Russia-Ukraine war: Moscow’s forces attempt advance in Donetsk; Putin vows to expand relations with North Korea – live

Putin says Russia and North Korea will expand relations

Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, has said Russia and North Korea will expand bilateral relations, Pyongyang’s state news agency, the KCNA, reported on Monday. Putin told the North Korean ruler, Kim Jong-un, that the two countries would “expand the comprehensive and constructive bilateral relations with common efforts”, the KCNA reported on Monday.

In a letter to Kim for North Korea’s liberation day, Putin said closer ties would be in both countries’ interests, and would help strengthen the security and stability of the Korean peninsula and the north-eastern Asian region, the KCNA said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un pose for a photo during their meeting in Vladivostok, Russia, in 2019. Photograph: Reuters

Kim also reportedly sent a letter to Putin saying Russian-North Korean friendship had been forged in the second world war with victory over Japan. Their “strategic and tactical cooperation, support and solidarity” had since reached a new level in their common efforts to frustrate threats and provocations from hostile military forces, Kim said in the letter, as reported by Reuters. KCNA did not identify the hostile forces, but it has typically used that term to refer to the US and its allies.

Kim predicted cooperation between Russia and North Korea would grow based on an agreement signed in 2019 when he met with Putin.

North Korea in July recognised two Russian-occupied “people’s republics” in eastern Ukraine as independent states, and officials raised the prospect of North Korean workers being sent to the areas to help in construction and other labour.

Key events

Shaun Walker and Pjotr Sauer report:

“A city with a Russian history,” proclaim billboards across the Ukrainian city of Kherson, occupied by the Russian army since the first days of March. Others display the Russian flag, or quotes from Vladimir Putin.

Over the past five months, Moscow has appointed an occupation administration to run the Kherson region and ordered schools to teach the Russian curriculum. Local people are encouraged to apply for Russian passports to access pensions and other benefits.

The next stage of the Kremlin’s plan is a referendum, to add a dubious sense of legality to these facts on the ground, and create a pretext for bringing Kherson and other occupied parts of southern Ukraine into Russia, using an updated version of the 2014 Crimea playbook.

In a series of telephone interviews, people in Kherson reported minimal enthusiasm for a referendum, and described a nervous, unpredictable atmosphere in the city.

Residents remain unsure about what the next few months might bring: a swift Ukrainian counteroffensive to regain control, a protracted battle that turns the city to rubble, or Russia carrying out its sham referendum and annexing the territory.

Read more here: ‘A referendum is not right’: occupied Kherson looks to uncertain future

These are some of the latest images to be sent to us over the newswires from Ukraine.

Russian rockets launch against Ukraine from Russia's Belgorod region are seen at dawn in Kharkiv, Ukraine on Monday, August 15 (AP Photo/Vadim Belikov)
Russian rockets launch against Ukraine from Russia’s Belgorod region are seen at dawn in Kharkiv, Ukraine on Monday, August 15, 2022 (AP Photo/Vadim Belikov) Photograph: Vadim Belikov/AP
Valentyna Kondratieva, 75, stands inside her damaged home where she sustained injuries in a Russian rocket attack on Saturday night in Kramatorsk, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Valentyna Kondratieva, 75, stands inside her damaged home where she sustained injuries in a Russian rocket attack on Saturday night (August 13, 2022) in Kramatorsk, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine. (AP Photo/David Goldman) Photograph: David Goldman/AP
A child waits for his mother outside one of the few shops still open in Sloviansk, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, on August 6, 2022 . (AP Photo/David Goldman)
A child waits for his mother outside one of the few shops still open in Sloviansk, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, on August 6, 2022 . (AP Photo/David Goldman) Photograph: David Goldman/AP

The Kyiv Independent is reporting that Russian forces shelled Kharkiv, in eastern Ukraine, overnight and hit a factory.

No further information was given about possible casualties.

⚡️Russian forces shell Kharkiv overnight on Aug. 15.

Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov reported that at 2:50 a.m. local time Russian forces shelled Slobidsky district of the city and hit a factory. There is no information on casualties at the time of the publication.

— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) August 15, 2022

Simon Tisdall argues locking up Vladimir Putin is a strategic aim the west should pursue:

The west’s strategic aims in Ukraine – to repulse Russia’s invasion, restore national sovereignty and score a victory for global democracy over “the forces of darkness” – were clearly set out by US president Joe Biden in Warsaw in March and subsequently endorsed by UK and European leaders.

What has always been less clear is whether they honestly expect to achieve these aims, given Nato’s less than heroic refusal to get directly involved. An uncomfortable, even distressing question now arises: should Ukrainians prepare for a stab in the back this winter?

Nearly six months into the war, the widening gap between rhetoric and reality grows potentially fatal. Public outrage over the invasion is giving way to concern, bordering on panic, about its alarming knock-on effects on energy and food prices and the cost of living.

That in turn is feeding doubts about western staying power. How long before Europe’s already shaky unity crumbles, if and when Russia’s gas tap is finally turned off?

Read more of Simon Tisdall’s piece here: As Putin’s war spreads panic across Europe, Ukrainians must fear a stab in the back

Russian troops are using Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, Europe’s largest, as cover to fire missiles into Ukraine-held territory. Guardian foreign correspondent Luke Harding talks to residents and Ukrainian military officials, who say they cannot retaliate.

‘It’s insanity’: daily life by the Ukraine nuclear plant now on the frontline – video

The Philippines is looking to buy heavy-lift Chinook helicopters from the US, after scrapping a deal with Russia worth 12.7bn pesos ($227.35m) in order to avoid sanctions, Manila’s ambassador to Washington said on Monday.

In June, days before President Rodrigo Duterte ended his six-year term, the Philippines scrapped a deal to buy 16 Mi-17 Russian military transport helicopters because of fears of US sanctions linked to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, reports Reuters.

Ambassador Jose Manuel Romualdez told journalists in a virtual forum.

This cancellation of this contract is precipitated mainly by the war in Ukraine. While there are sanctions expected to come our way, from the United States and western countries, obviously it is not in our interest to continue and pursue this contract.

Romualdez said the Chinooks would replace existing hardware used for the movement of troops and in disaster preparedness in the Southeast Asian country.

The US is willing to strike a deal for the amount the Philippines was set to spend on the Russian helicopters, Romualdez said, adding the deal with Washington will likely include maintenance, service and parts.

The Philippines is pursuing discussions with Russia to recover its $38m down payment for the helicopters, the delivery of which was supposed to start in November next year, or 24 months after the contract was signed.

Rustem Umerov, a member of the Ukrainian parliament, posted a picture of the Canadian military on Twitter and thanked them for helping train members of the Ukrainian armed forces.

Another six ships have received permission to pass through the maritime humanitarian corridor in the Black Sea, according to a statement released by the UN-backed Joint Coordination Centre (JCC).

Two of the vessels, MV Kafkam Etler and MV Zelek Star, have reportedly already passed inspection in the Sea of ​​Marmara and can go to Chornomorsk, Odesa, for loading.

The inspection of the remaining four vessels – MV Great Arsenal, MV Zumrut Ana, MV Ocean S, MV Kubrosliy – is scheduled for Tuesday. If the inspection is successful, the ships are set to go to Chornomorsk, according to Ukrainian media reports.

The shipments are part of a deal brokered by the UN and Turkey with Kyiv and Moscow in July to unblock Black Sea grain deliveries.

Russian proxies are continuing to consolidate administrative control of occupied areas by enforcing payments in rubles, according to a recent report from the institute for the study of war.

The US thinktank cited Ukraine’s main intelligence directorate (GUR) as saying that Moscow-installed authorities in the occupied city of Kherson are pressuring local ambulance workers to sign forms consenting to work for the new occupation government and receive payments in rubles.

Russian occupation authorities are also reportedly continuing to collect personal passport data from recipients of humanitarian aid, civilians who contact the occupying forces’ government, and customers of Russian mobile phone services.

Russia is probably in the advanced planning stages to hold a referendum for the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) to join Russia, according to British intelligence.

On 11 August, Russian media reported that the Moscow-installed administrative head, Denis Pushilin, said that the date of a referendum on the DPR joining Russia would be announced after the DPR’s “complete liberation”.

