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Old 03-12-22, 08:31   #201
 
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Movies re: EU/G7 Australia & Allies HIT Putin by Crippling Price Cap on Russian Oil

Ukraine WAR: $60 Per Barrel Price Cap AGREED on Russian Oil - Will Hit Putin Immediately

A new cap on the price of Russian oil will "immediately cut into Putin's most important source of revenue"

$60 Price Cap on Russian Oil to Cripple Putins' War Machin


BBC 3 DEC 2022






The cap - which was officially approved by Western allies on Friday - came after months of hard work.



The cap stops countries paying more than $60 (£48) a barrel for seaborne exports of Russian crude oil.

It is due to come into effect on 5 December or soon after.

Low and medium-income countries that have been heavily impacted by high energy and food prices will particularly benefit from the cap, Ms Yellen said.

She said it will also further constrain Russian President Vladimir Putin's finances and "limit the revenues he's using to fund his brutal invasion", while avoiding disrupting global supplies which could send petrol prices soaring around the world.

"With Russia's economy already contracting and its budget increasingly stretched thin, the price cap will immediately cut into Putin's most important source of revenue," she said in a statement.

...G7 and allies approve cap on price of Russian oil


The price cap was put forward in September by the G7 group of nations (the US, Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the EU) in a bid to hit Moscow's ability to finance the war in Ukraine.

The European Union approved the price cap - which needed the agreement of all its member states - on Friday, after persuading Poland to back it.

Poland announced its support after being reassured the cap would be kept at 5% lower than the market rate.

It had been reported that the EU wanted to set the cap at $65-70 but this was rejected by Poland as well as Lithuania and Estonia as too high.

Warsaw had wanted the value to be as low as possible and had held out while it examined an adjustment mechanism which would keep the cap below the market rate as the price of oil changed.

In a joint statement, the G7, the EU and Australia said the decision to impose a price cap was taken to "prevent Russia from profiting from its war of aggression against Ukraine".

British Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said the UK will not waver in its support and will continue to look for new ways to "clamp down on Putin's funding streams".

The agreement of a price cap comes just days before an EU-wide ban on Russian crude oil imported by sea comes into force, also on 5 December.


The price cap - which is meant to affect oil exports worldwide - is meant to complement that.

Countries that sign up to the G7-led policy will only be permitted to purchase oil and petroleum products transported via sea that are sold at or below the price cap.

Ukraine's western allies also plan to deny insurance to tankers delivering Russian oil to countries that do not stick to the price cap. This will make it hard for Russia to sell oil above that price.

Russia denounced the scheme, saying it would not supply those countries which enforced a price cap.



Senior Russian politician Leonid Slutsky, who chairs the foreign affairs committee, told Tass news agency the EU was jeopardising its own energy security with the cap.

Though the measures will most certainly be felt by Russia, the blow will be partially softened by its move to sell its oil to other markets such as India and China - who are currently the largest single buyers of Russian crude oil.


Graphic showing the percentage of total oil imports coming from Russia to selected European countries








Before the war, in 2021, more than half of Russia's oil exports went to Europe, according to the International Energy Association. Germany was the largest importer, followed by the Netherlands and Poland.

But since the war, EU countries have been desperately trying to decrease their dependency. The US has already banned Russian crude oil, while the UK plans to phase it out by the end of the yea






Vladimir Putin Issues Ultimatum to The West - Russian President Vladimir Putin is “open to negotiations” on Ukraine if the West meets Moscows' demands.







Old maps, burst tyres, no clothes: The Russian military 'will suffer this winter'

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Old 10-12-22, 07:19   #202
 
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Movies re: PUTIN Sends Musicians to Front to Boost Morale >Music While You KILL

Warning Over Defence Partnership Between Russia and Iran

Russia, Iran Moving Toward Full Defense Partnership


Ukraine WAR: Iran Now Russias' Top Military Backer

BBC News 10 DEC 2022.






The US national security council spokesman says the relationship is strengthening and could harm Ukraine and the international community. Also: one of this year's Nobel Peace Prize winners says President Putin must be held accountable for Russia's actions in Ukraine, and the sheepdog that's become an internet sensation for taking on a pack of coyotes.

The Biden administration is accusing Russia of moving to provide advanced military assistance to Iran, including air defense systems, helicopters and fighter jets, part of deepening cooperation between the two nations as Tehran provides drones to support Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine.






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Old 12-12-22, 07:48   #203
 
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Ukraine War: Exiled Governor Reports Strike on 'Wagner HQ'

10 explosions rip through Russian barracks in occupied city in devastating Ukraine strike -

Neo-Nazi Russian Militia Appeals For Intelligence on Nato Member States


Move by Task Force Rusich raises fears of rogue paramilitary attacks on Baltic nations of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia


BBC 12 DEC 2022.










Ukrainian forces have struck a headquarters of Russia's Wagner mercenary group, says the governor-in-exile of Luhansk in eastern Ukraine.

Serhiy Haidai said a hotel where the group met in Kadiivka, Luhansk, had been hit with major losses.

The BBC was unable to independently verify Wagner's presence at the hotel.



Fighting also raged in southern Ukraine over the weekend, with Russia targeting Odesa and Ukraine bombarding a target in the occupied city of Melitopol.

Wagner are state-sponsored mercenaries who act in the Kremlin's interests, according to Western experts.

The private military company, set up by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a former restaurateur and close associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has repeatedly been accused of war crimes and human rights abuses.

Wagner units have previously been deployed in Crimea, Syria, Libya, Mali and the Central African Republic.

In the Kadiivka strike, Mr Haidai said Russia had suffered "significant losses" and he expected "at least 50%" of the surviving forces to die due to a lack of medical treatment.

During a phone call with Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky, US President Joe Biden said Washington was prioritising efforts to help boost Ukraine's air defence systems.

The pair also spoke about Mr Zelensky's desire for a "just peace" with Russia "based on fundamental principles enshrined in the UN Charter", the White House said.

The attack on the "Wagner HQ", in the east, came amid further fighting in southern Ukraine.

On Saturday, the Ukrainian army said it had shot down 10 drones, with another five hitting energy facilities in the port city of Odesa - leaving some 1.5 million people without power.

"The situation in the Odesa region is very difficult," President Zelensky said in his nightly video address. "Unfortunately the hits were critical, so it takes more than just time to restore electricity. It doesn't take hours, but a few days."

Key infrastructure was hit by Russia's Iran-made drones, according to Ukrainian officials.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is due to host an online meeting of G7 leaders on Monday, where further sanctions on Russia and Iran will be discussed.

The proposed measures would target Iran over its supply of drones to Russia, while the ninth package of Russia sanctions would place almost 200 more individuals on an EU sanctions list.

In Melitopol, pro-Moscow authorities said a Ukrainian missile attack had killed two people and injured 10. Images shared by a Moscow-installed official there showed a big fire.

"Air defence systems destroyed two missiles, four reached their targets," Yevgeny Balitsky, the Russia-installed governor of the city, said on the Telegram messaging app.

He added that a "recreation centre" where people were dining had been destroyed in the attack, and that Ukrainian forces had used US-supplied Himars rocket launchers.

This weapon has played a key role in Ukraine's counter-offensive, being used to target locations away from the frontlines, including Russia's command posts.

Ivan Fedorov, Melitopol's exiled mayor, said scores of "invaders" had been killed.

Melitopol has been under occupation since early March and is a major logistics hub for the Russian forces in the south-east.

The city, in the Zaporizhzhia region, is strategically located between Mariupol to the east, Kherson and the Dnipro River to the west, and Crimea to the south.

