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Ukraine-Russia war – live: US denies involvement in Putin ‘assassination attempt’ at Kremlin

The White House has denied Russia’s claims that the United States is behind a drone attack on the Kremlin in Moscow.

John Kirby, White House national security spokesman, said there was “no involvement by the United States in this”.

“Whatever it was did not involve us,” he told MSNBC in an interview. “We had nothing to do with this.”

The US does not encourage or enable Ukraine to strike outside its borders, he added.

It comes after Russia earlier accused Ukraine of behind behind the attack, with Volodymyr Zelensky also denying responsibility.

The Ukrainian president said: “We don’t attack Putin, or Moscow, we fight on our territory.”

Following the attack in Moscow, Russia attacked multiple cities in Ukraine with drones and missiles.

Putin’s forces hit the Black Sea city of Odesa with Iranian-made drones while drones and missiles were also launched against Kyiv for the third time in four days.

Ukraine’s military said that in Odesa, three drones — inscribed “for Moscow” and “for the Kremlin“ rained down on the city.

Key Points

  • Russia’s claims of US involvement in drone attack are false, White House says

  • Russia attacks Ukraine regions with drones inscribed ‘for Kremlin’ following alleged attack on Moscow

  • Former Russian president calls for ‘elimination of Zelensky’ following alleged drone attack in Moscow

  • Russia may have ‘staged’ Kremlin drone attack

  • Kremlin accuses Ukraine of attempt to kill Putin

Russia’s claims of US involvement in drone attack are false, White House says

13:04 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Russia’s claims that the United States is behind a drone attack on the Kremlin are false, White House national security spokesman John Kirby said on Thursday.

“I can assure you that there was no involvement by the United States in this. Whatever it was did not involve us,” Kirby told MSNBC in an interview. “We had nothing to do with this.”

The United States does not encourage or enable Ukraine to strike outside its borders, he added.

Kirby said it was still unclear what exactly happed at the Kremlin.

“We still don’t really know what happened” and Washington is still assessing the situation, Kirby said.

Russia earlier on Thursday accused the United States of being behind an attack at Moscow’s Kremlin aimed at killing Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Russian spokesman Dmitry Peskov “is just lying there,” Kirby said.

Ukraine's Zelensky will meet king during Dutch visit

14:25 , Martha Mchardy

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will meet King Willem-Alexander during his visit to The Netherlands, Dutch media outlet ANP said, citing sources.

During his visit, president Zelensky already met Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte and Belgian prime minister Alexander De Croo.

U.S. calls Russian claim that Washington was behind drone attack 'ludicrous'

14:12 , Martha Mchardy

The United States dismissed Russia’s allegation on Thursday that Washington was behind what it said was a drone attack on the Kremlin, saying Moscow’s assertion was a lie.

“Obviously it’s a ludicrous claim,” White House national security spokesman John Kirby said hours after Russia blamed the United States for what it called an attack aimed at killing president Vladimir Putin.

“The United States has nothing to do with it. We don’t even know exactly what happened here, but I can assure you the United States had no role in it whatsoever,” Mr Kirby said on CNN.

Mr Kirby said the United States does not encourage or enable Ukraine to strike outside its borders, and does not endorse attacks on individual leaders. Ukraine has denied launching any drones on the Kremlin.

Watch: Donald Trump claims he would end Russian invasion of Ukraine 'in 24 hours'

14:10 , Martha Mchardy

In pictures: President Zelensky visits The Hague

13:51 , Martha Mchardy

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses a press conference with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte (EPA)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses a press conference with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte (EPA)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses a press conference during his visit at the Catshuis in the Hague (EPA)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses a press conference during his visit at the Catshuis in the Hague (EPA)
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy shakes hands with Prime Minister Mark Rutte during a press conference, in the Hague, Netherlands (REUTERS)
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy shakes hands with Prime Minister Mark Rutte during a press conference, in the Hague, Netherlands (REUTERS)
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte (R) greets Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during his visit at the Catshuis in the Hague (EPA)
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte (R) greets Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during his visit at the Catshuis in the Hague (EPA)

Ukraine’s Zelensky convinced Putin will face court justice

12:54 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said on Thursday he was convinced that Russian president Putin would face an international war crimes court when Ukraine wins the war that has been raging for over a year.

In a speech titled “No Peace without Justice for Ukraine“ given in The Hague, the city that hosts the International Criminal Court, Zelensky said that Putin “deserves to be sentenced for these criminal actions right here in the capital of the international law.”

“And I’m sure we will see that happen when we win. And we will win,” he said. The ICC has issued an arrest warrant for Putin for alleged war crimes in Ukraine, relating to the abduction of children.

The ICC cannot prosecute the crime of war aggression itself. Zelensky’s speech was an appeal for a full-fledged tribunal to prosecute that overarching crime, a heart-felt plea for a special tribunal for aggression.

“If we want true justice, we should not look for excuses and should not refer to the shortcomings of the current international law but make bold decisions that will correct that shortcomings that unfortunately exist in international law.”

Zelensky’s speech came a day after he denied that Ukrainian forces were responsible for what the Kremlin called an attempt to assassinate Putin in a drone attack on Moscow.

The Kremlin promised retaliation for what it termed a “terrorist” act.

 (AP)
(AP)

White House: Russian claims U.S. is behind drone are false

12:40 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Russia‘s claims that the United States is behind a drone attack on the Kremlin are false, White House national security spokesman John Kirby said on Thursday.

Kirby also told MSNBC the United States does not encourage or enable Ukraine to strike outside its borders. Russia accused the United States of being behind an attack aimed at killing Russian President Vladimir Putin.

What we know about the drone attack on Kremlin: False flag operation or Putin’s humiliation?

12:20 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Viral videos of two drones exploding over the Kremlin, the residence of the president in Moscow and symbol of Russian power, have set off a frenzied cycle of claims and counterclaims, with the suggestion that Ukraine attempted to assassinate Vladimir Putin sparking both shock and skepticism.

Russia has accused Ukraine of carrying out what it called a “planned terrorist act” in an attempt to eliminate Mr Putin, saying two unmanned aerial vehicles deployed in the mission were neutralised by the Kremlin’s defence systems.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has denied the allegations, saying “we don’t attack Putin” and “we fight on our territory”.

Shweta Sharma reports:

What we know about the blast Russia claims was a Putin assassination attempt

What is the latest in politics on the war?

11:58 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

* Putin must be brought to justice for his war in Ukraine, Zelensky said on Thursday during a visit to The Hague, where the International Criminal Court (ICC) is based.

* German police said Zelensky would travel to Berlin on May 13, though a security source later said public disclosure of the visit was premature and it was now unclear if it would go ahead.

* U.S. military aid for Ukraine includes for the first time the Hydra-70 short-range air-launched rocket, taken from U.S. excess stocks.

* The Kremlin said on Thursday that it was aware Pope Francis was thinking about ways to end the conflict in Ukraine, but that it was not aware of any detailed peace plans from the Vatican.