However, it is unclear if the final decision to go ahead with a vote has yet been taken, the UK’s Ministry of Defence reports.

Russia attempts advance in eastern Donetsk

Ukrainian forces reported heavy Russian shelling and attempts to advance on several towns in the eastern region of Donetsk that has become a key focus of the near six-month war, but said they had repelled many of the attacks.

Ukraine’s military command said on Sunday that Russian soldiers had continued unsuccessfully to attack Ukrainian positions near Avdiivka, which, since 2014, has become one of the outposts of Ukrainian forces near Donetsk.

Ukraine’s military command said “fierce fighting” had continued in Pisky, an eastern village that Russia had earlier in the day said it had under full control.

A DPR member is seen at Pisky village after shellings in Donetsk, Ukraine on 12 August.
A DPR member is seen at Pisky village after shellings in Donetsk, Ukraine, on 12 August. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

“The occupiers are trying to break through the defence of our troops in the directions of Oleksandropol, Krasnohorivka, Avdiivka, Maryinka, and Pisky,” Ukraine’s general staff said in its nightly briefing. “Fierce fighting continues.”

Oleg Zhdanov, a Ukrainian military expert, said the situation was particularly difficult in Avdiivka and nearby towns, such as Pisky.

“We have insufficient artillery power in place and our forces are asking for more support to defend Pisky,” he said in a video posted online. “But the town is basically under Ukrainian control.”

The Guardian could not immediately independently verify the battlefield accounts.

New Zealand deploys troops to help train Ukraine soldiers

Eva Corlett

Our Wellington-based correspondent, Eva Corlett, brings us this report from New Zealand.

The island nation will send another 120 troops to the UK to help train Ukrainian soldiers to defend the country against Russia’s “unjustified invasion”, in its latest show of solidarity.

At a press conference on Monday, Jacinda Ardern, the New Zealand prime minister, said the extra defence force personnel would take over from 30 New Zealand soldiers deployed in May. It forms part of a wider measures to support Ukraine, including more than NZD$40m in financial support and the sanctioning of 840 people and entities.

Ardern said the deployment would enable two teams to train Ukrainian personnel in frontline combat including weapon handling, first aid and operational law.

The latest deployment brought the total number of personnel sent to support Ukraine in the war to 224 – comparable to partner nations like Denmark (130) and Sweden (120), Ardern said.

We know that one of the highest priorities for Ukraine right now, is to train its soldiers, and New Zealand is proud to stand in solidarity alongside a number of other countries to answer that call.”

Training will be conducted exclusively on UK soil until late November, and New Zealand troops will not enter Ukraine.

Ardern was pressed on whether she would take up President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s offer to visit Ukraine in person, but said she had no plans to do so.

A total of 42 countries have called on Russia to immediately withdraw military forces from Ukraine’s Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, including the US, Japan and the UK, plus the EU. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) warned of a possible nuclear disaster unless fighting stops.

The statement called the deployment of Russian military personnel and weaponry at the nuclear facility unacceptable in that it “disregards the safety, security, and safeguards principles that all members of the IAEA have committed to respect”.

A Russian serviceman stands guard near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine.
A Russian serviceman stands guard near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine. Photograph: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters

The presence of Russian military forces at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant prevents the operator and the Ukrainian authorities from fulfilling their nuclear and radiation safety obligations in accordance with international conventions and IAEA safety standards, and prevents the IAEA from fulfilling its safeguards mandate.

We urge the Russian Federation to immediately withdraw its military forces and all other unauthorised personnel from the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, its immediate surroundings, and all of Ukraine so that the operator and the Ukrainian authorities can resume their sovereign responsibilities within Ukraine’s internationally recognised borders and the legitimate operating staff can conduct their duties without outside interference, threat, or unacceptably harsh working conditions.”

Russian soldiers at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant to be targeted: Zelenskiy

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has said his forces will target Russian soldiers who shoot at or from Europe’s largest nuclear power station, amid warnings that the Kremlin may falsely claim Kyiv has directly hit the critical site.

Zelenskiy said anyone giving orders for attacks on the site or nearby towns and cities should face trial by an international court, as concern about the safety of the nuclear site remained high.

