The battle for Kherson contiunes…..
The Ukraine units fighting now are NOT the Western trained and equipped units which it seems the Ukraine is waiting for a breakout location against the Russiana that would get a flood of Ukraine troops intent on a final push to push Russian military units out of Ukraine territory …
The Ukraine is worried about the exit of troops and people from the area around the the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant….
Ukraine troops of the ‘Offensive’ ARE making gains in Bakhmut and towards Kherson and Melitopol…..
US President Biden goes to NATO conferences next week…..
Russian forces launched a wave of drone attacks on Ukraine’s capital before dawn on Sunday, the first aerial assault on Kyiv by unmanned vehicles in nearly two weeks.
Serhiy Popko, the head of the city’s military administration, said that air defenses had destroyed all of the drones in Kyiv’s airspace. Debris from downed drones damaged three homes in the region, injuring one man, the administration said. No one was killed….
The overnight drone assault came as Ukraine’s military reported “heavy fighting” on the front lines in the country’s east and south, where Kyiv’s forces have been waging a grueling counteroffensiveto claw back territory captured by Russia….
The Ukrainian military said that “intense combat” was underway near the destroyed Antonovsky Bridge in the southern region of Kherson, where the Dnipro River has for months delineated the front line. Natalia Humeniuk, the spokeswoman for the Ukrainian military’s southern command, described the fighting as primarily “counter-battery warfare” — or an attempt to take out Russian firing positions.…
Military analysts have said that fighting near the Antonovsky Bridge — which was a strategic transport link from the city of Kherson across the Dnipro River before the bridge was wrecked by retreating Russian forces — has intensified this past week. Russian military bloggers have suggested that Kyiv’s troops might be trying to establish a foothold on the river’s east bank….
Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.
- The Wagner Group will stop recruiting new mercenaries for a month while its forces move to Belarus, and it has paused activities in Ukraine, according to a post on a Telegram channel the company uses for hiring. Prigozhin agreed to move his forces to Belarus last month as part of a deal brokered to stop his mutiny attempt. Wagner has used social media to mount a global hiring campaign in more than a dozen languages, the disinformation research group Logicallytold Politico Europe. Russia has also shut down several media outlets connected to Prigozhin, Reuters reported.
- Sánchez’s visit to the Ukrainian capital underscores “the priorities of the Spanish presidency and our cooperation,” Zelensky said in his nightly address after the Saturday visit. “It was always impossible to imagine our common European home as complete without Ukraine. And now we have achieved at the political level that European affairs are no longer considered without Ukraine.”
- CIA Director William J. Burns said Russia’s “mistakes” in Ukraine have revealed its military weaknesses and damaged its economy. He also reiterated that the United States had no part in the armed rebellion in Russia by Wagner Group founder Yevgeniy Prigozhin. Discontent in Russia during the war has created a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” for U.S. intelligence, said Burns, who is also a former U.S. ambassador to Russia. Last month, he made a secret visit to Ukraine, where Ukrainian officials conveyed their goals for the war’s endgame.
- War in the eastern part of Ukraine is complicated and fierce, Ukraine’s deputy defense minister, Hanna Maliar, posted on Telegram. Russian forces are moving on the city of Svatove, and Ukrainian forces are making progress on the southern flank of Bakhmut while fighting continues in northern Bakhmut, she posted. To the south, forces defending their homeland are pushing through heavy battles to advance in the areas of Berdyansk and Melitopol.
- Russia launched eight Iranian-made Shahed drones and three cruise missiles against Ukrainian targets overnight, Ukraine’s air force said Sunday, adding that it repelled all the attacks. One person in Kyiv was injured by debris from a drone attack, a regional military official said. Serhii Popko, the head of Kyiv’s military administration, said in a Telegram post that it was the first time in 12 days that the capital had been targeted by Shahed drones.
- Ukraine must show results on the battlefield ahead of a NATO summit this month, Zelensky told Spanish reporters. The summit begins July 11 in Lithuania. Zelensky acknowledged that the counteroffensive has been moving slowly and noted that “every kilometer [of ground gained] costs lives.”
- One man was killed and two others were injured by shelling in Zaporizhzhia, according to the head of the regional military administration. A 51-year-old man died in Malaya Tokmachka, a community that the regional military head, Yuriy Malashko, said was “under merciless enemy fire.” Two others elsewhere in the region, a 40-year-old woman and a 39-year-old man, were injured in Russian attacks, he said.
