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The “countdown has started” for the end of Vladimir Putin, Volodymr Zelensky’s top aide has claimed, as the Russian president reels from the aborted mutiny by Wagner mercenary boss Yevgeny Prigozhin.

Labelling him “an inadequate person who has lost connection with reality”, Andriy Yermak insisted that the “world must conclude that it’s impossible to have any kind of serious relationship” with Mr Putin’s Russia.

His remarks came as Mr Zelensky accused Russia of using S-300 missiles in an attack on a restaurant and several homes in the Donetsk city of Kramatorsk which authorities say has killed eight people, three of them aged 14 to 17.

Another 56 people present at the restaurant – which is frequented by journalists, aid workers and soldiers who use Kramatorsk as a base of operations – were injured, the city council in Kramatorsk said, as rescue workers continue to comb through debris for casualties.

The city in frontline oblast of Donetsk has been a target of Russian attacks frequently and capturing it a key objective for Moscow.

Key Points

  • ‘Countdown has begun’ for end of Vladimir Putin, claims Volodymyr Zelensky aide

  • Eight, including three children, killed in Russian missile strike on restaurant

  • Yevgeny Prigozhin to be investigated after being paid $2bn in a year, says Putin

  • United States to give Ukraine $500m in additional military aid, announces Pentagon

  • Putin finally admits how close Russia came to civil war after Wagner mutiny

  • Prigozhin jet lands in Belarus

  • Ukraine gains evident around Bakhmut in Donetsk, says UK

Three teenagers among eight dead in Kramatorsk restaurant bombing, say officials

08:41 , Andy Gregory

Three children are among eight people killed in a Russian missile attack on a restaurant and several houses in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk, authorities have said, as they continue to clear rubble and search for survivors.

At least 56 people were also wounded in the attack at a restaurant frequented by journalists, aid workers and soldiers who use Kramatorsk as a base of operations, with the city lying only a few miles from the front line.

The shelling occurred when people had returned from work, said prosecutor general Andrii Kostin, adding that the three dead children were aged between 14 and 17.

Ukraine’s State Emergency Service said that rescuers continued to clear rubble from the site and search for more survivors.

Rescuers and volunteers work to rescue people from under the rubble (Genya Savilov/AFP via Getty Images)

Rescuers and volunteers work to rescue people from under the rubble (Genya Savilov/AFP via Getty Images)

Russia still likely to withdraw from Black Sea grain deal, state media reports

08:35 , Andy Gregory

The probability of Russia withdrawing from the Black Sea grain deal in July remains high, although talks continue, according to the state-backed RIA news agency, which cited an anonymous source.

Moscow has repeatedly complained it is not getting what it wanted from the deal brokered by the UN in a bid to ease global hunger, which has allowed grain to be shipped out of Ukrainian ports and expires on 18 July.

Ukrainian officials have cited Russia’s repeated threats to withdraw from the deal as among reasons why they feel they would be unable to trust Vladimir Putin in negotiations.

Countdown of end to Putin’s regime has begun, says Zelensky’s adviser

07:55 , Arpan Rai

Officials in Kyiv are speculating an end to Vladimir Putin’s regime in Moscow after the recent tremor served by a brief mutiny led by Wagner’s Yevgeny Prigozhin alongside the continuing war in Ukraine.

“I think the countdown has started,” said Andriy Yermak, adviser to Volodymyr Zelensky said, refering to Mr Putin’s presidentship.

“What Ukraine has seen since 2014 has become evident for the entire world,” Mr Yermak said at a briefing in Kyiv.

He added: “This is a terrorist country whose leader is an inadequate person who has lost connection with reality. The world must conclude that it’s impossible to have any kind of serious relationship with that country.”

The rebellious mercenary soldiers who briefly took over a Russian military headquarters on an ominous march toward Moscow were gone over the weekend, but the short-lived revolt has weakened Mr Putin just as his forces are facing a fierce counteroffensive in Ukraine.

“Putin is much diminished and the Russian military, and this is significant as far as Ukraine is concerned,” said Lord Richard Dannatt, former chief of the general staff of the British armed forces. “… Prigozhin has left the stage to go to Belarus, but is that the end of Yevgeny Prigozhin and the Wagner Group?”

Senior Russian general knew about Wagner’s mutiny plans – report

06:45 , Arpan Rai

General Sergey Surovikin, the deputy commander of Russia’s military operations in Ukraine, had advance knowledge that the mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin was planning a rebellion against Moscow’s defence officials.

