Last war in Ukraine: British troops 'to prevent Russian invasion' in the European country. businessman 'positions himself as a credible alternative to Putin' (2023)

Basic points
  • Ukraine's Defense Ministry shares new footage of a drone "hitting" a Russian warship
  • Zelensky gives surprise speech to American students
  • Prigozhin "positioning himself as a credible alternative" to Putin
  • Pro-Russian Actors 'Probably' Falsified Ship Data to Create 'Z' Symbol in Black Sea
  • US intelligence agencies believe Ukraine was possibly behind the Kremlin drone attack
  • Anti-Putin paramilitary group says more raids to come|Who are the fighters behind the Belgorod invasion?
  • Fighters of the Wagner group begin to withdraw from Bakhmut
  • Answer to your questions: Can the UK defend itself after sending arms to Ukraine?
  • Do you have any questions about the war? Ask our experts
  • Live reporting by Olive Enokido-Lineham (formerly) and James Robinson


US to announce new military aid package for Ukraine: reports

The United States is set to announce $300 million in military aid to Ukraine, according to Reuters.

The package, which is expected to contain surface-to-surface missile launchers and other general munitions, could be announced as early as Friday, the news agency reported, citing two official sources.

The United States has committed more than $35bn (£28.5bn) in aid to Ukraine since Russia invaded in February 2022.

It comes after Finland earlier announced plans for a 109 million-euro (£94.6 million) military aid package.


Footage claims to show a maritime drone striking a Russian warship

Images have been posted online that appear to show a Russian warship being hit by a maritime drone.

It comes after Russia claimed it had prevented an attack on one of its ships, the Ivan Khurs, in the Black Sea on Wednesday.

Russia's Defense Ministry shared footage it claims showed gunners destroying an unmanned maritime drone that was approaching the ship.

He described the attack as "unsuccessful".

Now the footage, which Sky News has not been able to verify, appears to show a drone striking the vessel.

It has been shared on the official Twitter account of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, which tweeted: “When the Russian reconnaissance ship “Ivan Khurs” encountered a Ukrainian drone.

"Indeed, a perfect match!"


US Sanctions Wagner's Mali Boss Amid Armed Conspiracy Allegations

The United States has imposed sanctions on the head of the Wagner mercenary group in Mali.

It comes amid accusations from Washington that the group planned to buy weapons for Russia from foreign nations at the time and ship them through the West African nation.

The US Treasury Department has now announced sanctions against Ivan Alexandrovich Maslov, whom it describes as the head of Wagner's paramilitary units and his top Mali-based administrator.

In the statement announcing the sanctions, the ministry also accused Wagner of working closely with the Mali government to execute his deployment to the country.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on Wednesday dismissed the US claims as a "hoax".


Two Russian SU planes were shot down in the Zaporizhzhia region, says Zelenskyy

Another interesting note from Zelenskyy's evening speech: he claims that the Ukrainian National Guard shot down two Russian SU-type aircraft in the Zaporizhzhia region.

He did not provide further details about the aircraft.

An SU call sign is associated with aircraft made by Sukhoi, Russian military aircraft manufacturers.

"I'm grateful to two of our particularly accurate warriors," he says.

"By the way, one of them has already received the title of Hero of Ukraine and shot down not only enemy planes, but also a cruise missile."


Zelenskyy details the exchange of prisoners in Ukraine and reveals eight soldiers among those released

Speaking in his evening address, President Zelenskyy reveals more details about the prisoner swap we reported today.

It says 106 people have been returned to Ukraine, including eight servicemen and 98 soldiers and sergeants.

Zelensky did not elaborate on the returned Russian prisoners.

However, he reminds Ukrainian troops how taking prisoners allows them to make such deals.

“I am grateful to each of our Soldiers who made sure we had a proper exchange fund.

"Everyone on the front lines should remember this: the more Russian POWs we take, the more of our people we'll get back."

And he adds: "Thank you to everyone who gave this result."


Video of chief Wagner showing respect for dead Bakhmut could be the start of an 'international PR campaign', experts suggest

A video has emerged of the founder of Wagner's mercenary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, standing next to two coffins, one draped in an American flag and the other in a Turkish flag.

The coffins are said to belong to a former US Marine who was killed in Bakhmut and a Turkish national who died with his wife in a building Prigozhin said was blown up by Ukrainian forces.

