Latest news on Russia and the war in Ukraine


Russia likely to increase reliance on reserve forces, UK says

Over the next few weeks, the Russian campaign in Ukraine “will most likely rely increasingly on echelons of reserve forces”, the UK Ministry of Defense said.

These consist of several distinct components that Russia has almost certainly already begun to put in place, the ministry said in its latest Twitter intelligence update on Monday.

“The Russian Combat Army Reserve is a recent innovation of part-time but voluntary reservists, who deploy as whole units usually for rear area security duties,” the UK said.

In addition, he said that Russia could call on a “large group of all veterans who have served in the regular army in the last five years”, adding that the Russian authorities are likely to use volunteers of this category to complete the third battalions within the regular brigades. .

“Despite a continued shortfall in the number of deployable reservists for Ukraine, Russian leaders are likely to remain reluctant to order a general mobilization,” the ministry noted.

While Russia’s main operational target remains the Severodonetsk-Lysychansk pocket, a week of consistently heavy bombardment suggests that Russia is now trying to regain momentum on Izium’s northern axis, heading for the second most major Ukrainian city of Kharkiv.

“Ukrainian forces continue to hold the line in this sector, making good use of the forested terrain to aid their defence,” the ministry said.

—Holly Ellyatt

After taking Severodonetsk, Russian forces would now blockade its neighbor

Ukrainian soldiers board an armored personnel carrier in the Luhansk region June 23, 2022. Lugansk is currently the scene of the fiercest fighting between Russia and Ukraine.

Anatolii Stepanov | AFP | Getty Images

Russian forces are now reportedly attempting to blockade the town of Lysychansk, the neighboring town of Severodonetsk which was fully seized by Russian forces over the weekend.

“In the direction of Donetsk, the enemy, with the support of artillery, is trying to blockade the city of Lysychansk from the south,” said Oleksandr Shtupun, spokesman for the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, in its latest military update. In Monday.

He said Russian forces were bombing civilian and military infrastructure in the areas of Lysychansk and surrounding settlements.

The comments come after Russian forces took full control of the nearby city of Severodonetsk on Saturday. The capture of the town, which lies opposite Lysychansk across the Siverskyi Donets river, came after Ukraine ordered the ‘tactical’ withdrawal of its troops from the town after weeks of heavy fighting .

Ukraine said the withdrawal would allow its troops to fight from higher ground in Lysychansk.

—Holly Ellyatt

Russia on the brink of historic default as payment deadline expires

Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov (seen here with Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2019) reportedly told Russian newspaper Vedomosti that Moscow would continue to service external debts in roubles, but foreign holders of Eurobonds will have to open ruble and hard currency accounts with Russian banks in order to receive payments.

Mikhail Svetlov | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Russia is nearing a historic default after a 30-day grace period on two international bond payments expired Sunday night.

Interest payments on two Eurobonds totaling $100 million were due May 27, two days after the US Treasury ended an exemption that had allowed Moscow to process foreign debt payments in dollars through through US and international banks, on a case-by-case basis.

Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov called the situation a ‘farce’ and claimed it was not a real default because Russia has ample cash and is willing to pay, but has been prevented from doing so. by international sanctions.

Read the whole story here.

—Elliot Smith

Russia’s neighbors fear NATO defense plans aren’t adequate

Finnish army soldiers take part in the NATO multinational exercise Saber Strike in Adazi, Latvia on June 11, 2015.

Finnish army soldiers take part in the NATO multinational exercise Saber Strike in Adazi, Latvia on June 11, 2015.

Everything changed when Russia invaded Ukraine and NATO’s defense strategy must now take into account the new security environment on Europe’s eastern flank. This is the coordinated message from the three Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania ahead of the all-important NATO summit in Madrid this week.

Strengthening the defense of the Baltic region is seen as one of the most important decisions NATO leaders must take at the June 29-30 summit.

The 30-member military alliance is set to consider how the group can respond to Europe’s new security reality in the wake of Russia’s assault on Ukraine.

“We need to move on to deterrence through denial. We need a credible military build-up on the eastern flank that will deter Putin,” a spokesperson for the Estonian Foreign Ministry told CNBC. Read the whole story here.

