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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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


Ukrainian mother who lost an eye in ‘attempted assassination’ is Playboy cover star

A Ukranian mother who lost an eye in a suspected assassination attempt has appeared as the cover star on the first Playboy printed since the Russian invasion.

Iryna Bilotserkovets, whose husband is an aide to Kyiv’s mayor Vitali Klitschko, posed with an eye mask and metal bikini after being caught in a gun attack just three days after Russia invaded Ukraine in February last year.

The mother-of-three was driving home with her children through a neighbourhood in Ukraine when her car was hit by multiple bullets. Speaking to Playboy about life after the attack, she said: “Doctors in Ukraine said I was probably going to die. I didn’t agree.”

My colleague Rachel Flynn has the full story here:

Andy Gregory4 August 2023 13:11


Pictured: The sea drone allegedly behind attack on Russian port

Telegram channel Rybar has shared an image of the sea drone allegedly responsible for the attack claimed to have taken a Russian warship out of action at a major commerical port near Crimea.


Andy Gregory4 August 2023 12:09

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