Ukraine will target Russian soldiers at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, says Zelenskiy – video

“Every Russian soldier who either shoots at the plant, or shoots using the plant as cover, must understand that he becomes a special target for our intelligence agents, for our special services, for our army,” Zelenskiy said in a video address.

He called for new sanctions against Russia that would “necessarily block the Russian nuclear industry”, and he argued that “absolutely all officials of the terrorist state, as well as those who help them in this blackmail operation with the nuclear power plant, must be tried by an international court”.

Russia to work with Taliban where it ‘suits Moscow’s interests’

The Russian ambassador in Kabul has said working with the Taliban is necessary where it is in the interests of Moscow.

The Taliban, no matter how you treat them, is a reality that cannot be avoided. Therefore, we must work with them where it suits our interests and where it is required to solve the tasks facing Russia,” Dmitry Zhirnov said in an interview with RIA Novosti.

Talks were set to begin in Moscow between a delegation of the Afghan ministry of industry and trade sent by the Taliban government and Russian partners, Zhirnov added.

Kabul also planned to discuss the supply of oil, grain, sunflower oil.

Посол России в Кабуле обозначил принципы работы с талибами*, отметив, что нужно работать с ними там, где это отвечает интересам Москвыhttps://t.co/MZMGOhDwoh pic.twitter.com/04CUy4XqMD

— РИА Новости (@rianru) August 15, 2022

Putin says Russia and North Korea will expand relations

Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, has said Russia and North Korea will expand bilateral relations, Pyongyang’s state news agency, the KCNA, reported on Monday. Putin told the North Korean ruler, Kim Jong-un, that the two countries would “expand the comprehensive and constructive bilateral relations with common efforts”, the KCNA reported on Monday.

In a letter to Kim for North Korea’s liberation day, Putin said closer ties would be in both countries’ interests, and would help strengthen the security and stability of the Korean peninsula and the north-eastern Asian region, the KCNA said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un pose for a photo during their meeting in Vladivostok, Russia, in 2019.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un pose for a photo during their meeting in Vladivostok, Russia, in 2019. Photograph: Reuters

Kim also reportedly sent a letter to Putin saying Russian-North Korean friendship had been forged in the second world war with victory over Japan. Their “strategic and tactical cooperation, support and solidarity” had since reached a new level in their common efforts to frustrate threats and provocations from hostile military forces, Kim said in the letter, as reported by Reuters. KCNA did not identify the hostile forces, but it has typically used that term to refer to the US and its allies.

Kim predicted cooperation between Russia and North Korea would grow based on an agreement signed in 2019 when he met with Putin.

North Korea in July recognised two Russian-occupied “people’s republics” in eastern Ukraine as independent states, and officials raised the prospect of North Korean workers being sent to the areas to help in construction and other labour.

Summary and welcome

Hello and welcome back to the Guardian’s live coverage of the war in Ukraine.

I’m Samantha Lock and I will be bringing you all the latest developments for the next short while. Whether you’ve been following our coverage overnight or you’ve just dropped in, here are the latest lines.

Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, has said Russia and North Korea will expand bilateral relations, Pyongyang’s state media reported. The Russian ambassador in Kabul also said working with the Taliban was necessary where it is in the interests of Moscow.

Ukrainian forces reported heavy Russian shelling and attempts to advance on several towns in the eastern region of Donetsk, but said they had repelled many of the attacks.

It is 7.30am in Ukraine. Here is everything you might have missed:

  • Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, says Russia and North Korea will expand bilateral relations, Pyongyang’s state media reported on Monday. Putin told North Korean leader Kim Jong-un that the two countries would “expand the comprehensive and constructive bilateral relations with common efforts,” Pyongyang’s state media reported on Monday. In a letter to Kim for North Korea’s liberation day, Putin said that closer ties would be in both countries’ interests, and would help strengthen the security and stability of the Korean peninsula and the north-eastern Asian region, North Korea’s KCNA news agency said.