The New York Times cited US officials briefed on US intelligence regarding the matter, and reported that the officials were “trying to learn if Gen. Sergey Surovikin, the former top Russian commander in Ukraine, helped plan Mr Prigozhin’s actions last weekend.”

Officials in Washington also said there were signs that other Russian generals also may have supported Mr Prigozhin, the report added.

The Wagner chief flew into exile in Belarus yesterday under a deal that ended a brief mutiny by his Wagner fighters over the weekend, as Vladimir Putin praised his armed forces for averting a civil war.

US sanctions gold companies suspected of supporting Wagner mercenaries in Russia

06:26 , Arpan Rai

The US moved to punish companies accused of doing business with the infamous Russian mercenary army known as the Wagner Group, following the group’s insurrection attempt within Russia’s borders.

The move is not thought to be specifically related to the coup, however, instead being a response to Wagner’s participation in some of the bloodiest fighting taking place within Ukraine, where Russian forces launched a full-scale invasion last year.

A statement from the Treasury Department faulted companies in Africa and the Middle East for participating in a gold-selling scheme in violation of US sanctions to fund the Wagner Group’s ongoing activities. One executive at Wagner, Andrey Nikolayevich Ivanov, was also slapped with individual sanctions on his financial dealings.

Read the full story here:

US sanctions gold companies suspected of supporting Wagner mercenaries in Russia

Ukraine’s main troop reserves yet to be used, says defence minister

06:12 , Arpan Rai

The liberation of a group of villages under Russian occupation in recent weeks were “not the main event” in Kyiv’s planned attack, Oleksiy Reznikov, Ukraine defence minister told the Financial Times.

“When it happens, you will all see it… Everyone will see everything,” he told FT in an interview published today, brushing aside media coverage of slow progress against well-fortified Russian positions.

Ukraine‘s main troop reserves, including most brigades recently trained in the West and equipped with modern Nato tanks and armoured vehicles, have yet to be used in the operation, Mr Reznikov said.

Death toll in Kramatorsk attack rises to eight

05:53 , Arpan Rai

The death toll has risen to eight from Russia’s attack on the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk, Ukraine’s emergency services said today.

Another 56 people were injured, officials said.

“Rescuers are working through the rubble of the destroyed building and searching for people who are probably still under it,” officials of the emergency services said on the Telegram messaging app.

Two Russian missiles struck Kramatorsk yesterday, targeting a crowded restaurant in the city centre. Three people were pulled from the rubble, the emergency services added.

Wagner chief walks free after armed revolt. Other Russians defying the Kremlin aren’t so lucky

05:18 , Arpan Rai

Mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin led an armed rebellion against the Russian military – and walked free.

Others who merely voiced criticism against the Kremlin weren’t so lucky.

On Tuesday, Russia’s main domestic security agency, the FSB, said it had dropped the criminal investigation into last week’s revolt, with no charges against Prigozhin or any of the other participants, even though about a dozen Russian troops were killed in clashes.

The Kremlin had promised not to prosecute Prigozhin after reaching an agreement with him that he would halt the uprising and retreat to neighboring Belarus.

That came even though President Vladimir Putin vowed to punish those behind the rebellion.Asked about this U-turn by The Associated Press during a conference call with reports on Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov refused to comment.

Prigozhin’s escape from prosecution – at least for now – was in stark contrast to how the Kremlin has deals with anti-government protests like speaking out against the war in Ukraine or challenging Putin’s rule.

UN report finds Russia tortured, executed civilians in Ukraine; Kyiv also abused detainees

05:00 , Joe Middleton

Russian forces carried out widespread and systematic torture of civilians who were detained in connection with its attack on Ukraine, summarily executing dozens of them, the United Nations human rights office said Tuesday.

The global body interviewed hundreds of victims and witnesses for a report detailing more than 900 cases of civilians, including children and elderly people, being arbitrarily detained in the conflict, most of them by Russia.

The vast majority of those interviewed said they were tortured and in some cases subjected to sexual violence during detention by Russian forces, the head of the U.N. human rights office in Ukraine said.

UN report finds Russia tortured, executed civilians in Ukraine; Kyiv also abused detainees

Zelensky says ‘Russian savages’ shelled Kramatorsk with S-300 missiles

04:41 , Arpan Rai

Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Russia of using S-300 surface-to-air missiles on the shopping mall in Kramatorsk in Donetsk.

“Exactly on the anniversary of the Russian terrorists’ attack on Kremenchuk, on the shopping mall, when 22 people were killed, Russian savages again fired missiles at the Kremenchuk district,” the Ukrainian president said in his nightly address yesterday.

