border region had intensified and left four people injured.

      In a statement on the messaging app Telegram, he said two people were also hospitalised due to the artillery strike on the Belgorod town of Shebekino.

      The Kremlin said it was “concerned” about Ukrainian shelling of the Belgorod region, which has repeatedly come under attacks from Kyiv’s forces in recent weeks.

      Ukrainian officials have not yet publicly commented on the recent attacks in Russia’s Belgorod.

      Kremlin says Moscow’s air defences could improve

      Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters Moscow’s air defences were working perfectly but there was room for improvement.

      “Work will continue on improving Moscow’s air defences,” he said.

      Peskov also said the Kremlin would like to see “at least some condemnation of the drone attack on Moscow, but this has not been the case.”

      “The Russian Federation understands what the West is trying to provoke it, but we will calmly think about how to deal with it,” he said according to Russia’s TASS news agency.

      Russia accuses US of ‘encouraging terrorists’ after Moscow strike

      The United States is encouraging Ukraine to launch cross-border “terrorist” attacks, Anatoly Antonov, Russia’s ambassador to the US, says on Telegram.

      He made the allegation after Moscow was hit by a series of drone strikes on Tuesday.

      “What are these attempts to hide behind the phrase they are ‘gathering information’?” Antonov said, adding, “This is an encouragement for Ukrainian terrorists.”

      The White House has denied his claims and said Washington is still gathering information about the incident in Moscow.

      Medvedev casts UK as Moscow’s ‘eternal enermy’

      Dmitry Medvedev, a top Russian official and former president, has cast the United Kingdom as Moscow’s “eternal enemy” and warned British officials aiding Ukraine militarily, saying any of them would be considered “a legitimate military target”.

      His comments come after the UK’s foreign secretary James Cleverly told reporters in Estonia that Ukraine “has a right” to project force “beyond its own borders” as part of its self-defence.

      UK says Russia has had ‘little success’ in its war aims

      UK’s defence ministry says Russia has had “little success” in neutralising Ukraine’s improved air defence and destroying Kyiv’s counterattack forces.

      “Since the start of May 2023, Russia has increasingly ceded the initiative in the conflict and is reacting to Ukrainian action rather than actively progressing towards its own war aims,” the ministry said in a tweet.

      Ukrainian drones attacked two oil refineries, says Russia

      Russian officials say Ukrainian drones have targeted two oil refineries, which are about 65-80km (40-50 miles) east of Russia’s biggest oil export terminals.

      The governor of Russia’s Krasnodar region, Veniamin Kondratyev, said a drone struck the Afipsky oil refinery causing a fire which was later extinguished. He blamed Ukraine for the attacks.

      Another drone crashed into the Ilsky refinery, Russian state-owned news agency RIA reported.

      Ukraine has not commented on Russia’s claims. Kyiv has never claimed responsibility for attacks within Russia during the war, saying its fight is purely defensive.

      Five killed in occupied Luhansk: Russia-installed officials

      Russian-installed officials in Luhansk – which the Kremlin annexed – say Ukrainian shelling in the region has killed at least five people and injured 19.

      In a statement on Telegram, they said four missiles launched by the Ukrainian army struck the village of Karpaty.

      Kyiv has denied these claims.

      Russian shelling kills one in Donetsk, says Ukrainian governor

      The governor of Ukraine’s Donetsk region, Pavlo Kyrylenko, says Russian shelling in the region has killed one person and injured six.

      In a statement on Telegram, he added that the attacks had also damaged houses, a library, two medical facilities and an agricultural enterprise.