Ukraine says its efforts to retake occupied territory are continuing, despite the arrival of winter.

In recent weeks, most of the fighting has taken place in the east of the country, especially around the city of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region.

But on Saturday night, Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to President Zelensky, indicated that Melitopol could be a main target of Ukrainian forces.

"If Melitopol falls, the entire defence line all the way to Kherson collapses," he said in an interview.

If that happened, he added, "Ukrainian forces would gain a direct route to Crimea," the peninsula Russia annexed in 2014 and that the Ukrainians have vowed to retake.

Elsewhere, the Russian-occupied city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine came under fresh bombardment on Sunday. Images showed firefighters attempting to put out a blaze at a commercial building.

Ukraine has denied attacking the separatist-run city on many occasions during the war.






Firefighters put out a blaze at a toy shop after rockets hit downtown Donetsk




Map of Ukraines South and East





MORE











British man awarded one of Ukraine's highest honours after being sanctioned by Putin



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Old 14-12-22, 19:22   #204
 
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Desperate Putin is Preparing For Long Conflict as He Expands War in Ukraine

A confidential security assessment from allied figures suggests deluded Russian leader Vladimir Putin is still convinced his “hybrid warfare” will outlast western resolve


BBC News 15 DEC 2022.





Desperate Russian President Vladimir Putin is expanding his war in Ukraine, stepping up mobilisation and preparing for a long conflict, it has been claimed.




Remnants of shells and missiles used by the Russian army to attack the second largest Ukrainian city of Kharkiv






Damage after attacks at Borodyanka where citizens struggle to live under difficult winter conditions




A confidential security assessment from allied figures suggests the deluded Russian leader is still convinced his “hybrid warfare” will outlast western resolve.

The write-up says Putin believes his Iranian drones programme attacking energy infrastructure, cyber attacks, weaponsing of refugees, fake news and sabotage will prevail.

It says his delusion comes against a backdrop of disastrous casualties among raw recruits, many killed by their own side for fleeing and rock-bottom troop morale.

One young Russian man is quoted when asked why he fled his own country in the face of conscription, saying he: “...saw no reason to die defending his country when no-one was attacking it.”

Russian commanders, it is said, are using “blocking units” to “liquidate” anybody retreating, in a revival of eastern front WWII tactics.

The assessment also says Russian commanders are desperate for an operational pause, a break in operations to build-up defences against Ukraine’s counter-offensive.

And Russian troops are having to resort to “stand-off” engagements against Ukraine, using artillery, mortars and grenade launchers as they cannot “close with” Kyiv’s forces.

Moscow’s military is said increasingly to having to rely on the notorious Wagner Group mercenary unit for close quarter battles.

And it suggests Putin’s once near-allies are now backing away from Moscow, even including Kazakhstan and Belarus.

It also points to mysterious and extremely damaging attacks within Russia on military sites which may prove to be a step-change in the war in Ukraine,.

It says: “Regardless of the failures of his army in the field and the lack of enthusiasm amongst his generals for engaging with NATO, there is no sign whatsoever of Putin conceding that he is in danger of losing the war.

“On the contrary, not only is he not scaling down his ambition, he is doing everything to expand the war and Russia’s ability to wage it.”

The report goes on to say: “At home we are seeing strenuous and increasing efforts to expand Russia’s defence industry and to prepare for a new stage in the mobilisation process.

“This is exposing significant failings in the defence industry and in Russia’s economy generally.

“Whilst mobilisation has become less chaotic than at the start, it is still facing significant difficulties and is no more popular than when it was first introduced.

“Russians too are experiencing the impact of winter weather as their centralised heating systems break down due to so many heating engineers having been mobilised.

“Nevertheless, notwithstanding the obstacles and difficulties and the ever-increasing impact of sanctions, these war policies are being pushed through as a priority.




“Putin is preparing Russia for a long war.










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Old 17-12-22, 05:36   #205
 
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Ukraines' Second City Kharkiv Without Power After Russian Strikes

Ukraine Says Russia Planning Major Ground Attacks

Russians strike Ukraine with 60 missiles in one of worst barrages since war began

Deadly attack leaves retaken Kherson with no power

Putin's lover dances in Russia as missiles rain down on Ukraine

BBC News 17 DEC 2022.








Ukraine's second city of Kharkiv was for hours left without power after the latest wave of Russian strikes targeted energy stations across the country.


Local officials said as many as nine power facilities were hit as Russian forces fired 76 missiles and carried out drone attacks on Friday.

Kharkiv's mayor said the city suffered "colossal" damage. By the evening, 55% of residents had electricity back.

One resident, Anastaisa, told the BBC the strikes began on Friday morning.

"In a matter of minutes, the lights started blinking," the mother of a two-month-old child said. "Just 10 seconds later, we were out of power, everything just went still and that's it.

"At the moment, there is also no water because the pumping stations cannot work when there's no power in the city, so technically, what we have now is a city without power and water supply."

In the evening, Oleg Synegubov, head of Kharkiv's regional administration, said electricity supplies had been restored to 55% of city residents and 85% of those living in the north-eastern region. He added that energy sector employees were working to restore full power by midnight.

However, Ukraine's power grid operator, Ukrenergo, warned that the scale of the damage could mean it will take longer to restore supplies.

The body said in a statement that the energy system had lost more than half of its capacity because of the latest strikes, adding that priority would be given to "critical infrastructure - hospitals, water supply facilities, heat supply facilities, sewage treatment plants".

Defence Ministry adviser Yuriy Sak told the BBC that emergency services were working to restore electricity supplies, but the situation was "still difficult". Russia's frequent attacks mean that repairing the damage is getting harder.

Elsewhere, three people were killed and 13 more injured when a residential building was hit in Kryvyi Rih and a third died in Kherson. In the capital, Kyiv, the city's metro was left at a standstill.

The alarm was raised across Ukraine on Friday and Commander-in-Chief General Valeriy Zaluzhny said air defences had intercepted 60 of the 76 missiles fired, most of them cruise missiles.

Kyiv city officials said about 40 missiles had been fired at the capital alone - one of the biggest barrages since Russia's 24 February invasion. Thirty-seven were brought down by air defences, the officials added.

"It's very stressful, but now I'm used to this," said 42-year-old Oksana, who lives in the capital. "I don't want our children to live through this, to be in basements, shelters, I don't want this for them."

Ukraine has accused Russia of "weaponising winter" by striking essential facilities, as temperatures in much of the country are below freezing.

One person was killed when flats were hit in Kherson on 16 DecemberImage source, Kherson prosecutor's office

Friday's attack on Kherson was the third in as many days on the southern city, a month after Russian forces retreated

Russia's attacks also cut power in the north-eastern Sumy region that borders Russia, and also in the central cities of Poltava and Kremenchuk.

Fifteen rockets were reportedly fired at Zaporizhzhia in the south, while Kyiv Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko said several areas of the capital were hit. Damage to energy infrastructure had affected its water supplies, while city metro lines were for the moment not running, he said.

Russia has launched more than 1,000 missiles and Iranian-made attack drones since the wave of strikes began on 10 October, although most of them have been intercepted by air defences. The biggest barrage, in mid-November, involved more than 100 missiles and drones.

UN human rights commissioner Volker Turk warned on Thursday that further attacks on power facilities could "lead to a further serious deterioration in the humanitarian situation and spark more displacement".

Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal described the latest wave of strikes as "another attempt to commit genocide against the Ukrainian people".

In some areas, electricity is available for just a few hours a day.

"I'm angry," said Yelyzaveta, 21. "They [Russia] are destroying our lives. We are used to it now. The most important thing is that Russia isn't here."

