- Ukraine receives cluster munitions, weapons which are banned in several nations, from the United States but pledges limited use.
- The Ukrainian army says it shot down 20 Iranian-made Russian drones; the wreckage fell on four districts of Kyiv, injuring two people and destroying several homes.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin says Western supplies of new weapons to Ukraine are a “priority target” for Moscow’s forces.
Russia’s Medvedev will present report on the preparation of soldiers to Putin
Former Russian president and Deputy Chairman of the Security Council Dmitry Medvedev will present Putin with a report on the preparation of future soldiers in the special military operation, Russian news agency Tass reported.
“The final result will be my report addressed to the Supreme Commander-in-Chief on how combat and political training is going on for everyone who will participate in the special military operation,” Medvedev said during a visit to the Totsky training ground in the Orenburg region.
Videos of his trip were also shared on Telegram.
Medvedev added that “coordination has just begun” at the Totsky training ground.
Russia accuses West of sponsoring ‘nuclear terrorisim’
Russia accuses the West of sponsoring “nuclear terrorism” after a Ukrainian drone hit the town of Kurchatov, where a nuclear power station – similar to the Chernobyl plant – is located.
Roman Starovoit, the governor of Russia’s Kursk region, which borders Ukraine, said the drone had struck an apartment building in Kurchatov, built on the banks of a cooling pond for the Kursk nuclear power station, which is still in service.
In response to the drone’s proximity to the nuclear plant, foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said: “Are the countries that supply them [the drones] to the Kyiv regime planning to retire to Mars if there is a nuclear disaster? They won’t have time.”
“People in NATO countries should realise that their governments are sponsoring nuclear terrorism by the Kyiv regime.”
Ukraine’s strategy is ‘clear’, says Zelenskyy adviser
An adviser to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Ukraine’s strategy to win the war was clear and called out allies who have other plans.
On Twitter, Mykhailo Podolyak wrote: “Maximum and full military support for Ukraine enables the army to break through the Russian defence, which contributes to the collapse of the Russian front, leads to internal destabilisation in Russia and the transfer of power within the elite.”
“Together with Putin’s collapse goes the return of territories, NATO membership, punishment of criminals, and multi-year compensations. If our partners have other plans, what are they? Have the courage to name them publicly.”
Legal status of the Wagner Group needs to be ‘considered’: Kremlin
The Kremlin says the status of the Wagner Group needed to be “considered”, a day after Putin said the group had no legal basis.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that the status of companies such as Wagner was “rather complicated” and needed to be studied.
When asked if new legislation was likely on the status of private military companies, he said: “This question will at least be under consideration.”
Earlier this week, the defence ministry said that the mercenary group was completing the transfer of its weapons to the regular army under the accord with the Kremlin that brought the mutiny to an end.
The Wagner Group does not ‘exist’, says Putin
The Wagner Group “simply doesn’t exist,” said Putin in another twist to the story following the group’s mutiny last month.
On Thursday night, Putin told the Kommersant newspaper, “There is no law on private military organisations. It [Wagner Group] simply doesn’t exist.”
The Russian leader recounted a Kremlin event attended by 35 Wagner commanders, including the group’s chief, Yevgeny Prigozhin, on June 29, six days after the group’s rebellion.
“All of them could have gathered in one place and continued to serve [in Ukraine],” Putin told the newspaper, “And nothing would have changed for them. They would have been led by the same person who had been their real commander all along.”
But although “many nodded” when he made his proposal, Prigozhin rejected the idea, responding that “the boys won’t agree with such a decision”.
This, Putin said, was one of “several employment options” put forward at the meeting.
Russian Duma approves banning gender change
Russia’s lower house of parliament has approved a draft law to ban legally or medically changing gender as part of a crackdown against LGBTQ rights.
The bill would stop Russians from changing their gender on official identity documents, which had been legal since 1997.
Health professionals would be banned from “performing medical interventions designed to change the sex of a person”, including surgery and prescribing hormone therapy.
The green light from the Duma all but guarantees the bill’s ultimate passage into law.
But the ban marks the latest phase in a rollback of rights for gay and transgender people in Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly said that LGBTQ lifestyles oppose traditional Russian values, and the West’s acceptance of them is evidence of moral decay.
Car explosion injures three in Belgorod: Governor
The governor of the Russian Belgorod region says a car explosion injured three people in a residential area.
