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Ukraine-Russia war – live: Kyiv mocks Putin’s ‘loneliest little tank in world’ seen at Victory Day parade

Ukraine’s defence ministry has ridiculed the display of a single Soviet-era tank by Moscow at the grand Victory Day celebrations attended by Vladimir Putin.

“This ‘Victory Day’ Russia had exactly one tank rolling down Russian Red Square. A T-34, first produced in 1940. To the loneliest little tank in the world, best of luck,” the ministry said in a video, calling it a tribute to Russia.

Mr Putin held the much awaited annual celebration of victory in the Second World War by parading troops across Red Square yesterday while simultaneously firing cruise missiles at Kyiv.

In a fiery 10-minute speech in front of the Kremlin’s walls, the Russian president thundered against “Western global elites” and said civilisation was at “a decisive turning point”.

This comes as the Pentagon confirmed Ukraine’s claim to have downed a Russian Kinzhal missile, touted by Moscow as being capable of reaching unstoppable hypersonic speeds.

“I can confirm that they did down a Russian missile by employing the Patriot missile defence system,” press secretary Pat Ryder said.

Key Points

  • Ukraine mocks Putin’s ‘loneliest little tank in the world’

  • Russian mercenary chief says he's been told to stay in Bakhmut or be branded traitor

  • Russia launches new attack on Ukraine on Moscow's 'sacred' day

  • Russia fails to capture Bakhmut ahead of Victory Day

  • Putin mocked after single tank turns up for Russian Victory Day parade

  • West is sowing ‘Russophobia’ in Victory Day speech, Putin says

Ukraine mocks Putin’s Victory Day parade: ‘Loneliest little tank in the world'

04:28 , Arpan Rai

Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence has ridiculed the display of a single tank by Moscow at the grand Victory Day celebrations attended by Vladimir Putin.

“This ‘Victory Day’ Russia had exactly one tank rolling down Russian Red Square. A T-34, first produced in 1940. To the loneliest little tank in the world, best of luck," the ministry said in a video, calling it a tribue to Russia.

Pentagon says Ukraine downed 'hypersonic' missile with Patriot

04:22 , Arpan Rai

Pentagon press secretary Pat Ryder says he can confirm Ukraine’s claim to have downed a Russian Kinzhal missile, touted by Moscow as being capable of reaching unstoppable hypersonic speeds.

Mr Ryder said the feat was accomplished using a US Patriot defence system, and that Washington will continue to support Kyiv with military aid to defend itself against Russian cruise missiles and Iranian drones.

“I can confirm that they did down a Russian missile by employing the Patriot missile defence system. As you know, that – that system is part of a broader range of air defence capabilities that the United States and the international community have provided to Ukraine. I listed out some of those, you know, as part of their multi-layered integrated air defence capability,” the Pentagon official said in a press briefing.

He added: “And so as secretary [Lloyd] Austin highlighted about three weeks ago at the Ukraine Defence Contact Group, the US, our allies, our partners, we’re going to continue to rush ground-based air defence capabilities and munitions to help Ukraine control its sovereign skies and to help Ukraine defend its citizens from Russian cruise missiles and Iranian drones.”

“And again, as evidenced by today’s USAI (Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative) announcement and the procurement of additional air defence systems and munitions, this is something that we’re going to keep after both in the near term and the long term,” Mr Ryder said.

There is some debate over whether the Kinzhal missile is truly hypersonic, though it was described as being the first hypersonic weapon launched against Ukraine by Russia last year. Moscow says it can achieve speeds up to Mach 10, but a Nato report has indicated it may actually be significantly slower than that.

Britain set to ban Russia’s Wagner Group – report

04:02 , Arpan Rai

Britain is set to formally classify Russia’s mercenary force Wagner Group as a terrorist organisation, rolling out financial sanctions and other penalties against the private militia.

The Home Office has been building a case for two months and proscription was “imminent” within weeks, reported The Times, citing a government source.

If the branding as terror group is confirmed, it would be a criminal offence to belong to Wagner, attend its meetings, encourage support for it or carry its logo in public.

Wagner mercenaries have led Russia’s months-long assault on the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut along with its military activities in Africa.

Under these sanctions by the UK, Wagner’s ability to raise money will be served a blow if any of the finances were channeled through the British financial institutions.

“Suspicions” about Wagner helping move money out of Britain after financial sanctions were imposed on Russian oligarchs and allies of Russian president Vladimir Putin have been rife, the newspaper said, citing a government source.

Britain’s Home Office said it was looking into the Times report.

Pakistan plans Russian-Saudi oil ‘cocktail’ to help cut energy costs

03:00 , Liam James

Pakistan is planning to blend newly purchased Russian crude with Arabian light crude in order to create a mixture that will be more easily processed by the nation’s oil refineries, Pakistan’s energy minister said on Tuesday.

The country is planning to purchase Russian crude oil at a discount as high prices caused by geopolitical tensions have caused fuel prices to more than double in Pakistan.

Western countries that have imposed a $60 per barrel price cap on Russian oil as part of sanctions on Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine say that the cap is also forcing Russia to sell oil to developing countries at lower prices.

Russia’s heavier grades of crude oil are more difficult to process in Pakistan’s refineries, which are configured to process lighter Arabian crudes, Petroleum Minister Musadik Malik told Reuters in an interview in Washington on Tuesday.

Estonians gather on riverbank for peek of Russian Victory Day concert

02:00 , Liam James

After Estonia banned Soviet Victory Day celebrations, several hundred people in the Russian-speaking town of Narva watched celebrations across the river which separates it from Russia.

A large stage and a screen was set up near the river in Russia, 200 metres away from the river promenade where people gathered with binoculars and flowers and clapped to the music.

Thousands would gather in Narva each year on 9 May, when Russia celebrates Soviet Victory Day to mark the end of World War Two in Europe, but the events were banned after Russia invaded Ukraine last year, and Soviet war monuments were removed from the town.

Governments in Estonia, like the other Baltic states of Latvia and Lithuania, see the Soviet victory in 1945 as a renewal of the brutal occupation of their lands, which were annexed into Soviet Union in 1940. Now members of Nato and the European Union, they are among the staunchest supporters of Ukraine and critics of Russia.

People watch a Victory Day concert from across the river in Narva, Estonia (Reuters)
People watch a Victory Day concert from across the river in Narva, Estonia (Reuters)
Viewers in Narva wave over the river to Russia (Reuters)
Viewers in Narva wave over the river to Russia (Reuters)

‘No guarantee’ Ukraine counteroffensive will be success, says UK’s Cleverly

01:00 , Liam James

Ukraine has “consistently outperformed” expectations in its response to Russia’s invasion, Britain’s foreign secretary said, before warning there are no “guarantees” it will make gains in its forthcoming counteroffensive.

Speaking during a visit to the US, James Cleverly said international allies must remain “resolute” in their support of the country regardless of the outcome.

He said: “Of course there has been an economic impact on the people of the United States and the United Kingdom - this is not a by-product of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, this is part of the conflict.

“We should recognise that if we do not re-establish the principles of the UN carter, the foundation stone of peace in the post-Second World War era, that powerful nations cannot invade their neighbours with impunity, the world will be more dangerous, more expensive, more difficult.

“So this is not just about Ukraine, though the Ukrainians have been suffering enormously and its right that we defend them, it is about us, and it is in our interest as well as in the Ukrainians’ interest that we stay resolute in our support”.

Cleverly speaks alongside US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (AP)
Cleverly speaks alongside US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (AP)

US announces £1bn aid for Ukraine

Wednesday 10 May 2023 00:00 , Liam James

The United States announced on Tuesday a new $1.2 (£1bn) billion military aid package for Ukraine that will include aircdefense systems, ammunition and funds for training, the Pentagon said.

Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) funds will be used to purchase the weapons, allowing President Joe Biden’s administration to buy weapons from industry rather than pull them from US stocks. Delivery of the weapons and systems depends on their availability and production timeline.

