Here’s today’s stories…..
US Sec of State Blinkin had a brief conversation with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov at G-20 Foreign Minister conference…..
The fight in the Donetsk region continues around Bakhmut with the Russian’s Wagner group making progress
Anti-Russian protest and actions are now being reported within Russia…..
The Wagner private Russian group is feuding with Russian military bosses…….
The Ukraine American arm shipments and usage have been audited by the US Defense Department IG ‘s office….
The Defense Department is increasing its scrutiny of U.S. arms and other aid flowing to Ukraine, the department’s incoming inspector general told lawmakers on Tuesday.
Robert Storch, who spent years working to uncover corruption in Ukraine long before Volodymyr Zelenskyy became president, told the Hosue Armed Services Committee that the country’s top leaders have promised to remain tightly focused on the issue of corruption. Still, Storch said, “We’re in the trust-but-verify business.”
His office has 20 audits going on or planned, and is also working with other inspectors general and the Government Accountability Office to monitor weapons shipments and make sure that they’re getting to the right place.
“We’re also working with our partners to make sure that there aren’t any gaps with regard to the different types of assistance that are being provided,” he said….
The foreign ministers of the world’s 20 largest economies failed on Thursday to reach consensus on a wide-reaching agenda addressing poverty, corruption and counterterrorism because of persistent disagreements over the war in Ukraine. Blinken said the gathering was “marred by Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified war.” Lavrov accused the West of turning the meeting into a “farce.”
Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.
- The Kremlin on Thursday blamed Ukraine for an attack in two villages in the Bryansk region of western Russia, in which President Vladimir Putin said assailants had “opened fire on civilians” and the Bryansk governor said two people were killed and hostages were taken. An aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky denied that Kyiv was involved in the incident, which Putin called a “terrorist attack.” Details of the incident were extremely sketchy, and, in an age of ubiquitous cellphone videos, no footage or photos of an attack were circulating on social media, even hours afterward.
- Ukrainian authorities exhumed the remains of three men from a newly discovered communal grave near Bucha, the area near Kyiv where alleged atrocities last spring set off worldwide outrage and were condemned by world leaders as evidence of Russian war crimes. A local man who had buried the bodies almost a year ago in the mass grave near the town of Borodyanka returned and informed local authorities about it. Regional police chief Andriy Nebytov said officials would attempt to identify the men, potentially using DNA.
- A document summarizing the G-20 meeting, released by the Indian government, which holds the rotating G-20 presidency, said: “most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine and stressed it is causing immense human suffering and exacerbating existing fragilities in the global economy.” But some governments expressed “other views,” the document said.
- Blinken and Lavrov’s encounter lasted less than 10 minutes, during which time Blinken urged Russia to reverse its decision to suspend cooperation in the New START nuclear arms accord and to accept a U.S. proposal for the release of American citizen Paul Whelan, said a senior State Department official familiar with the discussion.
- Russian forces are making advances in Bakhmut, the besieged city in eastern Ukraine where fighting has intensified, Ukrainian military officials and the Institute for the Study of War think tank said Wednesday. Geolocated footage from Wednesday showed that Russian forces have advanced on the southern limits of the city, the ISW said. Russia’s Wagner mercenary group founder Yevgeniy Prigozhin posted a video on Telegram of what he said was his soldiers in Bakhmut on Thursday, writing “The lads are mucking about, shooting home video.” The Washington Post geolocated the video to 1.2 miles from the city center, though it is not clear when the video was taken. Analysts say capturing the city would be a largely symbolic victory for Russia.
- Kherson’s regional administration reported a Russian attack on a humanitarian aid delivery point that injured nine people, including a 10th-grade student. The officials said Russia launched a drone “during the unloading of humanitarian aid” on Thursday as civilians came to pick up vegetables.
- A Russian strike in Zaporizhzhia killed two people overnight, Anatoly Kurtev, the city’s acting mayor, said on Telegram. He added that people were trapped under the rubbleof a five-story residential building damaged in the strike and that the injured were being evacuated.
- Russia is probably trying to further constrain the International Atomic Energy Agency’s presence at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, the Institute for the Study of War said. In early February, the nuclear watchdog agency was forced to delay a rotation of personnel at the plant for security reasons. Later that month, dozens of detonations occurred near the plant, the ISW said.
- The International Atomic Energy Agency has completed a “long-delayed” rotation of experts at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, the agency said in a statementThursday. IAEA chief Rafael Mariano Grossi tweeted that he was proud of the staff’s professionalism, posting a videoshowing an IAEA expert team “crossing the front line & when necessary, even by foot.” He had expressed concern on Tuesday that the team there was meant to be replaced by new experts more than three weeks prior….
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