Vyacheslav Gladkov said on Telegram, “There is no threat to residents of neighbouring houses and apartments. Emergency services are on site. The investigating authorities are taking all measures in order to understand the causes of the incident.
“Unfortunately, there are three victims: a man who was in the car at the time of the explosion and two bystanders – a mother with a child. All the victims were taken to the city hospitals with shrapnel wounds to the lower extremities. Doctors assess their condition as moderate.”
Germany says EU needs to reduce spending but Ukraine is an exception
While eurozone countries need to reduce their spending after responding to the pandemic and the energy crisis, an exception needs to be made to support Ukraine, German Finance Minister Christian Lindner has said.
“Ukraine can count on us in terms of financing,” Lindner said in Brussels before the meeting of finance ministers.
Ministers are also expected to focus on the reform of EU fiscal rules at the meeting.
Russia closes Polish embassy in Smolensk, Poland threatens to respond in kind
Russia closed Poland’s embassy in the city of Smolensk, Russian news agency Interfax reported.
The government decided due to Poland’s “anti-Russian actions”.
In response to the move, Poland said it would close its Russian diplomatic missions.
“We regularly receive information about aggressive diplomatic actions from Russia”, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told a news conference.
“If in the end it comes to it that Russia starts to liquidate our offices we will respond in kind.”
Russia’s Lavrov has no plans to contact US side during Indonesia visit: Spokesperson
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has no plans to contact US officials during his current visit to Indonesia, the ministry’s spokesperson Maria Zakharova has said.
Lavrov and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken are both in Jakarta for the ASEAN Regional Forum, a security gathering.
Why Ukraine won’t be joining NATO anytime soon
When great powers feel insecure and vulnerable, they lash out in unpredictable ways.
This is what happened after the United States was attacked on 9/11, and it’s happening now as Russia feels besieged and encircled by NATO.
According to American political scientist John Mearsheimer, the Ukraine war could have been avoided if the West had abandoned the idea of Ukraine joining NATO from the start.
He tells The Bottom Line host Steve Clemons that the West is happy to support a frozen conflict that weakens Russia, but not NATO membership for Ukraine and direct involvement in the war.
Russia closes Polish consulate in Smolensk
Russia has closed Poland’s consulate in the city of Smolensk, the Russian government has said.
According to the Interfax news agency, Russia took the decision due to what it called Poland’s “anti-Russian actions”.
Putin says Western tanks ‘priority target’ for Russia in Ukraine
Foreign-made tanks are a “priority target” for Russian forces in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said, and the supply of Western weaponry to Kyiv will not change the course of the war.
Putin, in comments to state television on Thursday, also reaffirmed his stance that Ukraine’s membership in NATO would threaten Russia’s security while the provision of Western arms had only escalated global tensions further and prolonged the conflict.
Read more here.
Wagner mercenaries offered chance to serve in Russia, Putin says
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he offered Wagner mercenaries the opportunity to continue serving together in Russia after their aborted mutiny last month against Moscow’s military leadership.
Interviewed by the Russian daily Kommersant on Thursday, Putin said the offer was one of several he made at a meeting with approximately three dozen Wagner fighters and their founder Yevgeny Prigozhin, five days after Wagner forces staged a short-lived revolt last month.
Read the full story here.
Ukraine says shot down dozens Iranian-made Russian drones
Ukrainian officials said air defences shot down 20 Iranian-made Russian drones.
The debris fell on four districts of Kyiv, injuring two people and destroying several homes.
The Ukrainian military said it also intercepted two Russian cruise missiles.
Ukraine receives cluster munitions, pledges limited use
Ukraine has received cluster bombs from the United States, munitions banned in more than 100 countries, but has pledged to only use them to dislodge concentrations of enemy soldiers.
Ukrainian officials say their deployment is justified in view of Russia’s mining of vast tracts of land it has seized.
“This will further demotivate Russian occupying forces and fundamentally change things in favour of the Ukrainian armed forces,” Valeryi Shershen, a spokesperson for the Tavria, or southern, military district told US-funded Radio Liberty.
The munitions, he said, would be used strictly within the legal framework: “They will not be used on Russian territory…They will be used only in areas where Russian military forces are concentrated in order to break through enemy defences.”
Moscow has denounced their shipment, warning that it could resort to deploying similar weaponry if faced with their use.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA