Russia-Ukraine latest news: Putin wanted to ‘wipe out’ Prigozhin during Wagner mutiny, says Belarus president

Putin appeals to Russian public after Wagner mutiny

Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko said he persuaded Vladimir Putin not to “wipe out” Wagner mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, in response to what the Kremlin cast as a mutiny.

While describing his Saturday conversation with Putin, Lukashenko used the Russian criminal slang phrase for killing someone, equivalent to the English phrase to “wipe out”.

“I also understood: a brutal decision had been made (and it was the undertone of Putin‘s address) to wipe out” the mutineers, Lukashenko said, according to Belarusian state media.

“I suggested to Putin not to rush. ‘Come on,’ I said, ‘Let’s talk with Prigozhin, with his commanders.’ To which he told me: ‘Listen, Sasha, it’s useless. He doesn’t even pick up the phone, he doesn’t want to talk to anyone’.”

It comes as twin girls and a child are among 10 people killed in a Russian strike on a restaurant in the city of Kramatorsk using a supersonic Iskander missile, authorities in Ukraine have said.

A man accused by Kyiv of collaborating with Moscow has been arrested over the strike in the Donetsk region which killed 14-year-old Yulia and Anna Aksenchenko, along with a child and a 17-year-old, and wounded at least 61 others.


Russia to be blocked from accessing UK legal advice

The UK in its fresh bout of sanctions against Russia has banned Kremlin-linked individuals and businesses from accessing British legal expertise.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said a new law would be introduced today preventing UK lawyers from advising Russian companies on certain business deals in a move designed to thwart Moscow’s war machine in Ukraine.

Officials said the sanction could impact Russia’s ability to obtain legal advice on everything from trade deals between global corporations to international money lending.

Russia is highly dependent on western countries for legal expertise, according to the MoJ, with the UK previously exporting £56m in legal services to Russian businesses every year.

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar29 June 2023 05:30


Russian general Sergei Surovikin arrested after Wagner rebellion – report

Russian General Sergei Surovikin has been arrested following the Wager Group’s rebellion, the Moscow Times reported, citing defence ministry sources.

The defence ministry is yet to officially comment on the alleged arrest of the general, who has not been seen in public since last Saturday, when Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin launched an armed rebellion against Vladimir Putin.

“The situation with him was not ‘OK’. For the authorities. I can’t say anything more,” one of the sources told the outlet.

A second source said the arrest was carried out “in the context of Prigozhin”.

“Apparently, he [Surovikin] chose Prigozhin’s side during the uprising” and they have gotten ahold of him, the source added.

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar29 June 2023 05:29


Putin’s two-faced tirades over the Wagner mutiny could still be his undoing

Claiming treachery one minute, then praising Wagner’s role in Ukraine the next, may have allowed the Russian leader to steer out of an immediate storm, writes Mary Dejevsky. But such mixed messages expose cracks in his authority that will be hard to repair

Joe Middleton29 June 2023 05:00


Twin sisters among at least 11 dead in Russian missile strike

Fourteen-year-old twin sisters were among at least 11 people killed in a Russian missile strike on a popular pizza restaurant in eastern Ukraine.

Another girl, aged 17, was among the bodies pulled from the rubble following the attack on the eastern city of Kramatorsk on Tuesday, which turned the restaurant into pile of twisted beams.

Around 60 people were wounded, with an eight-month-old baby suffering head wounds.

The strike, along with others across Ukraine into yesterday, show that the Kremlin is not easing up on its aerial bombardment of the country, despite the armed mutiny by the Wagner mercenary group that shook Russia over the weekend.

Sisters Anna and Yulia Aksenchenko would have turned 15 in September, Kramatorsk city council’s education department said in a Facebook post under a picture of the two girls smiling for the camera.

“Russian missiles stopped the beating of the hearts of two angels,” it said in a Telegram post. “We share the grief of your family and together with you we bow our heads in deep sorrow.”