* Russia has complained to Finland about vandalism at a Russian consulate on the Aland islands in the Baltic Sea between Finland and Sweden, the Finnish foreign ministry said on Thursday.

India to talk with China, Russia before Central Asia meeting

11:18 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

India’s foreign minister is expected to hold bilateral talks Thursday with counterparts from China and Russia ahead of a Central Asian security forum meeting.

Foreign ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization began arriving in host India’s tourist hotspot Goa, where they are expected to discuss deepening economic and security cooperation in the region on Friday.

Read more here:

India to talk with China, Russia before Central Asia meeting

Putin must face justice, Ukraine’s Zelensky says in Hague

10:49 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Russian President Vladimir Putin must be brought to justice for his war in Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Thursday during a visit to The Hague, where the International Criminal Court (ICC) is based.

The ICC in March issued an arrest warrant for Putin for suspected deportation of children from Ukraine and the European Commission has said another international centre for the prosecution of the crime of aggression in Ukraine would be set up in The Hague.

“We all want to see a different Vladimir here in the Hague, the one who deserves to be sanctioned for his criminal actions here, in the capital of international law,” Zelensky said in a speech, referring to Putin.

“I’m sure we will see that happen when we win,” he said, adding: “Whoever brings war must receive judgement.”

Russia, which is not a member of the ICC and rejects its jurisdiction, denies committing atrocities during its conflict with Ukraine, which it terms a “special operation” to “demilitarise” its neighbour.

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

Report from our chief international correspondent, Bel Trew

10:05 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Our chief international correspondent, Bel Trew, writes: Russia fired two dozen combat drones at Ukraine on Thursday as Moscow steps up its attacks on the war-torn country as Kyiv prepares a counteroffensive to retake Russian-occupied land in the south and the east .

Ukrainian Air Force Colonel Yuriy Ihnat said the Kremlin was using “kamikaze” drones, which fly towards their target before blowing up, to weaken Ukrainian air defences. On Thursday they hit a university campus in the Black Sea city of Odessa and the capital Kyiv.

“They know the (drones) will be destroyed, we are currently destroying 80 per cent, that’s how they are exhausting our air defence so much, forcing them to expose their positions,” he said on television.

Russian shelling in the southern region of Kherson meanwhile killed at least 23 civilians on Wednesday, and destroyed the city’s main railway station that had become a hub for humanitarian aid and evacuations.

Mykhailo Podolyak, a senior advisor to President Zelensky, said that the attacks on civilian infrastructure were designed to force Ukraine to stop its counter offensive plans.

“There are no excuses for indiscriminate shelling of civilian objects and there cannot be,” he told The Independent.

“This is the completely thought-out strategy of Russia today because Russia is no longer demonstrating its capabilities on the battlefield.

“In order to somehow compensate for this, to somehow seize the initiative, by attacking civilians, Russia wants to shock the world and force Ukraine to stop its counteroffensive actions.”

A still image from video said to show alleged Ukrainian drone attack on Kremlin (via REUTERS)
A still image from video said to show alleged Ukrainian drone attack on Kremlin (via REUTERS)

Trump claims he would end war in Ukraine in one day: ‘It would be easy’

09:50 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Donald Trump has claimed he would end the Russia-Ukraine war in “one day” if he was president.

The former president described the situation as “a disaster” as he spoke to GB News in an interview aired on Wednesday evening (3 May).

“If I were president, and I say this, I will end that war in one day, it would take 24 hours,” Mr Trump said.

“I know [Volodymyr] Zelensky well, I know [Vladimir] Putin well. I would get that ended in a period of 24 hours. It would be easy, that deal would be easy.”

Trump claims he would end war in Ukraine in one day: ‘It would be easy’

Russia attacks Ukraine regions with drones inscribed ‘for Kremlin’ following alleged attack on Moscow

09:49 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Russian forces attacked multiple Ukrainian regions overnight with Iranian-made drones, striking a university campus in the Black Sea city of Odesa and attacking the capital Kyiv for the third time in four days.

Ukraine’s military said that in Odesa, three drones — inscribed “for Moscow” and “for the Kremlin,” referencing an alleged Ukrainian attack on Wednesday — hit a dorm of an educational facility, but the fire was quickly put out and there were no casualties.

Kyiv was targeted with drones and missiles, its military administration said, in what is a third airborne attack on the capital in four days. All of them were shot down.

Air Force Colonel Yuriy Ihnat said Russia‘s military was using “kamikaze” drones, which fly towards their target before blowing up, to weaken Ukrainian air defences.

“They know the (drones) will be destroyed, we are currently destroying 80%, that’s how they are exhausting our air defence so much, forcing them to expose their positions,” he said on television.

In total, air defences shot down 18 of 24 “kamikaze” drones in the pre-dawn attack, officials said.

In Kyiv, the city administration said that missiles, probably ballistic missiles, had also been used in the attack but were shot down along with all the drones over the capital.

Kyiv authorities said “enemy aerial objects” had been downed over three districts in the capital’s centre and that debris had fallen around 10 buildings.

“As a result of the falling debris, parked cars ... and the road’s surface were partially damaged,” said Serhiy Popko, head of the city’s military administration.

No casualties were reported in the overnight strikes.

It comes after Russian shelling in the frontline southern region of Kherson killed at least 23 civilians on Wednesday.

Ukraine’s Zelensky visits war crimes court in The Hague

09:38 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday visited the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, which in March issued an arrest warrant for Russian president Vladimir Putin for alleged deportation of children from Ukraine.

Zelensky, dressed in his trademark khaki T-shirt and trousers, was welcomed at the court by its president, judge Piotr Hofmanski.

Russia, which is not a member of the ICC and rejects its jurisdiction, denies committing atrocities during its conflict with Ukraine, which it terms a “special military operation”.

In his first official trip to the country, Zelensky was due to deliver a speech later in the morning, also in The Hague, titled “No Peace Without Justice for Ukraine“.

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said in February that an international centre for the prosecution of the crime of aggression in Ukraine would be set up in The Hague.

The ICC can prosecute genocide in Ukraine but has no jurisdiction over alleged crimes of aggression by Russia there.

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)
 (ANP/AFP via Getty Images)
(ANP/AFP via Getty Images)

Russia accused of stepping up propaganda war with claim Ukraine targeted Putin

09:35 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Russia has been accused of taking its propaganda war to new heights after Moscow claimed Kyiv had tried to assassinate president Vladimir Putin in a drone strike targeting his residence in the Kremlin.

Ukrainian premier Volodymyr Zelensky vehemently denied the allegation, saying “we don’t attack Putin, or Moscow, we fight on our territory” as other Kyiv officials suggested Russia might be setting the scene for further escalation of the war as it threatened “retaliatory measures”.

As Kyiv prepares for a counteroffensive against Russian forces that Mr Zelensky said would be launched soon, Mr Putin’s presidential office said two drones were downed overnight, with the Russian leader having not been in the complex at the time. The RIA state news agency said Mr Putin spent Wednesday working at his Novo Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow.

