Thursday, June 13, 2024

Live Update: Russia’s “Special Operation” in Ukraine; Day 524

Russia, wary of NATO’s eastward expansion, began a military campaign in Ukraine in February 2022 after the Western-leaning Kiev government turned a deaf ear to Moscow’s calls for its neighbor to maintain its neutrality. In the middle of the mayhem, Moscow and Kiev are trying to hammer out a peaceful solution to the conflict. Follow the latest about the Russia-Ukraine conflict here:

Ukraine does not attack civilian vessels: Official

Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, told Reuters that Kyiv did not attack and would not attack civilian vessels or any other civilian objects in the Black Sea, calling Russian statements “fictitious”.

Russia’s defence ministry announced it had thwarted an attack from Ukrainian drones overnight on civilian transport vessels in the Black Sea, according to the Interfax news agency.

“Undoubtedly, such statements by Russian officials are fictitious and do not contain even a shred of truth. Ukraine has not attacked, is not attacking and will not attack civilian vessels, nor any other civilian objects,” Podolyak stated.

Kremlin says measures are being taken after Moscow drone strikes

The Kremlin believes there’s “an obvious threat” after the latest drone strike on Moscow, presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov stated in a call with journalists on Tuesday.

“There is an obvious threat, and measures are being taken,” Peskov said when asked about the strikes, but declined to elaborate on the attacks and measures taken to prevent them.

Peskov’s remarks came after a drone struck the same Moscow building that was hit on Sunday, according to the city’s mayor. It comes after three drones were brought down by Russian air defenses on Sunday.

Russia calls second drone strike on Moscow skyscraper “terrorist attack”

Russia announced Ukraine launched three drones toward Moscow on Tuesday, in what the country’s Ministry of Defense has labeled a “terrorist attack.”

“On the night of 1 August, an attempt by the Kiev regime to launch a terrorist attack by unmanned aerial vehicles against facilities in Moscow… was foiled,” the ministry statement said.

According to the ministry, the three drones were brought down.

“Two Ukrainian UAVs were destroyed in the air by air defence facilities over the territory of Odintsovo and Narofominsk districts of Moscow region,” it added.

A third drone was intercepted and lost control before crashing into a complex of non-residential buildings in Moscow City, the statement added. It hit the very same building that was struck in Ukrainian drone strikes on Sunday.

The Moscow City area is mostly a financial district of the city but the building that was hit – for the second night in a row – houses some government offices.

Among the offices at the building are the delegations of the Ministry of Economy, the Scientific and Technical Library of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Digital Development, their subordinate structures and a local body of the Federal Agency for Technical Regulation and Metrology (Rosstandart).

Employees at the Ministry of Digital Development have been working remotely since the first drone attack on Sunday, Russian state media reported.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak stated the drone strikes on Moscow are a sign the Russian capital is becoming “used to a full-fledged war.”

“Moscow is rapidly getting used to a full-fledged war, which, in turn, will soon finally move to the territory of the authors of the war to collect all their debts,” Podolyak said in a post on Twitter Tuesday.

“More unidentified drones, more collapse, more civil conflicts, more war,” he added.

Russian Defense Ministry says it thwarted Ukrainian attack on Black Sea vessels

Russian forces repelled a Ukrainian naval drone attack on two of its patrol vessels in the Black Sea, according to a statement posted on the Russian Defense Ministry’s Telegram channel on Tuesday.

“Overnight, the Ukrainian armed forces made an unsuccessful attempt to attack with three uncrewed boats the patrol vessels Sergei Kotov and Vasily Bykov of the Black Sea Fleet, which were carrying out tasks to control navigation in the southwestern part of the Black Sea, 340 kilometers southwest of Sevastopol,” the statement read.

The statement added that the three Ukrainian naval drones “were destroyed by fire from the regular weapons of the Russian ships,” while the Russian ships “continue to carry out their assigned tasks.”

The Vasily Bykov is one of the two Russian vessels that participated in the attack on Snake Island on 24 February 2022.

Russian armed forces chief visits Zaporizhzhia frontlines

Russian military chief of staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov visited the front lines in the Zaporizhzhia region, the country’s Defense Ministry said on Tuesday.

In a Telegram post, the ministry said Gerasimov inspected the command post of the troop grouping in the Zaporozhye direction, using the Russian spelling for Zaporizhzhia.

“At the command post, the head of the General Staff heard a report by the commander of the grouping, Colonel-General Alexander Romanchuk, on the current situation, the nature of the enemy’s actions and the performance by Russian troops of combat tasks in the Orekhov (Rus for Ukr Orikhiv) tactical direction,” the post added.

It was not immediately clear when exactly Gerasimov was at the command post.

The Defense Ministry noted that Gerasimov “drew attention to the timely identification of the enemy, the launching of preventive strikes against it and the conduct of counter-battery warfare” during the inspection.

Gerasimov was thrust into the position of leading Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine in January this year.

The decision put Gerasimov, who was been chief of the General Staff for more than a decade, closer to direct supervision of Putin’s campaign and with more responsibility for it.