In the package, Ukraine will receive additional air defense systems and munitions as well as the technology to integrate Western air defense launchers, missiles and radars with Ukraine‘s native defense systems. The funds will pay for 155-mm Howitzer ammunition, counter-drone ammunition, satellite imagery and various types of training, the Pentagon said.

Eurovision support gives ‘power’ to Ukraine, says contest winner

Tuesday 9 May 2023 23:00 , Liam James

Support to Ukraine from Eurovision fans gives “power” to the country, a former winner has said.

Ruslana, who won for Ukraine at the 2004 song contest, appeared in an English National Opera Does Eurovision performance at the fan village at Liverpool’s Pier Head on Tuesday.

The singer, who lives in Kyiv, told the PA news agency: “It’s very difficult to tell you about the emotions I have inside.

“My heart is in Ukraine, my heartbeat vibration is in Ukraine all the time.

“Let’s help Ukraine to win. It’s very important.

“It doesn’t matter what you want to do or how, which way you will choose to do that.

“Send your vibration from the heart, this is the biggest power. It gives us a big power.”

Ruslana shows off her trophy after winning Eurovision on 15 May 2004 at the Abdi Ipekci Stadium, in Istanbul (Getty)
Ruslana shows off her trophy after winning Eurovision on 15 May 2004 at the Abdi Ipekci Stadium, in Istanbul (Getty)

AFP journalist killed in Ukraine

Tuesday 9 May 2023 22:00 , Liam James

Arman Soldin, a 32-year-old video journalist for Agence France Presse (AFP) in Ukraine, was killed on Tuesday by Grad rocket fire near Chasiv Yar, in eastern Ukraine, AFP said on Twitter, citing AFP colleagues who witnessed the incident.

The attack happened in the town’s outskirts close to Bakhmut, the epicenter of the fighting in eastern Ukraine for several months, AFP added.

Soldin was with four colleagues, who are all unhurt. They were with Ukrainian soldiers during the attack, AFP said on Twitter.

“All of our thoughts go out to his family and loved ones,” AFP said.

Zaporizhzhia situation deteriorating, says report

Tuesday 9 May 2023 21:00 , Liam James

The situation at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, Zaporizhzhia in Ukraine, is deteriorating, Germany’s Funke Media Group reported.

According to Ukraine‘s state-owned operating company Energoatom, Russia is bringing more troops and military vehicles to the site of the nuclear power plant.

“The situation of equipment and personnel is deteriorating,” Energoatom president Petro Kotin told Funke.

Russia began evacuating civilians from nearby settlements over the weekend, while the head of a UN nuclear watchdog said he was increasingly worried about the situation at the Russian-occupied plant.

Yesterday, Russian officials told the Tass news agency that the nuclear reactors were being temporarily shut down, claiming that the move was taken out of fear of Ukrainian attacks.

UK ‘would welcome’ Chinese intervention in Ukraine

Tuesday 9 May 2023 20:30 , Liam James

The UK would welcome an intervention by Chinese president Xi Jinping to help broker a peace deal between Ukraine and Russia, according to the foreign secretary.

Speaking during a visit to the US, James Cleverly said Britain would not be critical if Mr Xi chose to use his “significant degree of influence” with Russian president Vladimir Putin to bring about a “just and sustainable” peace settlement.

The cabinet minister also warned the West that it had to be ready for the expected spring offensive by Kyiv to fail to make a decisive breakthrough against Russia’s troops.

Taking questions during an event hosted by the Atlantic Council, Mr Cleverly was asked for his view on whether the West should be open to Beijing playing a role in trying to co-ordinate a ceasefire in eastern Europe.

Mr Xi is thought to be on good terms with Mr Putin, having visited Moscow in March.

Cleverly speaks in Washington earlier (AFP/Getty)
Cleverly speaks in Washington earlier (AFP/Getty)

Victory Day parade in pictures

Tuesday 9 May 2023 20:00 , Liam James

Victory Day, the holiday commemorating the Soviet triumph in World War Two, is the most important day in the calendar in Russia under Vladimir Putin.

The centrepiece of celebrations is the president’s speech in Moscow, accompanied by a parade in Red Square.

This year’s parade was full of traditional pomp but unmistakably scaled down from previous years. In place of phalanxes of modern battle tanks, a single World War Two-vintage T-34 tank rolled across the square. The usual fighter jet flyover was cancelled.

Russian soldiers march in Red Square (AP)
Russian soldiers march in Red Square (AP)
Putin delivers his Victory Day speech, with St Basil’s Cathedral in the background (AP)
Putin delivers his Victory Day speech, with St Basil’s Cathedral in the background (AP)
Sole T-34 tank in the parade (Moskva News Agency/AFP/Getty)
Sole T-34 tank in the parade (Moskva News Agency/AFP/Getty)
Russian RS-24 Yars ballistic missiles in Red Square parade (AP)
Russian RS-24 Yars ballistic missiles in Red Square parade (AP)
Russian cossacks march in parade (Moskva News Agency/AFP/Getty)
Russian cossacks march in parade (Moskva News Agency/AFP/Getty)

Lukashenko’s ropey Victory Day appearance sparks health rumours

Tuesday 9 May 2023 19:30 , Liam James

Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko had to be driven a short distance to an event during Tuesday’s Victory Day celebrations in Moscow and skipped a lunch hosted by Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Lukashenko, a close Putin ally, looked tired and a little unsteady on his feet, and a bandage was visible on his right hand. His appearance sparked speculation online about his health, though he otherwise showed no obvious sign of being unwell.

Video footage showed the 68-year-old chatting with Putin and army top brass after the annual parade on Red Square and then taking a lift to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier nearby while Putin walked there with the leaders of Armenia and five Central Asian countries.

He rejoined the others to lay flowers at the Tomb beside the Kremlin, only about 300 metres from the spot where they had earlier watched the parade marking the anniversary of the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany in 1945.

In a rare departure from custom, the Belarusian president then missed the state lunch hosted by Putin in the Kremlin and attended by the other leaders.

Putin shakes hands with Lukashenko during their meeting at the Kremlin before the parade (EPA)
Putin shakes hands with Lukashenko during their meeting at the Kremlin before the parade (EPA)
Lukashenko (front centre) at the Victory Day parade in Red Square (Reuters)
Lukashenko (front centre) at the Victory Day parade in Red Square (Reuters)

Zelensky says Russia has ‘failed to capture Bakhmut’

Tuesday 9 May 2023 19:00 , Liam James

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Moscow had failed to capture Bakhmut despite a self-imposed deadline to give Putin a battlefield trophy in time for the holiday.

Moscow regards capturing Bakhmut as a stepping stone towards taking other cities in Ukraine’s industrial east.

Ukraine said its air defences had shot down 23 of 25 Russian cruise missiles fired chiefly at the capital Kyiv overnight, and there were no reported casualties.

Russia’s defence ministry said it had “launched a concentrated strike using high-precision, long-range sea and air-based weapons aimed against enemy barracks and ammunition depots”.

After a weeks-long hiatus, Russia in late April resumed its tactic of long-range missile strikes against Ukraine and has launched a flurry of attacks in recent days.

The day provided Zelensky an opportunity to demonstrate Ukraine’s clear break from Moscow by hosting von der Leyen.

“Our efforts for a united Europe, for security and peace, need to be as strong as Russia’s desire to destroy our security, our freedom, our Europe,” Zelensky said at their joint press conference in Kyiv.

Russia’s increasing diplomatic isolation has drawn Moscow closer to China, and Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang said on Tuesday that Beijing would maintain lines of communication with all parties to the war in Ukraine in seeking a ceasefire.

“As a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and responsible major country, China will neither watch the fire from the other bank nor add fuel to the fire,” Qin told reporters alongside German counterpart Annalena Baerbock during a visit to Berlin.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Putin’s Victory Day Speech

Tuesday 9 May 2023 18:30 , Sam Rkaina

Putin struck a rousing note in his Victory Day speech, saying all of Russia was praying for its heroes at the front and concluding with a cheer for “Russia, for our valiant Armed Forces, for victory!”