And Anastasia said that life was becoming more difficult as winter sets in.

"When it's daytime it is still OK, it is tolerable and I can manage the situation, but when it's dark outside, this is when my problems begin because I need to see clearly, to measure baby formula and also to attend to the baby - those are stressful," she said

"And, of course, just the effect that we are out of power creates a lot of tension and lots of stress. So we just survive through the night and when the day breaks, it gets a bit better, but we cannot compare it to our normal day."

The strikes came as the EU announced a ninth wave of sanctions against Russian officials and businesses. Almost 200 individuals and entities were added to an asset freeze and visa ban blacklist.

Among those sanctioned was Larisa Falkovskaya - head of Russia's Department of State Policy for the Protection of Children's Rights - who was accused of "the illegal transportation of Ukrainian children to Russia and their adoption by Russian families".

Several Russian regional governors were sanctioned on identical charges. The EU said the officials had been involved in the forced deportation and adoption of more than 2,000 Ukrainian children since the war began.

Ukrainian officials say the deportations amount to a war crime under Article 49 of the Geneva Convention.

Meanwhile, Russian-backed proxy officials in Ukraine's eastern Donbas region accused Ukrainian forces of shelling a town and a village overnight in the Luhansk region. Details of the deaths could not be confirmed.


Map showing areas controlled by Russia in Ukraine












Russian martial artists receive military training in Chechnya



Putin's lover dances in Russia as missiles rain down on Ukraine

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Old 19-12-22, 10:57   #206
 
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Ukraine: PUTIN to Deploy Musicians to WAR Front to Boost Morale

Russia says it will deploy musicians and singers to the front lines of its war in Ukraine to boost troops' morale.


BBC News 19 DEC 2022.







The defence ministry announced the formation of the "front-line creative brigade" this week, saying it would also include circus performers.

The UK's Ministry of Defence highlighted the brigade's creation in an intelligence update on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu visited frontline troops in Ukraine, Moscow said.





Music While You KILL



In a statement posted to Telegram, the defence ministry said Mr Shoigu "flew around the areas of deployment of troops and checked the advanced positions of Russian units in the zone of the special military operation", referring to Moscow's full-scale invasion of Ukraine launched on 24 February.

The ministry added that he "spoke with troops on the front line" and at a "command post" - but the BBC cannot confirm when the visit took place or whether Mr Shoigu visited Ukraine itself.

Commenting on Mr Shoigu's reported visit, Ukraine's military spokesman Serhiy Cherevatyi told Ukrainian TV channels: "I don't really believe that he is so brave" to travel to the battlefield.

This comes as UK defence officials said low morale continues to be a "significant vulnerability across much of the Russian force".

The UK said the new creative brigade - which follows a recent campaign, urging the public to donate musical instruments to troops - is in keeping with the historic use of "military music and organised entertainment" to boost morale.

But they questioned whether the new brigade would actually distract troops, who have been primarily concerned about "very high casualty rates, poor leadership, pay problems, lack of equipment and ammunition, and lack of clarity about the war's objectives".

According to the Russian outlet RBC news, the brigade will consist of troops mobilised under President Vladimir Putin's recruitment drive, as well as "professional artists who voluntarily entered military service".

The new unit will be tasked with maintaining "a high moral, political and psychological state [among] the participants of the special military operation," the outlet cited the defence ministry as saying.

Intense fighting has continued around the Ukrainian-controlled town of Bakhmut in the eastern Donbas region on Saturday, Ukraine's military said.

The area has seen heavy clashes between Ukrainian and Russian troops for months, as Russia seeks to fully seize the region following a string of heavy defeats in north-eastern and southern Ukraine earlier this year.

Western intelligence officials have previously said Russian attacks on the town are being spearheaded by Russia's private military contractor, Wagner Group.

Moscow hopes to use Bakhmut as a staging ground to launch attacks on the Ukrainian-held cities of Kramatorsk and Sloviansk further west.

Elsewhere, heating has been restored to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, after Russian launched widespread strikes on Friday that targeted power and water infrastructure, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said.

Moscow launched 76 missiles on Friday, hitting nine power supply stations and plunging much of the country into darkness. Ukraine said it intercepted 60.

In a separate development, President Putin is due to visit Belarus on Monday, amid media reports that he will be putting further pressure on Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko, a close ally, to officially join in Russia's war effort and send troops to Ukraine.

Since the start of the war, Russian troops have been using Belarusian territory as a launchpad - but Mr Lukashenko has so far resisted all Moscow's attempts to deploy his armed forces in Ukraine.

In Kyiv, President Volodymyr Zelensky held a meeting with top military and security officials to discuss the possible risks from Belarus, the country's northern neighbour.

"We are preparing for all possible defence scenarios. Whoever inclines Minsk to whatever, it will not help them just as any other sick idea in this war against Ukraine and Ukrainians," Mr Zelensky said in his video address late on Sunday.








UK RAF delivers aid package to Ukraine including Brimstone 2 missiles

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Old 22-12-22, 07:04   #207
 
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Ukraine War: Biden Tells Zelensky His Country Will Never Stand Alone

President Joe Biden has told President Volodymyr Zelensky the US will stick by Ukraine "for as long as it takes" in its war with Russia.

Zelenskys' Wartime Address to US Congress Comes 81 Years After Churchill Did The Same


BBC News 22 DEC 2022.





Zelensky follows in Churchill's footsteps





"You will never stand alone," Mr Biden told Mr Zelensky as he visited the White House on his first overseas trip since the Russian invasion began.



Mr Biden confirmed a new package of more than $2bn (£1.7bn) in assistance for Ukraine and promised another $45bn.

Mr Zelensky expressed his gratitude for Washington's backing.

At Wednesday's joint news conference, Mr Biden told reporters he was "not at all worried" about holding the international coalition together.

Amid concerns that some allies may be feeling the strain of the conflict's cost and disruption to global food and energy supplies, the US president said he felt "very good" about the solidarity of support for Ukraine.

Mr Biden said Russian President Vladimir Putin had "no intention of stopping this cruel war".

As Ukraine's most important ally, the US has already committed $50bn (£41bn) of humanitarian, financial and security assistance - far more than any other country.

Mr Zelensky - wearing his trademark combat-green sweatshirt and boots - expressed hope that Congress would pass the extra $45bn in aid to Ukraine to "help us to defend our values, values and independence".

Republicans - who will take control of the House of Representatives in January - have warned they will not write a "blank cheque" for Ukraine.

But Mr Zelensky, who travelled on a US Air Force jet from the Polish city of Rzeszow, said that "regardless of changes in the Congress", he believed there would be bipartisan support for his country.

After the White House meeting, the 44-year-old Ukrainian president gave an address to a joint session of Congress, where he was welcomed with a standing ovation.

He told US lawmakers his country was still standing "against all odds" and predicted "a turning point" in the conflict next year.

While vowing Ukraine would never surrender, he said it needed more weaponry.

"We have artillery, yes, thank you," he told his audience. "Is it enough? Honestly, not really."

"For the Russian army to completely pull out, more cannon and shells are needed," he added.

Concluding his speech, Mr Zelensky presented Congress with a battle flag signed by the defenders of Bakhmut, a frontline city in the east of Ukraine that he visited on the eve of his Washington trip.

The package of security assistance announced by Washington on Wednesday includes a new Patriot missile system, which is expected to help Ukraine protect its cities from missiles and drones that Russia has fired at critical facilities.

A rare moment of levity arose in Wednesday's news conference as Mr Zelensky, a former comedian, answered reporters' questions.