He added: “Today, Russian terrorists also brutally shelled Kramatorsk. S-300 missiles. Three people were killed, including a child. My condolences to the families and friends. As of this hour, more than 40 people are wounded. Assistance is being provided to all. The rubble is being cleared.”

“Each such manifestation of terror proves over and over again to us and to the whole world that Russia deserves only one thing as a result of everything it has done – defeat and a tribunal, fair and legal trials against all Russian murderers and terrorists,” Mr Zelensky said.

The S-300 is a family of surface-to-air missiles, originally developed by the Soviet Union. It was first put into operation in the late 1970s after a decade of development. Military analysts say Russia has appeared to use repurposed S-300 missiles to strike ground targets during the war in Ukraine – a sign of potentially dwindling missile supplies.

S-300 missiles are intended to shoot down aircraft, drones and incoming cruise and ballistic missiles.

Photos capture grim attack on civilians in Donetsk’s Kramatorsk

04:18 , Arpan Rai

Search and rescue efforts continue after a Russian missile attack hits Ria restaurant in Kramatorsk (Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Search and rescue efforts continue after a Russian missile attack hits Ria restaurant in Kramatorsk (Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

People walk past a restaurant in Kramatorsk, eastern Ukraine, after a missile strike hit (AFP via Getty Images)

People walk past a restaurant in Kramatorsk, eastern Ukraine, after a missile strike hit (AFP via Getty Images)

Rescuers and volunteers work to rescue people from under the rubble after Russian missile strike hit a restaurant and several houses in Kramatorsk (AFP via Getty Images)

Rescuers and volunteers work to rescue people from under the rubble after Russian missile strike hit a restaurant and several houses in Kramatorsk (AFP via Getty Images)

A wounded woman waves while speaking on the phone as rescuers and volunteers work to rescue people from under rubble (AFP via Getty Images)

A wounded woman waves while speaking on the phone as rescuers and volunteers work to rescue people from under rubble (AFP via Getty Images)

Wounded people are seen as search and rescue efforts continue after a Russian missile attack hits Ria restaurant in Kramatorsk (Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Wounded people are seen as search and rescue efforts continue after a Russian missile attack hits Ria restaurant in Kramatorsk (Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Wagner chief walks free after armed revolt. Other Russians defying the Kremlin aren’t so lucky

04:00 , Joe Middleton

Mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin led an armed rebellion against the Russian military — and walked free. Others who merely voiced criticism against the Kremlin weren’t so lucky.

On Tuesday, Russia’s main domestic security agency, the FSB, said it had dropped the criminal investigation into last week’s revolt, with no charges against Prigozhin or any of the other participants, even though about a dozen Russian troops were killed in clashes.

The Kremlin had promised not to prosecute Prigozhin after reaching an agreement with him that he would halt the uprising and retreat to neighboring Belarus. That came even though President Vladimir Putin vowed to punish those behind the rebellion.

Wagner chief walks free after armed revolt. Other Russians defying the Kremlin aren’t so lucky

Four killed in Russian missile strike on restaurant

03:52 , Arpan Rai

At least four people, including one child, have been killed in eastern Ukraine city Kramatorsk after two Russian missiles struck a restaurant, leaving rescue workers to comb through a shattered building for casualties.

Another 42 people who were present at the restaurant were injured, the city council in Kramatorsk said.

In Kramatorsk, emergency workers scurried in and out of the shattered restaurant as residents stood outside embracing and surveying the damage.

The building was reduced to a twisted web of metal beams. Police and soldiers emerged with a man in military trousers and boots on a stretcher. He was placed in an ambulance, though it was not clear whether he was still alive.

The city in frontline oblast of Donetsk has been a target of Russian attacks frequently.

One of the missiles also hit a village on the fringes of Kramatorsk, leaving five injured.

US to give Ukraine $500m in additional military aid, announces Pentagon

03:43 , Arpan Rai

The United States will provide Ukraine with a new military package worth up to $500m (£392m), the Pentagon has announced.

This is the 41st such security assistance package approved by the US for Ukraine since Russia’s full-scale invasion in February last year, marking a show of support.

Ground vehicles including Bradley fighting vehicles and Stryker armored personnel carriers, and munitions for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems have been included in this tranche, a statement from the Pentagon read.

The package “includes key capabilities to support Ukraine‘s counteroffensive operations, strengthen its air defenses … and other equipment to help Ukraine push back on Russia’s war of aggression,” the Pentagon said.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said he was “sincerely grateful’ for the defence assistance package.