After he spoke, a band struck up and cannon fired a salute. Soldiers marched through Red Square followed by armoured vehicles and nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missiles.

But the Moscow parade was much shorter than usual. Security concerns following attacks including drones that exploded over the Kremlin citadel last week meant parades in some other cities were scaled back or called off. Traditional “Immortal Regiment” processions, in which people carry portraits of relatives who fought against the Nazis, were cancelled.

In Kyiv there were no reported casualties from Russia’s latest volley of air strikes on the capital. Debris fell on a house in the Holosiivskyi district in the southwest of Kyiv but caused little damage, Mayor Vitalii Klitschko said. Debris lay in a road in Kyiv’s central Shevchenkivskyi district.

“As at the front, the plans of the aggressor failed,” said Sergei Popko, head of the Kyiv city military administration.

Russia has stepped up its attacks in anticipation of a Ukrainian counteroffensive, after Moscow’s winter campaign captured little territory despite the bloodiest ground combat in Europe since World War Two.

Russia marks the Nazi surrender of May 8, 1945 on the following day, because it took effect when it was already after midnight in Moscow. Ukraine symbolised its break from Moscow on Monday by announcing it was shifting its observance to May 8.

Instead, Kyiv proclaimed May 9 as Europe Day, a date observed by the EU to commemorate the post-war integration movement that led to the founding of the European Union.

“Kyiv, as the capital of Ukraine, is the beating heart of today’s European values,” von der Leyen said at her news conference with Zelenskiy. “Courageously, Ukraine is fighting for the ideals of Europe that we celebrate today.”

 (SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)
(SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)

A single tank, fewer soldiers and no flypast: Putin gives angry speech at stripped-back Victory Day parade

Tuesday 9 May 2023 18:00 , Liam James

Russia attacked Ukraine with its latest barrage of cruise missiles, before Vladimir Putin made an angry speech to mark Victory Day in Moscow – hitting out at Western countries for starting what he claims is a “real war” against his nation (Chris Stevenson writes).

However, in a sign of the toll that his invasion of Ukraine has taken on Russia’s forces, the annual military parade across Red Square was pared back as Moscow throws manpower and weaponry at the frontlines following an underwhelming winter offensive and an expected Ukrainian counteroffensive.

“Today civilisation is once again at a decisive turning point,” Mr Putin said as he again sought to defend his invasion of Ukraine by painting Russia as being cornered by “Western global elites”.

“A real war has been unleashed against our motherland,” he said.

The most abiding image of the parade, part of commemorations of the Soviet victory over the Nazi’s in the Second World War that have become a centrepiece of Putin’s time in office, was of a single T-34 Soviet-era tank rolling down the road near the start of what is usually a show of Russian military might. The T-34 has traditionally opening the display, but it is usually accompanied by more modern battle tanks, such as the T-14 Armata and a T-74, both of which have been used in Ukraine.

Click here to read on:

Vladimir Putin gives angry speech at stripped-back Victory Day parade

Tuesday recap: Putin thunders against “Western global elites”

Tuesday 9 May 2023 17:30 , Sam Rkaina

Russia fired cruise missiles at Kyiv and paraded troops across Moscow’s Red Square for its annual celebration of victory in World War Two, pared back amid shortages of manpower and arms at the front after a failed winter campaign in Ukraine.

In a fiery 10-minute speech in front of the Kremlin, President Vladimir Putin thundered against “Western global elites” and said civilisation was at “a decisive turning point”.

“A real war has been unleashed against our homeland,” said the Russian leader, who last year ordered what the West calls an unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, destroying cities and killing thousands of civilians.

Underlining how the war has isolated Russia from most of Europe and pushed Ukraine closer to the West, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was visiting Kyiv, where she called Ukraine “the beating heart of today’s European values”.

The holiday commemorating the Soviet victory in World War Two is the most important day in the calendar in Russia under Putin, who casts his invasion of Ukraine as analogous to Russia’s fight against the Nazis. Ukraine, which suffered proportionally greater losses than Russia in World War Two, calls that an abuse of shared history to justify aggression.

The parade was full of traditional pomp but unmistakably scaled down from previous years. In place of phalanxes of modern battle tanks, a single World War Two-vintage T-34 rolled across Red Square. The usual fighter jet flyover was cancelled.

Putin’s message was also undermined by a new profanity-laced tirade from the boss of Russia’s Wagner private army directed at Moscow’s generals for failing to give his forces enough weapons.

“A combat order came yesterday which clearly stated that if we leave our positions (in Bakhmut), it will be regarded as treason against the motherland,” Yevgeny Prigozhin said in an audio message. “(But) if there is no ammunition, then we will leave our positions and be the ones asking who is really betraying the Motherland.”

US disrupts long-running Russian cyberespionage campaign

Tuesday 9 May 2023 17:00 , Sam Rkaina

The US Justice Department says it has disrupted a long-running Russian cyberespionage campaign that stole sensitive information from computer networks in dozens of countries, including the U.S. and other NATO members.

Prosecutors linked the spying operation to a unit of Russia’s Federal Security Service, or FSB, and accused the hackers of stealing documents from hundreds of computer systems belonging to governments of NATO members, an unidentified journalist for a U.S. news organization who reported on Russia, and other select targets of interest to the Kremlin.

“For 20 years, the FSB has relied on the Snake malware to conduct cyberespionage against the United States and our allies — that ends today,” Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen, the head of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, said in a statement.

The specific targets were not named in court papers, but U.S. officials described the espionage campaign as “consequential,” having successfully exfiltrated sensitive documents from NATO countries and also targeted U.S. government agencies and others in the U.S.

The Russian operation relied on the malicious software known as Snake to infect computers, with hackers operating from what the Justice Department said was a known FSB facility in Ryazan, Russia.

U.S. officials said they’d been investigating Snake for about a decade and came to regard it as the most sophisticated malware implant relied on by the Russian government for espionage campaigns. They said Turla, the FSB unit believed responsible for the malware, had refined and revised it multiple times as a way to avoid being shut down.

The Justice Department, using a warrant this week from a federal judge in Brooklyn, launched what it said was a high-tech operation using a specialized tool called Perseus that caused the malware to effectively self-destruct. Federal officials said they were confident that, based on the impact of its operation this week, the FSB would not be able to reconstitute the malware implant.

Japan working towards opening of NATO liaison office in Tokyo

Tuesday 9 May 2023 16:30 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Japan is working towards the opening of a NATO liaison office in Tokyo, Japan’s ambassador to the U.S. Koji Tomita said on Tuesday.

Tomita made the comment at an event hosted by the National Press Club in Washington when asked about a report in the Nikkei Asia this month saying that the U.S.-led alliance was planning to open such an office, its first in Asia, to facilitate consultations in the region.

“The point you mentioned is one of the things that we are working on to strengthen our partnership. But I really haven’t heard any final confirmation of that, but we are working in that direction,” he said.

NATO has not confirmed the Nikkei report, saying it would not go into details of NATO allies’ ongoing deliberations.

Tomita, who was briefing on the G7 summit Japan will host in Hiroshima from May 19-21, said the meeting would be looking for closer alignment of the group’s approach towards China.

Nikkei Asia said the liaison office was due to open next year and would enable discussions with NATO’s security partners, such as South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, with geopolitical challenges from China and Russia in mind.

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.

After the Nikkei Asia report,

China said “high vigilance” was needed in the face of NATO’s “eastward expansion.”

Why did Russia invade Ukraine?

Tuesday 9 May 2023 15:54 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine has been raging for one year now as the conflict continues to record devastating casualties and force the mass displacement of millions of blameless Ukrainians.

Vladimir Putin began the war by claiming Russia’s neighbour needed to be “demilitarised and de-Nazified”, a baseless pretext on which to launch a landgrab against an independent state that happens to have a Jewish president in Volodymyr Zelensky.

Ukraine has fought back courageously against Mr Putin’s warped bid to restore territory lost to Moscow with the collapse of the Soviet Union and has continued to defy the odds by defending itself against Russian onslaughts with the help of Western military aid.

