The West goes quiet on Moscow drone attacks….
Biden sending another $300M to the Ukraine for ammo….
Rumblings of settlement conditions between Ukraine and Russia?
Another Russian drone attack against Kyiv…..
It does appear that the Wagner Group leader will continue getting away with dissing the Russian military in the media…..
Ukraine official’s are claiming that the Russian’s are ‘holding’ more that 27,000 of their people….
Belgorod and Seversky district of Krasnodar, in Russia have come under air strikes, as has Kyiv in the Ukraine.
The Ukraine intends to start putting together its own ammo….
Russiuan forces hold Bakhmut are NOT in other area’s that the Ukraine Offensive is sure to go after…..
Here’s what we’re covering:
U.S. promises more military aid to Ukraine, including ammunition for air-defense systems, drones and artillery.
Western governments have largely declined to criticize raids and strikes on Russian territory.
Macron urges West to give Ukraine ‘tangible and credible’ security guarantees.
Germany closes Russian consulates in a tit-for-tat dispute with Moscow.
The U.N.’s safety plan for the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant faces an uphill battle.
Zelensky adviser suggests Russia should agree to a buffer zone as a condition of a peace accord.
Blinken discusses Russia and China with European officials in Sweden…..
- Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed Kyiv for the drone attacks on Moscow, accusing officials of retaliating for a Russian strike on a Ukrainian military site. In remarks Tuesday at a cultural center in Moscow, Putin accused Ukraine of “trying to intimidate Russia, intimidate Russian citizens and strike residential buildings.”
- A Ukrainian official denied that Ukraine was involved in the drone strikes but said Moscow residents deserved whatever came at them. Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, wrote in a WhatsApp message that “Ukraine is not directly connected to the nighttime drone attack in Moscow. There is no strategic sense in this.”
- “We don’t tell them where to strike. We don’t tell them where not to strike,” White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said Wednesday, referring to Ukraine’s military operations. Kirby explained that the United States offered training and equipment, and helped conduct tabletop exercises, but left planning decisions to Zelensky and Ukraine’s military commanders. Still, Kirby reiterated: “We have been very clear with the Ukrainians privately. We certainly have been clear publicly that we do not support attacks inside Russia and we do not enable and we do not encourage attacks inside Russia. We certainly don’t want to see attacks inside Russia … that are being conducted using U.S.-supplied equipment.”
- French President Emmanuel Macron said Ukraine is “preparing very well” for its much-anticipated counteroffensive in “the next weeks and months.” Europe must “guarantee tangible and sustainable protection” for Ukraine, and persuade countries in the Global South to side with Ukraine in the conflict, he said Wednesday at a conference hosted by the think tank Globsec in Bratislava, Slovakia. The upcoming months will be “crucial,” Macron said. Key Group of 20 countries should be included in eventual peace negotiations, he added, though Ukrainians must set the conditions of any peace deal. “Let’s be clear, if we decrease our support, if de facto we accept a cease-fire of frozen conflict, time will be on the Russian side,” he said.
- European leaders are gathering in Moldova for a major summit scheduled for Thursday. Heads of state and government from members of the European Political Community — a broad group including nations that aren’t members of the European Union — will hold their second meeting. Moldova, a small former Soviet republic, borders Ukraine and has sought further integration with the West, including membership in the European Union, amid fears that Moscow will seek to take control of the pro-Russian separatist region of Transnistria.
- European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called Moldova “the political heart of Europe” this week. “Your country embodies Europe’s core values,” she said in remarks alongside Moldovan President Maia Sandu after arriving in Chisinau, the capital, on Wednesday. Von der Leyen announced a new E.U. support package for the Eastern European nation, including lower data roaming fees and up to $1.7 billion in additional economic assistance.