Russia accused of stepping up propaganda war with claim Ukraine targeted Putin

Real or not, reported Kremlin drone attack unsettles Russia

09:15 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

As Russian officials tell it, two Ukrainian drones flew into the very heart of Moscow under the cover of darkness, reaching the Kremlin before they were shot down at the last minute.

A cloud of questions hangs over the claim.

Why did the Kremlin announcement come about 12 hours after the purported incident? Why did no reports of explosions emerge prior to the announcement on the messaging apps that remain full of chatter despite Russia’s crackdown on media and criticism of the war in Ukraine? Why didn’t videos of the purported attacks appear until after the announcement? Why haven’t the images been verified?

A drone attack on the Kremlin would be the most severe penetration of Russian airspace since German teen Matthias Rust landed his little single-engine plane on the fringes of Red Square in 1987. Announcing the attack — or even faking it — risks Russia undermining its citizens’ trust in its frequent assertions of military superiority.

Real or not, reported Kremlin drone attack unsettles Russia

What we know about the drone attack on Kremlin: False flag operation or Putin’s humiliation?

08:50 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Viral videos of two drones exploding over the Kremlin, the residence of the president in Moscow and symbol of Russian power, have set off a frenzied cycle of claims and counterclaims, with the suggestion that Ukraine attempted to assassinate Vladimir Putin sparking both shock and skepticism.

Russia has accused Ukraine of carrying out what it called a “planned terrorist act” in an attempt to eliminate Mr Putin, saying two unmanned aerial vehicles deployed in the mission were neutralised by the Kremlin’s defence systems.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has denied the allegations, saying “we don’t attack Putin” and “we fight on our territory”.

Shweta Sharma reports:

What we know about the blast Russia claims was a Putin assassination attempt

Ukraine president to visit war crimes court in The Hague Thursday

08:34 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky will have a meeting at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague on Thursday, the court said without giving further detail.

The ICC in March issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin for alleged deportation of children from Ukraine, a war crime.

Zelensky arrived at the Dutch Senate building around 0700 GMT for a meeting with parliamentarians, Dutch news agency ANP said.

He will also have meetings with Prime Minister Mark Rutte and members of parliament, the government said ahead of his visit.

The foreign ministry said Zelensky was expected to deliver a speech titled “No Peace Without Justice for Ukraine“.

Citing security concerns, government spokespersons declined to provide further details on Zelenskiy’s visit. The Ukrainian leader has visited several foreign capitals including London, Paris and Washington since Russia‘s 2022 invasion.

The Netherlands has been a strong supporter of Ukraine, with Rutte in February saying he did not rule out any kind of military support for Kyiv as long as it did not bring NATO into conflict with Russia.

Russia, which is not a member of the ICC and rejects its jurisdiction, denies committing atrocities during its conflict with Ukraine, which it terms a “special operation”.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (C) poses next to Dutch Senate president Jan Anthonie Bruijn (L) and Dutch House of Representatives president Vera Bergkamp as he arrives for a meeting with members of the Senate and the House of Representatives, in The Hague (ANP/AFP via Getty Images)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (C) poses next to Dutch Senate president Jan Anthonie Bruijn (L) and Dutch House of Representatives president Vera Bergkamp as he arrives for a meeting with members of the Senate and the House of Representatives, in The Hague (ANP/AFP via Getty Images)

Ministry of defence latest update

08:02 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Here is the latest update from the UK ministry of defence:

“On 3 May 2023 a fire broke out at a Russian fuel depot in Volna on the Russian mainland side of the Kerch Strait, close to the Crimean bridge.

“It was initiated by a suspected drone strike.

“This follows a pattern of Russian fuel storage sites being damaged since the start of the year, with fuel depots in occupied Ukraine and the Russia-Ukraine border regions remaining particularly vulnerable to attack.

“The disruption to the fuel storage and distribution network will likely force adjustments to Russia’s military refuelling operations to mitigate targeting.

“Russian adjustments could include deploying additional protection measures at fuel storage sites, as seen in Tuaspe in Russia, or relying on infrastructure in less threatened regions.”

Former Russian president calls for ‘elimination of Zelensky’ following drone attack in Moscow

07:27 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev has accused Ukraine of being behind a drone attack on the Kremlin citadel in Moscow on Wednesday.

Mr Medvedev, who is deputy head of Russia’s Security Council, said the attack “leaves us no option but to physically eliminate Zelensky and his clique”.

It comes as the Kremlin posted a statement in which they called the strike a “planned terrorist act and an attempt on the president’s life”.

“The Russian side reserves the right to take retaliatory measures where and when it sees fit,” the Kremlin added.

Dmitry Medvedev with Vladimir Putin (SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)
Dmitry Medvedev with Vladimir Putin (SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)

Russia likely used ballistic missiles in overnight attack, says Kyiv

07:06 , Arpan Rai

All missiles and drones, including a ballistic weapon, targeting the Ukrainian capital for the third time in four days have been destroyed, the Kyiv city administration said.

“The Russians have attacked Kyiv using Shahed loitering munitions and missiles, likely the ballistic type,” the administration said.

A total of 12 Shahed kamikaze drones out of 15 fired at the Black Sea coastal city of Odesa were destroyed, the Ukrainian southern military command said. The other three struck a university compound, it added.

The latest blasts were reported less than 24 hours after Kyiv said 21 people died in a Russian strike on the city of Kherson.

Wagner chief believes Ukraine’s counter-offensive is underway

06:39 , Arpan Rai

The chief of Russia’s Wagner Group mercenary force has said he believes a promised counteroffensive by Ukrainian troops had already begun and that his forces were witnessing heightened activity along the front.

The “active phase” of the counteroffensive would begin in the coming days, Yevgeny Prigozhin said in an audio message published by his press service on social media.

“I believe the advance of the Ukrainian army has already begun... We are seeing the greatest possible activity both on the perimeter and within the frontlines,” he said.

“I therefore believe that it has all already started. And I believe it will all enter an active phase in the very near future. It could be a matter of days.”

He said said Ukrainian forces in Bakhmut were now confined to an area in the town making up only 2.64sq km.

Ukraine downs 18 out of 24 drones, all aerial targets over Kyiv

06:25 , Arpan Rai

Ukrainian Air Forces said they have successfully downed 18 out of 24 Shahed-136/131 attack drones launched from Bryansk region and the eastern coast of the Azov Sea in the early hours today.

The 18 drones were downed by Ukraine’s air defence in the northern, central, and southern parts of Ukraine.

No serious damage to infrastructure or injuries have been reported so far, officials said.

Debris from an Iranian-made Shahed fell into a residential building in central Shevchenko district in Kyiv.

Another Russian oil refinery catches fire in drone attack

05:58 , Arpan Rai

Part of an oil refinery in southern Russia has been set on fire after coming under a drone attack, local emergency services said today.

The refinery is near the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk. A fuel reservoir is reportedly on fire, Russian news agency TASS said.