Here’s why Putin really invaded Ukraine

Britain asks companies to supply long-range missiles for Ukraine

Tuesday 9 May 2023 15:19 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

A British-led group of European countries has asked for expressions of interest to supply Ukraine with missiles with a range of up to 300 km (190 miles) in what would be another step-up in military support for Kyiv against Russia‘s invasion.

The call for responses from companies who could provide such missiles was included in a notice posted last week by the International Fund for Ukraine - a group of countries including Britain, Norway, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden - set up to send weapons to Kyiv.

Britain’s Ministry of Defence, which administers the fund, asked companies to get in touch if they could provide missiles that can be launched from land, sea or air with a payload of between 20 and 490 kg (44 and 1,078 pounds).

The notice asked for other desirable requirements including a “low probability of intercept”, “mission planning capability”, and “air defence penetration methods to increase probability of successful strike”. The notice said companies that responded would be contacted from June 5.

A British official said no final decision had been made to send missiles with these capabilities to Ukraine.

The Washington Post reported details of the procurement notice earlier on Tuesday.

Britain and other Western countries have scaled up their pledges of military aid for Ukraine this year.

Britain said in January it would send 14 of its main Challenger 2 battle tanks to Ukraine. Other nations including the United States and Germany subsequently committed to supply tanks.

Yuriy Sak, an adviser to Ukraine‘s defence minister, told Reuters that Kyiv had no concrete information about the UK-led effort to supply long-range missiles, but that Ukraine had for months been consistently appealing to Western governments to provide long-range weapons.

“We would welcome it if the UK takes on a leadership role with the long-range missiles, in the same way they did with the Challenger 2 main battle tanks,” he said.

Bank apologises after mortgage refused over Ukrainian refugees

Tuesday 9 May 2023 15:10 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

A bank has issued an apology after rejecting a homeowner’s mortgage application due to them hosting two Ukrainian refugees.

A mother and her young daughter have been staying in an annexe at Dominik Zaum’s family home since June 2022.

Fixed-rate mortgage deals leapt up in the wake of last autumn’s disastrous mini-budget, with many predicting they will continue to edge up even further as the Bank of England looks set to hike interest rates.

When his mortgage came up for renewal, Mr Zaum, like many others, begun shopping around for a new deal – and eventually applied for one with Halifax, he told BBC Radio 4’s Money Box programme.

Emily Atkinson reports:

Bank apologises after mortgage refused over Ukrainian refugees

Russian mercenary chief says he's been told to stay in Bakhmut or be branded traitor

Tuesday 9 May 2023 14:27 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The head of Russia‘s Wagner mercenary force fighting in eastern Ukraine said on Tuesday said he had been told he and his men would be regarded as traitors if they abandoned their positions in the city of Bakhmut.

But Yevgeny Prigozhin said for the second time in a matter of days that his forces would leave Bakhmut if they did not receive the ammunition they needed to press the battle.

He delivered his latest tirade in a profanity-laced audio message which coincided with Russia marking the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two with its traditional parade on Moscow’s Red Square.

“A combat order came yesterday which clearly stated that if we leave our positions (in Bakhmut), it will be regarded as treason against the motherland. That was the message to us,” Prigozhin said.

“(But) if there is no ammunition, then we will leave our positions and be the ones asking who is really betraying the Motherland. Apparently, the one (betraying the Motherland) is the person who signed it (the order to supply too little ammunition.”

He said his forces would stay in Bakhmut and keep insisting they get their ammo “for a few more days”.

Prigozhin has previously accused the defence ministry of deliberately starving his forces of ammunition. The ministry has said it is working to ensure all battlefield units have what they need.

Late on Monday, Prigozhin said there were signs the ammunition problem was being solved but on Tuesday he said the size of the shipment had been slashed.

“They’ve given us only 10% of what we asked for. We’ve been deceived,” he said.

 (AP)
(AP)

Watch: Putin accuses the West of ‘creating a real cult of Nazism’

Tuesday 9 May 2023 13:50 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Vladimir Putin said the West is “creating a real cult of Nazism” as he delivered an angry Victory Day speech in Moscow’s Red Square.

The Russian president also accused the “Western elite and globalists” of encouraging “Russophobia” as he addressed crowds on Tuesday 9 May.

“We see that in a number of countries, they are destroying the memorials to the Soviet fighters, to the great generals, they are creating a real cult of Nazism,” Mr Putin said.

He also suggested the “mocking of the memory of past generations is a real crime”.

Watch: Putin accuses the West of ‘creating a real cult of Nazism’

The Body in the Woods | An Independent TV Original Documentary

Tuesday 9 May 2023 13:35 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

It was a month into Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Russian forces had withdrawn from around Kyiv and in their wake Bel Trew and her team stumbled on a body by an abandoned Russian camp.

His hands were tied. He had been burned and shot in the back. Soldiers said he was a teenager.

As Bel tried to find out who he was and what had happened, she uncovered a nightmare world: a nation struggling to find thousands of its missing and to identify its dead.

The Body in the Woods by Bel Trew is streaming now on Independent TV and on your smart TV.

The Body in the Woods | An Independent TV Original Documentary

The scale of the attack underlines the importance of the next phase in this war

Tuesday 9 May 2023 13:15 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The dozens of drones fired at Ukraine by Russia is a sign of the crucial juncture we have reached in the invasion.

Vitali Klitschko, the mayor of Kyiv, described it as the “biggest” such attack he had seen, with airstrikes and missiles also used on other cities. It was the fourth such attack on the capital in little more than a week, although Mr Klitschko said all the drones aimed at the city had been shot down.

Moscow has stepped-up its long-range assault ahead of an expected Ukrainian counteroffensive. The drone attacks followed a lull in the wave of Russian airstrikes.

Russia is due to commemorate Victory Day on Tuesday, which marks the victory of the Soviet Union over the Nazis in the Second World War. It is an important occasion in the country and has only increased in significance for Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin since Moscow started its invasion of Ukraine last February.

Scale of drone attack on Ukraine underlines importance of the next phase in this war

Russia says it launched missiles against Ukraine overnight

Tuesday 9 May 2023 12:50 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Russia‘s defence ministry said on Tuesday its forces had launched missile strikes at targets across Ukraine overnight, disrupting Kyiv’s supplies of ammunition to the frontline and troop movements, Russian news agencies reported.

The defence ministry also said fighting continued in the western part of the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, which Russian forces have been trying for months to seize in one of the bloodiest battles of the war.

Russia launches mass drone attacks on Ukraine ahead of Victory Day holiday

Tuesday 9 May 2023 12:31 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Russia launched its biggest swarm of drone attacks on Ukraine on Monday as it also prepared for annual commemorations marking the defeat of Nazi Germany in the Second World War.

Vitali Klitschko, the mayor of Kyiv, said Russia fired 60 Iranian-made kamikaze drones at Ukrainian targets, including 36 at the capital. All those fired at Kyiv had been shot down he said, although debris hit apartments and other buildings, injuring at least five people.

“This was the most massive drone attack on the capital during the entire war,” Mr Klitschko, the former heavyweight boxing champion, said.

The assault is part of a renewed Russian air campaign unleashed 10 days ago after a lull since early March.

Russia launches huge drone attacks on Ukraine ahead of Victory Day holiday

Ukraine discusses integration with EU

Tuesday 9 May 2023 12:07 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he discussed European integration, defence matters and sanctions against Russia at talks on Tuesday with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

After talks held in Kyiv as Russia celebrated the anniversary of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two, Zelensky said he expected the European Union to soon approve more sanctions on Russia over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky shake hands after a joint  press conference (REUTERS)
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky shake hands after a joint press conference (REUTERS)
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Ukraine says Russia still pounding Bakhmut, has failed to capture it

Tuesday 9 May 2023 11:38 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The Ukrainian military said on Tuesday Russian forces were still attacking the eastern city of Bakhmut, missing a deadline to capture it before the May 9 holiday celebrated in Moscow as Victory Day.

A Ukrainian general said on Sunday that Russian forces were hoping to capture Bakhmut before the annual holiday when Russia marks the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two.

