We are on day 458 of the full-scale war started by Vladimir Putin in Ukraine. Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said Moscow plans to simulate a major accident at a nuclear power plant controlled by pro-Russian forces to try to thwart a Ukrainian counter-offensive aimed at recapturing territory occupied by Russia. Separately, Volodymyr Zelenskiy says substantial progress has been made this week in securing modern aircraft for Ukraine, saying defense modernization is proceeding faster than expected. Moreover, Ukraine’s president condemned those behind the deadly Russian missile attack on a medical clinic in Dnipro as “absolutely sick creatures.” The Kiev leader also said two people were killed and more than 30 were injured in the attack.
The Digi24.ro LiveText that covered the events in Ukraine can be watched HERE.
Putin is “sneak-invading” yet another country in plain sight
UPDATE 10:50 The move of Russian troops and nuclear weapons into Belarus is a form of “stealth invasion”, believes military analyst Sean Bell, quoted by Sky News.
Russia has already begun the transfer of weapons designed for use on the battlefield, according to Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. Moscow says the move is due to threats to its borders, which it warns it will defend with all its might, following the recent incursion in Belgorod.
“Putin has made it clear that he wants to increase Russia’s sphere of influence. There is a puppet regime in Belarus, but it is vulnerable in the long term,” Sean Bell pointed out.
Russia has increased its military presence in Belarus over the past year and has launched part of its February 2022 offensive from the country. Russian airstrikes have also been launched against Ukraine from Belarus.
“All of this increases Russian influence and, crucially, increases the number of Russian soldiers in Belarus,” Bell said. to avoid more internal uprisings against his regime and at the same time maintain alignment with his Russian master. Regardless, this is almost certainly about Russia tightening the noose on Belarus. A form of stealth Russian invasion.” , concluded the military analyst.
The weapons are being moved to Belarus, despite the fact that a special storage facility to house them is still under construction. Bell says the move, on the face of it, is “just about Russia fanning the flames of nuclear rhetoric.” “It’s about reminding the West of the dangers of getting involved in the conflict in Ukraine,” he adds.
Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said on Thursday that Russia has started to transfer nuclear weapons to his country, materializing the development announced in March by Vladimir Putin.
The Russian president had announced on March 25 that Moscow would deploy “tactical” nuclear weapons on the territory of Belarus, a country located at the gates of the European Union, fueling fears of an escalation of the conflict in Ukraine. The announcement raised criticism from the international community, from Western countries in particular, all the more so since the Russian leader has evoked the possibility of resorting to nuclear weapons since the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine launched in February 2022.
The transfer of Russian nuclear weapons to Belarus does not mean that there is a greater danger of escalation in the war started by the Kremlin in Ukraine, say analysts from the American Institute for the Study of War, notes dpa. It remains extremely unlikely that Russian President Vladimir Putin will use nuclear weapons in Ukraine or elsewhere, according to ISW analysts.
The level of threat is not higher given that Russia is already capable of hitting potential targets with its nuclear weapons, American analysts emphasize. Belarus’ tactical nuclear weapons, which have a shorter range than strategic nuclear weapons, will be stationed on the border with Poland, according to Moscow.
Ukraine is ready to launch a counteroffensive, says a senior official in Kiev
UPDATE 10:40 Ukraine is ready to launch its long-awaited counteroffensive against Russian forces, a senior Ukrainian official told the BBC. Oleksiy Danilov did not specify a date, but said an assault to retake the territory from Vladimir Putin’s occupation forces could begin “tomorrow, the day after tomorrow or a week from now.”
He said Kiev “has no right to get it wrong” because it is a “historic opportunity” that “we cannot miss”. As secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, Danilov is at the center of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s de facto war cabinet. Danilov also told the BBC that he was “absolutely calm” about Russia starting to deploy nuclear weapons in Belarus.
Zelensky: During this week, we made substantial progress in securing modern aircraft for Ukraine
UPDATE 07:20 Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says substantial progress has been made this week in securing modern aircraft for Ukraine, saying defense modernization is proceeding faster than expected.
Zelenski stated, in the message sent on Friday evening, that he had a meeting with the General Staff, discussing the situation on the front, defense, the delivery of weapons, ammunition and equipment to the soldiers.
“Air defense and protection against terror. During the day, we received reports regarding the situation in the city of Dnipro and the elimination of the consequences of a new attack. It is a pure atrocity: a Russian ballistic missile – against a hospital and a veterinary clinic. Some completely sick creatures. At this moment, there are two people who have been killed in this attack,” he detailed.
The Ukrainian president added that more than 30 people were injured, including two children. “We will do everything possible and impossible to speed up the delivery of more air defense systems of higher quality to Ukraine – this is a daily topic on which we work together with partners. During this week, we made substantial progress in securing modern aircraft for Ukraine, which will become a key component of our defense in the skies. Regarding defense modernization, we are moving faster than could have been predicted six months ago”, said Volodymyr Zelenski.
He added that the Minister of Defense informed him about the results of the Ramstein meeting, some good. “Today we also had a meeting with international experts regarding our movement in NATO – a more conceptual one. We must use – and we will use – every opportunity, this month and next month, in general this year, to fill our relations with the Alliance with a real political content”, he said.
According to him, international appeals are being prepared to increase support for the state and the fight for freedom. “And something else. Today Georgia celebrates Independence Day. I greet all the people of Georgia and wish them to be together with us and all other European nations in a free, peaceful and united European family. I wish this for all of Georgia – and those parts of the country that are still under Russian occupation. Yet! Georgia is one of the eternal and respected historical forces and this force cannot be defeated, I am sure of it. The occupier will lose,” concluded Zelenski.
Ukraine claims that Russia intends to simulate an accident at the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant
UPDATE 07:10 The Ukrainian Defense Ministry said on Friday that Moscow plans to simulate a major accident at a nuclear power plant controlled by pro-Russian forces to try to thwart a Ukrainian counter-offensive aimed at recapturing territory occupied by Russia, Reuters reports.
The Zaporozhye nuclear power plant, which is located in a Russian-occupied area of southern Ukraine, is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, and the area where it is located has been repeatedly hit by bombings blamed on both sides.
The Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense in Kiev said that Russian forces would soon bombard the plant and then announce a radiation leak. This would force an investigation by international authorities, during which time all hostilities will be stopped. This information, posted on Telegram, did not provide any evidence. It is also recalled that Russia disrupted the planning of the rotation of inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is located at the plant.
The Vienna-based IAEA, which frequently posts updates on the plant’s activity, has not reported any disruptions.
The most important information from the previous day:
- Ukraine says it needs 48 F-16s to ‘get rid of aggressor’
- Putin told Lula that he is open to dialogue with Kiev
- Rutte: Netherlands ‘seriously considering’ sending F-16s to Ukraine
- Lavrov told China that there are “serious obstacles” to peace in Ukraine
- Scholz, on freezing the war: “It would only legitimize Putin’s raid.” What does it say about the removal of the Russian leader
- “Free cigarettes. Take and smoke as much as you want!”. Prigojin makes fun of Shoigu. He leaves two men to defend Bahmut: “Biber and Dolic”
- The 13th missile attack on Kiev since the beginning of the month
Editor : M.D.B.