President Putin said Russia would not militarise the country's economy

The Ukrainian president said: "What's going to happen after the Patriots are installed? After that we will send another signal to President Biden that we would like to get more Patriots."

"We are in a war, I'm sorry, I'm really sorry," he deadpanned in English, as the audience in the East Room laughed.

Mr Biden chuckled and said: "We're working on it."

Russia's foreign ministry has said the delivery of the advanced surface-to-air missile system would be considered a provocative step.

Earlier on Wednesday, Mr Putin said he believed his country was not to blame for the war in Ukraine, adding both countries were "sharing a tragedy".

Since Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February, the US military estimates that at least 100,000 Russian and 100,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed or injured, along with some 40,000 civilian deaths.

The UN has recorded 7.8 million people as refugees from Ukraine across Europe, including Russia. However, the figure does not include those who have been forced to flee their homes but remain in Ukraine.




Zelenskys' Wartime Address to US Congress Comes 81 Years After Churchill Did The Same









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Old 26-12-22, 17:20   #208
 
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Three Dead Explosions Rock Russian Airbase Housing Putins' Nuclear Bombers

Three people have reportedly died and more hospitalised after a Ukrainian kamikaze drone reportedly hit an airbase deep inside Russia used to house Vladimir Putin's nuclear bombers


BBC 26 DEC 2022









Three people have died after a strategic airbase housing Vladimir Putin 's nuclear bomber planes was hit by a Ukrainian drone.



Loud blasts were heard early on Monday at the airfield deep inside Russia, which is used by the military's Tu-95 and Tu-160 nuclear missile-carrying planes.

Early reports said three people were killed and four more hospitalised following the attack on the Engels-2 military base in the Saratov region, according to Russian news outlet Baza.

No nuclear material is thought to have been involved in the explosion.

The blast is believed to have been the latest long-range kamikaze drone attack on the base by Volodymyr Zelensky 's forces, with the nearest Ukrainian settlement located about 450 miles away.

The "incident" at the air base hundreds of kilometres from the front line of the war in Ukraine.

Video footage showed bright flashes around the base as air raid sirens sounded throughout the area, with the sound of gunfire also heard.

Russia's defence ministry says its air defences shot down the Ukrainian drone flying at low altitude at about 01:35 local time on Monday (22:35 GMT Sunday).

Three Russian servicemen died of injuries caused by drone debris, it adds.

Saratov governor Roman Busargin expressed his condolences to the men's families and friends and said there was "absolutely no threat to residents" in the town of Engels itself.

A local governor claimed reports of evacuations nearby were 'blatant lies' made by foreign enemies

He added that "all stories about the evacuation from the city are blatant lies" created by people outside Russia, and warned citizens not to give details about the incident online or face possible prosecution.

Earlier this month Russia accused Ukraine of a similar attack on the airfield, home to strategic bombers.

Kyiv has never publicly claimed responsibility for attacks inside Russia and Ukrainian officials have described such incidents as "karma" for Russia's invasion.

A local said on Monday: "When it hit for the first time (December 5), the sound of the explosion was stronger.

“I thought someone's gas had exploded, I ran out into the street, and all the car alarms went off in the area, although I live about two kilometres away from the airfield.




Vladimir Putin's military lost two planes in an attack on the base earlier this month








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Old 01-01-23, 09:36   #209
 
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Zelenskiy Delivers New Year Hope of Ukraine Victory as Russia Launches Fresh Strikes

President says country ready to fight for a return to normal life as Moscow launches third wave of attacks in matter of days


BBC News 1 JAN 2023









President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and wife Olena Zelenska address the Ukrainian people on New Year’s Day.







Vladimir Putin



Fresh blasts were heard in Kyiv and around Ukraine in the first hours of 2023, minutes after President Volodymyr Zelenskiy delivered a New Year address in which he wished for one thing: victory.

Kyiv’s city military administration said 23 Russian-launched “air objects” had been destroyed, while mayor Vitali Klitschko said preliminary reports suggested there were no wounded or casualties, only a damaged car in the city centre.


As air raid sirens wailed across the country and air defences were brought into action, some people in Kyiv shouted from their balconies, “Glory to Ukraine! Glory to heroes!” Reuters witnesses reported. In Kyiv and other major Ukrainian cities, an 11pm curfew had already precluded large New Year parties, with many marking the moment inside shelters.

There were also unofficial reports of blasts in the southern region of Kherson and the northern Zhytomyr region.

The attacks came minutes after Zelenskiy delivered his first wartime New Year address, with no end in sight to the conflict. He said: “2022 struck our hearts. We cried out all the tears. All the prayers were yelled. 311 days. We have something to say about every minute. But most words are superfluous. No explanation needed. Silence is needed to hear. Pauses are needed to realise.

“We don’t know for sure what new 2023 will bring us. I want to wish all of us one thing – victory. And that’s the main thing.

“Let this year be the year of return. The return of our people. Soldiers – to their families. Prisoners – to their homes. Immigrants – to their Ukraine. The return of our lands. And the temporarily occupied will become forever free.

“Return to normal life. To happy moments without curfew. To earthly joys without air alerts. The return of what has been stolen from us. The childhood of our children, the peaceful old age of our parents.

“May the New Year bring it all. We’re ready to fight for it. That’s why each of us is here. I’m here, we’re here, you’re here – everyone’s here. We’re all Ukraine.”

The New Year attacks followed a barrage of more than 20 cruise missiles fired at targets across on Ukraine on Saturday in what Ukraine’s human rights ombudsman, Dmytro Lubinets, called “terror on New Year’s Eve.”

Saturday’s attack – Moscow’s second major missile attack in three days – badly damaged a hotel south of Kyiv’s centre and a residential building in another district. A Japanese journalist was among the wounded and taken to hospital, Klitschko said.

Zelenskiy responded to Saturday’s attacks – and Vladimir Putin’s New Year address in which he blamed the west for provoking the war – with a message to the Russian people, delivered in Russian.


“Your leader wants to show he has the troops behind him, he is ahead. But he’s hiding. He hides behind the troops, missiles, his residences, palaces. He hides behind you, burns your country, your future,” Zelenskiy said. “No one will forgive for terror. No one in the world will forgive you. Ukraine won’t forgive.”

Separately, Vyacheslav Gladkov, the governor of the southern Russian region of Belgorod, bordering with Ukraine, said that as a result of overnight shelling of the outskirts of Shebekino town, there was damage to houses, but no casualties.

Ukraine has never publicly claimed responsibility for any attacks inside Russia but has called them “karma” for Russia’s invasion.






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Old 02-01-23, 16:00   #210
 
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Movies re: Putins’ Regime Crumbling Spies Defect & Russia Keeps Relatives Hostage

Russian Deserters: Kremlin Hunts CONVICTS Who Fled War Training

Russia-Ukraine War- 11 Killed At Mobilisation Training, Mystery Death, Hunt For Draft Escapees


BBC News 2 JAN 2023






'If you desert, we'll execute you': 'Putin's chef' recruits convicts for war


The Russian oligarch known as 'Putin's chef' has been filmed making an extraordinary appeal to convicts, promising them amnesty on their sentences if they sign up to fight in Ukraine - and a bullet in the head if they desert when they get there.

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Old 08-01-23, 07:10   #211
 
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Movies re: UK Sends MORE Tanks to Ukraine & Troops to Train Ukrainian Forces

Vladimir Putins’ Regime Crumbling as Spies Defect and Russia Keeps Relatives Hostage

The unprecedented swapping of sides has left furious Vladimir Putin reeling with a warning fired that anyone else who abandons Russia could see family members jailed - or WORSE...