“The enemy has not taken Bakhmut,” Serhiy Cherevaty, spokesman for Ukraine‘s eastern command, said by telephone. “There are no significant changes in positions.”

Ukraine‘s military is preparing a widely anticipated counteroffensive to try to recapture Russian-occupied territory in the south and east.

Russian and Ukrainian forces have been fighting over Bakhmut for months. Russia sees capturing Bakhmut as a stepping stone to taking other Ukrainian cities.

 (EPA)
(EPA)

Putin’s Victory Day parade proves just how much pressure he is under

Tuesday 9 May 2023 11:30 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Vladimir Putin‘s annual Victory Day speech meandered down a familiar path that we have seen several times over the last few months – blame the West for trying to destroy Russia culturally while continuing to pervert the historical record by saying that it is only Russia who has truly fought Nazism.

The narrative he is trying to push is that the “real war“ is not the one Moscow started in Ukraine, but one being waged on Russia by the West using Kyiv as a proxy. So far, so predictable. But the emphasis was clearly on convincing Russian’s of the need to push on.

The pride the country should have in all the members of the military who are taking part on this war. Whether that be on the frontlines, those providing supplies or treating the injured. “There’s nothing stronger than love for the motherland” were among Putin’s closing words.

Chris Stevenson has more:

Analysis: Putin’s Russian Victory Day show proves just how much pressure he’s under

Putin mocked after single tank turns up for Russian Victory Day parade

Tuesday 9 May 2023 11:04 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Vladimir Putin has been mocked for Russia’s slimmed-down Victory Parade - with only one tank.

Cheers rang out across Red Square, with a gun salute and the Russian national anthem, though with a much reduced show of military hardware - and no aviation. Only one tank took part showing the impact of Russia’s war in Ukraine on the Kremlin’s military resource.

Undeterred by the reduced showing, Mr Putin said Russians were united in a “sacred” fight with the West over Ukraine that would end in victory, and accused the United States and its allies of forgetting the Soviet triumph over the Nazis in World War Two.

Thomas Kingsley reports:

Putin mocked as only one tank turns up for Victory Day military parade

Russian official says U.S. exerting 'pressure and threats' over jailed WSJ reporter

Tuesday 9 May 2023 10:32 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

A senior Russian official accused the United States on Tuesday of exerting “pressure and threats” on Moscow over the case of detained Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, state-owned news agencies reported.

TASS quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying Moscow would ignore such tactics. He did not say what form the alleged pressure had taken.

Gershkovich was arrested in March and accused of espionage, which he and his newspaper deny. The United States says he has been wrongfully detained and is attempting to gain his release.

“Dialogue involves searching for some sort of solutions. On the American side we see only attempts at pressure and threats. This is not the way to conduct dialogue,” TASS quoted Ryabkov as saying.

Russia will consider requests for consular access to Gershkovich “in a calm working vein, regardless of attempts by the Americans to exert this or that pressure”, he said.

Last month, Moscow rejected a U.S. embassy request to visit Gershkovich after Washington refused to grant visas to a group of Russian journalists assigned to accompany Russia‘s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to the United Nations in New York.

Relations between Moscow and Washington have hit rock bottom since the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022.

Gershkovich’s arrest - the first time an American reporter had been accused of spying in Russia since 1986 - was widely seen in the West as a move by Moscow to secure a bargaining chip to trade in a prisoner release.

Ryabkov has previously said that any exchange could only be considered after a court has reached a verdict in the case.

Why did Russia invade Ukraine?

Tuesday 9 May 2023 10:05 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine has been raging for one year now as the conflict continues to record devastating casualties and force the mass displacement of millions of blameless Ukrainians.

Vladimir Putin began the war by claiming Russia’s neighbour needed to be “demilitarised and de-Nazified”, a baseless pretext on which to launch a landgrab against an independent state that happens to have a Jewish president in Volodymyr Zelensky.

Ukraine has fought back courageously against Mr Putin’s warped bid to restore territory lost to Moscow with the collapse of the Soviet Union and has continued to defy the odds by defending itself against Russian onslaughts with the help of Western military aid.

Here’s why Putin really invaded Ukraine

Europe must not be intimated by Moscow's power plays - Scholz

Tuesday 9 May 2023 09:48 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The European Union must not be intimidated by Moscow’s show-casing of military power but continue to support Ukraine for as long as it takes, Germany Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Tuesday as Russia marked Victory Day with a parade.

“2,200 kilometres northeast from here, (Russian President Vladimir) Putin is parading his soldiers, tanks and missiles today,” Scholz told lawmakers in a speech at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, according to prepared remarks.

“We must not be intimidated by such power plays! Let’s remain steadfast in our support for Ukraine - for as long as it takes!”

 (AP)
(AP)

What’s the latest from the frontline?

Tuesday 9 May 2023 09:17 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

* Ukraine said its air defences shot down 23 of 25 missiles, fired chiefly at the capital Kyiv, and there were no reported casualties. It was the second night in a row of major Russian air strikes and fifth so far this month.

* Russia‘s mercenary Wagner forces have not yet received the ammunition promised by Moscow, the head of the group said, rowing back from comments hours earlier that initial data showed they had begun to get it.

* The United States plans as soon as Tuesday to announce a new $1.2 billion military aid package for Ukraine that will include air defense systems, ammunition and funds for training, a U.S. official said.

* Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said he will lay out the need to defend Ukraine in the war with Russia when he meets Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, who has been critical of arming the Ukrainians.

* Ukrainian forces shelled the Belgorod region on Russia‘s border with Ukraine on Monday, injuring at least five people and damaging houses and power lines, the region’s governor said.

Putin says Russia is ‘proud’ of soldiers fighting the war

Tuesday 9 May 2023 08:25 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Vladimir Putin has congratulated the forces fighting for Russia as he is said the country is “proud” of their servicement.

In his Victory Day Parade speech in Moscow, he said: “We are following in the footsteps of our ancestors and we are proud of the participants of this military operation.

“The future of our state is dependent upon you. You are fighting for Russia. Behind you, your families and your friends are waiting for you.”

Putin says West is sowing ‘Russophobia’ in Victory Day speech

Tuesday 9 May 2023 08:19 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Vladimir Putin has said the West is encouraging “Russophobia” as he says an international war is being waged against Moscow.

He said: “Today we have a real war waged against us but we will be defending ourselves against international terrorism.

“We do not have any people who will consider to be our enemies either here or to the west or to the east.

“We want to see our future peaceful and stable. We believe any ideology of supremacy is not acceptable to us, however, the Western elites and globalists are insisting on their exceptional character.

“They are provoking conflict and encouraging Russophobia and nationalism.

“They are destroying traditional family values that make a person a person.

“They are dictating will to the others, their rules to others. This is a system of robbing others and a system of violence.”

 (SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)
(SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)

Vladimir Putin watches Victory Parade In Moscow’s Red Square

Tuesday 9 May 2023 08:12 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Putin arrives at Russia’s Victory Day Parade

Tuesday 9 May 2023 08:09 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Vladimir Putin has arrived at Moscow’s Red Square for Russia’s Victory Day Parade.

The military parade commemorates the victory of the Soviet Union's Red Army over Nazi-Germany in WWII.

 (EPA)
(EPA)
 (EPA)
(EPA)

Live: Russia stages annual WWII Victory Day parade on Moscow's Red Square

Tuesday 9 May 2023 08:05 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Watch live as Russia stages its annual Victory Day parade on Moscow’s Red Square, marking victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two.

President Vladimir Putin is due to make a speech on Tuesday (9 May) amid tight security following a series of drone attacks, including on the Kremlin citadel itself, that Moscow has blamed on Kyiv.

One of the most important public holidays in Russia, Victory Day commemorates the huge sacrifices made by the Soviet Union during WWII, in which around 27 million citizens perished.

This anniversary is even more emotionally charged as Russia mourns thousands of soldiers killed in the nearly 15-month war in Ukraine, which shows no sign of ending.

