Wagner chief Prigozhin killed
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Ukraine’s armed forces have gained a foothold in the southern Zaporizhzhia region, where they are believed to be advancing towards Russia’s second line of defence.
Kyiv’s General Staff said its forces had “achieved success … within the re-captured frontiers” and were attacking detected enemy targets with artillery as well as carrying out counter-battery measures.
Meanwhile, the Kremlin said Vladimir Putin had no plans to attend the funeral of Yevgeny Prigozhin, as the Wagner chief’s press service said a closed-door “farewell” service was held for him on Tuesday, with mourners welcome at a cemetery in his native St Petersburg.
Prigozhin died when his business jet crashed last week, two months after he and his Wagner mercenaries staged a mutiny against Russian military commanders in which they took control of a southern city, Rostov, and advanced towards Moscow before turning back 200km from the capital.
Western politicians and commentators have theorised that Mr Putin ordered Prighozin’s death as an act of vengeance. However, Mr Peskov called the suggestion an “absolute lie”.
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An explosion lights up the sky as the Russian military repell a drone attack on Pskov
(TELEGRAM / @MV_007_PSKOV/AFP via)
Alisha Rahaman Sarkar30 August 2023 04:30
How many casualties has Russia suffered in Ukraine?
Establishing accurate data on the number of military casualties sustained since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began on 24 February 2022 is difficult for two reasons. The severity of the fighting on the ground and the fact that both sides are inclined to keep their cards close to their chests to avoid damaging morale – especially at a time when the war is entering a pivotal new stage.
The Kremlin, in particular, is unlikely to admit to high fatality rates among its troops because to do so would amount to a confession that Vladimir Putin’s spurious war to “de-Nazify” Russia’s neighbour state is not going according to plan and, in fact, represents a monumental miscalculation on the part of its leader, who is already under pressure at home over the attempted uprising by Wagner Group mercenaries.
Eleanor Noyce30 August 2023 04:00
Drone attack shuts Russian airport, damages transport planes
A drone attack on an airport in Russia’s western city of Pskov has damaged four military transport planes, the regional governor has said.
The Ilyushin 76 transport planes were caught in the fire that erupted following the drone strikes early on Wednesday, governor Mikhail Vedernikov said.
All flights to and from the airport were canceled on Wednesday so the damage could be assessed during daylight, he added.
Footage and images posted on social media showed smoke billowing over the city of Pskov and a large blaze.
Mr Vedernikov said there were no casualties, and the fire had been contained. Unconfirmed media reports said between 10 and 20 drones could have attacked the airport.
According to the Russian defence ministry, more drones were shot down over Oryol, Bryansk, Ryazan, Kaluga and the Moscow region surrounding the Russian capital.
Alisha Rahaman Sarkar30 August 2023 03:58
ICYMI: Vatican seeks to tamp down outrage over pope’s words of praise for Russian imperial past
The Vatican on Tuesday sought to tamp down an uproar that erupted after Pope Francis praised Russia’s imperialist past during a video conference with Russian Catholics youths, insisting that he never intended to encourage modern-day Russian aggression in Ukraine.
The Vatican spokesman, Matteo Bruni, said Francis merely wanted to praise the positive aspects of Russia’s spiritual and cultural history when he praised Russia’s imperial rulers Peter and Catherine the Great, encouraged young people to remember that past and praised their way of “being Russian.”
Francis “certainly didn’t want to exalt imperialistic logic or government personalities, who were cited to indicate certain historic periods of reference,” Bruni said in a statement.
Eleanor Noyce30 August 2023 03:00
The key to Ukraine punching through Russia’s defences – and putting Putin’s forces on the back foot
Long-range strikes by drone and missile and a raid on territory in occupied Crimea that took Russian forces by surprise – all part of Kyiv’s recent push towards the peninsula that is a symbol of Vladimir Putin‘s territorial ambitions.
Perhaps most significant of all is the capture of the key village of Robotyne, about three hours drive east of Crimea. Gaining that foothold will help Ukraine build a foundation to punch through to the coastline of the Sea of Azov.
