Ukraine war latest: Russia ‘ramps up attacks on civilian targets after setbacks’

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Russia has widened its strikes on civilian infrastructure in Ukraine and is likely to expand its target range further, the British Ministry of Defence has said.

Five civilians were killed in Russian attacks in the Donetsk region over the past day, while in Nikopol several dozen high-rise and private buildings, gas pipelines and power lines were damaged by Russian strikes, the governors of those regions said on Sunday.

In an intelligence update, the MoD said that Russia had launched several thousand long-range missiles against Ukraine since the start of the invasion. “However, in the last seven days Russia has increased its targeting of civilian infrastructure even where it probably perceives no immediate effect,” the ministry said.

“As it faces setbacks on the front lines, Russia has likely extended the locations it is prepared to strike in an attempt to directly undermine the morale of the Ukrainian people and government.”

It comes after Vladimir Putin warned on Friday that Ukraine risks provoking “more serious” action from Moscow with its sweeping counteroffensive, claiming that “we so far have responded with restraint”.

He vowed to press on with his “special military operation” during his address to reporters after attending a meeting of Asian world leaders, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, in Uzbekistan.

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‘We may never find them’: Desperate Ukrainians forced to trawl through dead looking for lost loved ones

All day the Ukrainian women search through photos of corpses posted by Russian soldiers showing off their kills, in the desperate hunt for their missing loved ones.

In the crude images of frozen grey faces, blood-smeared torsos and the scraps of remains, they look for a flicker of something recognisable: a scar or a ring.

“Twenty hours a day I go through these Telegram channels looking for him,” said Maria, her face gripped by grief.

“We are a community of women who are looking for our loved ones. All of us have to trawl through the photos of the dead. We have to see if they are there.”

The Independent’s Bel Trew writes.

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In an intelligence update, Britain’s Ministry of Defence today said that Russia has laucnhed several thousand long-range missiles against Ukraine since the start of the invasion, but that these have increased in the past week.

“In the last seven days Russia has increased its targeting of civilian infrastructure even where it probably perceives no immediate effect,” the ministry said in the tweet.

The strikes have struck targets including an electricity grid and a dam, it added.

“As it faces setbacks on the front lines, Russia has likely extended the locations it is prepared to strike in an attempt to directly undermine the morale of the Ukrainian people and government,” the ministry said.

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Russia ‘may not have sufficient reserves’ to withstand further Ukraine assault

It is unclear whether Russian frontline forces have “sufficient reserves or adequate morale” to withstand another concerted assault in eastern parts of Ukraine, according to defence experts.

British defence intelligence analysts believe Moscow has established a defensive line between the Oskil River and the town of Svatove following a successful counter-offensive from the Ukrainians, forcing the Kremlin to concede swathes of territory.

The zone is viewed as important partly because it sits along the border of the Luhansk region, part of the Donbas, which Russia has sought to “liberate” as one of its key war aims.

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Zelensky: Crimea will return to Ukraine

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said in an interview with Reuters that Ukraine will be able to live peacefully only when it regains all its territories, including annexed Crimea.

But he said Ukraine doesn’t exclude diplomacy in its goal to take back Crimea.

“There is no way out. We must de-occupy the territory. It may happen that Crimea will be returned by diplomatic means,” Mr Zelensky said.

(EPA)

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Russia has extended target location for strikes – British intelligence

Russia has likely extended the location it is preparing to strike in an attempt to undermine the morale of Ukrainian forces as Moscow faces setbacks, Britain’s MoD said on Sunday in its daily intelligence update.

“In the last seven days, Russia has increased its targeting of civilian infrastructure even where it probably perceives no immediate military effect,” it added.

This category of mission has included strikes against the electricity grid, and a dam on the Inhulets River at Kryvyi Rih, it added.

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Russia inflicting damage with Iranian Kamikaze drones – report

Iranian Shahed-136 drones introduced by Russia have dealt a serious blow to Ukrainian forces, the Wall Street Journal reported citing Ukrainian commanders.

