Russian President Putin shows up in public in front a crowd…..
A Russian General disappears*…..
The Uktaine gains are small and slow….
Some Russian troops ARE fighting Ukraine troops….
Mike Pence shows up in Kyiv….
Belarus and Russia is dancing about what the Wagner boss and troops will do in Belarus….
Sweden is probably NOT gonna get completely into NATO if they need Turkey’s vote…..
U.S. officials, citing early intelligence reports, say that Russian authorities appear to have detained General Surovikin under suspicion that he was involved in or had knowledge of the planning for the Wagner Group’s failed rebellion.
But the officials cautioned the reports were not conclusive and the circumstances surrounding General Surovikin’s status were still very murky.
Here are other developments:
Rescue efforts ended in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk after a 12th body was pulled from the rubble of a popular restaurant hit by a Russian missile strike on Tuesday. Three Colombians who were in the country to increase Latin American support for Ukraine were among the dozens of people injured.
Satellite imagery shows the rapid construction of what appear to be temporary structures at a deserted military base in Belarus that could be a location for Wagner fighters. Mr. Prigozhin arrived in Belarus on Tuesday, according to the Belarusian state news media, and members of his mercenary group could join him there. President Aleksandr G. Lukashenko said he had offered them an “abandoned” military base, but there have been no official announcements about where they would be housed.
European Union leaders are meeting on Thursday and Friday in Brussels to discuss, among other issues, developments in the war after the weekend’s rebellion.
Russian diplomats scrambled to reassure officials in the Central African Republic, where Wagner operates, that little would change for them after the mercenary group’s brief rebellion, an adviser to the country’s president said… More….
Up date on the Ukraine offense which playing gains in ‘yards’…..
Ukraine’s military has for nearly a month been waging a long-awaited counteroffensive to reclaim Russian-occupied territory in southern and eastern Ukraine. Bolstered by weapons and training from Western allies, Kyiv’s forces have notched small gains, breaking through a first line of Russian defenses and reclaiming several farming villages in the Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions.
The fierce fighting has cost Ukraine an undisclosed number of casualties, along with some of its newest tanks and armored vehicles. But military analysts say that the campaign is still in its early stages and that Ukraine has yet to commit the bulk of its forces.
THE LATEST: Hanna Malyar, Ukraine’s deputy minister of defense, said on Thursday that while the country’s troops were making progress overall, the battles were “tough.”
Kyiv’s forces heading south have advanced toward Berdiansk and Melitopol, two key Russian military strongholds in the Zaporizhzhia region, she said, citing gains of about 1,400 yards in the direction of Berdiansk. Ms. Malyar did not provide details on how far Ukraine’s forces had moved in the direction of Melitopol.
She said that Ukrainian troops had also gained about 1,300 yards in the direction of Klishchiivka, a village in the eastern region of Donetsk that was captured by Moscow’s troops in January.
Her claims could not be independently verified, and the Russian Defense Ministry did not reference fighting in those areas in its morning update.
WHY IT MATTERS: Ukraine’s troops are still far from Melitopol, but Ms. Malyar’s claim that they were making some headway in that direction reflects a key aim of Kyiv’s counteroffensive. Retaking Melitopol would allow its forces to split Russian-held territory in the south into two zones, severing supply lines to the Crimean Peninsula and creating a springboard for further advances.
In the east, Ukraine’s forces have also been trying to advance around Bakhmut — a city that fell to the Russians in May after a nearly yearlong assault. Klishchiivka is key to that effort because the small village is on high ground southeast of a road to Bakhmut that is heavily used for resupplying Kyiv’s forces. Retaking Klishchiivka would push the front line back, taking some pressure off the critical road.
“The situation in the Bakhmut direction is hot again,” Ms. Malyar said on Thursday. “Fierce fighting continues.”….
Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.
- Questions have swirled, according to Russian media and the country’s elites, concerning the whereabouts of a top general who was leading the war in Ukraine,The Washington Post reported. As Russians brace for a broad investigation into last weekend’s Wagner rebellion, national media has raised questions about Gen. Sergei Surovikin, commander of the Russian aerospace forces, who had good relations with Wagner boss Yevgeniy Prigozhin and reportedly intervened amid Prigozhin’s demands for ammunition.
- “We need to make sure that we provide the Ukrainian military with what they need to push back on and defeat Russian aggression here,” Pence told reporters. “We’ll make it clear to Russia, to China and any other nations in the world that would seek to redraw international lines by force that the free world will not stand for it. The free world will stand together for freedom, and it’s my great honor to help deliver that message here in Ukraine today.”
- In expressing support for aid to Ukraine, Pence, so far the only GOP presidential hopeful to visit, sought to distinguish himself from Republican critics of the policy, including former president Donald Trump and other presidential contenders.
