Russia-Ukraine war latest: Kyiv issues warning to Belarus as drone ‘blows hole’ in Novorossiysk port ship

Drone footage shows moment Russian ship is attacked

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Ukraine’s security service has warned that Russia is planning a false flag attack on an oil refinery in Belarus, in a bid to draw Minsk into the war.

The warning came as a Kyiv intelligence source claimed that a Russian naval ship had been damaged in a drone attack on a Black Sea port which serves as a major hub for Moscow’s exports.

While Russia’s regional governor in Novorossiysk – near Crimea – insisted no damage was inflicted, the source told Reuters that the Olenegorsky Gornyak warship “received a serious breach and currently cannot conduct its combat missions”.

A source also told the Ukrainian Interfax news agency that the security service drone was “saturated with 450 kilograms of TNT” and blew a “serious hole” in the ship manned by 100 crew members, in what marks the first attack on a major Russian commercial port since the war began last February.

It comes after Ukraine’s first lady, Olena Zelenska, Uissued an emotional plea for the world not to lose interest in the fight against Russia, in a rare interview with Independent TV.

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Trump presidential rival Christie visits Ukraine, meets Zelensky

Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv on Friday and underscored strong U.S. support for its fight against Russia.

Christie, once an ally of former President Donald Trump, is challenging him for their party’s nomination in the 2024 election – and drawing a stark contrast on Ukraine with front-runner Trump.

Trump’s former vice president Mike Pence in June became the first Republican candidate to meet Zelensky during the campaign.

Christie visited Ukraine a day after Trump returned to Washington to plead not guilty to federal charges he orchestrated a plot to try to overturn his 2020 election loss to Democrat Joe Biden.

Former New Jersey governor Christie met with Zelensky at the presidential palace after visiting a mass grave in Bucha, a town where Ukraine accuses Russian troops of having committed atrocities soon after their February 2022 invasion. He also saw damage in Irpin near Kyiv. Both places were retaken by Ukrainian forces.

Christie said he came to Ukraine to give Americans a view of the war and its toll and he emphasized that he wanted U.S. support to continue. The United States has provided billions of dollars worth of weapons to Ukraine to defend itself.

“I am an advocate for there being more aid to Ukraine, more significant aid to Ukraine, broader aid for Ukraine,” Christie told Zelensky.

“It’s really important to hear all these words from you,” Zelensky replied.

Christie’s stance sets him apart from some of the other Republican candidates including Trump.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a distant second in public opinion polls, this year suggested that the war was simply a “territorial dispute” before backtracking.

Trump, who left office in 2021 after one four-year term, was impeached in 2019 on allegations he pressured Ukraine to investigate Biden. Senate Republicans acquitted him of those charges.

Eleanor Noyce4 August 2023 20:33


Zelensky meets with GOP presidential candidate Chris Christie in Kyiv

Volodymyr Zelensky meets with GOP presidential candidate Chris Christie in Kyiv

Katy Clifton4 August 2023 19:30


Russia ‘planning false flag attack’

Ukraine has accused Russia of planning a „false flag” attack on an oil refinery in Belarus in an attempt to draw Minsk into the war, as tensions rise on Nato’s eastern border.

While Alexander Lukashenko has so far avoided being dragged into the full-scale conflict by his close ally Vladimir Putin, the Belarusian president allowed Moscow’s troops to use Belarus as a staging ground for their invasion last February, and has agreed to host Russian nuclear weapons.

Concerns have been brewing in the West since Mr Lukashenko agreed to take in Wagner mercenaries exiled from Russia after their shortlived mutiny, with Nato member Poland warning this week of the threat posed by the “extremely dangerous” fighters, as it scrambled troops to their shared border.

Read more about the allegations below:

Andy Gregory4 August 2023 18:48


Navalny has 19 years added to jail sentence

Jailed Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny has had an extra 19 years added to his jail term, on charges widely viewed as bogus.

He was tried at a court at his IK-6 penal colony in Melekhovo, situated some 145 miles east of Moscow, on six separate charges, including inciting and financing extremist activity and creating an extremist organisation.