The Iranian drones, which have been repainted in Russian colours and rebranded as Geranium 2, are hitting Ukrainian armour and artillery positions in the northeastern Kharkiv region, said colonel Rodion Kulagin, commander of artillery for Ukraine’s 92nd Mechanized Brigade.

The drones have struck and destroyed two 152-mm self-propelled howitzers, two 122-mm self-propelled howitzers and two BTR armoured infantry vehicles just within his brigade’s operational area, he said.

Military experts who examined the photographs of the wreckage in Kharkiv told the outlet that it appeared to be the work of Shahed-136 drones.

It is the latest version of Iran’s delta-wing design.

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Bodies being identified at Izyum’s mass grave site – deputy PM

Ukraine’s deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk says some bodies exhumed from the mass graves found in Izyum have already been identified.

Ms Vereshchuk said the process is being carried out with assistance from the government’s commissioner for missing persons, Oleh Kotenko, who is currently in Izyum.

“He tells terrible things, it’s true. Exhumation is carried out, then identification, some bodies have already been identified,” she said.

“Relatives of those identified, who took DNA tests, are informed. It is a very difficult process and I am very sorry that people receive such data. But, unfortunately, we see this terrible number of people, graves, mass graves, tortured civilians,” Ms Vereshchuk said.

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Biden urges Putin to avoid nukes in interview to air Sunday

Joe Biden will urge Vladimir Putin to not use tactical nuclear or chemical weapons in the wake of setbacks in Ukraine, in an interview to air on Sunday.

Ukraine’s military drove back Russian forces in a lightning rout in the northeast of the country this week, putting Mr Putin under pressure from nationalists at home to regain the initiative.

Mr Putin has warned that Moscow would respond more forcefully if its troops were put under further pressure, raising concerns that he could at some point use unconventional means like small nuclear or chemical weapons

Asked by a “60 Minutes” reporter what he would say to Mr Putin if he was considering using such weapons, Mr Biden said: “Don’t. Don’t. Don’t. It would change the face of war unlike anything since World War Two,” in a clip of the interview released by CBS on Saturday.

Mr Biden said the U. response would be “consequential,” but declined to give detail.

Russia “would become more of a pariah in the world than they ever have been,” he added. “Depending on the extent of what they do will determine what response would occur.”

Russian government officials have dismissed Western suggestions that Moscow would use tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine, but it remains a worry for some in the West.

US president Joe Biden is in the UK for the Queen’s funeral

(PA Wire)

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Zelensky’s wife Olena to represent Ukraine at Queen’s funeral

Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky’s wife Olena Zelenska will be attending the Queen’s funeral in London on Monday.

While the president will not be joining the heads of states at the funeral, Ms Zelenska will represent her nation at the Westminster Abbey service.

“Olena Zelenska’s presence is yet another sign of the global support for Ukraine while Russia is isolated,” a source was quoted as telling The Sun.

Sravasti Dasgupta reports.

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Zelensky cites more than 10 torture chambers as new evidence in Izyum

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said there is new evidence of torture on people buried at the Izyum mass grave site, after the discovery of more than 10 torture chambers and torture devices.

“More than 10 torture chambers have already been found in the liberated areas of Kharkiv region, in various cities and towns,” the Ukrainian president said in a video address late on Saturday.

“When the occupiers fled, they abandoned torture devices. Even at a common railway station of Kozacha Lopan, rooms for torture, instruments for electric shock torture were found,” he said.

“Torture was a widespread practice in the occupied territories. That’s what the Nazis did – this is what (the Russians) do,” he added. “They will answer in the same way – both on the battlefield and in courtrooms.”

A mass grave with an estimate of around 440 corpses was discovered in Izyum, one of the dozens of towns retaken in northeastern Kharkiv after a lightning Ukrainian advance earlier this month.

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