“Additional Bradley and Stryker armored vehicles, ammunition for HIMARS, Patriots and Stingers will add even more power,” he said.

Analysis: Exiled warlord Yevgeny Prigozhin sends defiant message in Russia’s game of thrones

03:00 , Joe Middleton

His advance on Moscow has been likened by some to Mussolini’s march on Rome – but can the mercenary contninue to escape Putin’s wrath, asks Kim Sengupta

Exiled warlord Yevgeny Prigozhin sends defiant message in Russia’s game of thrones

Comment: Putin will cling on to power until people inside the Kremlin are up for the fight

02:00 , Joe Middleton

Prigozhin’s march on Moscow will have frightened Putin – but the Russian leader survived because no other senior figures joined the call for change, writes historian Peter Frankopan.

What the coup that never was tells us about Putin’s grip on power | Peter Frankopan

Who is Yevgeny Prigozhin? The exiled Wagner Group mercenary chief who rebelled against Putin

01:00 , Joe Middleton

Once a low-profile businessman who benefited from having President Vladimir Putin as a powerful patron, Yevgeny Prigozhin moved into the global spotlight with Russia’s war in Ukraine.

As the leader of a mercenary force who depicts himself as fighting many of the Russian military’s toughest battles in Ukraine, the 62-year-old Prigozhin has now moved into his most dangerous role yet: preaching open rebellion against his country’s military leadership.

Prigozhin, owner of the Kremlin-allied Wagner Group, has escalated what have been months of scathing criticism of Russia’s conduct of the war by calling on Friday for an armed uprising to oust the defense minister. Russian security services reacted immediately, opening a criminal investigation and demanding Prigozhin’s arrest.

Who is Yevgeny Prigozhin?

Comment: Putin’s two-faced tirades over the Wagner mutiny could still be his undoing

Tuesday 27 June 2023 23:59 , Joe Middleton

Claiming treachery one minute, then praising Wagner’s role in Ukraine the next, may have allowed the Russian leader to steer out of an immediate storm, writes Mary Dejevsky. But such mixed messages expose cracks in his authority that will be hard to repair.

Opinion: Putin’s two-faced tirades over the Wagner mutiny could still be his undoing

Mapped: Has Ukraine made advances against Russia?

Tuesday 27 June 2023 23:00 , Joe Middleton

With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine raging for 16 months, Ukraine is now pushing back with its long-awaited counteroffensive that has already recorded a number of gains.

On Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky praised Ukrainian troops for advancing “in all sectors”, having spent the day presenting awards to front-line soldiers in the east and south.

“Today in all sectors, our soldiers made advances. It is a happy day,” Mr Zelensky said in his nightly video address, which was delivered from a train after visiting two frontline areas.

Mapped: Has Ukraine made advances against Russia?

Russian missiles hit restaurant in Ukraine’s Kramatorsk, killing four and injuring 42

Tuesday 27 June 2023 22:17 , Joe Middleton

Two Russian missiles struck the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk on Tuesday and killed at least four people, police and the military said.

Ukraine‘s national police put the death toll from the attack at four dead and 42 injured.

Emergency workers were pictured moving in and out of the restaurant as residents stood outside embracing and surveying the damage from the strike.

Kramatorsk is a major city west of the front lines in Donetsk province and a likely key objective in any Russian advance westward seeking to capture all of the region.

The city has been a frequent target of Russian attacks, including a strike on the town’s railway station in April 2022 that killed 63 people.

Devastation of ‘living hell’ Bakhmut captured in eerie drone footage

Tuesday 27 June 2023 22:00 , Joe Middleton

US sanctions gold firms connected to Russian Wagner mercenary group

Tuesday 27 June 2023 20:55 , Joe Middleton

The US on Tuesday imposed sanctions on four firms and one individual connected to the Wagner Group, the Russian mercenaries that led a brief revolt against the Kremlin last week.

The sanctions from Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control targeted entities in the Central African Republic, the United Arab Emirates and Russia that were connected to the Wagner Group and its founder Yevgeny Prigozhin.

The sanctions are not directly related to last week’s uprising. The U.S. has previously issued sanctions against Prigozhin and the Wagner Group multiple times, including alleging that he tried to interfere with the 2016 U.S. election.

US sanctions gold firms connected to Russian Wagner mercenary group

The end of the Wagner mutiny has tightened Putin’s grip on Belarus – but Lukashenko won’t care

Tuesday 27 June 2023 19:20 , Eleanor Noyce

The talks between Mr Lukashenko and Mr Prigozhin were very difficult. They immediately blurted out such vulgar things it would make any mother cry. The conversation was hard, it was masculine”.