BBC News 8 JAN 2023





More than 20 Russian diplomats and spies have defected since the invasion of Ukraine in a sign Vladimir Putin’s flailing regime faces collapse over the war. Putin has taken steps to stop further walk-outs

The unprecedented swapping of sides has spurred the tyrant to put “Stalinist” restrictions on foreign postings.

Most of Moscow’s officials on foreign missions now have to accept family members being left at home during their posting, effectively kept hostage.



It is the latest of Vladimir Putin ’s cruel safeguards against further catastrophic defections as family members could be jailed or worse if an official swaps sides.

Even if family members return to Russia whilst a spy or diplomat is on an overseas posting they will be kept at home as collateral.

It is believed ex-KGB officer Putin personally intervened and insisted on the “hostage to fortune” measures to stop further defections.

The defections are also thought to be an indication his Kremlin regime is hugely under threat of collapse over their disastrous Ukraine invasion.

Bruce Jones, one of the UK’s top Russia analysts told the Mirror: “I have been told by very senior and well-informed sources that there have been a number of defections of both Russian diplomats and intelligence officers.

“Some of them are known about publicly but in the background there are many more, possibly more than 20 and this is indicative of an extremely hazardous time for the Kremlin.

More than 20 Russian diplomats and spies have defected since the war began


“It is likely this is being kept quiet for obvious reasons but these defections are not just to the west but across Asia as well.”

Close to one million Russian civilians have fled their homeland - many escaping Putin’s brutal draft of new recruits for the frontline.





It comes as troop losses in Ukraine frontline are soaring towards 110,000and increasingly Putin is relying on Wagner Group mercenaries.



As many as 2,000 members of the group have been killed, many on the eastern front as Russia is sometimes losing as many as 800 soldiers in one day.

Yesterday it emerged 50 Chechen political prisoners had been press-ganged to the front, adding to the legions of ex-lags now employed as cannon fodder by Wagner.

In one Ukrainian strike alone on New Year’s Day as many as 500 troops died after apparently giving their location away by using their mobile phones.

A Ukrainian source told the Mirror: “Losses of up to 500 in one strike are a disaster, a genuine blow to Putin and his position is becoming precarious.

“Defections do reflect this as people become increasingly nervous about the future of their country and it is not looking positive for Putin.

“If something happens to him and those close to him it will happen very fast and from within but these military defeats are a very poor reflection on his decision to go to war.”

Sources revealed one plan against further defections would be to hold show trials for friends and families as a warning against traitors.

Most of the defectors are diplomats who operate from embassies and are also involved in the shadowy intelligence world.

The Mirror has been told most of them jumped sides from postings in cities in Asia and Europe.



Colonel Richard Kemp, who has worked in the top UK government intelligence organisation the Joint Intelligence Committee said:

“Western intelligence will receive potentially very useful information on what is happening within Russia.
russia




The fighting in Ukraine has increasingly become a war of attrition in recent weeks




“This development could be extremely valuable. With the disaster that Putin has brought on Russia there will be many people in influential positions who are desperate to escape.

“There will be among them diplomats and intelligence people who are looking for an alternative.”

In 2017 Russian GRU spy Artem Zinchenko was arrested in Tallinn (corr spelling), Estonia but swapped back to Russia in2018.

Last year it emerged he had fled back to Estonia as he was so upset about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

He said recently of the Ukraine war: “It is the worst scenario that could even be imagined in my mind and it was not only because my relatives live there but because of the huge number of innocent victims.”

And in May last year Russian diplomat Boris Bondarev, who worked at the UN in Geneva quit his job, branding Moscow’s war “intolerable.”

Bondarev said: “As a civil servant I have to carry a share of responsibility for that and I don’t want to do that.”





Ukrainian President Volodymyr says Putin's Christmas ceasefire is a 'cover'






Putin Attends Orthodox Christmas Service Alone



U.S. Military Deploys HIMARS Defence Systems to Estonia
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Old 11-01-23, 12:04   #212
 
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Movies re: UK Sends MORE Tanks to Ukraine & Troops to Train Ukrainian Forces

Vladimir Putin Deploys HUGE NUKE Capable Weapon Dubbed Sledgehammer to Ukraine

The 2S4 Tulip self-propelled mortar is 240mm wide and is capable of firing nuclear bombs, but it is likely this would be limited to 'micro-nukes' aimed at destroying an area the size of a football stadium

Searching For Civilians Snatched by Russia

Away from the frontline, Ukrainian and Russian human rights commissioners are meeting this week in Turkey to discuss further prisoner of war exchanges.


BBC News.11 JAN 2023






Russian forces suffering massive frontline losses have deployed the world’s largest nuke-capable mortar weapon to the battlefield.

Dubbed “the Sledgehammer” the 2S4 Tulip - or Tyulpan - self-propelled mortar is 240mm wide - twice the size of NATO mortars which are 120mm.





Transported on its own tracks, it has a range of 12 miles and is used to obliterate large fortifications, military equipment, or troop positions.






It is capable of firing nuclear bombs, although it is likely this would be limited to “micro-nukes” aimed at destroying an area the size of a football stadium.

The heavy mortar weapon has already seen service in Afghanistan, Chechnya and Syria, with devastating effects.

It can also fire armour piercing, laser-guided, and outlawed cluster munitions, as well as tactical nuclear weapons.

Moscow’s commanders are desperately trying to hold back a ferocious counter-offensive by Ukraine’s forces all along the eastern front.






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Old 15-01-23, 07:58   #213
 
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Ukraine War: UK to Send MORE Tanks to Ukraine That Could Help Win The War Against Russia

The UK has confirmed for the first time that it's planning to send "game changing" tanks to Ukraine, pledging to accelerate its support with the kind of technology which could help Ukraine win the war against Russia.

BBC 15 JAN 2023




Poland has also pledged to transfer a company of Lepoard tanks, after President Zelenskyy met the Polish prime minister for talks in Lviv.

Ukraine has been asking western allies to provide hundreds of tanks - as fighting intensifies around the embattled eastern towns of Soledar and Bakhmut.


British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Saturday pledged to provide 14 Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine, making it the first Western country to supply the heavy tanks Kyiv has been calling for.



The pledge saw a swift reaction from Russia which warned it would only "intensify" the conflict.

"Bringing tanks to the conflict zone, far from drawing the hostilities to a close, will only serve to intensify combat operations, generating more casualties, including among the civilian population", the Russian embassy in the UK said.


Sunak said the tanks were a sign of the UK's "ambition to intensify our support to Ukraine", according to a readout of a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Ukraine's European allies have sent Kyiv more than 300 modernised Soviet tanks since Russia invaded in February 2022.

But they have so far held off on dispatching the Western-made heavy tanks that Ukraine has repeatedly requested to push forward against Russian invaders.

Zelensky thanked the UK on Twitter for making decisions that "will not only strengthen us on the battlefield, but also send the right signal to other partners".


- Heavy Losses -

Ukraine's forces have taken heavy losses in the battles of Soledar and Bakhmut in recent months and have called on the country's allies to give it more support.

Russia said on Friday its forces had wrested control of the war-scarred town of Soledar in east Ukraine, its first claim of victory in months of battlefield setbacks, although Ukraine said fierce fighting was still under way.

"To win this war, we need more military equipment, heavy equipment," Andriy Yermak, head of Ukraine's presidential office, said.

Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba also said that he had spoken with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and "emphasised the need" for Ukraine to receive Western-type tanks.

The UK will also send around 30 AS90s, large, self-propelled guns, operated by five gunners.


- Fears of Escalation - -


The tanks will arrive in Ukraine in coming weeks, a second statement from Sunak's Downing Street office said later Saturday, adding that the UK will also begin training the Ukrainian Armed Forces to use the tanks and guns in coming days.

