Breaking information about Russia and the struggle in Ukraine

Russia’s Chechen allies vow to fight until Putin stops them

President Vladimir Putin’s Chechen allies have vowed to continue fighting in Ukraine, saying they would go even beyond the country until the president stops them.

“There should be no doubt: the DPR [the Donetsk People’s Republic — a pro-Russian breakaway region], Mykolaiv, Kherson, Odessa, until Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin stops us. Inshallah [God willing] we are coming to Berlin,” Magomed Daudov, speaker of the Chechen parliament, told reporters.

Pro-Russian Chechen fighters have been part of Russia’s forces in Ukraine and have a fearsome reputation in combat, having experienced multiple conflicts with Russia itself in the 1990s and 2000s before a rapprochement between Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov and Putin in urban combat had years earlier.

It is doubtful whether Daudov’s statements reflect any official policy in Moscow. There are also Chechens fighting for Ukraine.

— Holly Ellyatt

Battle for Sloviansk is fast approaching, says UK

A market in Sloviansk was attacked on July 5, 2022 after an alleged missile attack during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Miguel Medina | AFP | Getty Images

The British Ministry of Defense said a battle for the major city of Sloviansk on the front line in Donetsk was imminent. Russian forces advance into Donetsk province after capturing neighboring Luhansk region.

“Russian forces from the Eastern and Western Force Groups are now likely about 10 miles north of the city of Sloviansk. With the city also threatened by the Central and Southern Force Groups, there is a realistic possibility that the Battle of Sloviansk will be the next key battle in the battle around the Donbass,” the ministry said on Wednesday.

A market in Sloviansk was attacked yesterday, killing two people and wounding seven others, the city’s mayor Vadym Lyakh said on Wednesday.

The ministry noted that Russia is likely to continue to consolidate its control over Lysychansk and Luhansk Oblast (province), where fierce fighting has been raging for weeks, culminating with Russia’s capture of the last Ukrainian-held town in the province last weekend .

North of Sloviansk, the British noted, Russia had “assigned most of the remaining available units of the Eastern and Western Izium Axis Force Groups”, referring to the route between Sloviansk via Izium and Kharkiv in north-eastern Ukraine.

“In the last week, Russian forces are likely to have advanced up to another 5 km on the main E40 road from Izium in the face of extremely determined Ukrainian resistance,” the ministry said.

— Holly Ellyatt

Russia is trying to mobilize the economy to keep the war going

Russia’s parliament has taken several steps to put the country’s economy on a war footing, with two bills passed in the State Duma that would allow the government to force Russian companies to supply the military with goods for the war effort.

Natalia Kolesnikova | AFP | Getty Images

Russia’s parliament has taken several steps to put the country’s economy on a war footing, with two bills passed in the State Duma (the lower house of parliament) that would allow the government to force Russian companies to supply the military with goods for effort to supply the war.

“The load on the defense industry has increased significantly. In order to ensure the supply of weapons and ammunition, it is necessary to optimize the work of the military-industrial complex and the enterprises that are part of the cooperation chains,” said Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov lawmakers said on Tuesday, according to a Reuters translation.

A second law, also passed by the Duma after a first reading, would amend the Labor Code. This means that companies supplying war supplies can have their employees work nights, weekends and public holidays and, if necessary, without annual leave.

Both bills still have to go through the second and third readings in the Duma, be approved by the Upper House and given the blessing of President Vladimir Putin.

“The mobilization of the country’s economic and industrial potential in support of the military is a tacit acknowledgment of the significant losses incurred since the invasion began and the impending shortages of certain types of equipment,” said Andrius Tursa, adviser for Central and Eastern Europe at Teneo Intelligence, commented Tuesday.

“At the same time, one could assume that Moscow is preparing to maintain its military operations in the longer term.”

— Holly Ellyatt

Airborne alerts were sounded over almost all of Ukraine, which terrified civilians, says Zelenskyy

Zelenskyy told Ukrainians not to “overthink,” saying, “You shouldn’t look for logic in terrorist actions.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said an air alert was announced across most of Ukraine Tuesday night, leaving many civilians worried after a period of relative calm in parts of the country.