This is the second attack within 24 hours on a Russian fuel station. In the early hours of Wednesday, a massive blaze broke out at an oil depot behind Russian lines in Krasnodar and was visible from Kerch Bridge in Crimea.

That fire has now been extinguished, officials said.

Russia may have ‘staged’ Kremlin drone attack

04:15 , Arpan Rai

Russia may have staged an apparent drone strike on the Kremlin to bring the war home to domestic audiences, a US-based think-tank has said.

Several indicators suggest that a drone strike against the Kremlin on 3 May was internally conducted and purposefully staged by Russia, the Institute for the Study of War said.

“It is extremely unlikely that two drones could have penetrated multiple layers of air defence and detonated or been shot down just over the heart of the Kremlin in a way that provided spectacular imagery caught nicely on camera,” the think-tank monitoring the war said.

Explosions heard in Kyiv, other Ukrainian cities

03:49 , Arpan Rai

Explosions have been reported in Kyiv and other cities in the early hours today, officials and media outlets said, with some local authorities reporting that anti-aircraft defences were at work.

“Air defences are working in the Kyiv region,” the regional military administration said on Telegram. Reuters eyewitnesses in the city said there had been at least one loud blast.

Explosions have also been reported in the southern city of Zaporizhzhia. Yuri Malashko, the head of the Zaporizhzhia regional military administration, said on Telegram that anti-aircraft defences were at work.

Blasts have also been reported in the Black Sea port of Odesa. Air alerts have been sounded in most of the eastern half of the country, according to an official government map.

Moment of alleged Ukrainian drone strike on Kremlin captured on video

03:00 , Liam James

Footage posted to social media appears to show a drone flying over the Kremlin before exploding.

Russia claimed Kyiv launched a failed assassination attempt on Vladimir Putin with a drone which was shot down over the Kremlin.

The footage has been shared by Ukrainian government adviser Anton Geraschenko, as well as Russian military bloggers and state news agencies.

US announces £240m for Ukraine, incl. Hydra rockets

02:00 , Liam James

The United States said Wednesday it would send a new military aid package for Ukraine worth $300m (£240m), including for the first time Hydra-70 short-range air-launched rockets, taken from US excess stocks.

The security assistance package would be the 37th approved by the United States for Ukraine since Russian invaded its neighbor in February 2022, for a total of $35.7bn.

“The United States and our allies and partners will stand united with Ukraine, for as long as it takes,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement announcing the aid package.

The rockets, munitions and 155mm howitzer cannons included in the package would help Ukraine weaken Russian ground positions for advancing Ukrainian ground forces as Kyiv plans a spring offensive.

Hydra 70 rockets, dummy versions pictured above, are fired from aircraft against infantry and supply stations (Dammit/CC BY-SA 2.5 NL)
Hydra 70 rockets, dummy versions pictured above, are fired from aircraft against infantry and supply stations (Dammit/CC BY-SA 2.5 NL)

White House cannot confirm Putin assassination claims

01:00 , Liam James

The White House said on Wednesday it was aware of reports that Russia accused Ukraine of attacking the Kremlin with drones to try to kill President Vladimir Putin but could not authenticate or confirm the allegations.

“We are aware of the reports but are unable to confirm the ... authenticity of them at this time,” White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters.

Russia's Medvedev calls for 'elimination' of Zelensky

Thursday 4 May 2023 00:00 , Liam James

Russian ex-president Dmitry Medvedev said that an alleged overnight drone attack on the Kremlin left Moscow with no options but to "eliminate" Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy and his “cabal” in Kyiv.

Mr Zelensky denied that Kyiv was behind the incident, which the Kremlin said was an attempt on President Vladimir Putin’s life but did not result in any casualties.

The Kremlin said Moscow would retaliate “whenever and wherever it sees fit”.

Mr Medvedev, who has a history of wild and hawkish public statements, said on Telegram: “After today's terrorist attack, there are no options left except for the physical elimination of Zelensky and his cabal.”

Medvedev at a diplomatic meeting with Chinese officials in March (Sputnik/AFP/Getty)
Medvedev at a diplomatic meeting with Chinese officials in March (Sputnik/AFP/Getty)

Russia may sabotage undersea cables to punish Western support for Ukraine – Nato

Wednesday 3 May 2023 23:00 , Liam James

Russia may sabotage undersea cables to punish Western nations for supporting Ukraine, Nato's intelligence chief warned on Wednesday, as the alliance boosts efforts to protect undersea infrastructure following the Nord Stream attacks.

"There are heightened concerns that Russia may target undersea cables and other critical infrastructure in an effort to disrupt Western life, to gain leverage against those nations that are providing security to Ukraine," David Cattler told reporters.

"The Russians are more active than we have seen them in years in this domain," he said, adding they were patrolling more throughout the Atlantic than in recent years and had also stepped up activities in the North and Baltic seas.

Threats to undersea cables and pipelines have become a focus of public attention since, in September 2022, as-yet unexplained explosions crippled the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, built to ship gas from Russia to Germany across the Baltic Sea.

Last month, public broadcasters from Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway reported that their national security services were concerned that Russia appeared to be planning to attack the countries' North Sea communication cables if war with Nato began.

Read more about that here:

Russian ships ‘plotting sabotage in the North Sea’

Donald Trump claims he could end war in Ukraine in a day if re-elected to White House

Wednesday 3 May 2023 22:00 , Liam James

Donald Trump said he would be able to end the war in Ukraine in a single day if re-elected president.

In an interview with Nigel Farage on GB News, the former White House resident said he “got along great” with Russian president Vladimir Putin and criticised Joe Biden’s handling of the war in Ukraine.

He said: “If I were president, I [would] end that war in one day. It’ll take 24 hours. I will get that ended. It would be easy.

“That deal would be easy. A lot of it has to do with the money. That war has to be stopped. It is a disaster.”

Read more on the 2024 hopeful’s interview here:

Donald Trump claims he could end war in Ukraine in a day if re-elected to White House

Nato eyes Japan office

Wednesday 3 May 2023 20:50 , Natalie Crockett

Nato is planning to open a liaison office in Japan, its first in Asia, to facilitate consultations in the region, the Nikkei Asia reported today, citing Japanese and Nato officials.

The liaison office will enable discussions with Nato’s security partners, such as South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, with geopolitical challenges from China and Russia in mind, the media outlet reported.

Asked about the report, Nato spokesperson Oana Lungescu said the alliance would not go into details of Nato allies’ ongoing deliberations.

Japanese foreign ministry spokespeople were not available for comment. Today is a public holiday in Japan.

Japan and the West have been moving closer in recent years. Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg visited Japan in January and pledged with prime minister Fumio Kishida to strengthen ties in the face off “historic” security challenges, citing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s rising military power.

The same month, Japan and the US extended their military alliance to counter threats in outer space, while jointly recognising China as “an unprecedented” threat to the international order.

Nordic nations back Ukraine EU, Nato bids

Wednesday 3 May 2023 20:20 , Natalie Crockett

Nordic nations support Ukraine in its efforts to eventually become a member of the European Union and Nato, leaders of Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland said in a joint statement with President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“The Nordic countries will continue their political, financial, humanitarian and military support for as long as it takes,” the joint statement said.

