Ukraine-Russia war – live: Putin’s prized Black Sea fleet ‘struggling’ with threats on southern front

By Isaac M October 2, 2023

Houses destroyed in Russian missile strike

Russia’s prized Black Sea Fleet is struggling to contend with threats to Ukraine’s southern flank, according to British military intelligence.

In its morning briefing, the Ministry of Defence said: “In recent weeks, the Naval Aviation component of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet has assumed a particularly important role in the Fleet’s operations as it struggles to deal with concurrent threats on the southern flank of the Ukraine war.

“Naval Aviation is emphasising maritime air patrol operations, highly likely with a primary mission of the early identification of uncrewed surface vessels.”

The MoD’s latest update comes after a person was killed and six injured, including two children, as Russian shelling continued to hammer Ukraine‘s southern region of Kherson overnight.

On the Telegram messaging app the governor, Oleksandr Prokudin, said Russian forces had launched 71 attacks in the past 24 hours, “aimed at the residential districts”, as well as shops and medical infrastructure, among other establishments.

Twenty of the air and land attacks targeted the city of Kherson, the region’s administrative district, the governor added, while authorities promptly doused a fire sparked by shelling early on Monday.

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Russia’s Black Fleet struggling to deal with ‘concurrent threats’ in south of Ukraine

The Ministry of Defence has warned Russians are struggling to deal with threats coming from Ukraine’s southern flank.

“The Naval Aviation component of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet has assumed a particularly important role in the Fleet’s operations as it struggles to deal with concurrent threats on the southern flank of the Ukraine war,” the ministry posted on X.

“Russia is attempting to use naval air power to project force over the northwestern Black Sea.”

Governor of Sevastopol Mikhail Razvozhaev talks on the phone as flames rise from the main headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet

(AP)

They added: “Su-24 FENCER and FLANKER variant combat jets conduct maritime strike operations, including at least one recent air strike on the strategically located Snake Island.”

Barney Davis2 October 2023 10:03

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Two killed and 10 wounded by Russian shelling in Kherson, say officials

Two people have been killed and 10 wounded in the latest Russian shelling of Kherson, according to officials in the southern Ukrainian region.

Regional governor Oleksandr Prokudin said Russian forces bombarded residential areas, shops, medical infrastructure and other infrastructure overight.

One of the dead was a policeman killed in shelling on Monday morning, he said, and children were among those wounded in overnight attacks on the regional capital, which was recaptured by Kyiv last November after months of Russian occuption.

Roman Mrochko, head of Kherson city’s military administration, said 22 people had been killed in shelling of the city and settlements around it in September alone.

Andy Gregory2 October 2023 16:32

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EU foreign chief proposes new multibillion fund

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has proposed to Ukraine a new bilateral multi-annual envelope of the European peace facility of up to €5bn (£4.3bn) for the next year – equating to around a 12th of the UK’s projected annual defence budget in 2024/5.

“I hope we can reach an agreement before the end of the year”, he also said at a joint press briefing in Kyiv, Ukraine with Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kaluba.

Andy Gregory2 October 2023 16:03

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Ukraine calls for transfer of frozen Russian assets to Kyiv to be expedited

Legal work should be accelerated on the transfer of frozen Russian assets to Kyiv, Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba has said.

After a meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Kyiv, Mr Kuleba said more clarity on the judicial aspects of how to transfer Russian assets would benefit both the EU and Ukraine.

These assets, he said, could help fund Ukraine’s reconstruction efforts following Russia’s invasion.

Andy Gregory2 October 2023 15:43

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Britain’s defence secretary says Musk remarks on Zelensky were ‘unhelpful’

The UK’s defence secretary Grant Shapps has suggested recent social media posts by Elon Musk mocking Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky were “unhelpful”.

Speaking at a ConservativeHome fringe event in Manchester about posts by the Twitter/X owner, Mr Shapps said: “I think it’s unhelpful, to be blunt.”

He declined to criticise Mr Musk directly, saying it’s a “free world”, and adding: “He can tweet or X what he likes. What Ukraine really needs is strong and steady friends who won’t waver.”

