Ukraine Russia war latest: Putin ‘considers coming face to face with world leaders’ at G20 summit

Huge smoke cloud rises after massive explosion at factory in Moscow

Russian president Vladimir Putin is considering attending the G20 summit in person, a Kremlin source has claimed.

The summit is set to take place in September in New Delhi, India, focusing on the theme “One Earth, One Family, One Future.”

But Putin hasn’t ruled out his attendance, the Kremlin official told NBC News, seeking to “relaunch himself on the world stage” ahead of next year’s election.

Likewise, the official claimed that Putin is keen to win over countries that aren’t solid in their support for Russia in its invasion of Ukraine.

After world leaders condemned Russia’s war, Putin did not participate in the event in Bali in 2022.

The news comes just one day after Russian president Vladimir Putin pledged to ramp up border defences following a surge in drone attacks.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said NATO-member Poland had already announced plans to strengthen its military, and he expected significant NATO forces and weaponry to be deployed in Finland.

On Wednesday, Russia claimed it shot down two Ukrainian drones headed for Moscow, one near a major airport to the south of the city and one to the west of the capital.


Putin ‘considers coming face to face with world leaders’ at G20 summit

Russian president Vladimir Putin is considering attending the G20 summit in person, a Kremlin source has claimed.

The summit is set to take place in September in New Delhi, India, focusing on the theme “One Earth, One Family, One Future.”

But Putin hasn’t ruled out his attendance, the Kremlin official told NBC News, seeking to “relaunch himself on the world stage” ahead of next year’s election.

Likewise, the official claimed that Putin is keen to win over countries that aren’t solid in their support for Russia in its invasion of Ukraine.

As world leaders condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Putin did not participate in the event in Bali in 2022.


Eleanor Noyce10 August 2023 14:53


Russia military push on eastern front prompts Ukraine to evacuate thousands of civilians

Ukrainian authorities ordered a mandatory evacuation Thursday of nearly 12,000 civilians from 37 towns and villages in the eastern Kharkiv region, where Russian forces reportedly are making a concerted effort to punch through the front line.

The local military administration in Kharkiv’s Kupiansk district said residents must comply with the evacuation order or sign a document saying they would stay at their own risk. Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar had said the previous day that “the intensity of combat and enemy shelling is high” in the area.

The city of Kupiansk and the territories around it were under Russian occupation until September 2022, when Ukrainian forces conducted a rapid offensive operation that dislodged the Kremlin’s forces from nearly the entire Kharkiv region.

The retaking of those areas strengthened Ukraine‘s arguments that its troops could deliver more stinging defeats to Russia with additional armament deliveries, which its Western allies duly provided. But as Ukraine has pursued a slow-moving counteroffensive in recent weeks, Russian forces have struck back in some areas.

Maliar said Russia “has formed an offensive group and is attempting to move forward” in the area in an effort to advance on the Ukrainian-held city of Kupiansk, an important rail junction.

It was not possible to independently verify either side’s battlefield claims.

Local resident Oleksandr Prokopovich, 58, works outside his damaged house in Mala Komyshuvakha village, Kharkiv, 8 August

(AFP via Getty Images)

Eleanor Noyce10 August 2023 15:35


Wagner tracker: Charting Yevgeny Prigozhin’s mercenary group through the Ukraine war

Since Vladimir Putin rose to power as Russia’s president 23 years ago, few things have rocked his leadership as much as Saturday 24 June when Wagner mercenaries barrelled towards Moscow.

The “army within an army” who had been ruthlessly grinding away for months at the vanguard of some of the bloodiest fighting in eastern flanks Ukraine were now on the verge of triggering a war within a war – this time, against the Kremlin.

But the Russian president was spared that when the mutiny was halted in its tracks about 125 miles from the capital, in a deal between the leader of the mercenary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin and Putin – brokered by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. Prigozhin himself was due to head to Belarus – although he has been pictured in Russia since – with an invitation for Wagner fighters to gather in Belarus. Thousands are set to entered the country since.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain has more:

Eleanor Noyce10 August 2023 15:21


One killed in shelling of Russia’s Bryansk region – governor

One person was killed and two were wounded in Ukrainian shelling of the Russian village of Chausy in the Bryansk region, which borders Ukraine, the region’s governor said on Thursday.