From left: Swedish PM Ulf Kristersson, Danish PM Mette Frederiksen, Zelensky, Finnish president Sauli Niinisto, Icelandic PM Katrin Jakobsdottir and Norwegian PM Jonas Gahr Store in Helsinki (Lehtikuva/AFP/Getty)
From left: Swedish PM Ulf Kristersson, Danish PM Mette Frederiksen, Zelensky, Finnish president Sauli Niinisto, Icelandic PM Katrin Jakobsdottir and Norwegian PM Jonas Gahr Store in Helsinki (Lehtikuva/AFP/Getty)

Trump declares ‘I will end that war in one day’ if re-elected as US president

Wednesday 3 May 2023 19:50 , Natalie Crockett

Former US president Donald Trump said he would be able to put a stop to the war in Ukraine in a single day if he was re-elected to the White House.

Speaking to Nigel Farage on GB News in an interview recorded during his visit to Scotland, Mr Trump said: “If I were president, I will end that war in one day.

“It’ll take 24 hours. I will get that ended. It would be easy.

“That deal would be easy. A lot of it has to do with the money. That war has to be stopped. It is a disaster.”

Mr Trump said he “got along great” with Russian president Vladimir Putin, adding: “Putin never would have gotten into Ukraine if it weren’t for the incompetence of this administration, this current administration.

“Putin was not going in, it was never mentioned and I knew him very well.”

 (GB News)
(GB News)

Germany announces Zelensky visit – but security concerns threaten trip

Wednesday 3 May 2023 19:30 , Liam James

German police said Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky would travel to Berlin on 13 May, though a security source later told Reuters that the public disclosure of the visit was premature and it was now unclear if it would go ahead.

Police and local media had reported that Mr Zelensky would travel to Berlin on 13 May at the invitation of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and then on to the western city of Aachen the next day to receive the 2023 Charlemagne prize.

According to a report by the Berlin daily Tagesspiegel, Mr Zelensky would be received by Mr Scholz with military honours.

“At the invitation of the Federal Chancellor, the President of Ukraine, Mr Volodymyr Zelensky, is expected to make an official visit to Berlin and Aachen from May 13 to 14,” the federal police said in a statement sent to Reuters.

However, a government spokesperson declined to confirm the visit, saying only that Mr Scholz’s appointments were announced every Friday for the following week.

Russian F1 star takes fight against sanctions to High Court

Wednesday 3 May 2023 19:00 , Liam James

Russian racing driver Nikita Mazepin has begun a High Court fight with British government ministers after being made subject to sanctions in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Mr Mazepin, 24, who used to drive for the Haas Formula 1 Team, wants sanctions lifted and has taken legal action against Foreign Secretary James Cleverly.

A judge considered preliminary issues at a High Court hearing in London on Wednesday.

Mr Justice Chamberlain heard that Mr Mazepin and his father Dmitry Mazepin – a Russian businessman – had been made subject to sanctions in mid-March 2022.

In September 2022, Mr Mazepin had requested “revocation of his designation” but ministers had decided to “take no action”.

A judge is due to oversee a further hearing in London in June.

Ex-UK defence head asks if Ukraine aid not immoral

Wednesday 3 May 2023 18:30 , Liam James

A former British defence chief has questioned the morality of the UK’s assistance to Ukraine.

Speaking at Westminster, Lord Houghton of Richmond said the support being provided by Britain and its allies appeared aimed at allowing the war-torn country “neither to lose badly nor to win decisively”.

The former chief of the defence staff argued this had led to a “sustained, mutually hurting stalemate”.

The UK has provided key military assistance to the Kyiv government following the Russian invasion, including missiles, artillery and tanks.

British troops have also given training to Ukrainian forces, to prepare them for frontline combat.

Zelensky ‘sure’ West will give warplanes to aid counteroffensive

Wednesday 3 May 2023 18:00 , Liam James

Volodymyr Zelensky said he was sure that Western allies would supply Kyiv with modern warplanes once a counteroffensive against the Russian invasion begins.

Ukraine has for months been pushing allies to provide fighter jets to help dominate its skies and open up new strategies against the Russian invasion.

So far, only Poland and Slovakia have met the call, ending MiG-29s, though Britain has strongly suggested it would provide jets, and the Netherlands said it was also open to such a move. Britain in February said it would train Ukrainian pilots to fly Nato jets.

Speaking at a news conference in Finland, Nato’s newest member, Mr Zelensky said one of the reasons he had travelled to Helsinki was to show Kyiv’s desire to become a fully fledged member of the military alliance.

Zelensky speaks in Helsinki today (Reuters)
Zelensky speaks in Helsinki today (Reuters)

Wednesday 3 May 2023 17:30 , Liam James

British defence secretary Ben Wallace said the UK would be assessing reports of a drone strike on the Kremlin, which Russia claimed was a foiled attack by Ukraine.

He said: “They are initial reports, I’ve seen the Kremlin’s statement, I haven’t seen a statement from Ukraine.

“We’ll obviously assess what we’ve seen in the open media and then we’ll probably issue a comment later but at the moment I’m not going to make a comment because it’s pretty much been a one-sided comment by the Russians and I think what we’ve learnt in this whole conflict is I wouldn’t take at face value comments by Russia.

“I’ve seen the footage, we’ll make an assessment and then I can comment further at a later date.”

The US earlier said it could not validate Russia’s claims.

Zelensky denies Putin assassination attempt

Wednesday 3 May 2023 17:10 , Liam James

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy said his country had not attacked Russia or Vladimir Putin, after Moscow accused Kyiv of staging a failed assassination attempt on the Russian president with a drone attack on the Kremlin.

“We don’t attack Putin, or Moscow, we fight on our territory. We’re defending our villages and cities,” Mr Zelensky claimed at a news conference in Helsinki.

Ukraine presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak denied any involvement, saying: “Ukraine has nothing to do with drone attacks on the Kremlin.”

EU agrees to buy ammo for Ukraine as counteroffensive nears

Wednesday 3 May 2023 17:00 , Liam James

European Union countries finalised a scheme to jointly buy ammunition for Ukraine after weeks of wrangling that had frustrated leaders in Kyiv.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky had expressed concern over his army’s ammunition supplies ahead of a counteroffensive against the Russian invasion which he said would soon be launched.

Ambassadors from the EU’s member countries approved the deal at a meeting in Brussels, ending a dispute over how much of the business from the munitions contracts should stay in Europe.

Sweden, current holder of the EU’s rotating presidency, said the ambassadors approved the decision “to support the Ukrainian Armed Forces through €1bn (£0.9bn) for joint procurement of ammunition and missiles”.

Details of the compromise were not immediately available.

Russian attacks on Kherson kill 16, says Ukraine

Wednesday 3 May 2023 16:30 , Liam James

Russian attacks on Ukrainian-controlled parts of Kherson have killed 16 people, the Ukrainian prosecutors office said.