Andy Gregory2 October 2023 15:05

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Irish minister says rifle training for Ukrainians is effectively ‘humanitarian’

Ireland’s foreign minister Micheal Martin has defended the decision to allow Irish soldiers to provide rifle training to Ukrainian soldiers as being a type of non-lethal aid, arguing it is “humanitarian to defend your people”.

“Overall, by the way, can I say that our contribution relative to others is modest, to be frank, in terms of the training side. And up to now, it’s been primarily in casualty or combat casualty,” he said on RTE’s News at One.

When asked whether rifle training extended beyond non-lethal aid, Mr Martin said there was “a degree of overstatement” in some of the descriptions of Ireland’s assistance to Ukraine, adding: “It’s humanitarian to defend your people.

“I think there is a basic self-defence issue there that we have to be conscious of in terms of civilians and so forth, the people who have joined the Ukraine defence forces, and I wouldn’t overstate it at all, as some have endeavoured to do.

“In the context of the European [assistance], we do not provide lethal aid, that’s just a reality, that’s the factual position, we don’t.”

Andy Gregory2 October 2023 14:39

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Elon Musk mocked by Ukraine’s parliament over tweet taunting Zelensky

Ukraine’s parliament and its speaker have taunted billionaire Elon Musk after he posted a meme on his social media platform mocking President Volodymyr Zelensky‘s pleas for assistance from the West against Vladimir Putin’s forces.

Musk owns SpaceX, which provides Starlink satellite communication services that are vital for Ukraine’s defence effort, but his statements have sometimes angered Kyiv since the full-scale invasion launched by Russia in February last year.

Barney Davis2 October 2023 13:25

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German arms donations to Ukraine quadruple in last year

German exports of military equipment to Ukraine grew more than fourfold so far this year, making Kyiv the main recipient of German arms, the economy ministry said on Monday.

Ukraine accounted for 3.3 billion euros ($3.48 billion) out of Germany’s total value of authorised military exports of 8.76 billion euros in the first nine months of the year.

By contrast, for the same period last year, 775 million euros’ worth of equipment had been approved for Ukraine.

Germany has repeatedly promised to support Ukraine for as long as necessary following the Russian invasion in February 2022, which prompted German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to speak of a turning point in Germany’s attitude towards defence.

Barney Davis2 October 2023 13:15

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US omission of Ukraine funding ‘a setback for Kyiv’ claims Kremlin

The Kremlin said on Monday it believed a decision by U.S. Congress to pass a stopgap funding bill that omitted aid for Ukraine was a temporary setback for Kyiv.

Congress passed legislation on Saturday which extended funding for more than a month to avoid a government shutdown but did not include any aid for Kyiv, despite Washington’s status as Ukraine’s biggest financial and military backer.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “Obviously, this (the U.S. setback) is a temporary phenomenon. America will continue its involvement in this conflict, in fact direct involvement,” said Peskov.

“But we have repeatedly said before that according to our forecasts fatigue from this conflict, fatigue from the completely absurd sponsorship of the Kyiv regime, will grow in various countries, including the United States.

“And this fatigue will lead to the fragmentation of the political establishment and the growth of contradictions.”

US President Joe Biden assured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy during a visit to Washington last month that Washington would maintain strong support for Ukraine in the war despite opposition from some Republican lawmakers.

Barney Davis2 October 2023 12:30

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Wagner succession: Prigozhin’s son set to be next mercenary boss

The 25-year-old son of Yevgeny Prigozhin is set to take over from his father and become the next boss of the Wagner group.

Pavel Prigozhin appears to be inheriting the vast majority of his father’s riches – including the mercenary group, properties, and about £100 million – according to a photograph posted on social media of what seems to be Prigozhin’s will.

He is now negotiating with the Russian national guard, Rosgvardia, over having the mercenary organisation rejoin combat in Ukraine, the Institute for the Study of War said.

Barney Davis2 October 2023 11:57

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