Mr Putin has repeatedly likened the war - which he casts as a battle against “Nazi”-inspired nationalists - to the challenge the Soviet Union faced when Hitler invaded in 1941.

Live: Russia stages annual WWII Victory Day parade on Moscow's Red Square

North Korea's Kim says Russia 'will prevail' over hostile forces

Tuesday 9 May 2023 07:45 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said Russia “will prevail” in its fight against what he described as “imperialists,” state news agency KCNA said on Tuesday, in remarks seen to be aimed at Ukraine and its Western supporters, such as the United States.

North Korea has forged closer ties with the Kremlin and backed Moscow after it invaded Ukraine last year, including its proclamation later of having annexed parts of Ukraine that most U.N. members condemned as illegal.

“We send warm wishes to you, the Russian army and the people of Russia for their holy fight to preserve world peace,” the agency quoted Kim as telling Russian President Vladimir Putin in a letter.

Kim also congratulated Putin on Tuesday’s Victory Day anniversary that celebrates the 1945 defeat of Nazi Germany, saying Russia would continue to protect its “autonomy” and the “stability of the region”.

 (KCNA VIA KNS/AFP via Getty Image)
(KCNA VIA KNS/AFP via Getty Image)

Russia launches new attack on Ukraine on Moscow's 'sacred' day

Tuesday 9 May 2023 07:24 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Russia launched a new attack on Ukraine on Tuesday as Russia celebrated the anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945, with Ukraine‘s air defences destroying 23 of 25 missiles fired, chiefly at the capital Kyiv, officials said.

The attack - the fifth in May - came a day after Russia launched its biggest drone swarm yet in a renewed air campaign unleashed 10 days ago after a lull since early March.

Military officials said there were no casualties in Tuesday’s attack and not much damage.

“As at the front, the plans of the aggressor failed,” Serhiy Popko, head of the Kyiv’s city military administration, said in comments posted on the Telegram messaging app.

Russia celebrates Victory Day on Tuesday, one of its most important public holidays when thousands of people will line the streets of Moscow’s Red Square to watch a military parade, set for 0700 GMT, and listen a speech by President Vladimir Putin.

“Overnight into the ‘sacred’ May 9, (they) launched an attack on the territory of Ukraine,” Ukraine‘s air force said on its Telegram messaging app.

Popko said Russian forces were trying “to kill as many civilians as possible on this day”.

Popko said Tuesday’s attack was carried out with cruise missiles from the Caspian Sea region.

Falling debris fell on a house in the Holosiivskyi district in the southwest of Kyiv, Kyiv’s Mayor Vitalii Klitschko said on his Telegram messaging channel, adding there were no casualties nor much damage.

In the often-targeted Shevchenkivskyi district of central Kyiv debris was found on a road.

“Kyiv stood up again and will stand up in the future!” Popko said.

EU chief Ursula von der Leyen arrives in Kyiv for talks

Tuesday 9 May 2023 07:10 , Arpan Rai

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has arrived in Kyiv for talks with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky.

“Good to be back in Kyiv. Where the values we hold dear are defended everyday. So it is such a fitting place to celebrate the day of Europe. I welcome President Zelensky’s decision to make 9 May Europe Day also here in Ukraine,” she said in a tweet.

Russia’s Bakhmut campaign threatening water supply in Donetsk – MoD

Tuesday 9 May 2023 06:48 , Arpan Rai

Water scarcity has been a growing issue for Russian-occupied Donetsk since the invasion of Ukraine last year and a separatist leader there says regional water supplies are now dangerously low, the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) said.

“The Siversky-Donets canal which supplies the region remains largely under Ukrainian control but has been frequently contested along its long route. Russian forces have likely been seeking to secure the canal to reduce water scarcity within Donetsk,” the MoD said.

It added that the Siversky-Donets canal traverses through the town of Chasiv Yar, approximately 6km to the west of Bakhmut.

“Russia’s heavy use of indirect artillery to support the capture of Bakhmut and surrounding territory has likely inflicted collateral damage to the canal and other regional water infrastructure, undermining Russia’s efforts to remedy the lack of water that its invasion originally created,” the ministry said.

Russia is likely constructing a water pipeline to mitigate the water shortage in Donetsk to compensate for its lack of success in capturing and retaining the canal but this is highly unlikely to fully compensate for the occupied regions’ reduced access to water, the ministry said.

Ukraine downs 23 out of 25 cruise missiles fired by Russia overnight

Tuesday 9 May 2023 06:08 , Arpan Rai

The Ukrainian military has downed 23 out of a total 25 cruise missiles launched by the Russia overnight, officials said.

Russia fired a range of Kalibr and X-101/X-555 cruise missiles overnight, the Ukrainian Air Force said in its Tuesday morning update.

Of these, eight Kalibr cruises missiles were fired around 10pm last night from warships in the Black Sea facing the eastern regions of the war-hit nation, the air force said.

“As at the front, the plans of the aggressor failed,” Serhiy Popko, head of Kyiv’s city military administration, said on Telegram.

“(They) try to kill as many civilians as possible – on this day,” the official said, referring to the annual Victory Day celebration of the defeat of Nazi Germany.

No immediate casualties have been reported so far according to preliminary information, he added.

The cruise missiles were fired on Ukraine from the Caspian Sea region.

Today’s attacks – the fifth such bombardment this month – came a day after Russia launched its biggest drone swarm yet as part of a renewed air campaign unleashed 10 days ago.

Russia marks Victory Day with missiles and drones on sleeping civilians, says top US envoy

Tuesday 9 May 2023 05:52 , Arpan Rai

The US ambassador to Kyiv has condemned Russian airstrikes and drone attacks on the besieged country after over a dozen missiles were fired on Ukrainian cities overnight.

“Ukraine, Europe, and the United States commemorated victory over tyranny yesterday. Russia marks 9 May with more missiles and drones launched toward Ukrainian cities and sleeping civilians,” US envoy Bridget A Brink said today.

US to announce $1.2bn in military aid for Ukraine

Tuesday 9 May 2023 04:31 , Arpan Rai

The Biden administration is likely to announce a new $1.2bn (£9.5m) military aid package for Ukraine, packing in air defence systems, ammunition and funds for training, an official said.

Ukraine will receive 155-mm Howitzer ammunition, counter-drone ammunition, and funding for satellite imagery as well as various types of training in this tranche of aid, the official said.

The package is paid from Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) funding which allows president Biden’s administration to buy weapons from industry rather than pull from US weapons stocks.

Ukraine’s air defence systems repel overnight attacks on Kyiv

Tuesday 9 May 2023 03:53 , Arpan Rai

Ukraine’s air defence systems are repelling Russian attacks on Kyiv, the capital city’s military administration said early today as air raid sirens wailed across the country in the small hours.

“Air defence systems are working on the outskirts of Kyiv,” the administration said on its Telegram.

This comes just a day after Russia launched its biggest drone swarm yet in a renewed air campaign unleashed 10 days ago after a lull since early March.

Wagner says no sign of promised ammunition from Putin

Tuesday 9 May 2023 03:49 , Arpan Rai

Russia’s mercenary Wagner forces have not yet received the ammunition promised by Moscow, the group’s leader Yevgeny Prigozhin said, backtracking on his previous comments from just hours earlier claiming that they were being supplied with promised weapons.

“The people who were supposed to fulfil the (shipment) orders have so far, over the past day, not fulfilled them,” Prigozhin said in a video post on Telegram.

However, he added that he does not want to “spoil” Russia’s grand Victory Day parade today and reserved more details on ammunition hunger for later.

Late yesterday, he had said preliminary data showed his troops were beginning to get the ammunition, while cautioning they had not “seen it in practice”.

Watch: Moment shell explodes in Bakhmut amid heavy fighting

Tuesday 9 May 2023 03:00 , Liam James

Footage from a Ukrainian military drone shows the moment a shell exploded in the western part of embattled Ukrainian city Bakhmut.

The footage shows damaged buildings and heavy plumes of smoke rising over the city, which has been the focus of heavy fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces.