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar29 June 2023 04:30


Russian ‘spy’ to be charged over Kramatorsk strike

An alleged Russian agent involved in the attack on the city of Kramatorsk will be charged with treason, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said.

Three teenagers were among the 11 people killed in a missile strike on a popular restaurant. Those helping Russia destroy lives deserve the “maximum penalty”, the president said.

Ukrainian authorities said the man allegedly sent video footage of the restaurant to the Russian military hours before it was destroyed.

According to reports, at least 60 others, including Colombian nationals and a leading Ukrainian writer, suffered injuries in the blast.

The attack also damaged 18 multistory buildings, 65 houses, five schools, two kindergartens, a shopping centre, an administrative building and a recreational building, regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said.

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar29 June 2023 04:05


UN report finds Russia tortured, executed civilians in Ukraine; Kyiv also abused detainees

Russian forces carried out widespread and systematic torture of civilians who were detained in connection with its attack on Ukraine, summarily executing dozens of them, the United Nations human rights office said Tuesday.

The global body interviewed hundreds of victims and witnesses for a report detailing more than 900 cases of civilians, including children and elderly people, being arbitrarily detained in the conflict, most of them by Russia.

The vast majority of those interviewed said they were tortured and in some cases subjected to sexual violence during detention by Russian forces, the head of the U.N. human rights office in Ukraine said.

Joe Middleton29 June 2023 04:00


Wagner chief walks free after armed revolt. Other Russians defying the Kremlin aren’t so lucky

Mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin led an armed rebellion against the Russian military — and walked free. Others who merely voiced criticism against the Kremlin weren’t so lucky.

On Tuesday, Russia’s main domestic security agency, the FSB, said it had dropped the criminal investigation into last week’s revolt, with no charges against Prigozhin or any of the other participants, even though about a dozen Russian troops were killed in clashes.

The Kremlin had promised not to prosecute Prigozhin after reaching an agreement with him that he would halt the uprising and retreat to neighboring Belarus. That came even though President Vladimir Putin vowed to punish those behind the rebellion.

Joe Middleton29 June 2023 03:00


NATO warns not to underestimate Russian forces, and tells Moscow it has increased preparedness

NATO’s chief said Tuesday that the power of Russia’s military shouldn’t be underestimated following the weekend mutiny against it by Wagner Group mercenaries, and said the alliance has increased its readiness to confront Russia in recent days.

Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance may decide to further boost its strength and readiness to face Russia and its ally Belarus when NATO leaders meet in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius on July 11-12.

”So, no misunderstanding and no room for misunderstanding in Moscow or Minsk about our ability to defend our allies against any potential threat,” Stoltenberg said.

Joe Middleton29 June 2023 02:00


US sanctions gold companies suspected of supporting Wagner mercenaries in Russia

The United States moved on Tuesday to punish companies accused of doing business with the infamous Russian mercenary army known as the Wagner Group, following the group’s insurrection attempt within Russia’s borders.

The move is not thought to be specifically related to the coup, however, instead being a response to Wagner’s participation in some of the bloodiest fighting taking place within Ukraine, where Russian forces launched a full-scale invasion last year.

A statement from the Treasury Department faulted companies in Africa and the Middle East for participating in a gold-selling scheme in violation of US sanctions to fund the Wagner Group’s ongoing activities. One executive at Wagner, Andrey Nikolayevich Ivanov, was also slapped with individual sanctions on his financial dealings.

Joe Middleton29 June 2023 01:00


Mapped: Has Ukraine made advances against Russia?

With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine raging for 16 months, Ukraine is now pushing back with its long-awaited counteroffensive that has already recorded a number of gains.

On Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky praised Ukrainian troops for advancing “in all sectors”, having spent the day presenting awards to front-line soldiers in the east and south.

“Today in all sectors, our soldiers made advances. It is a happy day,” Mr Zelensky said in his nightly video address, which was delivered from a train after visiting two frontline areas.

Joe Middleton28 June 2023 23:59

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