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Latest news on Russia and the war in Ukraine

Russia propagandists accidentally published, then removed, an article declaring victory

Russian state media accidentally published and then quickly deleted an article claiming victory in Ukraine and declaring the beginning of a “new era,” just two days after the Kremlin invaded in late February, The Atlantic said in a report on Monday.

The incident has taken on renewed significance in light of Ukraine’s lightning offensive against Russian troops in Kharkiv, which Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said has successfully “liberated more than 6,000 square kilometers” of territory it had lost to the Kremlin.

A long convoy of invading Russian military vehicles is shown on the road toward Kyiv early in the war in late February, shortly before vehicle breakdowns, a lack of basic supplies, and attacks by Ukrainian defenders forced it to turn around and flee back to Russia. Over the last week, Ukrainian troops have dealt Russia a defeat in Kharkiv that’s as dramatic as the one outside Kyiv.

Maxar | Getty Images

Kremlin mouthpiece RIA Novosti deleted the story, which prematurely claimed victory over neighboring Ukraine even before Ukrainian defenders repelled Russian forces north of Kyiv. However, a copy of the article remains in internet archives known as the Wayback Machine.

“Russia’s military operation in Ukraine has ushered in a new era,” said the wrongly published article written by Petr Akopov, which was titled “The offensive of Russia and the new world.”

“Russia is restoring its unity — the tragedy of 1991, this terrible catastrophe in our history, its unnatural dislocation, has been overcome,” said the deleted article.

The 1991 “tragedy” article referred to is the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

—Joanna Tan

Russia ‘almost certainly’ sourcing weapons from states like Iran and North Korea, UK says

Russia is “almost certainly” increasingly sourcing weapons from other heavily sanctioned states like Iran and North Korea as its own stocks dwindle, according to the latest intelligence update from Britain’s Ministry of Defense.

It said on Twitter Wednesday it’s highly likely that “Russia has … deployed Iranian uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAV) in Ukraine for the first time.”

On Tuesday, Ukrainian officials reported that their forces had shot down a Shahed-136 UAV near Kupiansk, in the area of Ukraine’s successful ongoing offensive in Kharkiv.

“The Shahed-136 is a one-way attack UAV with a claimed range of 2,500 kilometres. Similar Iranian-manufactured systems have likely been used in attacks in the Middle East, including against the oil tanker MT MERCER STREET in July 2021,” the ministry noted.

“The loss of a Shahed-136 near the front lines suggests there is a realistic possibility that Russia is attempting to use the system to conduct tactical strikes rather than against more strategic targets farther into Ukrainian territory.”

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi greets Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 19, 2022. Putin likely wanted to show that Moscow is still important in the Middle East by visiting Iran, said John Drennan of the U.S. Institute of Peace.

Sergei Savostyanov | AFP | Getty Images

Yesterday, the Pentagon said it was not able to determine the impact of Russia’s use of Iranian drones on the battlefield in Ukraine.

Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said the U.S. was closely monitoring the situation but declined to confirm press reports that Russia had begun using the drones in Ukraine.

Last month, U.S. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby confirmed that Russia had received the drones but said it was “too soon to tell” how the new weapons would shape the combat.

— Holly Ellyatt

Ukraine seeks to root out occupiers, collaborators and saboteurs in recaptured territory

Russian military vehicles in Balakliya on Sept. 10, 2022. Zelenskyy said that, in Balakliya, a town in the northeastern Kharkiv region recaptured by Ukrainian forces last week, the payment of pensions has already resumed.

Juan Barreto | AFP | Getty Images

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Tuesday evening that “stabilization measures” have been put in place in the liberated towns and villages in northeast Ukraine, which has experienced a significant counteroffensive by Ukrainian forces in the last week.

“Remnants of occupiers and sabotage groups are being detected, collaborators are being detained, and full security is being restored,” he said, adding in his nightly address to the nation that border guards had been sent to protect “the state border in the liberated territory.”

“It is very important that together with our troops, with our flag, ordinary, normal life enters the de-occupied territory,” he said.

Zelenskyy said that, in Balakliya, a town in the northeastern Kharkiv region recaptured by Ukrainian forces last week, the payment of pensions has already resumed.