Reuters news agency verified the location from the buildings, road layout, and field, which matched satellite photography of the area.

Russia has intensified shelling of Bakhmut hoping to take it by Tuesday, Ukraine’s top general in charge of the defence of the besieged city said late on Sunday, vowing to do everything to prevent it.

Ukraine, Sudan conflicts fuel alarming surge in tuberculosis

Tuesday 9 May 2023 02:00 , Liam James

Top UN officials and health industry leaders are trying to tackle an alarming surge in tuberculosis, which is now killing more people worldwide than Covid-19 or AIDS. Among the problems: a high number of cases in conflict zones, including Ukraine and Sudan, where it’s difficult to track down people with the disease and diagnose new sufferers (Edith Lederer writes).

Tuberculosis is the biggest infectious disease killer in the world today, taking the lives of around 4,400 people every day, including 700 children, Dr Lucica Ditiu, executive director of the Stop TB Partnership, said before a hearing Monday to prepare for a high-level meeting in late September during the annual gathering of world leaders at the UN General Assembly.

Before Covid-19, which like TB is transmitted through the air, “we didn’t see very dramatic cases of TB,” she said, “but after Covid we saw a type of TB that we saw in … movies in which people spit blood and they are very weak, and so on.”

Ditiu said the economic impact of Covid and conflicts, first and foremost in Ukraine but now also in Sudan, are having “a huge impact” on efforts to treat people with TB and diagnose new cases.

Ukraine has the highest number of estimated people with TB in the European region – 34,000 – and also a high number with drug-resistant TB, she said at a news conference last week.

Click here to read on:

Ukraine, Sudan conflicts fuel alarming surge in tuberculosis

NYT takes Pulitzer prize for Ukraine reporting

Tuesday 9 May 2023 01:00 , Liam James

The New York Times won the Pulitzer prize for international reporting for its coverage of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. A Reuters team was named as a finalist in that category for a series exposing grave human-rights abuses by the Nigerian military against women and children during its long war with Islamist militants.

The Wall Street Journal won the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting for revealing financial conflicts of interest among officials at dozens of federal agencies, the award administrator said on Monday.

The Los Angeles Times won the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news for revealing a secretly recorded conversation among city officials that included racist comments, while the Washington Post took home the national reporting award for her coverage of abortion after the US Supreme Court’s decision to eliminate a nationwide right to abortion.

The annual Pulitzers, first presented in 1917, are the most prestigious honours in US journalism.

Wagner group chief says ammunition arriving after furious rant

Tuesday 9 May 2023 00:00 , Liam James

The head of Russia‘s mercenary Wagner group said on Monday that according to preliminary data his troops were beginning to receive the ammunition they needed, and reported heavy fighting in the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut.

“Today, the groups advanced a maximum of 130 metres (400 feet) ... Fierce fighting is going on, but the groups are continuing to advance,” Yevgeny Prigozhin said in an audio message posted on social media.

“According to preliminary data, we are starting to receive ammunition. We have not (yet) seen it in practice.”

Mr Prigozhin last week posted a video of himself raging against military leaders in Moscow for what he claimed was an ammo shortage that had allowed many of his troops to die.

Russia bans jet skis and car sharing ahead of Victory Day

Monday 8 May 2023 23:00 , Liam James

Russia enacted a major security clampdown ahead of Tuesday’s annual commemorations marking the defeat of Nazi Germany in the Second World War, curbing the use of drones and car-sharing services in its largest cities amid its 14-month war with Ukraine.

At least 21 Russian cities cancelled May 9 military parades – the staple of Victory Day celebrations across Russia – for the first time in years, Russian media said.

Regional officials blamed unspecified “security concerns” or vaguely referred to “the current situation” for the restrictions and cancellations. It was not clear whether their decisions were taken in co-ordination with the Kremlin.

Last week, Russia – which has not witnessed the carnage experienced by Ukraine during the invasion – was rattled by ambiguous official reports that two Ukrainian drones flew into the heart of Moscow under the cover of darkness and reached the Kremlin before being shot down.

Media and local officials have blamed other sporadic drone attacks, especially targeting oil depots near the two countries’ border, on the Ukrainian military. Kyiv officials have declined to comment on such claims.

Italy ‘strongly recommends’ its citizens leave Ukraine by any means

Monday 8 May 2023 22:00 , Liam James

Rome’s foreign ministry on Monday “strongly recommended” that any Italians still in Ukraine leave by any means.

The alert was issued in the wake of “ever heavier missile attacks on Kyiv and across all Ukrainian territory”, the ministry said on its “Viaggiare sicuri” (Travelling safely) website.

“All travel to Ukraine, in any capacity, is strongly discouraged,” it said, urging anyone going for work to take “appropriate risk prevention and mitigation measures” and exercise “maximum caution”.

Russia launched its biggest swarm of drone attacks for months against Ukraine on Monday, and Kyiv says it will soon launch a counteroffensive to try to reclaim territory from Moscow’s invasion forces.

Ukrainian Eurovision act hails UK ‘family'

Monday 8 May 2023 21:30 , Liam James

Ukraine‘s Eurovision act has described the UK as “family” after arriving in Liverpool to the sight of sunflowers and their national flag.

The city has been transformed with public artworks and installations for the international music competition, which the UK is hosting on behalf of Ukraine amid the Russian invasion.

Electronic duo Tvorchi, made up of producer Andrii Hutsuliak and Nigeria-raised vocalist Jeffery Kenny, will compete in the grand final with their rousing song Heart Of Steel.

The pair are hoping to defend Ukraine‘s Eurovision title after Kalush Orchestra swept to victory last year on a wave of support from the voting public.

They are yet to meet the folk-rap outfit, who are scheduled to perform during the grand final on Saturday, and also said President Volodymyr Zelensky had not yet reached out to wish them luck.

Tvorchi outside St George’s Hall in Liverpool (Getty)
Tvorchi outside St George’s Hall in Liverpool (Getty)

In pictures: Russian suicide drone strikes injure 5

Monday 8 May 2023 20:45 , Liam James

Russia launched a wave of kamikaze drones across Ukraine overnight, according to Kyiv officials.

Vitali Klitschko, the capital’s mayor, said Russia had fired 60 Iranian-made kamikaze drones, including 36 at Kyiv, all of which had been shot down. However, debris hit apartments and other buildings, injuring at least five people.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian military said 16 rockets had hit the Kharkiv, Kherson, Mykolaiv and Odesa regions in the last 24 hours, in addition to 61 strikes and 52 rocket salvos on Ukrainian positions and populated areas.

An intercepted drone caused damage to a residential block in Kyiv (Getty)
An intercepted drone caused damage to a residential block in Kyiv (Getty)
Klitschko, examines damage inside a high-rise hit by remains of a shot down Russian drone in Kyiv (AFP/Getty)
Klitschko, examines damage inside a high-rise hit by remains of a shot down Russian drone in Kyiv (AFP/Getty)
Klitschko said all drones fired by Russia were shot down (AP)
Klitschko said all drones fired by Russia were shot down (AP)

Ukraine steel giant gives staff day off over missile fears

Monday 8 May 2023 20:00 , Liam James

Ukraine’s largest steel producer, ArcelorMittal Kryvyi Rih, said it told staff to take Tuesday off or work remotely because of the threat of Russian air strikes.

The company, which employs about 20,000 people is located in the central city of Kryvyi Rih, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s hometown, often the target of Russian drone and missile attacks.

A spokesperson said the measure reflected “the escalation of enemy attacks throughout the country and the downing of a reconnaissance drone in Kryvyi Rih, on Saturday.

Moscow has intensified air strikes this month as Ukraine prepares to launch a counteroffensive against Russia‘s invasion.

It has also vowed to retaliate after blaming Kyiv for an apparent drone attack on Moscow’s Kremlin citadel, for which Ukraine denied responsibility.

On Tuesday, Russia will commemorate the Soviet Union’s defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945, a major state holiday, with a Victory Day military parade across Red Square.

The steel company, which said it had also told staff not to come in to work on Monday, told staff in an internal memo not to ignore air alerts and to use air raid shelters, the spokesperson said.