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Old 17-01-23, 06:27   #214
 
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Alleged Ex-Wagner Group Commander Seeking Asylum in Norway

Russia’s Wagner Group ‘Have as Much Power in Kremlin as Ministers’

Andrey Medvedev, 26, deserted after reportedly witnessing War Crimes in Ukraine and is willing to reveal what he saw, his lawyer says

BBC 17 JAN 2023





Andrey Medvedev ex-Wagner Group commander seeking asylum in Norway





Yevgeny Prigozhin, who founded the group, with Vladimir Putin.




Andrey Medvedev, 26, deserted after reportedly witnessing war crimes in Ukraine and is willing to reveal what he saw, his lawyer says


An alleged former commander with the Russian mercenary Wagner Group has sought asylum in Norway, authorities say, after deserting the organisation that has played a central role in some of the major battles of the Ukraine conflict.

Andrey Medvedev, 26, reportedly crossed the border into Norway near the Pasvikdalen valley shortly before 2am last Friday, where he was arrested and detained by border guards.

The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) confirmed to the Associated Press that Andrey Medvedev sought shelter in the country but “for reasons of security and privacy … cannot comment further on this matter”.

Police, who did not confirm his identity, said in a statement to Agence France-Presse that a man was “detained by Norwegian border guards and Norwegian police at 1.58am (0058 GMT)” on Friday morning.

“He has applied for asylum in Norway,” said Tarjei Sirma-Tellefsen, chief of staff for the police in Finnmark, northern Norway.

Medvedev’s Norwegian lawyer, Brynjulf Risnes, told the BBC that Medvedev was being held in Oslo where he faces charges of illegally entering the country and that he deserted after witnessing war crimes in Ukraine.

Risnes said his client was no longer in custody, but at a “safe place” while his case was being analysed. “If he gets asylum in Norway that accusation [of illegal entry] will be dropped automatically,” Risnes said.

“He has declared that he is willing to speak about his experiences in the Wagner Group to people who are investigating war crimes,” the lawyer said, adding that Medvedev alleged he had served as a unit commander in charge of between five and 10 soldiers.

Norwegian police said they were notified late on Thursday by Russian border guards who discovered traces in the snow that could indicate that someone had crossed the border illegally. The man was detained by border guards and the arrest was undramatic, police said.

Medvedev’s lawyer told AFP on Monday that after crossing the border his client had sought out locals and asked that they call the police.

Medvedev has been on the run since he defected from the Wagner Group on 6 July, according to Norwegian news agency NTB.

He reportedly told a Russian human rights group that he was ready to tell everything he knows about the Wagner Group, its activities and its founder, Yevgeny Prigozhin, a millionaire with ties to Russian president Vladimir Putin.


Prigozhin confirmed to the BBC that Medvedev was a former Wagner soldier.
Ukrainian servicemen give first aid to a wounded soldier in a shelter in Soledar
Russia’s Wagner group fighting ‘heavy, bloody battles’ for control of Soledar


Rights group Gulagu.net, which advocates for prisoners in Russian detention, has published interviews with Medvedev, including one after his crossing into Norway, where he detailed his dramatic escape.

“When I was on the ice [at the border], I heard dogs barking, I turned around, I saw people with torches, about 150 metres (500ft) away, running in my direction,” Medvedev says in one video. “I heard two shots, the bullets whizzed by.”

According to Gulagu.net, Medvedev originally signed a four-month contract with Wagner in early July 2022 and claims to have witnessed executions and reprisals against those who refused to fight and wanted to leave.

According to Risnes, Medvedev said “he experienced something completely different from what he was expecting” after joining the private mercenary group, which has been at the forefront of key battles in Ukraine.

Wanting to leave and after claiming he witnessed war crimes in Ukraine, Medvedev said his contract was extended without his consent. “He understood that there was no easy way out, so that’s when he decided to just run,” Risnes said.

Medvedev then reportedly spent two months underground in Russia, before crossing the border into Norway last week.

The Guardian has not been able to independently verify Medvedev’s account.




The Wagner Group includes a large number of convicts recruited in Russian prisons who have spearheaded attacks in Ukraine.

The group has become increasingly influential in Africa, where it has been pushing Russian disinformation, building alliances with regimes and gaining access to oil, gas, gold, diamonds and valuable minerals.





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Old 19-01-23, 02:39   #215
 
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Movies re: US & Germany FINALLY Agrees to Send Leopard Tanks to Ukraine

Wagner Chief Frees Russian Convicts Who Fought in Ukraine

Ukraine Helicopter Crashes Near Nursery, Killing Children and Minister

BBC 19 JAN 2023





More than 28,000 Russian prisoners including murderers and rapists freed to fight in Ukraine


The founder of the Russian Wagner private military company, Yevgeny Prigozhin, brought a group of former fighters who completed their service in Ukraine to the Republic of Karelia in Russia's north-west, Prigozhin's press service reported on Tuesday (January 17)






Ukraine helicopter crashes near nursery, killing children and minister


Ukraine's interior minister died Wednesday in a helicopter crash near the capital (Brovary) that killed at least another 14 people, including other officials and three children, authorities said. Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskyi, who overs






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Old 20-01-23, 09:00   #216
 
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Movies re: US & Germany FINALLY Agrees to Send Leopard Tanks to Ukraine

Vladimir Putin Henchman Threatens West With Nuclear WAR if Russia Defeated in Ukraine

Ukraine War: Give us Tanks, Says Zelensky, as Western Allies Meet

BBC 20 JAN 2023





German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is under pressure to allow Kyiv a supply of the Leopard 2 tank - pictured here last year





President Zelensky told ARD television that Ukraine needed the Leopard tanks for self-defence

Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky has made a direct appeal to Germany to provide tanks ahead of crunch talks involving dozens of Western allies at Ramstein air base in southern Germany.


The US and European nations have already promised Kyiv more equipment to fight Russia's invasion.

Berlin is under growing pressure to allow its Leopard 2 tanks to be sent.

"If you have Leopard [tanks], then give them to us," Mr Zelensky told German public TV.

"These leopards won't go through Russia. We're defending ourselves," he said, in remarks criticising the German government's hesitant attitude.

Defence officials from more than 50 countries are due to meet at Ramstein, a day after the US and several European nations pledged more equipment to help Ukraine fend off any further Russian offensives.

Almost 11 months after Russia launched its war against Ukraine, Nato military officials believe Moscow is planning a renewed spring offensive with troop numbers bolstered by a partial mobilisation since the end of September.

The UK also offered 14 of its battle tanks recently - but Kyiv wants more.

As the nation of manufacture, Germany has to give its permission before countries such as Poland or Finland commit to sending their own Leopard tanks. However, Polish deputy foreign minister Pawel Jablonski indicated on Friday that Warsaw might do so anyway.

"We'll see. I think if there is strong resistance, we'll be ready to take even such non-standard action. But let's not anticipate the facts," he told Polish radio.

Ukraine's allies faced a "simple choice" on Friday, an adviser to the defence minister in Kyiv remarked ahead of the summit.

"Tanks for Ukraine are tanks for freedom," Yuriy Sak told BBC's Newsnight programme. If these were not sent, other countries might one day "have to use them themselves" against Moscow, he warned.

Berlin said this week that a decision on the Leopard was conditional on the US agreeing to send Abrams tanks, which it is not intending to do. But the new German defence minister, Boris Pistorius, said he was not aware of "such stipulation".

Late on Thursday, Germany said its position would become clear in the coming hours, AFP reported.