“The Armed Forces of Ukraine shelled the village of Chausy, Pogarsky district,” Alexander Bogomaz said on the Telegram messaging app. “Unfortunately, as a result of the shelling, one man died, two local residents were injured.”

Shelling of Russian territory along the Ukrainian frontier has become commonplace in recent months in Russia’s war in Ukraine, which it calls a “special military operation”.

Eleanor Noyce10 August 2023 14:58


Erdogan ‘probably the only man in the world’ who can convince Putin to rejoin Black Sea Grain Initiative – Ukrainian foreign minister

Around 60 commercial ships have been stuck in the Ukrainian ports since Russia’s invasion, their fates unresolved by the deal that allowed grain exports to resume in July last year.

Many of the ships’ crews have been evacuated, leaving locally hired Ukrainian staff to help look after the vessels.

Since abandoning the grain deal, Russia has said it will treat any ships approaching Ukrainian ports as potential military vessels, and their flag countries as combatants on the Ukrainian side. Kyiv has responded with a similar threat to ships approaching Russian or Russian-held Ukrainian ports.

The United Nations has said Russia’s decision to quit the deal risks worsening a global food crisis, hurting poor countries worst, by keeping grain from one of the world’s biggest exporters off the market.

Moscow says it will return to the grain deal only if it receives better terms for its own exports of food and fertiliser. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, co-sponsor of the grain deal alongside the U.N., says he hopes to persuade Russian President Vladimir Putin to rejoin it at talks this month.

“I think it will not be an exaggeration to say that President Erdogan is probably the only man in the world who can convince President Putin to return to the Black Sea Grain Initiative,” Ukraine‘s Foreign Minister Dmitro Kuleba told Reuters in an interview on Thursday.

A German grain trader told Reuters: “People want more details about the Ukrainian temporary shipping channel announced today as it cannot work unless Russia gives a concrete commitment not to attack the ships.”

Eleanor Noyce10 August 2023 14:34


Putin says state-owned VTB bank to manage Russia’s main shipbuilder

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday asked the state-owned VTB bank to manage the state’s 100% stake in United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC), Russia’s largest shipbuilder, to solve financial problems at the firm.

Putin’s decision effectively transfers control of Russia’s premier shipbuilding assets to Moscow-based VTB, which has been run by Andrei Kostin, one of Russia’s most influential bankers, for the past 21 years.

USC builds civilian vessels as well as nuclear submarines, aircraft carriers and other warships. It operates about 40 shipyards, design offices and repair yards across Russia, employing 95,000 staff.

Putin told VTB CEO Kostin at a televised Kremlin meeting that he supported a government proposal to transfer the stake, but that there were many financial problems and “questions” at USC that needed resolving.

Kostin, a former diplomat, said the news of the transfer was unexpected, telling him: “Vladimir Vladimirovich – my reaction is: thank you for your trust.”

Trade and Industry Minister Denis Manturov specified that VTB would manage the stake in trust for five years. The bank’s shares were up over 4% at 1255 GMT.

Putin said he hoped VTB’s bankers could resolve the problems at USC, whose board chairman is Georgy Poltavchenko, a former KGB officer who served as governor of Putin’s hometown of St Petersburg from 2011 to 2018. USC’s general director is Alexei Rakhmanov.

“We work closely with both the corporation and the enterprises that are part of the corporation, so we know the problems, especially with regard to the organisation of financing,” Kostin said.

“I am sure that with your support we will cope with this task and will do our best to solve all the problems.”

Eleanor Noyce10 August 2023 14:16


Three detained after transporting counterfeit cancers drugs from Russia to Ukraine

Three people have been detained after transporting counterfeit cancer drugs from Russia to Ukraine, security officials have confirmed.