Twelve of those were killed in the regional capital, also called Kherson, where a further 22 people were wounded, it said. Russian forces have regularly shelled Kherson city from parts of the Kherson region that are occupied by Russia.

Reuters confirmed that the strikes were Russian, making the Kherson attack the latest in a resurgent series of mass strikes on Ukrainian cities, which saw 25 people killed across Ukraine last week.

A firefighter works at a Kherson train station hit by a Russian military strike (Reuters)
A firefighter works at a Kherson train station hit by a Russian military strike (Reuters)
Rubble at a supermarket in Kherson this morning (AFP/Getty)
Rubble at a supermarket in Kherson this morning (AFP/Getty)

Blinken says US can’t validate Putin assassination attempt claims

Wednesday 3 May 2023 16:00 , Liam James

US secretary of state Antony Blinken said he could not validate Russia’s accusation that Ukraine tried to assassinate Vladimir Putin in a drone attack, but said he would take anything coming from the Kremlin with a “very large shaker of salt.”

“We simply don’t know,” he said when asked about the incident alleged by the Kremlin.

Asked if Washington would criticise Ukraine if it decided on its own to strike back in Russian territory, Mr Blinken said those were decisions for Ukraine to make about how to defend itself.

Blinken in Washington yesterday (POOL/AFP/Getty)
Blinken in Washington yesterday (POOL/AFP/Getty)

US asked Ukraine to postpone Moscow strikes, leaked docs show

Wednesday 3 May 2023 15:45 , Liam James

Washington asked Kyiv to delay attacks on Moscow planned to coincide with the first anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine, according to reports of leaked documents.

Russia today accused Kyiv of attempting to assassinate Vladimir Putin with a drone strike. Ukraine has denied the claim.

In documents released in a mass US military leak last month, the CIA said that Kyiv “had agreed, at Washington’s request, to postpone strikes” on Moscow that were planned for 24 February, the Washington Post reports.

Ukraine blames ‘Russian partisans' for Kremlin drone strike

Wednesday 3 May 2023 15:05 , Liam James

Ukraine has denied that it was involved in an alleged drone attack on the Kremlin which Moscow said was considered an attempt on Vladimir Putin’s life.

A spokesperson for Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said Kyiv had officially denied Moscow’s accusation of involvement.

Writing on Telegram, internal ministry adviser Anton Geraschenko blamed “Russian partisans” for the attack. “There are enough people in Russia who want to send Putin to hell,” he said.

Russia threatens retaliation over alleged Putin assassination attempt

Wednesday 3 May 2023 14:45 , Liam James

Russia will respond to what it claims was a Ukrainian plot to assassinate Vladimir Putin “whenever and wherever it sees fit”, state news agencies reported.

Tass said the Russian presidential press service put out a statement on what it claimed was a drone attack on the Kremlin, reading: “Last night, the [Kyiv] regime attempted to attack the Russian president’s Kremlin residence using unmanned aerial vehicles.”

The Kremlin said it was “a pre-planned act of terrorism and an attempt on the life of the Russian president, which took place just before the Victory Day and the May 9 Parade that will be attended by foreign guests.”

“Russia reserves the right to take retaliatory measures whenever and wherever it sees fit,” the statement read, according to Tass.

A ‘no-drone’ sign near the Kremlin in Moscow (AFP/Getty)
A ‘no-drone’ sign near the Kremlin in Moscow (AFP/Getty)

Moment of alleged Ukrainian drone strike on Kremlin captured on video

Wednesday 3 May 2023 14:26 , Liam James

Footage posted to social media appears to show a drone flying over the Kremlin before exploding.

Russia claimed Kyiv launched a failed assassination attempt on Vladimir Putin with a drone which was shot down over the Kremlin.

The footage has been shared by Ukrainian government adviser Anton Geraschenko, as well as Russian military bloggers and state news agencies.

Zelensky says counteroffensive coming soon

Wednesday 3 May 2023 13:44 , Liam James

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said his forces would soon launch a counteroffensive against Russian forces.

Mr Zelensky made the remarks at a news conference in Finland after weeks of speculation over Ukraine’s plans to fight back against the invasion which has for months focused around grinding battles in the east with little progress on either side.

Russia has been hit with several drone attacks in recent days as Ukraine prepares to push to regain parts of its territory under occupation. Two goods trains in the Russian border region of Bryasnk have been derailed by explosive devices in recent days, according to local officials.

Attacks on Russian-held land followed a wave of missile strikes on Ukrainian cities last week which killed at least 25 people.

Zelensky meets his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinisto in Helsinki earlier (EPA)
Zelensky meets his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinisto in Helsinki earlier (EPA)

Kremlin accuses Ukraine of attempt to kill Putin

Wednesday 3 May 2023 13:14 , Liam James

Russian authorities have accused Ukraine of attempting to attack the Kremlin with two drones, according to state run news agencies.

The Kremlin branded the alleged overnight attack was a “terrorist act” and a failed bid to kill Vladimir Putin, an RIA report said.

A Tass report carried quotes from officials saying Russian military and security forces had disabled the drones before they could strike.

It said there had been no damage caused nor casualties incurred, and did not provide any other details.

The Kremlin added that President Vladimir Putin was safe and continued to work with his schedule unchanged.

There were no immediate comment from Ukrainian authorities.

Huge fire rages at oil depot behind Russian lines

Wednesday 3 May 2023 13:00 , Matt Mathers

A massive blaze broke out at an oil depot behind Russian lines, local officials said Wednesday, while the Kremlin‘s forces used 26 Iranian-made drones in another nighttime attack on Ukraine as the war stretched into its 15th month.

The oil depot erupted in flames in Russia’s southern Krasnodar region, located east of the Russian-held Crimean Peninsula, according to Krasnodar governor Veniamin Kondratyev.

David Rising reports:

Huge fire rages at oil depot behind Russian lines

Sweden's parliament hit by cyber attack

Wednesday 3 May 2023 12:40 , Matt Mathers

Sweden’s parliament has been hit by a cyber attack that has disrupted access to its web page, it said on Wednesday.

The web page was partially down on Tuesday and appeared slow on Wednesday.

"The analysis shows that it is a denial-of-service attack," a parliament spokesperson said. "Right now the web page can be slow and it can be difficult to watch our web casts."

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson and other Nordic leaders are due to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Finland’s capital on Wednesday.

Sweden applied for NATO membership in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and authorities have warned of increased cyber attacks against Swedish interests.

58-hour curfew to be introduced in Kherson

Wednesday 3 May 2023 12:20 , Matt Mathers

A round-the-clock curfew is to be introduced in Kherson from 8pm on Friday until 6am on Monday, Kherson governor Oleksandr Prokudin announced.

"During these 58 hours, it is forbidden to move around or stay on the streets of the city. Also, the city will be closed for entry and exit," Prokudin said.

The measure is necessary, he said in a video on social media, "so that law enforcement officers can do their job and not put you in danger," but did not provide further details.