Mr Zelensky has repeatedly taken aim at Berlin's perceived hesitancy and on Thursday criticised suggestions that the US and Germany were only planning to commit vehicles if the other nation did the same.

"I don't think this is the right strategy to go with", Mr Zelensky commented, while calling for "strong decisions" to be made during Friday's conference.

Retired US Army general David Petraeus said there was "legitimate reluctance" in Washington on the issue of sending Abrams tanks because it was difficult to maintain and had a jet turbine.

He told the BBC it was "imperative" that any Western tank donations were made "early enough, so [Ukrainian soldiers] can actually train on them".

For its part, Russia has warned Western countries that providing tanks to its enemy would mark an "extremely dangerous" escalation in the conflict.

On Thursday, Western nations pledged to send more vehicles, artillery and munitions to bolster the Ukrainian war effort.

The US committed a new package worth $2.5bn (£2bn), saying this took its spend on Ukrainian support to $26.7bn since last February's full-scale invasion by Russia.

Tanks were not included in the offer, but the Pentagon did promise an extra 59 Bradley armoured vehicles, 90 Stryker personnel carriers and Avenger air defence systems, among other provisions.


The announcement came after nine European nations promised more support of their own following a meeting in Estonia. This included:

UK - 600 Brimstone missiles
Denmark - 19 French-made Caesar self-propelled howitzers
Estonia - howitzers, ammunition, support vehicles and anti-tank grenade launchers
Latvia - Stinger air-defence systems, two helicopters, and drones
Lithuania - anti-aircraft guns and two helicopters
Poland - S-60 anti-aircraft guns with 70,000 pieces of ammunition
Czech Republic - produce further large calibre ammunition, howitzers and APCs
Netherlands - support expected to be detailed on Friday







New £70 million ship bought to protect underwater cables from Russian sabotage


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Old 25-01-23, 07:29   #217
 
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Movies re: Putin Amasses Half a Mil Troops to Use For 24 FEB Anniversary Slaughter

Berlin Plans to Send German Leopard Tanks to Ukraine, According to Reports

US and Germany Ready to Send Tanks to Ukraine


Germany will send its 2A6 battle tanks in conjunction with other countries such as Finland, Sweden and Poland, say reports citing government sources


BBC 25 JAN 2023









Berlin has reportedly succumbed to huge international and domestic pressure and is set to announce that it will send German-manufactured tanks to Ukraine that Kyiv says it needs to push back Russian forces, according to media reports on Tuesday evening citing government sources.





It is reported to be planning to send a company of Leopard 2A6 battle tanks – usually comprising 14 of the vehicles – in conjunction with other partners, namely Scandinavian countries in possession of the units. Berlin is also understood to have said it would give its permission for export licences for countries such as Finland, Sweden and Poland who have bought the tanks from Germany, allowing them to be sent to Ukraine.

The decision is expected to be made officially on Wednesday and Germany’s chancellor, Olaf Scholz, is due to be questioned in the Bundestag in the morning in a debate likely to be dominated by the tank decision.

The head of Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s presidential administration immediately hailed the German reports. “This is what is going to become a real punching fist of democracy against the autocracy from the bog,” Andriy Yermak wrote on Telegram.

The 2A6 version of the Leopard is the latest version of the tank, which was first developed for the West German army in 1979.

The decision marks a groundbreaking one for Germany, ending months of painful debate and soul-searching, with the move marking the first time that German tanks will have been used on the battlefield in Europe since the second world war.

Germany’s historical responsibility as the instigator of that global conflict has been used by those arguing it has a moral obligation to send tanks to protect the victims of Russian aggression.

But at the same time, Germany’s Nazi past has been precisely what has held back decision-makers who have been deeply fearful that increasing firepower through the deployment of tanks could escalate the conflict – and leave Germany in danger of being labelled as an aggressor.

No indication has been given on the timing of the tanks’ arrival in Ukraine. The Leopard manufacturer Rheinmetall has said they could be ready to be dispatched by March. The defence minister, Boris Pistorius, said on Tuesday after a meeting in Berlin with Jens Stoltenberg, the general secretary of Nato, that he was encouraging countries with Leopards to start training Ukrainian soldiers in their use.

Berlin’s decision, after months of insisting it would only act in an alliance, is thought to have come after high-level, often tense talks in the past few days between Berlin and Washington and to be directly connected to a decision reportedly in the process of being hammered out in Washington to send its Abrams battle tanks.

Kyiv, which has been appealing for the tanks since last April, has given repeated reassurances to Berlin in particular that the tanks would only be used for defence purposes.

Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, the chair of the parliamentary defence committee, who has been highly critical of Scholz’s hesitancy, welcomed the decision even as she said it had come very late. “The decision was arduous, it took far too long, but in the end it was unavoidable,” she said, calling it “redemptive news for the abused and brave people of Ukraine”.

The deputy chair of the foreign committee in the Bundestag, Thomas Erndl of the conservative CSU, welcomed the decision, calling it “inevitable”. He told the DPA press agency: “It is important that we are now leading a European alliance, so that Ukraine receives a significant number of Leopard 2 tanks and that the training [of Ukrainian soldiers in their use] can begin immediately.”

But he criticised Scholz for a “massive weakness in decision-making”, saying that it had led to an “enormous loss of trust in Germany, from Europe and the USA”.

Lars Klingbeil, the head of the Social Democrats and a close colleague of Scholz’s, defended the chancellor. “It annoys me immensely that this careful weighing up in this curtailed debate is presented as an attempt to disassociate ourselves from Ukraine,” he told the left-leaning Berlin daily TAZ. “Olaf Scholz carries the responsibility as the German chancellor for what is a historic situation – not those who are constantly giving sly advice on Twitter or in Talkshows.”

Earlier in the day, the Wall Street Journal reported that the US government was considering sending a considerable number of its Abrams tanks. France is also believed to be on the verge of announcing it will send its own tanks to Ukraine.




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Old 27-01-23, 09:13   #218
 
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Movies re: Putin Amasses Half a Mil Troops to Use For 24 FEB Anniversary Slaughter

Putins' Revenge After Tanks Offer-Arctic Bombers BLAST Ukraine

Ukraine Hit by Russian Missiles Day After Wests' Offer of Tanks


BBC 27 JAN 2023












Russia launched a wave of missiles at Ukraine on Thursday, a day after Germany and the US pledged tanks to aid Kyiv's fight against the invasion.

Eleven people died and 11 others were injured after 35 buildings were struck across several regions, the state's emergency service said.

It added the worst damage to residential buildings was in the Kyiv region.

Officials also reported strikes on two energy facilities in the Odesa region.



The barrage came as Russia said it perceived the new offer of military support, which followed a UK pledge to send Challenger 2 battle tanks, as "direct" Western involvement in the conflict.

In what was a sustained and wide-ranging attack, the head of the Ukrainian army said Moscow launched 55 air and sea-based missiles on Thursday.

Valery Zaluzhny added that 47 of them were shot down, including 20 around Kyiv.

Earlier, Ukraine's air force said it had downed a cluster of Iranian-made attack drones launched by Russian forces from the Sea of Azov in the south of the country.

A 55-year-old man was killed and two others wounded when non-residential buildings in the south of the capital were struck, officials reported.

The offensive was a continuation of Russia's months-long tactic of targeting Ukraine's infrastructure. The freezing winter has seen power stations destroyed and millions plunged into darkness.

After Thursday's strikes, emergency power cuts were enforced in Kyiv and several other regions to relieve pressure on the electricity grid, said DTEK, Ukraine's largest private power producer.

A day earlier, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz promised to provide Ukraine with 14 Leopard 2 tanks, following weeks of international pressure. They are widely seen as some of the most effective battle tanks available.