Wagner's forces have been involved in a great deal of fighting in Bahamut, which has been the backdrop to some of the fiercest and bloodiest clashes of the war to date.

Experts say the video, in which Prigozhin pays his respects to the dead, could be a public relations exercise designed to curry favor with world leaders and the international public.

Maxim Mironov, a Russian-born economics professor who now works at IE University in Madrid, tweeted: “I interpret this video as the start of Prigozhin's international PR campaign.

“Look at everything, I am a normal person, I respect those who fell in battle, here are their bodies, in coffins, with flags. You can do business with me, I'm enough."

Cold War historian Sergey Radchenko, sharing the video, added: "I agree with this analysis, very interesting."

before oursmilitary analyst Sean Bell;He said the head of the Wagner Group appeared to be "positioning himself as a credible alternative" to the Russian president.

Bell told Sky News the businessman and paramilitary leader had "tasted victory" in Bahamut, the eastern city where his fighters claim to have taken control.


'Time is the most precious resource': Zelensky delivers surprise speech to US graduates

Volodymyr Zelenskyy gave a surprise speech to graduates in the US

The Ukrainian president delivered the speech, via video link, to Johns Hopkins University students during today's graduation ceremony.

"Time is the most precious resource on the planet," he told them.

"Some realize it before and they are the lucky ones.

"Others find out too late, when they lose someone or something."

Zelensky also described a recent visit to Ukrainian troops on the front lines, saying that many have similar dreams and aspirations as American graduates.

However, he said that the tragedy of the war was now his focus.

"You have to know exactly what you need today and how you want your tomorrow to be," he said.


Sweden could allow Ukrainian pilots to train on their own fighter jets as it eases the stance on shipping planes.

Sweden could allow Ukrainian pilots to test their own fighter jet: the JAS-39 Gripen.

The country's defense minister, Pal Jonsson, says the government is considering whether to allow Ukrainian pilots to test Swedish planes.

It is a major softening of policy by Sweden and comes after the US agreed to allow Western nations to export US-made F-16s to Ukraine.

The Nordic country previously ruled out sending Gripen fighters, saying they are necessary for its own territorial defense.

But speaking to Swedish media, Jonsson says the country is considering in a "positive spirit" a request from Ukraine to allow its pilots to test the Swedish plane.

"This could, for example, mean test flights, using simulators, learning more about the extensive ground system that is part of the Gripen system," he says.

However, he reiterates that Sweden has no immediate plans to transfer Gripen aircraft to Ukraine.

The Gripen is a single-engine plane designed to take off and land from scattered bases and even highways, which some analysts say would make it suitable for Ukraine's air force, which currently relies on Soviet-era fighters.


Russian fighter jet deployed to stop two US bombers from 'violating' its border, state media report

Russia has announced that it has deployed a fighter jet to prevent two US bombers from "violating" its border, according to the Russian state media agency TASS.

It is the second time this week that the Russian Defense Ministry has shot down a fighter jet over allegations of US activity near its border.

On Tuesday, the ministry claimed that two US B-1 Lancers had been deployed in its airspace over the Black Sea.

The Pentagon responded by saying that the bombers were taking part in a planned exercise in Europe and that the Russian fighter's interaction with the plane was "safe and professional."


Residents living next to the reservoir fear the water level will rise after the Russians damage the flood gates.

Residents living next to a Ukrainian reservoir are at risk of losing their homes after Russian troops damaged nearby flood gates.

Those who live near the waters of the southern Kakhovka reservoir near Zaporizhzhia say their homes are threatened by rising water levels.

Russian forces destroyed the road and the Nova Kakhovka bridge deck last November, damaging some of the gates in the process.

Since mid-February, the water level in the reservoir has been rising steadily, according to data from Theia, a French geospatial analysis organization.

The photos show homes that are very close to being flooded by rising waters.

Ihor Medyunov, whose yard is now a small patch of marshy grass, said: “There is nowhere to go.

"We'll wait for a better time to rebuild, to repair. It's really painful."

David Helms, a retired meteorologist who monitored reservoir levels during the war, said the flooding is due to the flow through the dam system on the Dnipro not matching the seasonal flow of the river.

He said that this is done intentionally or through negligence.

"The Russians are just not actively managing and balancing the flow of water," Helms said, likening it to a bucket with a small hole that is now filled with a hose.

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