“All Ukrainian pensioners in the liberated territory will receive payments. Ukraine always fulfills its social obligations to people,” he said.

— Holly Ellyatt

‘Hard to tell’ if Ukraine war is at a turning point, Biden says

With Ukraine making significant progress in repulsing Russian forces from occupied parts of the country in the last week, thoughts have turned to whether this is a definitive moment in the conflict.

But when asked Tuesday about whether Ukraine has reached a turning point in the war, U.S. President Joe Biden said, “The question is unanswerable. It’s hard to tell. It’s clear the Ukrainians have made significant progress. But I think it’s going to be a long haul.” 

When asked Tuesday about whether Ukraine has reached a turning point in the war, U.S. President Joe Biden said, “The question is unanswerable. It’s hard to tell. It’s clear the Ukrainians have made significant progress. But I think it’s going to be a long haul.”

Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

Ukrainian officials have asked for more weapons assistance from the West in order to help them maintain their momentum in the war. Russian forces in the northeast of Ukraine have been scattered amid Ukrainian advances, which have seen them reclaim over 300 villages in the Kharkiv region.

— Holly Ellyatt

German Chancellor Scholz tells Putin to end the war in Ukraine during phone call

Olaf Scholz, Germany’s chancellor speaks at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.

Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin for 90 minutes about the ongoing war in Ukraine.

“Given the seriousness of the military situation and the consequences of the war in Ukraine, the Chancellor urged the Russian President to find a diplomatic solution as soon as possible, based on a ceasefire, a complete withdrawal of Russian troops, and respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine,” wrote German federal government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit.

Scholz warned that any further Russian annexations “would not go unanswered and would not be recognized under any circumstances.”

The two leaders agreed to remain in contact. Scholz spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy last week.

— Amanda Macias

More than 300 villages in Kharkiv region liberated from Russian occupation, Ukraine says

Ukrainian flags placed on statues in a square in Balakliya, Kharkiv region, on Sept. 10 , 2022.

Juan Barreto | AFP | Getty Images

Ukraine’s Minister of Defense Hanna Malyar said that the counter-offensive carried out by Ukrainian troops in Kharkiv over several days resulted in the liberation of more than 300 villages from Russian occupation.

“The operation will continue until the area is wholly liberated,” Malyar said during a national telethon update, according to an NBC News translation.

She said that approximately 150,000 people living in a region spanning about 3,800 square kilometers are back under Ukrainian leadership.

— Amanda Macias

White House hints at new security package amid recent gains in Ukraine

John Kirby, National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications, speaks during a press briefing in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on June 21, 2022.

Nicholas Kamm | AFP | Getty Images

The White House said another U.S. security assistance package for Ukraine installment would be announced in the coming days, but declined to elaborate on the details.

U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the next package would be tailored “in lockstep” with Kyiv’s requests and hailed recent Ukrainian advances to seize back territory from Russian forces.

“At least in the Donbas, there is a sense of momentum,” Kirby told reporters at the White House.

“Certainly in the north, we have seen Russians retreat from the Kharkiv oblast. They’ve left fighting positions, they’ve left supplies and they’re calling it a repositioning,” Kirby said, adding that Russian forces are still facing a slew of logistical challenges.

“It’s still a very large and very powerful military and Mr. Putin still has an awful lot of military capacity left at his disposal, not just to be used in Ukraine but potentially elsewhere,” Kirby added.

— Amanda Macias

Blinken says U.S. will continue to send weapons to Kyiv, hails advances made by Ukrainian forces

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a news conference about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, at the State Department in Washington, March 17, 2022.

Saul Loeb | Pool | Reuter

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken hailed Ukraine’s lightning advances made over the weekend but cautioned that Russian forces still maintain “very significant forces in Ukraine.”

“As we’ve seen, the brutalization of the country continues by the Russian aggressor and there’s, I think, unfortunately, the prospect of this continues to go on, but I think it’s encouraging to see the progress that Ukraine has made,” Blinken told reporters alongside Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo in Mexico City.

Blinken said the U.S. would continue to provide Kyiv with additional military aid packages.

“We will continue to do, what is necessary to support Ukraine to maintain pressure on Russia so that it ends its aggression,” Blinken added.

— Amanda Macias

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