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UK brushes off allegations as ‘invented story’
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Moscow has claimed it will publish proof that British specialist troops were involved in a drone attack over the weekend on Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.
It comes as the Ministry of Defence dismissed Russia’s allegation as an “invented story” which says “more about arguments going on inside the Russian government than it does about the West”.
Andrei Kelin, the Russian ambassador to the UK, said it will publish its evidence “pretty soon”, adding that the UK is in “too deep” with its Ukrainian involvement.
He told Sky News: “We perfectly know about participation of British specialists in training, preparation and execution of plans against the Russian infrastructure and the Russian fleet in the Black Sea. We know that it has been done,” he said.
Meanwhile, a Ukrainian official has suggested that Russia’s decision to withdraw troops from the west bank of the Dnipro river in Kherson could be a trap as Moscow prepares the settlements for street battles.
Thank you for following our Ukraine coverage, we will now be closing this blog. Follow our site for more updates from Europe.
Russian soldiers are forcing Ukrainian civilians from their apartments in the occupied capital of the Kherson region and moving in themselves, a resident said as the southern city became a growing focus of war. His account of soldiers spreading throughout the city of Kherson suggested that Russia could be preparing for intense urban warfare in anticipation of Ukrainian advances. Russia-installed authorities in Kherson continued to urge civilians to leave the city, which lies on the western bank of the Dnieper River and has been cut off from supplies and food by Ukrainian bombardment. Kirill Stremousov, the deputy head of the region’s Kremlin-appointed administration, reiterated calls for civilians to depart for the other bank of the river. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has suggested the Russians were feigning a pullout from Kherson to lure the Ukrainian army into an entrenched battle. A Kherson resident told the Associated Press that Russian soldiers were installing themselves in vacated apartments.
More than 700 dolphins and porpoises have died in the Black Sea region since the Ukraine war began, an expert report says.
It warns that military activity in the area affects marine life forms, including cetaceans such as dolphins and porpoises.
Experts believe the loud noises of warfare are causing dolphin strandings:
Experts say dolphin strandings are being caused by loud noises of warfare in Ukraine
Ukrainian forces using captured weapons have fired at Russian targets near the key eastern city of Bakhmut as fighting dragged on in an area that Moscow is trying hard to capture.
Russian forces have repeatedly launched attacks on Bakhmut and nearby Avdiivka in Donetsk but are being pushed back with what Kyiv says are heavy losses.
“Last week there was very intense fighting … there are a lot of them (Russians), both people and equipment,” said a soldier.
Reuters journalists saw a captured Russian T-80 tank and a 2S23 Nona SVK self-propelled mortar, now controlled by Ukrainian crews, firing at targets.
Ukraine’s military says both were seized in March and took months to be refitted.
“They left us this gift, and it has high, very high (precision), and it now works against them, it helps us push them away,” the soldier said.
Bakhmut has been an important target for Russia’s armed forces in a slow advance through the Donetsk region since Russia took the industrial towns of Lysychansk and Sievierodonetsk in June and July.
The US government is providing a new $400m defence assistance package to Ukraine, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan has announced.
It will include refurbished Soviet-made T-72 tanks, aerial drones and refurbished surface-to-air missile systems to augment the man-portable air defence systems the US has already provided. Andrew Feinberg reports:
The new defence aid package includes T-72 tanks and refurbished HAWK surface-to-air missile systems, with the latter coming from US stockpiles
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the Group of Seven countries is focusing more of its security support on helping Ukraine protect against Russia’s attacks on its energy grid.
“The G7 agreed to create a new coordination group to help prepare, restore and defend Ukraine’s energy grid – the very grid that President Putin has brutalized,” Mr Blinken said after a two-day meeting in the western German town of Muenster.
In addition to Russia’s conflict, the West is also seeking to calm tensions between China and Taiwan.
The Group of Seven on Friday urged China to abstain from “threats, coercion, intimidation, or the use of force,” while the United States touted the countries’ increasingly aligned approach toward dealing with Beijing.
A mildly-worded communique, wrapping up two days of meetings by the foreign ministers of the world’s seven wealthiest democracies, reiterated the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.
But it also expressed an aim for cooperation with China where possible to tackle global health and climate challenges.
US secretary of State Antony Blinken, speaking to reporters after the meeting in the western German town of Muenster, said G7 countries sought to coordinate responses to China’s increasingly assertive global posture, though the communique did not make a reference to a common goal.
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly says Britain will not be deflected from supporting Ukraine by Russia’s attempts to distract from its illegal invasion of its neighbour.
Mr Cleverly said claims about alleged UK involvement in a drone attack on Russia’s Black Sea fleet were designed to “distract” the world and probably the Russian people themselves from Russian military setbacks.
He told PA: “The Ukrainians have been defending themselves incredibly effectively.
“The UK won’t be distracted from our ongoing support to the Ukrainians in their defence of their homeland and the world shouldn’t be distracted from calling out Russia for its illegal invasion, for hampering grain exports from the Black Sea, for targeting civilian centres and critical national infrastructure.
“They want us to be talking about everything other than those things so we are going to be relentless in talking about the things we should be talking about.”
President Vladimir Putin has said the West had hammered historical nonsense into the heads of millions of people, including about the real course of World War Two and the Soviet Union’s role in the victory over Nazi Germany.
Without citing evidence, Putin repeated a claim that Poland has not abandoned dreams of taking over parts of Ukraine.
Poland has repeatedly denied such Russian claims, and says such statements are disinformation spread by Moscow in an attempt to sow discord between Warsaw and Kyiv.
A Russian-installed official in the Ukrainian region of Kherson has backtracked on his earlier claim that a curfew had been imposed in the city and said no such limits were in place.
Kirill Stremousov had said in a video message that a round-the-clock curfew had been imposed ahead of an expected Ukrainian offensive.
But an hour later, he posted another video in which he said that no limits had been imposed and reposted an edited version of his earlier video message without any reference to a curfew.
It was not immediately clear why Stremousov denied his own remarks.
Stremousov repeated earlier calls for civilians to leave Kherson city.
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A Ukrainian multiple rocket launcher fires a rocket towards Russian positions on a front line in the Kharkiv region
AFP via Getty Images
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