Pope greets Russian orthodox envoy amid peace mission talk

Wednesday 3 May 2023 12:00 , Matt Mathers

Pope Francis has greeted the foreign envoy of the Russian Orthodox Church, just days after revealing a secret "mission" is underway to try to put an end to the war in Ukraine.

Metropolitan Anthony attended Francis’ weekly general audience in St Peter’s Square before greeting the Pope at the end.

He presented Francis with an icon, which the Pope blessed.

Anthony was later seen being led off the stage by one of Francis’ aides.

Francis devoted his remarks at the audience to a recap of his weekend visit to Hungary, during which he made repeated calls for an end to the war.

Pope Francis gestures during his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square at The Vatican (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
Pope Francis gestures during his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square at The Vatican (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Zelensky to visit Berlin 13 May - report

Wednesday 3 May 2023 11:37 , Matt Mathers

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is to travel to Berlin on 13 May, German newspaper Tagesspiegel reported, citing police.

According to the report, the Ukrainian leader will be received by German chancellor Scholz with military honours on 14 May before flying to Aachen later in the day to receive the 2023 Charlemagne Prize.

Mr Zelensky was due to meet Nordic leaders in Finland on Wednesday.

Zelensky in Finland to meet with Nordic leaders

Wednesday 3 May 2023 11:12 , Matt Mathers

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in Finland on Wednesday for talks with Nordic leaders on his country’s war with Russia and its relations with Europe, governments of the region said.

Zelensky will hold bilateral talks with Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto followed by a news conference before joining a regional summit and a second meeting with media, Mr Niinisto’s office said in a statement.

The wider summit will include Mr Niinisto as well as the prime ministers of Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland.

"The theme of the summit is Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, the Nordic countries’ continued support for Ukraine, Ukraine’s relationship with the EU and NATO, and Ukraine’s initiative for a just peace," Mr Niinisto’s office said.

Volodymyr Zelenksy (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
Volodymyr Zelenksy (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Watch: Moment explosion at Ukraine ammunition depot captured on CCTV

Wednesday 3 May 2023 10:40 , Matt Mathers

A huge explosion at an ammunition depot in Ukraine has been captured on CCTV.

The blast happened after Russian missiles hit at targets in Pavhlorad, eastern Ukraine, on 1 May.

Russia has launched three consecutive nights of heavy attacks on Ukraine ahead of an expected counteroffensive by Kyiv.

‘It feels as though it’s coming together'

Wednesday 3 May 2023 10:20 , Matt Mathers

Ukraine’s spring counteroffensive against Russia is “close” to being launched, a retired British Army officer has suggested.

Rupert Jones, a former major general, said there were “indicators” suggesting that Kyiv was ready to attack.

“It feels as though it’s coming together,” he told Sky News earlier this morning - more comments below.

His remarks came after Ukraine’s interior minister said that eight “storm” brigades – comprising of up to 40,000 troops – are being re-equipped as Ukraine prepares to strike.

Reports about Ukraine’s spring counteroffensive have been circulating for months but the country has refused to confirm a date for its push back into territory gained by the Kremlin.

NATO to open Japan office to enable Indo-Pacific consultation - report

Wednesday 3 May 2023 10:05 , Matt Mathers

NATO is planning to open a liaison office in Japan, its first in Asia, to facilitate consultations in the region, the Nikkei Asia reported on Wednesday, citing Japanese and NATO officials.

The liaison office will enable discussions with NATO’s security partners, such as South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, with geopolitical challenges from China and Russia in mind, the media outlet reported.

NATO and Japanese foreign ministry spokespeople were not immediately available for comment. Wednesday is a public holiday in Japan.

The proposed one-person office is due to open next year in Tokyo but details such as whether Japan would provide the space or NATO would fund it were under negotiation, the news outlet said.

NATO has similar liaison offices in New York, Vienna, Ukraine and other places, it said.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg visited Japan in January and pledged with prime minister Fumio Kishida to strengthen ties in the face off "historic" security challenges, citing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s rising military power.

Japan and NATO are seeking to deepen cooperation on cyber threats, disruptive technologies and disinformation, aiming to sign an individually tailored partnership programme before a NATO summit in July, Nikkei Asia reported.

NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg visits an exhibition displaying destroyed Russian military vehicles in Ukraine (REUTERS)
NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg visits an exhibition displaying destroyed Russian military vehicles in Ukraine (REUTERS)

Ukraine equipping up to 40,000 ‘storm’ troops ahead of counter attack

Wednesday 3 May 2023 09:40 , Matt Mathers

Ukraine’s interior minister has said that eight “storm” brigades – comprising of up to 40,000 troops – are being re-equipped as Ukraine prepares to launch a counteroffensive against Moscow’s invasion.

The brigades are “fully formed” but Ihor Klymenko said that they require two to three weeks of instruction before they are tasked with “appropriate offensive assault operations” alongside the Ukrainian army. Mr Klymenko said that Kyiv was also planning the “formation of additional units” in parallel with this training, during an interview with Interfax-Ukraine.

Chris Stevenson reports:

Ukraine equipping up to 40,000 ‘storm’ troops ahead of counter attack

Russian defense chief wants wartime missile output doubled

Wednesday 3 May 2023 09:20 , Matt Mathers

Russia’s defense chief on Tuesday urged a state company to double its missile output, as a possible Ukrainian counteroffensive looms and both sides in the 14-month war reportedly feel an ammunition crunch.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, speaking at a meeting with top military brass, said the state-owned Tactical Missiles Corporation had been fulfilling its contracts in a timely manner.

But, Shoigu added, “right now it is necessary to double the production of high-precision weapons in the shortest possible time.”

David Rising reports:

Russian defense chief wants wartime missile output doubled

Officials: US to send Ukraine $300 million in military aid

Wednesday 3 May 2023 08:50 , Matt Mathers

The U.S. is sending Ukraine about $300 million in additional military aid, including an enormous amount of artillery rounds, howitzers, air-to-ground rockets and ammunition as the launch of a spring offensive against Russian forces approaches, U.S. officials said Tuesday.

The new package includes Hydra-70 rockets, which are unguided rockets that are fired from aircraft. It also includes an undisclosed number of rockets for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, mortars, howitzer rounds, missiles and Carl Gustaf anti—tank rifles. The weapons will all be pulled from Pentagon stocks, so they can go quickly to the front lines. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the aid has not yet been formally announced.

Full report:

Officials: US to send Ukraine $300 million in military aid

Fuel depot fire caused by drone - Russian state media

Wednesday 3 May 2023 08:30 , Matt Mathers

A major fire at a fuel depot in southern Russia’s Krasnodar region broke out as a result of a drone falling on the facility, Russian state-owned news agency TASS reported, citing emergency services.

No immediate casualties have been reported so far.

Preliminary visuals of the explosion showed flames and black smoke billowing over what appeared to be large tanks emblazoned with red warnings of “flammable” in videos posted on Russian social media.

The blaze broke out in the village of Volna, in the Temryuk administrative district, the governor said.