Drone hits a building in Moscow: Mayor

A drone has struck the same building in Moscow that was hit on Sunday, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin stated Tuesday.

“Several drones that were trying to fly into Moscow were shot down by [our] air defense. One flew into the same tower in [Moscow] City as last time. The facade at the 17th floor was damaged,” the mayor said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Sunday that war is “gradually returning” to Russia after the Kremlin accused Kyiv of targeting Moscow with drones.

The Russian defense ministry announced three drones were intercepted Sunday, but a business and shopping development in the west of the capital was hit. The fifth and sixth floors of a 50-story building were damaged, and no casualties were reported, state news agency TASS reported.

Ukraine and Croatia agree on the use of Croatian ports to export Ukrainian grain

Kyiv and Zagreb have agreed on the “possibility” of using Croatian ports on the Danube river to export Ukrainian grain, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba stated after a meeting with his counterpart Gordan Grlic-Radman.

“We agreed on the possibility of using Croatian ports on the Danube and the Adriatic Sea to transport Ukrainian grain,” Ukraine’s Kuleba said on Monday, according to the Ukrainian government website.

“Now we will work to build the most efficient routes to these ports and make the most of this opportunity,” he stated.

“Every contribution to unblocking exports, every open door is a real, effective contribution to the world’s food security. I am grateful to Croatia for its constructive assistance,” he added.

The announcement follows Russia’s withdrawal from the UN-brokered Black Sea Grain Initiative, as well as several missile and drone strikes on Ukraine’s grain storage and export infrastructure in the Odesa region, targeting both sea and river ports.

Putin will not survive even 10 more years: Zelensky

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky predicted Russian President Vladimir Putin will not survive “even 10 more years.”

In clips from the interview with Brazilian outlet Globo, posted to his Telegram page on Monday, Zelensky was asked if he thinks Ukraine is similar to the war in Syria and whether Ukraine could end up like Syria.

“No, it is not possible because Putin will not live that many years. He did not fight in Syria at the pace he is fighting us. The war in Syria is different,” Zelensky stated.

The Russian president “will not survive even 10 more years, he is not the same character anymore,” Zelensky continued, adding that the actions of the Russian troops on the battlefield “prove that today Russia is unable to occupy Ukraine completely and destroy us.”

White House calls Russian defense official’s comments on nuclear weapons “reckless and irresponsible”

The White House is criticizing senior Russian defense official Dmitry Medvedev’s comments suggesting Russia may resort to nuclear weapons if Ukraine is successful in its counteroffensive.

A National Security Council spokesperson called the rhetoric “reckless and irresponsible” on Monday. So far, the US has not seen any indications Russia is preparing to turn to nuclear weapons, the spokesperson added.

“The use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine — or anywhere — would be disastrous for the world and would have severe consequences for Russia,” the spokesperson said.

“We continue to monitor this closely, but we have not seen any reason to adjust our own nuclear posture nor any indications that Russia is preparing to use a nuclear weapon,” the official added.

Medvedev, the deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, made the comments in a Telegram post. They are the latest in a series of nuclear threats made by Moscow since launching its war against Ukraine.

“Just imagine that the offensive… in tandem with NATO, succeeded and ended up with part of our land being taken away. Then we would have to use nuclear weapons by virtue of the stipulations of the Russian Presidential Decree,” Medvedev said in the post.

“There simply wouldn’t be any other solution,” he continued, adding, “Our enemies should pray to our fighters that they do not allow the world to go up in nuclear flames.”

US President Joe Biden said earlier this month that he does not believe Russia would deploy nuclear weapons.

At least 4 dead and 17 injured by shelling in Kherson: Ukrainian official

Ukraine says Russian shelling of the city of Kherson has killed at least 4 people and injured 17 others, the head of the Ukrainian President’s Office, Andrii Yermak posted on Telegram on Monday.

“The enemy is hitting residential areas,” Yermak wrote, adding, “The Korabelny district and the central part of the city suffered the most. There are 4 dead and 17 wounded as of now.”

Local officials said Russia had intensified shelling on the city to provide cover for rotating troops.

“Such intensity of shelling is due to the rotation of enemy troops on the left bank [of the Dnipro river],” the head of Kherson region military administration Oleksandr Prokudin wrote in a telegram post on Monday.

“Russia has replenished its forces that our Armed Forces had previously destroyed,” he continued.

Death toll from Kryvyi Rih missile attack rises to 6 and 75 injured: Authorities

The death toll has risen to six, with 75 others injured, after two Russian missiles struck a residential area and a university in Kryvyi Rih, according to a revised death toll from the head of the Dnipropetrovsk region military administration, Serhii Lysak.

“Floors four through nine of the residential building have been completely destroyed,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a post on Monday afternoon.

“The work is difficult – parts of the building’s structure were falling down,” he added.

More than 350 people are involved in the search and rescue effort following Monday’s strikes, according to Zelensky.

Russia used two ballistic missiles to target Kryvyi Rih, the head of the city’s Defense Council, Oleksandr Vilkul, told CNN earlier on Monday.

The Russian Ministry of Defense has yet to comment on Monday’s strikes on the central Ukrainian city.

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