The heavy weaponry is expected to arrive in late March or early April.

President Joe Biden later announced the US would send 31 M1 Abrams battle tanks, marking a reversal of longstanding Pentagon arguments that they are a poor fit for the Ukrainian battlefield.

Canada has also promised to supply Ukraine with four "combat-ready" Leopard tanks in the coming weeks, together with experts to train Ukrainian soldiers in how to operate them.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Thursday that 12 countries had now joined what he called the "tank coalition".

But for tanks to be "game-changer", 300 to 400 of them would be needed, an adviser to Ukraine's defence minister told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"The sooner we defeat Russia on the battlefield using Western weapons, the sooner we will be able to stop this missile terror and restore peace," Yuriy Sak said.

Speaking on the same programme, Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said sending tanks to Ukraine would make a big difference to the country's ability to win the war.

He also warned that Russia was planning a fresh offensive, just as reports began emerging from Ukraine of missile strikes following drone attacks overnight.

On Thursday, the US designated Russia's Wagner group, which is believed to have thousands of mercenaries in Ukraine, a transnational criminal organisation.

It also imposed fresh sanctions on the group and their associates to "further impede [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's ability to arm and equip his war machine", Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in the statement.


Ros Atkins on… Germany’s Ukraine tank decision









Putin’s machismo obsession sees him wear Cuban heels while photographed with students


Paranoid Vladimir Putin installs personal rocket launcher to protect his family



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Old 30-01-23, 02:20   #219
 
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Movies re: Putin Amasses Half a Mil Troops to Use For 24 FEB Anniversary Slaughter

PutinTold Boris I Can KILL You in a MINUTE & Threatened Missile Strike

Ukraine: Boris Johnson Says Putin Threatened Him With Missile Strike


BBC 30 JAN 2023





Boris Johnson received a call from President Putin the day after he met Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv

Boris Johnson has said Vladimir Putin threatened him with a missile strike in an "extraordinary" phone call in the run-up to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The then-prime minister said Mr Putin told him it "would only take a minute".


Mr Johnson said the comment was made after he warned the war would be an "utter catastrophe" during a "very long" call in February 2022.

Details of the exchange are revealed in a BBC documentary, examining Mr Putin's interactions with world leaders.

Mr Johnson warned Mr Putin that invading Ukraine would lead to Western sanctions and more Nato troops on Russia's borders.

He also tried to deter Russian military action by telling Mr Putin that Ukraine would not join Nato "for the foreseeable future".

But Mr Johnson said: "He threatened me at one point, and he said, 'Boris, I don't want to hurt you but, with a missile, it would only take a minute' or something like that. Jolly.

"But I think from the very relaxed tone that he was taking, the sort of air of detachment that he seemed to have, he was just playing along with my attempts to get him to negotiate."

President Putin had been "very familiar" during the "most extraordinary call", Mr Johnson said.

It is impossible to know if Mr Putin's threat was genuine.

However, given previous Russian attacks on the UK - most recently in Salisbury in 2018 - any threat from the Russian leader, however lightly delivered, is probably one Mr Johnson would have had no choice but to take seriously.

Nine days later, on 11 February, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace flew to Moscow to meet his Russian counterpart, Sergei Shoigu.

The BBC documentary Putin Vs the West reveals Mr Wallace left with assurances that Russia would not invade Ukraine, but he said both sides knew it was a lie.

He described it as a "demonstration of bullying or strength, which is: I'm going to lie to you, you know I'm lying and I know you know I'm lying and I'm still going to lie to you.

"I think it was about saying 'I'm powerful'," Mr Wallace said.

He said the "fairly chilling, but direct lie" had confirmed his belief that Russia would invade.

As he left the meeting, he said Gen Valery Gerasimov - Russia's chief of general staff - told him "never again will we be humiliated".

Less than a fortnight later, as tanks rolled over the border on 24 February, Mr Johnson received a phone call in the middle of the night from President Zelensky.

"Zelensky's very, very calm," Mr Johnson recalled. "But, he tells me, you know, they're attacking everywhere."

Mr Johnson says he offered to help move the president to safety.

"He doesn't take me up on that offer. He heroically stayed where he was."

Putin Vs the West will be broadcast on Monday 30 January on BBC 2 at 21:00, and will be available on the iPlayer in the UK.



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Old 02-02-23, 07:50   #220
 
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Movies Re: Putin Amasses Half a Mil Troops to Use For 24 FEB Anniversary Slaughter

Ukraine Confirms Putin Planning February Anniversary Attack With Half a Million Troops

Ukraine's defence minister has warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin has amassed half a million troops and could use them for an 'anniversary' attack on the country


BBC 2 FEB 2023




Ukraine has confirmed fears that Russian President Vladimir Putin may be planning a February 24 'anniversary' attack on the country with half a million troops.Putin was enraged by the West's decision to arm Ukraine with its tanks







Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov is the latest to warn Putin might try something on the one year anniversary of the initial invasion Reznikov has said that Moscow has amassed hundreds of thousands of troops and could “try something” on the one year anniversary of its invasion.


The major new offensive would mark another phase of the ongoing war, and comes after prolonged fears Russia might utilise the anniversary date to renew their efforts to take Ukraine.

The Kremlin shocked the world when, in February last year, it invaded the country and tried to seize Kyiv as apart of what it claimed was a "special military operation".

Any attack would also mark Russia’s Defender of the Fatherland Day on February 23 - which celebrates the army.

Mr Reznikov said the Kremlin has gathered half a million troops for the potential offensive.

In September last year, Putin announced a general mobilisation that bolstered his forces by an estimated 300,000 soldiers.

But Mr Reznikov warned the true figure could be far higher than this. Speaking to the BFM Network in France, he said: "Officially they announced 300,000 but when we see the troops at the borders, according to our assessments it is much more,".

This comes as NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warned there had been no indication that Putin had been deterred from his goal of total conquest of Ukraine.

He said: "That they are actively acquiring new weapons, more ammunition, ramping up their own production, but also acquiring more weapons from other authoritarian states like Iran and North Korea.

"And most of all, we have seen no sign that President Putin has changed his overall goal of this invasion - that is to control a neighbour, to control Ukraine. So as long as this is the case, we need to be prepared for the long haul."

The fighting itself has reached something of a stalemate in recent months despite heavy conflict in the Donbas region in the east of Ukraine.




Neither side has made significant territorial advances apart from Russia's seizure of the town of Soledar.

Emergency workers clear the rubble after a Russian rocket hit a multistory building leaving many people under debris in the southeastern city of Dnipro, Ukraine


But Mr Reznikov said Ukraine was hoping to "stabilise the front and prepare for a counter offensive."

He added: "I have faith that the year 2023 can be the year of military victory,".

The defence minister was in France to strike a deal to purchase more MG-200 air defence radars which Mr Reznikov said would "significantly increase the capacity of the armed forces to detect air targets, including winged and ballistic missiles, and drones of various types".

Ukraine's Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Malyar said that the infamous Wagner Group were supporting Russian forces in the intense fighting taking part in the Donbas region.





A local resident is rescued from under the rubble of her apartment on the 4th floor 16 hours after Russian forces bombed a residential building on January 15, 2023 in Dnipro






Prisoner of War Wagner Mercenaries Ask to be Swapped For Ukrainian Forces in Hostage Video


This footage reportedly shows Wagner Group prisoners of war asking to switched with Belarusian volunteers of the Kalinouski Regiment in a hostage video.




Putin's Top Army Boss Boasts Thousands of Convict Conscripts Have Turned Into 'Cannibals'

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