“An investigation is ongoing to establish all the circumstances of the crime and bring the perpetrators to justice. They face up to 10 years in prison”, the Security Service of Ukraine said.

The majority of the counterfeit drugs were manufactured in Russia and across several Middle Eastern countries, with the alleged dealers stashing them inside “disguised technological cavities” in their cars.

After being transported to Ukraine, the drugs were sold online and delivered using controlled pharmacies and postal services.

Eleanor Noyce10 August 2023 14:13


Fear of tech ‘brain drain’ prevents Russia from seizing Yandex for now – sources

The Kremlin’s fear of a serious tech brain drain is the main factor preventing Moscow from nationalising Nasdaq-listed Yandex, often dubbed “Russia’s Google”, four people with knowledge of the company’s divestment plans told Reuters.

Yandex’s fate has been the subject of much speculation since it announced plans to pursue a corporate restructuring last November, a move that should ultimately see its main revenue-generating businesses inside Russia spun off from its Dutch-registered parent company.

As Russia’s leading tech company, boasting some of the country’s top developers among more than 20,000 staff, Yandex was one of the few Russian firms with genuine global ambitions before Moscow unleashed its war in Ukraine in February 2022.

Many of its staff have moved abroad, some relocating to Serbia, where its new offices are filling up quickly. Maksut Shadaev, the head of Russia’s ministry of digital affairs, told parliament in December that around 100,000 IT specialists had left Russia in 2022.

And at a company where staff know-how is crucial to maintaining a leading position in search technology, advertising and ride-hailing, a hostile takeover by the state that sparks a talent exodus could do serious damage, according to the sources.

“It’s obvious that if (nationalisation) happens, the company will gradually come to nothing,” said one of the people with knowledge of the talks. “And this is probably what is stopping tough action from being taken.”

The Kremlin did not respond to a request for comment. Yandex declined to comment. In a results filing late last month the company said its plans for the potential corporate restructuring were “progressing”.

Moscow has previous form. It seized assets in the Sakhalin oil and gas projects last year by presidential decree and has taken the Russian assets of four Western firms under “temporary control” in 2023, including handing the running of French food group Danone’s Russian subsidiary to the nephew of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov.

Yandex co-founder Arkady Volozh, in a statement on Thursday criticising what he described as Russia’s “barbaric” invasion, said he had been focused on extricating “talented Russian engineers” from the country since the war started.

“These people are now out, and in a position to start something new, continuing to drive technological innovation,” he said. “They will be a tremendous asset to the countries in which they land.”

It is not yet clear whether Volozh’s comments may have any bearing on how Russia decides to proceed with the company.

Eleanor Noyce10 August 2023 13:53


ICYMI: Ukrainian troops launch surprise raid across Dnipro River and break through some of Russia’s defences

Ukrainian forces broke through Russia’s defensive lines after launching a surprise raid across the Dnipro River.

The river divides liberated Ukrainian territory on one bank and Russian-occupied land on the other, and for months it has served as part of the front line in southern Ukraine.

Russian military bloggers said that up to seven boats, each carrying up to six troops, arrived on the Russian-occupied bank, apparently under the cover of darkness, and advanced 800m. Blogger Trinadtsatyi, posting on the Telegram messaging app to more than 150,000 followers, said a number of Russian soldiers were allegedly killed or taken captive during the raid. Images circulating on social media appeared to show captured soldiers.

Eleanor Noyce10 August 2023 13:30


ICYMI: Poland to double troops number at border with Belarus and accuses it of organising illegal migration

The Polish government announced Wednesday that it is planning to deploy an additional 2,000 troops to its border with Belarus, twice the number the Border Guard agency had requested, as fears of illegal migration rise.

In an interview with state news agency PAP, a deputy interior minister, Maciej Wasik announced the decision and accused the Belarusian authorities of organizing illegal migration.

He said migration pressure on the Polish-Belarusian border area is growing, although it cannot compare to the situation two years ago.

Eleanor Noyce10 August 2023 13:00

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