- Two sisters, ages 17 and 14, were among those killed in a restaurant strike in Kramatorsk, the city council said on Telegram. An 8-month-old was among about 60 people injured in the attack. The popular Ria Lounge was struck by an Iskander ballistic missile, Ukrainian officials said.
- Ukraine’s intelligence agency said it arrested a local gas transportation company employee on charges of aiding in the Kramatorsk attack. The employee is accused of surreptitiously filming the restaurant and its vicinity for Russian security services.
- Before his mutiny, Wagner chief Yevgeniy Prigozhin was told by Russian officials that his forces could no longer participate in the war, Duma defense committee chairman Andrei Kartapolov said Thursday. According to Kartapolov, Prigozhin was informed of the decision after he refused to sign a contract with the Russian Defense Ministry. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said Prigozhin arrived in Belarus after the insurrection and was offered an abandoned military base for his forces.
- Russian media published images of Putin briefly interacting with a cordoned-off crowd on a major street in the city of Derbent. He visited the area Wednesday while on a trip to the North Caucasus region, days after a mutiny by the Wagner Group presented the most serious challenge to his rule since he rose to power more than two decades ago.
- European leaders agreed at a Brussels summit to continue their “long-term” support for Ukraine. Members pledged “future security commitments to Ukraine, which will help Ukraine defend itself in the long term, deter acts of aggression and resist destabilization efforts,” according to a version of the text dated Wednesday and seen by The Washington Post. If formally approved, the agreement would signal Europe’s long-term commitment to Ukraine, while falling short of the mutual self-defense pledges that a NATO membership provides.
- A group of countries, including Ukraine, said they will refer the 2020 shootdown of a Ukrainian passenger jet to the International Court of Justice. Iran shot down the plane in January 2020, killing all 176 people aboard. In a statement, the International Coordination and Response Group for the victims of Flight PS752 — which represents Canada, Sweden, Ukraine and Britain — said it was making the referral because no agreement has been reached between Iran and the coordination group to organize arbitration.
- A Vatican delegation traveled to Moscow to meet with top Russian officials as part of Pope Francis’s efforts to promote “a much-wished-for peace,” the Vatican’s envoy to Moscow, Giovanni D’Aniello, said Thursday. Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, who visited Kyiv earlier this month, was due to meet with Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church and a Putin ally, and Russian Commissioner for Children’s Rights Maria Lvova-Belova, who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court on war crimes charges. The talks did not yield any agreement, but the sides agreed to continue dialogue, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told state media outlets.
- Israel cannot allow the United States to give the jointly developed Iron Dome air defense system to Ukraine, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, citing concerns that Israeli weaponry could be seized on the Ukrainian battlefield and end up in Iranian hands. “We have concerns that I don’t think any of the Western allies of Ukraine have,” he said.
- Putin’s position has been diminished by the Wagner rebellion, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in a television interview, adding that the West was not involved in the short-lived mutiny. The ramifications of the rebellion for the conflict in Ukraine remain unclear, he said.
- Ukrainian troops are “seizing the strategic initiative” at the front despite strong Russian resistance, Ukrainian armed forces chief Valery Zaluzhny told U.S. Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in a phone call, Zaluzhny’s office said Wednesday. “We are advancing,” Zaluzhny said, reiterating Kyiv’s need for military aid to help it neutralize minefields. According to U.S. assessments, Ukraine has made limited gains in the early weeks of its counteroffensive, with a focus on breaching Russia’s “initial security zone,” The Post reported.
- The loss of a Russian Il-22 airborne command-post plane during Wagner’s rebellion is likely to deplete Moscow’s military capacity and undermine morale, Britain’s Defense Ministry said Thursday. Wagner forces shot down the plane and at least six helicopters during the mutiny, according to open-source intelligence analysts. British intelligence officials said the plane was one of 12 “high value” airborne command and control posts orchestrating military efforts from the safety of domestic airspace.
- Belarus said it agreed to establish joint military training centers with Russia on its territory. These centers are meant to implement combat training and exchange information about weaponry, the Belarusian Defense Ministry said on Telegram. Analysts have said, however, that these measures are part of Russia’s attempt to eventually bring Belarus under its control, even as Minsk claims credit for helping to stave off the Wagner rebellion.
On this part of the eastern front, Russia is still on the attack:As Ukraine continues to report small gains on several fronts in its counteroffensive, Russia is driving the fighting in the forests near the eastern Russian-occupied town of Kreminna, Francesca Ebel and Kamila Hrabchuk report. The Kremlin has strengthened forces in the region in a bid to retake towns and cities that Ukraine has liberated, according to Ukrainian fighters…..
“Documents shared exclusively with CNN suggest that Russian Gen. Sergey Surovikin was a secret VIP member of the Wagner private military company,” CNN reports.
“Surovikin has not been seen in public since last Saturday, when he released a video pleading for Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin to stop his insurrection. His whereabouts have since remained unknown.”