Russia says 7 Ukrainian agents arrested in Crimea - TASS cites FSB

Wednesday 3 May 2023 08:14 , Matt Mathers

Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) said on Wednesday that seven people connected with Ukrainian intelligence had been detained in Crimea, state-owned news agency TASS reported.

In a statement, the FSB said that attacks against Russian-backed Crimea governor Sergei Aksyonov and other officials had been thwarted.

Warplanes to patrol airspace during military checks in Belarus

Wednesday 3 May 2023 07:55 , Matt Mathers

Belarus will hold another round of checks of the combat readiness of its military in May, including joint patrols of its airspace by Belarusian and Russian warplanes, the country’s defence ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

The checks will be mainly focused on units deployed in the Grodno, Brest and Minsk regions.

Belarus, an ally of Russia, allowed its country to be used as astaging post for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February last year.

Ukraine and Russian presidents Alexander Lukashenko and Vladimir Putin (EPA)
Ukraine and Russian presidents Alexander Lukashenko and Vladimir Putin (EPA)

Russian foreign ministry says May 5 grain deal talks not yet confirmed -RIA

Wednesday 3 May 2023 07:37 , Matt Mathers

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that talks between Russia, Ukraine and Turkey on the Black Sea grain deal on 5 May  have not yet been agreed, state-owned news agency RIA reported.

The deal, brokered by the United Nations and Turkey last July, allows grain trapped by Russia’s invasion to be safely exported from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports.

Russia has signalled it will not allow the deal agreed last July to continue beyond 18 May because a list of demands to facilitate its own grain and fertiliser exports has not been met.

Russia ‘shifting away’ from targeting Ukraine energy supply - MoD

Wednesday 3 May 2023 07:22 , Matt Mathers

Russia is “shifting away” from targeting Ukraine’s electoral power network and attacking its military infrastructure instead, Britain’s Ministry of Defence has said.

The MoD added that the Kremlin had used “smaller numbers of missiles” in its latest attacks as it likely tries to rebuild its mounted air-launched cruise missile stocks.

Most Russian drones destroyed, Dnipro hit – Ukraine

Wednesday 3 May 2023 06:56 , Arpan Rai

Russia’s third nightly round of attacks by drones hit a building in the Dnipropetrovsk region overnight but no casualties have been reported, officials said.

Ukraine’s Air Force Command destroyed 21 of the 26 Iranian-made Shahed drones launched by Russia, while all drones fired over Kyiv were eliminated, officials in the capital’s military administration said.

“All enemy targets were identified and shot down in the airspace around the capital,” Kyiv’s military administration said on Telegram.

Air raid sirens blared for several hours in Kyiv, the surrounding region and most of eastern Ukraine, with the skies only clearing towards dawn.

What is included in Biden's latest military package to Ukraine

Wednesday 3 May 2023 06:33 , Arpan Rai

The Biden administration has packed fresh military aid for Ukraine as officials in Kyiv say they are readying a counteroffensive and are on the “home stretch”.

The new package includes Hydra-70 rockets, which are unguided rockets that are fired from aircraft. It also includes an undisclosed number of rockets for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, mortars, howitzer rounds, missiles and Carl Gustaf anti-tank rifles.

The weapons will all be pulled from Pentagon stocks, so they can go quickly to the frontline. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the aid has not yet been formally announced.

Read the full story here:

Officials: US to send Ukraine $300 million in military aid

Ukraine monitoring evasion of sanctions by Russia, says Zelensky

Wednesday 3 May 2023 06:00 , Arpan Rai

Volodymyr Zelensky held an internal meeting on strengthening sanctions on Russia by Ukraine and its allies yesterday.

“We are closely monitoring how the terrorist state is trying to circumvent sanctions, recording each such direction, and working together with our partners to block it. We are preparing a large sanctions package. The decision will be made soon,” Mr Zelensky said in his nightly address.

Putin’s forces fail in attacking Kyiv overnight, all drones downed

Wednesday 3 May 2023 05:31 , Arpan Rai

Russia attempted to attack Kyiv using drones for the third time in six days last night but saw its efforts repelled, the city’s authorities said today.

“All enemy targets were identified and shot down in the airspace around the capital,” Kyiv’s military administration said on the Telegram messaging app, citing initial details.

Ukraine’s air defence systems destroyed all Russian drones, officials in Kyiv said. No immediate casualties or destruction have been reported.

Air raid sirens blared for several hours in Kyiv, the surrounding region and most of eastern Ukraine, with the skies clearing only at dawn.

The attack by Russia mostly included Iranian-made Shahed drones, it added. It was not immediately known how many drones were shot down.

White House did not inform Ukraine of Pentagon leaks, says Zelensky

Wednesday 3 May 2023 04:19 , Arpan Rai

Volodymyr Zelensky said the White House did not inform his administration or him about a leak of secret US documents that grabbed attention around the world last month.

“I did not receive information from the White House or the Pentagon beforehand,” Mr Zelensky was quoted as saying.

Calling it “unprofitable” for Ukraine, he said: “It is not beneficial to the reputation of the White House, and I believe it is not beneficial to the reputation of the United States.”

The materials posted online offered a partial, month-old snapshot of the war in Ukraine.

Ukrainian defence minister, Oleksii Reznikov has downplayed the negative impact of the Pentagon document leaks and said it contained a mixture of true and false information about his country’s military.

Fuel depot explodes in Russia’s Krasnodar

Wednesday 3 May 2023 04:04 , Matt Mathers

A fuel storage facility near a key bridge in Russia’s southwestern region of Krasnodar has been set ablaze in the early hours today, officials said.

“The fire has been classified as the highest rank of difficulty,” Veniamin Kondratyev, the governor of Krasnodar, which lies across the Sea of Azov from Ukraine, said on the Telegram messaging app.

No immediate casualties have been reported so far.

Preliminary visuals of the explosion showed flames and black smoke billowing over what appeared to be large tanks emblazoned with red warnings of “flammable” in videos posted on Russian social media.

The blaze broke out in the village of Volna, in the Temryuk administrative district, the governor said.

The facility lies close to the Crimean Bridge, or the Kerch Strait bridge, that links Russia’s mainland with the Crimea peninsula it annexed in 2014 from Ukraine.

“Every effort is being made to prevent the fire from spreading further,” Mr Kondratyev added. “There is no threat to residents of the village.”

The Murdochs chatted to Zelensky before firing Tucker Carlson

Wednesday 3 May 2023 03:00 , Joe Middleton

Rupert Murdoch and his son Lachlan both spoke to Volodymyr Zelensky in the months before Fox News fired Tucker Carlson, a major critic of the Ukrainian president, according to reports.

The 92-year-old News Corp executive chairman held an “unreported” call with Mr Zelensky earlier this spring, reported Semafor.

During the conversation, they reportedly discussed Ukraine’s conflict with Russia as well as the March 2022 deaths of Fox News Journalists Pierre Zakrzewski and Oleksandra Kuvshynova in the country.

Graeme Massie reports.

The Murdochs chatted to Zelensky before firing Tucker Carlson