  • The first UN ship to carry Ukrainian grain for Africa is ready to depart with 23,000 tonnes of wheat. The MV Brave Commander will head to Africa and “Ethiopia will be the last country where the 23,000-tonne cargo of wheat will be delivered”, said Ukraine’s infrastructure minister, Oleksandr Kubrakov. It will be the first shipment of food aid since Kyiv and Moscow agreed a deal brokered by the UN and Turkey in July to unblock Black Sea grain deliveries.

  • The first ship to depart Ukraine when grain exports resumed was approaching the Syrian port of Tartus on Sunday. The ship left Ukraine two weeks ago but cargo on the Razoni was refused by its original Lebanese buyer, two shipping sources told Reuters.

  • Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said his forces will target Russian soldiers who shoot at or from the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant. “Every Russian soldier who either shoots at the plant, or shoots using the plant as cover, must understand that he becomes a special target for our intelligence agents, for our special services, for our army,” he said.

  • A total of 42 countries have called on Russia to immediately withdraw military forces from the plant, including the US, Japan and the UK, plus the EU. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has warned of a possible nuclear disaster unless fighting stops.

  • Zelenskiy has warned those with Russian citizenship against being complicit and silent in supporting Putin’s war on Ukraine. “People’s silence approaches the level of complicity. And the rejection of the real fight against evil becomes the assistance to it. Therefore, if you have Russian citizenship and you are silent, it means that you are not fighting, it means that you are supporting it,” he said in his latest national address.

  • Ukraine’s forces continued to strike at strategic bridges supplying Russian troops holding the city of Kherson, the only major site held by the invaders on the west bank of the Dnieper, including the Antonovsky road bridge and the crossing at the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant upstream. Ukraine said Russian troops who crossed the Dnieper river during their offensive in the southern region were facing growing difficulties after bridges were damaged.

  • Russia says it has taken control of Udy, a village in the eastern Kharkiv region, according to its latest military briefing. The village has been under heavy shelling by Russian forces.

  • Russia’s priority over the past week has likely been to reorient units to strengthen its campaign in southern Ukraine, British military intelligence said on Sunday. The UK Ministry of Defence said Russia also appeared to be intensifying attacks on the eastern Donbas front, in what is likely to be an attempt to ensure Ukraine is not able to concentrate forces in the south against Kherson.

  • Saudi Arabia’s largely state-owned energy firm recorded one of the largest quarterly profits in history, highlighting the colossal profits made by gas and oil-rich nations during the energy crisis linked to the war in Ukraine. Saudi Aramco profits in the three months to the end of June were up 90% to $48bn (£40bn) to beat the near $26bn it made a year earlier. Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Holding invested in Russian energy groups Gazprom, Rosneft and Lukoil between 22 February and 22 March, it said on Twitter on Sunday.

  • Countries throughout Europe have called for the EU to limit or block short-term Schengen visas for Russian citizens. Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, Finland and the Czech Republic all urged new restrictions. Poland is also considering restrictions for Russian tourist visas.

Ukrainian servicemen hold anti-drone guns as they take part in a training exercise not far from front line in Mykolaiv region, Ukraine on 14 August.
Ukrainian servicemen hold anti-drone guns as they take part in a training exercise not far from front line in Mykolaiv region, Ukraine on 14 August. Photograph: Reuters



Source link

Latest

Arizona Clinic Finds Workaround For Abortion Pill Ban

PHOENIX (AP) — A Phoenix abortion clinic has come...

Kaley Cuoco and Johnny Galecki fell in love filming this ‘Big Bang Theory’ scene

Kaley Cuoco and Johnny Galecki open up about their...

Ron DeSantis Promotes Campaign During Hurricane Recovery Work

From wearing campaign garb at hurricane recovery events to...

Covid: Welsh families want voices heard in UK-wide inquiry

The Welsh government rejected calls for a Wales-specific inquiry, as UK inquiry begins Source link

Liz Truss says Steve Baker was ‘speaking for himself’ as Jamie Bryson says apology over Brexit negotiations ‘enraged loyalists’

Steve Baker was speaking for himself when he apologised for his “ferocious” stance on negotiations with the EU, the British prime minister has said.orthern...

Education Minister Confuses Everyone With Promise To Crack Down On ‘Harry Potter Studies’

An education minister has railled against a system that favours a degree in “Harry Potter studies” over more practical qualifications – even though there’s...