Kyiv has been stepping up drone attacks on Crimea as it looks to break key supply lines from the Russian-occupied peninsula, writes Askold Krushelnycky in Ukraine:
Eleanor Noyce30 August 2023 02:00
ICYMI: Who is ‘Juice’? The ‘mega talent’ Ukrainian pilot killed in mid-air plane crash
Singled out for particular praise by president Volodymr Zelensky and Ukraine’s airforce is Captain Andriy Pilshchykov, a pilot who went by the military callsign “Juice”.
The late pilot, who was 30 years old when the crash occurred over the western Zhytomyr region on Friday, had become known not just for his defence of Ukraine, but also for his passionate advocacy for the United States to provide Kyiv with F-16 fighter jets.
Eleanor Noyce30 August 2023 01:00
The Ukraine war, propaganda-style, is coming to Russian movie screens. Will people watch?
The movie centres around a renowned violinist from Belgium arriving in Kyiv to perform. The date is February 2022, and his trip is upended as Russia starts bombing Ukraine. The musician survives a series of “inhuman crimes and bloody provocations by Ukrainian nationalists,” and he wants to tell the world “what it was really like.”
“The Witness” — a state-sponsored drama that premiered in Russia on 17 August – is the first feature film about the 18-month-old invasion. It depicts Ukrainian troops as violent neo-Nazis who torture and kill their own people. One even wears a T-shirt with Hitler on it; another is shown doing drugs. It also has the main character’s young son wondering: “Isn’t Ukraine Russia?”
It’s the narrative the Kremlin has been promoting since the first days of the war — all packaged up in a motion picture.
Eleanor Noyce30 August 2023 00:01
ICYMI: Ukraine flag flies on building after village of Robotyne captured from Russia
Soldiers have captured the Russian-occupied village of Robotyne and placed a Ukrainian flag on a bombed-out building.
Robotyne was captured by Ukrainian troops last week as part of the military‘s ongoing counter-offensive against Russia.
Ukraine‘s military said that this successful operation was the breakthrough needed to push deeper into Russian-held Ukrainian territory.
Robotyne is six miles south of the front line of the war and marks the furthest push yet towards the Sea of Azov, a point in which Russian-held territory would be split into two.
Russia had held Robotyne since the early days of the invasion in 2022.
Ukraine flag flies on building after village of Robotyne captured from Russia
Soldiers have captured the Russian-occupied village of Robotyne and placed a Ukrainian flag on a bombed-out building. Robotyne was captured by Ukrainian troops last week as part of the military’s ongoing counter-offensive against Russia. Ukraine’s military said that this successful operation was the breakthrough needed to push deeper into Russian-held Ukrainian territory. Robotyne is six miles south of the front line of the war and marks the furthest push yet towards the Sea of Azov, a point in which Russian-held territory would be split into two. Russia had held Robotyne since the early days of the invasion in 2022.
Eleanor Noyce29 August 2023 23:00
What is the Wagner mercenary group led by Yevgeny Prigozhin?
Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine have been supported on the battlefield by tens of thousands of mercenaries from a shadowy group led by a businessman and longtime ally of president Vladimir Putin.
The unit cut its teeth in deployments to Crimea – illegally annexed by Russia in 2014 – and eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region in the aftermath of that act and has since dispatched troops to several conflicts in the Middle East and Africa, including the Syrian Civil War.
Liam James and Joe Sommerlad report:
Eleanor Noyce29 August 2023 22:00
What next for the Wagner Group as leader presumed dead in plane crash?
The Wagner founder, Yevgeny Prigozhin, is confirmed to have died in a plane crash – a turn of events that appears to leave his Wagner Group fighters rudderless and facing a highly uncertain future.
Prigozhin, a convict, turned gourmet restaurateur, turned warlord, was onboard an Embraer private jet flying from Moscow to St Petersburg when it came down over the Tver region, killing everyone on board. Two other senior commanders, Dmitry Utkin and Valery Chekalov, were also on the passenger list.
The crash came exactly two months after Prigozhin led his men in a mutiny that gravely embarrassed Russian president Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin, his fighters leaving their posts in southern Ukraine to occupy the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don before marching on Moscow along the M4 highway.
What next for the Wagner Group in Russia?
Options for the mercenary group – in the wake of Yevgeny Prigozhin’s demise – include complete dissolution, nationalisation into the conventional Russian army or finding a new leader. Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to hold the key to the future
Eleanor Noyce29 August 2023 21:00