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British military intelligence says Russia is concentrating its reserves near Ukraine for future attacks

Russia is moving reserve forces from across the country and gathering them near Ukraine for future offensive operations, British military intelligence said on Saturday.

A large part of the new Russian infantry units may be deployed with long-storage MT-LB armored vehicles as their primary means of transport, the British Ministry of Defense posted in a regular newsletter.

Officials said the news release came as Ukrainian defense forces battled Saturday to contain Russian forces along several fronts.

The governor said that a missile attack on the city of Kharkiv in the northeast of the country left three civilians injured.

The Russian Defense Ministry said its forces hit two “bases of foreign mercenaries deployed near Kharkiv.”

Rescuers work at a house destroyed by a Russian attack in the city of Kharkiv, northeastern Ukraine on Saturday. (Evgeniy Maloletka / The Associated Press)

Southeast of Kharkiv, attacks continue in Luhansk and Donetsk. Those two provinces, parts held by pro-Russian separatists before the conflict began in February, include the industrial area east of Donbas.

Luhansk Governor Serhiy Gaidai said on Telegram that Russian forces were “shooting along the entire front line”, although a subsequent Ukrainian counterattack on weapons and ammunition depots forced Moscow to halt the offensive. labour.

Donetsk region governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said on the Telegram messaging service that a Russian missile hit Druzhkivka, a town behind the front lines, and reportedly shelled other population centers.

Russia, which declared control of the entire Luhansk province late last week, denies targeting civilians.


Since Russia, which has also occupied a large portion of territory across southern Ukraine, began what it calls a “special operation” to demilitarize Ukraine on February 24, cities have was bombed into rubble, thousands of people were killed and millions displaced.

Ukraine and its Western allies say Russia is engaged in an unprovoked land grab.

Zelensky fired many ambassadors

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Saturday that he had dismissed several senior Kyiv envoys abroad, including the country’s outspoken ambassador to Germany.

Zelensky announced the dismissal of Ukraine’s ambassadors to Germany, India, the Czech Republic, Norway and Hungary and said new candidates were being prepared for these positions.

“This rotation is a normal part of diplomatic practice,” he said in a statement.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky attends a meeting with military officials during his visit to the central Dnipro region on Friday. (Press Office of the President of Ukraine / AP)

It is unclear whether the envoys will be assigned new positions.

Zelensky has called on his diplomats to increase international support and military aid to Ukraine as it tries to fend off Russia’s February 24 invasion.

Kyiv’s relationship with Germany, which relies heavily on Russia for energy supplies and is also Europe’s largest economy, is particularly sensitive.

Andriy Melnyk, who was appointed ambassador to Germany by Zelensky’s predecessor at the end of 2014, is well known among politicians and diplomats in Berlin.

Andriy Melnyk, Ukraine’s Ambassador to Germany, is seen in Berlin on June 6. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

The 46-year-old regularly engages in frank conversations on social media and considers politicians and intellectuals opposed to arming Ukraine to fight Russia’s invasion as people. donate.

He once accused German Chancellor Olaf Scholz of behaving like an “outraged liver sausage” when Scholz did not immediately accept Zelensky’s invitation to visit Kyiv.

Kyiv and Berlin are currently at odds over a German-made turbine undergoing maintenance in Canada. On Saturday, Canada’s Federal Resources Department said it would issue a “revocable and term permit” to Siemens Canada to allow the return to turbines; it is used for Nord Stream One, a set of natural gas pipelines connecting Germany and Russia.

Sino-US tensions at G20

On Saturday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, calling on the international community to join forces to condemn Russia’s act of aggression, told journalists he had raised concerns with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi about the alignment. of Beijing with Moscow.

The two sides held more than 5 hours of talks on the sidelines of the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on the Indonesian island of Bali. On Friday, Russia’s Sergei Lavrov walked out of a meeting there, denouncing the West for “crazy criticism”.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, right, and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi are seen at a G20 meeting in Bali, Indonesia, on Saturday. (Stefani Reynolds / Pool / The Associated Press)

China’s foreign ministry said, without giving details, that Wang and Blinken discussed the “Ukraine issue.”

It also quoted Mr. Wang as saying that Sino-US relations were at risk of being led “in the wrong direction”, with many believing that “the US is suffering from an increasingly severe ‘fear of China’.”

Just before the Russian invasion, Beijing and Moscow declared a partnership of “unlimited”, although US officials said they had not yet seen China evade US-led sanctions against the US. Russia or provide military equipment to the country.

Ukraine was also blamed by the UN for the nursing home fire

A new United Nations report finds Ukraine’s armed forces bear a large and perhaps equal share of responsibility for the deadly fire that tore through a nursing home in Stara Krasyanka, about 580 kilometers from Kyiv. southeast, on March 11.

A Russian attack on the facility sparked a fire, but the UN says Ukrainian soldiers took positions inside the nursing home days before the attack – making the building a target.

VIEW | UN says Ukraine is blamed for fires:

UN report claims Ukraine was also at fault for the March attack on nursing homes

A report from the United Nations says Ukraine shares responsibility with Russia for the attack on a nursing home in March.

The report by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights did not conclude that Ukrainian soldiers or Russian troops committed war crimes. But it said the battle at the Stara Krasyanka nursing home was symbolic of the human rights office’s concern about the possibility of using a “human shield” to prevent military activities in certain areas.

At least 22 of the 71 patients survived the attack, but the exact death toll is unknown, according to the UN.

Ukrainian authorities had previously blamed Russian forces, accusing them of killing more than 50 vulnerable civilians in a brutal and unprovoked attack.

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