“Before that, there had been no air alert in the capital and some regions for some time,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly address, adding that many people wondered if Russia was planning anything.

Zelenskyy told Ukrainians not to “overthink,” saying, “You shouldn’t look for logic in terrorist actions.”

“The Russian army does not take breaks. She has one job – to take people’s lives, to intimidate people – to make even a few days without an air raid feel like part of the terror.”

— Holly Ellyatt

According to the UN, evidence of Russian war crimes in Ukraine is mounting

A team member of the War Crimes Prosecutor’s Office speaks on the phone next to buildings destroyed by Russian shelling amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in Borodyanka, Kyiv region, Ukraine, April 7, 2022.

Zohra Bensemra | Reuters

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said her office had mounting evidence that Russian forces were carrying out unlawful killings and summary executions.

“Increasing evidence leads my office to believe that Russian forces have committed serious violations of international humanitarian law in this regard,” Bachelet wrote in a statement.

Bachelet said UN investigators confirmed the recovery of more than 1,200 civilian bodies from Kyiv. She added that her office is working to confirm more than 300 allegations of killings by Russian forces in situations unrelated to active combat.

“Arbitrary detention of civilians is also widespread in areas controlled by Russian forces and related armed groups. Despite access restrictions, we have documented 270 cases of arbitrary detention and enforced disappearance,” she added.

The Kremlin has previously denied that its forces have committed crimes against civilians in Ukraine.

– Amanda Macias

US and allies demand exclusion of Russia and Belarus from international sports, ban on official state flags at sporting events

A fan holds up a Russian flag during the luge relay at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Getty Images

The State Department reiterated its calls for the international sports community to suspend Russian and Belarusian sports organizations and remove Russian and Belarusian individuals from influential positions in the sports community.

“National and international sports organizations should consider suspending the broadcasting of sports competitions to Russia and Belarus,” the State Department wrote in a statement, adding that “official Russian and Belarusian state flags, emblems and anthems should be banned.”

“Furthermore, we reiterate our encouragement for the international sports community to continue to show their solidarity with the people of Ukraine, including by supporting the continuation and reconstruction of Ukrainian sports wherever possible,” the Foreign Ministry wrote in a joint statement Declaration with representatives from more than 30 countries.

– Amanda Macias

“Historical day,” says NATO chief, as all 30 NATO allies approve Finland and Sweden’s membership

Sweden’s Foreign Minister Ann Linde and Finland’s Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto attend a news conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg after signing their countries’ accession protocols at the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, July 5, 2022.

Yves Herman | Reuters

All 30 NATO member countries approved accession protocols for Finland and Sweden to join the military alliance, a significant step in NATO expansion.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed the “historic day for Euro-Atlantic security”.

“With 32 nations around the table we will be stronger and more secure as we face a more dangerous world,” Stoltenberg wrote on Twitter.

In May, both nations began the formal application process for the NATO alliance.

– Amanda Macias

According to separatist leaders, pro-Russian forces are on their way to Donetsk

Denis Pushilin (C), leader of the separatists in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR), arrives for a news conference in Donetsk, April 11, 2022.

Alexander Nemenov | AFP | Getty Images

Pro-Russian separatist forces from the self-proclaimed “people’s republics” of Donetsk and Luhansk (known as DPR and LPR) are moving towards Donetsk province, DPR head Denis Pushilin said on Tuesday, according to Russian state news agency TASS.

“We can already say that our corps was the first corps to participate and help our brothers [in the liberation of the LPR]already moving in the direction of Donetsk, as well as the second corps [from] Luhansk,” Pushilin said.

Russia and its proxies in eastern Ukraine are calling last weekend’s seizure of the Luhansk region a “liberation,” though Russia is widely credited with rationale for “protecting” the breakaway separatist territories established in 2014 when Russia annexed them Crimea from Ukraine, as a pretext for invading Ukraine.

— Holly Ellyatt

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