Russia launches huge drone attacks on Ukraine ahead of Victory Day holiday

Monday 8 May 2023 19:15 , Liam James

Russia launched its biggest swarm of drone attacks on Ukraine on Monday as it also prepared for annual commemorations marking the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II.

Kyiv’s mayor said Russia fired 60 Iranian-made kamikaze drones at Ukrainian targets, including 36 at the capital, all of which had been shot down. Debris hit apartments and other buildings, injuring at least five people in the city.

A food warehouse was set ablaze by a missile in the Black Sea city of Odessa, where officials reported three people were injured.

It was the biggest drone swarm yet in a renewed Russian air campaign unleashed 10 days ago after a lull since early March.

Click here to read on:

Russia launches huge drone attacks on Ukraine ahead of Victory Day holiday

Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant suspends operations, say reports

Monday 8 May 2023 18:30 , Liam James

Reactors at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant are being temporarily shut down in case of “provocations” by Ukrainian forces, the Tass state news agency said today, citing Yevgeny Balitsky, the Moscow-installed governor of the Russia-controlled part of Ukraine‘s Zaporizhzhia region.

Russia is reported to have been evacuating residents from villages near the plant, while UN inspectors yesterday warned that the situation at Zaporizhzhia was growing more perilous.

Rafael Grossi, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said:“The general situation in the area near the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant is becoming increasingly unpredictable and potentially dangerous.”

“I’m extremely concerned about the very real nuclear safety and security risks facing the plant.”

The plant, which has been occupied by Russia since early in the invasion, was shut down for a time last November after missile attacks, which Ukraine and Russia traded blame for, damaged power lines fuelling the site.

Nato raised alert level after Russian near-miss

Monday 8 May 2023 17:35 , Liam James

Nato air policing units were put on a higher state of readiness following a near-miss between a Russian fighter jet and a Polish aircraft on patrol for the EU’s border agency Frontex on Friday, a Nato official said.

“Nato air policing detachments were put on higher readiness in response to the dangerous behaviour of a Russian military plane in the vicinity of a Polish Frontex aircraft over the Black Sea near Romania,” the official said on Monday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The official said Nato “remains vigilant” and referred further questions to Polish authorities.

ICYMI: Zelensky says world has ‘historic responsibility’ to prosecute Putin for war crimes

Monday 8 May 2023 16:53 , Matt Mathers

Vladimir Putin has to face justice for war crimes in Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky has declared during a visit to The Hague – the home of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

“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,” the Ukrainian president said, referring to the Russian leader.

“The aggressor must feel the full power of justice. This is our historical responsibility.” Mr Zelensky added that he was sure “we will see that happen when we win... and we will win”.

Chris Stevenson has the story:

Zelensky says it is a ‘historic responsibility’ to prosecute Putin for war crimes

Breakaway Moldovan region suggests Russia deploy more peacekeepers -RIA

Monday 8 May 2023 16:10 , Matt Mathers

Moldova’s unrecognised breakaway region of Transdniestria said on Monday it wanted Moscow to bulk up its small contingent of peacekeepers because of what it called growing security risks, Russia’s RIA news agency reported.

Though Moldova does not allow Russia to deploy new troops in Transdniestria, Russia has had hundreds of peacekeepers in the region since a bloody war between pro-Russian separatists and Moldovan government forces after the 1991 Soviet break-up.

"As long as Russia’s peacekeeping mission continues, Moldova is constrained in any military plans and preparations against Trandsniestria," Leonid Manakov, the region’s envoy to Moscow, was cited as saying by RIA.

"Transnistria has repeatedly applied for an increase in the number of Russian peacekeepers ...there is such an option, and it is justified in terms of the worsening security risks...," he was quoted as saying.

Moldova’s ties with Russia are currently badly strained and have deteriorated rapidly over the course of Moscow’s full-scale invasion of neighbouring Ukraine, which Chisinau has repeatedly condemned.

ICYMI: Zelensky congratulates King Charles on ‘historic’ coronation

Monday 8 May 2023 15:40 , Matt Mathers

Volodymyr Zelensky has congratulated King Charles III on his coronation.

The president of Ukraine described the new monarch and his wife, Queen Camilla, as “true friends of Ukraine” as he addressed the royal family.

“On behalf of the entire Ukrainian people, I congratulate Their Majesties, true friends of Ukraine, on this historic event that begins a new era of the British monarchy,” Mr Zelensky said.

“I wish King Charles III many years of successful reign.”

Watch the video here:

Watch: Zelensky congratulates King Charles on ‘historic’ coronation

Bank apologises after mortgage refused over Ukrainian refugees

Monday 8 May 2023 15:05 , Matt Mathers

A bank has issued an apology after rejecting a homeowner’s mortgage application due to them hosting two Ukrainian refugees.

A mother and her young daughter have been staying in an annexe at Dominik Zaum’s family home since June 2022.

Fixed-rate mortgage deals leapt up in the wake of last autumn’s disastrous mini-budget, with many predicting they will continue to edge up even further as the Bank of England looks set to hike interest rates.

Emily Atkinson reports:

Bank apologises after mortgage refused over Ukrainian refugees

Denmark, Sweden sign solidarity agreement on gas supply

Monday 8 May 2023 14:43 , Matt Mathers

Denmark and Sweden have signed an agreement on mutual support in case of gas shortages, the energy authorities of the two countries said on Monday.

In the case of gas shortages or disruptions, Denmark will help secure supply to Swedish customers protected by the agreement, including about 30,000 households, hospitals and emergency services, Sweden’s energy authority said.

"The agreement we have signed today reflects the great work and cooperation that has taken place in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine," the director of the Danish Energy Authority, Kristoffer Bottzauw, said in a separate statement.

"No country in the EU or the Nordic region can solve the energy supply crisis alone," Bottzauw added.

The majority of the natural gas used in Sweden comes via a pipeline from Denmark.

Ukraine moves day to mark Nazi surrender in shift towards West

Monday 8 May 2023 14:20 , Matt Mathers

President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday moved to formalise the day that Ukraine marks the allied victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two as May 8, aligning it with Western nations in a repudiation of the Soviet past quickly condemned by Moscow.

Speaking to Ukrainians on a hill overlooking Kyiv, Zelensky said "the old evil" had returned, this time waged by a "modern Russia" pursuing the same goal as the Nazis of "enslavement and destruction" - but that it would not succeed.

Zelensky said he had submitted a bill to parliament officially making May 8 Ukraine’s day of remembrance and victory, while May 9 would become Europe Day. Zelensky wants Ukraine one day, after the war, to join the European Union.

"We are returning to our state an honest history without ideological influences. It is on May 8 that most nations of the world remember the greatness of the victory over the Nazis," he said in a video posted on the president’s Telegram channel.

Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender came into force at 11:01 p.m. on May 8, 1945, which was already May 9 in Moscow.

Russia bans jet skis, ride-hailing ahead of WWII tributes

Monday 8 May 2023 14:00 , Matt Mathers

Russia enacted a major security clampdown ahead of Tuesday’s annual commemorations marking the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II, curbing the use of drones, jet skis and car-sharing services in its largest cities amid its 14-month war with Ukraine.

At least 21 Russian cities canceled May 9 military parades — the staple of Victory Day celebrations across Russia — for the first time in years, Russian media said.

Regional officials blamed unspecified "security concerns" or vaguely referred to "the current situation" for the restrictions and cancellations. It was not clear whether their decisions were taken in coordination with the Kremlin.

Last week, Russia — which hasn’t witnessed the carnage endured by Ukraine during the invasion — was rattled by ambiguous official reports that two Ukrainian drones flew into the heart of Moscow under the cover of darkness and reached the Kremlin before being shot down.

Media and local officials have blamed other sporadic drone attacks, especially targeting oil depots near the two countries’ border, on the Ukrainian military. Kyiv officials decline to comment on such claims.

Russia Victory Day Parade Rehearsal (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
Russia Victory Day Parade Rehearsal (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)