Journalists were not let into the courtroom but able to watch proceedings on CCTV from a special media room nearby, although the feed was cut almost as soon as the sentence was pronounced.

Mr Navalny’s team said the judge had added 19 years to his existing terms. State prosecutors had asked for 20.

Putin critic Navalny arrives in court as 19 years are added to his jail term

Andy Gregory4 August 2023 16:57


Watch: Seaborne drone footage shows moment Russian warship attacked

Seaborne drone footage shows moment Russian warship attacked

Andy Gregory4 August 2023 16:23


China to attend Jeddah peace talks

China has announced that it would send a senior official to Jeddah for weekend talks on finding a peace deal for Ukraine, in a diplomatic coup for Kyiv, the West and Saudi Arabia.

Ukrainian and Western diplomats hope the meeting in Jeddah of national security advisers and other senior officials from some 40 countries – which excludes Russia – will agree on key principles for a future peace settlement to end Moscow’s war.

China’s special envoy for Eurasian Affairs Li Hui will visit Jeddah for the talks, Beijing’s foreign ministry said on Friday. “China is willing to work with the international community to continue to play a constructive role in promoting a political solution to the crisis in Ukraine,” a spokesperson said.

China was invited to a previous round of talks in Copenhagen in late June but did not attend.

Andy Gregory4 August 2023 15:42


Bank link used for Black Sea grain deal closes

The direct channel between the Russian Agricultural Bank and JPMorgan, organised by the United Nations as a way to keep Russia in the Black Sea grain deal, was shut on Wednesday, Russia’s foreign ministry has said.

Russia refused to extend the deal last month, accusing the West of failing to implement parts of the accord that affect Moscow’s own food and fertiliser exports, and has since attacked a number of Ukrainian port facilities and grain silos.

Andy Gregory4 August 2023 15:14


Russian businessman backs Lithuania’s expulsion of Russian citizens

Viktor Voroncov, a businessman who moved to Lithuania from Russia several years ago, learned Lithuanian and obtained citizenship there, said he agreed with the move by authorities to expel hundreds of Russian and Belarusian citizens.

“I know many Russians who served in the Soviet and later in Putin’s army. They are married to Lithuanian wives, they live here, maintain close contacts with comrades in arms back in Russia and are spreading Kremlin propaganda constantly,” Mr Voroncov said.

“Lithuania is a democratic country and tolerates different views. Even their propaganda was OK until the war started, but things have changed and they must go,” he said.

Andy Gregory4 August 2023 14:30


Belarus opposition in contact with Lithuania over expulsion of citizens

Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya said her party was in touch with Lithuanian authorities after the EU nation revoked the residency permits of more than 1,000 Russian and Belarusian citizens.

The Belarusian opposition was seeking to “prevent a strike on innocent people who are not associated with the regime”, Ms Tsikhanouskaya said.

“I understand that Lithuania’s actions are dictated by national interests and security, because the Lukashenko regime poses a direct threat to our neighbors,” Ms Tsikhanouskaya told the Associated Press, referring to Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko.

“The vast majority of Belarusians do not support Russia’s criminal war against Ukraine and continue to help Ukraine, many are fighting the dictatorship in the underground. It is very important that they can find a safe haven in Europe if they are in danger.”

Andy Gregory4 August 2023 14:01


Lithuania strips more than 1,000 Russians and Belarusians of residency

Lithuania has stripped more than a thousand Russian and Belarusian citizens of their residency permits, accusing them of being a threat to national security.

The government had asked these residents to answer a questionnaire which asked about their views on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the status of Crimea, the Ukrainian territory which Russia illegally annexed in 2014.

Lithuania, which declared its independence from the Soviet Union more than 30 years ago, belongs to Nato and the European Union, and has been a place of refuge for many who have fled repression in Belarus and Russia.

The Migration Department said it had established that 910 Belarusian and 254 Russian citizens residing in Lithuania posed a threat to national security, a decision that was based on an evaluation of public and non-public information.

According to the Migration Department, more than 58,000 Belarusian citizens and 16,000 Russian citizens are currently residing in Lithuania.

Andy Gregory4 August 2023 13:33

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