- The head of the Wagner mercenary group called on Russian authorities to investigate top Defense Ministry officials for their conduct of the war in Ukraine. In comments published on a Wagner-linked Telegram channel, Yevgeniy Prigozhin said he sent letters to Russian investigators and the public prosecutor’s office asking them to examine top defense officials for a potential “crime” in their handling of the Russian invasion. The comments marked the latest salvo in Prigozhin’s public feud with leaders of Russia’s defense establishment, whom he accuses of botching war strategy and withholding ammunition from his troops fighting in Ukraine.
- Ukrainian authorities alleged Russia is holding captive more than 27,000 Ukrainian civilians. Dmytro Lubinets, the Ukrainian parliament’s human rights commissioner, gave the estimate during a briefing Wednesday, calling it a “huge number of our citizens,” Ukrainian news outlet Ukrinform reported.
- A drone attack caused a fire at an oil refinery in western Russia, the regional governor, Veniamin Kondratiev, said on Telegram early Wednesday. The fire at the Afipsky refinery in the Seversky district of Krasnodar, near the Black Sea, was extinguished, and there were no casualties, the governor said.
- Overnight strikes injured four people, one of them severely, in Russia’s Belgorod region, Gov. Vyacheslav Gladkov said Wednesday on Telegram. Belgorod, in Russia’s west along the border with Ukraine, has been the target of strikes and incursions by anti-Putin militias. Gladkov said authorities would begin evacuating children from Belgorod’s Shebekinsky and Grayvoronsky districts — which run along the border with Ukraine, about 70 miles northeast and northwest of Kharkiv, respectively. In remarks at his daily news conference, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the situation in the Russian region is “quite alarming.”
- Ukraine intends to establish a base for the production and repair of military equipment within its borders, Zelensky said. “We are talking about a wide range of weapons, from tanks to artillery,” the president said. He said he has spoken with representatives from the British defense company BAE Systems, which he said manufactures “the weapons that we need now and that we will need in the future to ensure the security of our country and the entire region.”
- Russian military commanders are probably working to position reserve forces in areas where they believe Ukraine will launch its counteroffensive, Britain’s Defense Ministry said. However, the ministry said, “this has probably been undermined by uncommitted forces instead being sent to fill gaps in the front line around Bakhmut” — a city Russian mercenary forces claimed this month to have fully captured, though Ukrainian forces are still fighting nearby.
- Berlin said that four of Russia’s five consulates in Germany must close by the end of the year. The measure, announced Wednesday by the German Foreign Ministry, comes days after Russia capped the number of staff in German diplomatic missions and other German organizations at 350. Christofer Burger, a spokesman for the ministry, said the German consulates in Kaliningrad, Yekaterinburg and Novosibirsk would close “to comply with the Russian requirements.” Russia’s Foreign Ministry decried the move as “another unfriendly step to destroy relations” between the countries that “will not go unanswered.”
- U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken heads to Oslo on Wednesday for a gathering of NATO foreign ministers. The officials plan to discuss preparations for a NATO summit in July hosted by Lithuania. Blinken will also meet with the Norwegian prime minister and foreign minister. His Norway trip comes after a visit to Sweden, where Blinken urged Turkey to green-light Sweden’s bid to join NATO.
- South Africa is considering offering diplomatic immunity to world leaders — including Putin — who attend August’s BRICS summit. South Africa’s Foreign Ministry said Tuesday it was “standard” practice to confer immunity “for all international conferences and summits” held in the country — though it added that such immunity would not “override any warrant that may have been issued by any international tribunal” against a conference participant. In March, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Putin, accusing him and another Russian official of forcibly deporting children from Ukraine. The court’s action put legal pressure on its members, which include South Africa, to arrest Putin. The Russian president has not yet said whether he will attend the summit.
- Melbourne, Australia, cut ties with its Russian sister city, St. Petersburg, in response to protests by Ukrainian residents. The cities have maintained a formal relationship since 1989, though the Melbourne city council suspended it in March 2022, after Russia invaded Ukraine. Russia’s embassy in Australia hit back in a statement posted to Facebook on Wednesday, calling the decision an “act of empty virtue signaling” that “diminishes the standing of Melbourne as the cultural heart of Australia.”….