- The Biden administration is weighing whether to supply Kyiv with cluster bombs. Senior U.S. administration and defense officials have contacted lawmakers to gauge their comfort with sending the munitions, people familiar with the matter told The Washington Post. The Biden administration has concerns about the public perception of the move and the potential for long-term harm to civilians. The munitions can leave behind unexploded bomblets that can do harm for decades.
- Ukrainian author Victoria Amelina died Saturday from injuries sustained during an attack on a popular restaurant in Kramatorsk days earlier, the Ukrainian branch of PEN International announced Sunday. Amelina was one of about a dozen people killed in the June 27 strike from an Iskander ballistic missile. Amelina had been documenting Russian war crimes with the human rights initiative Truth Hounds, a PEN statement read, and she was in Kramatorsk with a delegation of Colombian writers and journalists. Her writing had previously earned her the Joseph Conrad Literary Award, and made her a finalist for the European Union Prize for Literature.
- President Biden will travel to Lithuania and Finland for diplomatic conferences this month, the White House announced in a news release Sunday. He will attend an annual NATO summit in Vilnius on July 11 and 12, and a U.S.-Nordic summit in Helsinki on July 13. Ukraine continues to seek fast-tracked NATO accession, a step British Defense Minister Ben Wallace said this week the alliance should consider. Some NATO members have been cool to that idea. The European Union is also considering Ukraine’s membership bid and may formally discuss it in December, European Parliament President Roberta Metsola said Thursday.
- Russia’s Maks air show has been postponed until 2024, organizers confirmed. The biennial show, which was last held in 2021 and was scheduled to take place this month, billsitself as the hallmark of Russia’s aerospace industry. According to Britain’s Defense Ministry, “the show has probably been canceled largely due to genuine security concerns, following recent uncrewed aerial vehicle attacks inside Russia.”
- The first direct flight from Russia to Cuba in over a year took place this weekend, Russia’s state-run Tass news reported Sunday. Publicly available flight data showed the 13-hour flight, operated by Aeroflot’s Rossiya Airlines, bypassed European airspace with a route over the Arctic and south over the Atlantic. According to Reuters, flights from Russia to Cuba, Mexico and the Dominican Republic were suspended in February 2022 after Western countries blocked Russian flights from using their airspace.
- Satellite imagery captured Friday showed what could be the rapid construction of a new camp in Belarus to house Wagner forces, according to experts and local media. The Post could not independently verify the reports. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said he offered Wagner troops an abandoned military base in the country. Prigozhin, the leader of the mercenary organization, also relocated to Belarus this week but has not yet made a public appearance there.
- Poland will bolster security along its border with Russian ally Belarus by deploying an additional 500 police officers, Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski said Sunday on Twitter. Kaminski described the situation on the border as “tense.” Since Prigozhin’s relocation to Belarus last week, the Russian ally’s E.U. neighbors have grown increasingly wary of instability in the country spilling beyond its borders.
- Viktor Bout — the Russian infamous arms dealer traded for WNBA megastar Brittney Griner in a prisoner swap — is running for a seat in a Russian regional legislature as an ultranationalist candidate, state news agency RIA reported Sunday. Bout was serving a 25-year prison sentence after being arrested in a U.S. sting operation in Thailand. Griner, the two-time Olympic gold medalist, was serving nine years in a Russian prison for carrying vape cartridges containing cannabis oil.
From our correspondents
Ukraine says Putin is planning a nuclear disaster. These people live nearby: Fears that fighting around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant could cause a catastrophic meltdown have risen sharply in recent weeks, after a breach this month of the nearby Kakhovka dam unleashed a massive flood and jeopardized the water supply needed to cool the plant’s reactors and spent fuel.
Those concerns are most poignant for the people living near the plant, Fredrick Kunkle and Kostiantyn Khudov report from Tomakivka, Ukraine. Vita Lyashenko, 47, a nurse, said she has been gathering rainwater, recycling water for household chores and going longer without showers since the municipal water system went down after the dam breach. She has also set aside iodine tablets, extra water and tape to seal her windows in the event of a radioactive fallout….