Sam Meredith

UK’s Boris Johnson to tell fellow G-7 leaders they must end Putin’s ‘stranglehold’ on food prices

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to call on world leaders gathered at the G-7 summit in Germany on Monday to take urgent action to get critical food supplies out of Ukraine.

The UK said it was working with international partners on a plan to overcome what it called “Russia’s grip” on food exports, and said it would work with Ukraine to fix vital rail lines to be used for exports instead.

“Putin’s actions in Ukraine are creating terrible aftershocks across the world, driving up energy and food prices as millions are on the brink of starvation,” Johnson said at the summit on Monday, according to pre-published comments from Downing Street.

“Only Putin can end this unnecessary and futile war. But world leaders must come together and apply their combined economic and political clout to help Ukraine and make life easier for households around the world. Nothing should be ruled out,” Johnson will add. .

The UK said it was working with international partners on a plan to overcome what it called “Russia’s grip” on food exports, and said it would work with Ukraine to fix vital rail lines to be used for exports instead.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Independence Square after a meeting on April 9, 2022.

Ukrainian Presidential Press Service | Reuters

World food prices have risen since the start of the war as vital goods from Ukraine (considered the ‘breadbasket of Europe’) have been unable to leave the country due to a Russian blockade Ukrainian ports, such as Odessa, preventing wheat exports. and oil.

Ukraine supplies 10% of the world’s wheat, 12% to 17% of the world’s maize and half of the world’s sunflower oil, the UK government said in a statement analyzing Johnson’s comments. He said 25 million tonnes of corn and wheat – the annual consumption of all least developed countries – cannot be exported and are currently at risk of rotting in Ukrainian silos. “This problem is expected to get significantly worse with the July harvest,” he noted.

—Holly Ellyatt

Zelenskyy set to press G-7 leaders for urgent aid as Russia moves forward

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is expected to issue an impassioned appeal to the leaders of the wealthy, industrialized nations of the Group of Seven (G-7), asking them for more heavy weapons to fight Russian forces.

“Delays in the transfer of arms to our state, any restrictions are in fact an invitation for Russia to strike again and again,” Zelenskyy said in his Sunday night speech.

He said Ukraine can only stop Russia’s aggression “if we get everything we ask for, and just in time, we need it – weapons, financial support and sanctions against Russia” .

He said there were no other options “because it is here – in the sky above Kyiv, in the sea near Odessa, in the lands of the Kharkiv region, in the Donbass, in the regions of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia – let it be decided what life will do will be like in Europe in the future. Here, in Ukraine, and nowhere else.

Rescuers work on a damaged residential building in Kyiv. Rockets hit a house and a kindergarten last Friday, injuring six and killing one.

Sopa Pictures | Light flare | Getty Images

Zelenskyy’s comments come after Russia targeted Ukraine’s capital Kyiv again over the weekend, having withdrawn its troops from the city months ago to focus on the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine. ‘Ukraine.

The southwestern port city of Odessa was also affected, as well as areas around the port of Mykolaiv further up the coast to the east, Chernihiv in northern Ukraine, the northeastern area around Kharkiv and the Donbass.

On Sunday morning, US President Joe Biden confirmed that the G-7 will announce a ban on Russian gold imports, confirming previous reports of an impending ban.

—Holly Ellyatt

G-7 nations to announce Russian gold import ban as Moscow sanctions widen

US President Joe Biden, center, attends a working lunch with other G7 leaders to discuss developments in the global economy. The major economic powers of the Group of Seven gather in Germany for their annual three-day gathering.

Kenny Holston | The New York Times via AP, Pool

The leaders of the G-7 countries will announce a ban on Russian gold imports for Moscow’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, US President Joe Biden confirmed on Sunday morning.

As leaders gather in Munich, Germany for the latest G-7 summit, Biden took to Twitter to confirm earlier reports of an impending ban.

“The United States has imposed unprecedented costs on Putin to deny him the revenue he needs to fund his war against Ukraine,” he said Sunday morning.

“Together, the G7 will announce that we will ban the import of Russian gold, a major export that earns Russia tens of billions of dollars.”

The move would add to a series of punitive sanctions imposed by the West on Russia since it began its attack on Ukraine on February 24.

—Matt Clinch


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