Vadim Gigin, a Belarusian propagandist, was describing the negotiations between President Alexander Lukashenko and Yevgeny Prigozhin which brought the extraordinary attempted coup in Russia to an end after a tumultuous 24 hours.

The agreement, under which the Kremlin agreed to drop criminal charges against Prigozhin and his Wagner mercenaries who took part in the rebellion, averted a catastrophic civil war and, arguably, may have saved Vladimir Putin from being overthrown.

Having proven his worth as a vassal to the Russian leader, the Belarusian president is in a more secure position than he has been for years, writes Kim Sengupta:

The end of the Wagner mutiny has tightened Putin’s grip on Belarus | Kim Sengupta

Putin will cling on to power until people inside the Kremlin are up for the fight

Tuesday 27 June 2023 18:50 , Eleanor Noyce

It was over almost as soon as it started. The events that unfolded on Saturday looked ominous. As Yevgeny Prigozhin and his Wagner Group took control of Rostov-on-Don and began to move on Moscow, the Russian authorities were certainly rattled.

Orders were given to dig up roads, to slow down the column of military vehicles apparently heading north; lorries were lined up to block motorways; Red Square was closed to visitors as steps were taken to boost security; government planes took off for the apparent safety of St Petersburg – though who was aboard was unclear.

Prigozhin’s march on Moscow will have frightened Putin – but the Russian leader survived because no other senior figures joined the call for change, writes historian Peter Frankopan:

What the coup that never was tells us about Putin’s grip on power | Peter Frankopan

Who is Yevgeny Prigozhin? The exiled Wagner Group mercenary chief who rebelled against Putin

Tuesday 27 June 2023 18:20 , Eleanor Noyce

Once a low-profile businessman who benefited from having President Vladimir Putin as a powerful patron, Yevgeny Prigozhin moved into the global spotlight with Russia’s war in Ukraine.

As the leader of a mercenary force who depicts himself as fighting many of the Russian military’s toughest battles in Ukraine, the 62-year-old Prigozhin has now moved into his most dangerous role yet: preaching open rebellion against his country’s military leadership.

Prigozhin, owner of the Kremlin-allied Wagner Group, has escalated what have been months of scathing criticism of Russia’s conduct of the war by calling on Friday for an armed uprising to oust the defense minister. Russian security services reacted immediately, opening a criminal investigation and demanding Prigozhin’s arrest.

Ellen Knickmeyer reports:

Who is Yevgeny Prigozhin?

Mapped: Has Ukraine made advances against Russia?

Tuesday 27 June 2023 17:50 , Eleanor Noyce

With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine raging for 16 months, Ukraine is now pushing back with its long-awaited counteroffensive that has already recorded a number of gains.

On Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky praised Ukrainian troops for advancing “in all sectors”, having spent the day presenting awards to front-line soldiers in the east and south.

“Today in all sectors, our soldiers made advances. It is a happy day,” Mr Zelensky said in his nightly video address, which was delivered from a train after visiting two frontline areas.

Here, we take a look at the advances Ukraine has made against Russia and the current state of play:

Mapped: Has Ukraine made advances against Russia?

Baltic states call for NATO to increase security with Wagner in Belarus

Tuesday 27 June 2023 17:20 , Eleanor Noyce

Latvia and Lithuania called on Tuesday for NATO to strengthen its eastern borders in response to expectations that Russia’s Wagner private will set up a new base in Belarus after its abortive mutiny at home.

Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin arrived in Belarus on Tuesday under a deal negotiated by President Alexander Lukashenko that ended the mercenaries’ mutiny in Russia on Saturday. Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wagner’s fighters would be offered the choice of relocating there.

“This move needs to be assessed from a different security point of view. We have seen the capabilities of those mercenaries,” Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics told reporters during a visit to Paris with Baltic counterparts.

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said the speed with which Wagner had advanced on Moscow – driving hundreds of kilometres in a one-day race towards the capital – showed that the defence of Baltic states should be firmed up.

“Our countries’ borders are just hundreds of kilometres from that activity so it could take them 8-10 hours to suddenly appear somewhere in Belarus close to Lithuania,” Landsbergis said. “It is creating a more volatile, unpredictable environment for our region.”

“We need to take the defence of the Baltic region very seriously,” he said.

The Baltic envoys’ visit to France comes as Western powers gear up for a NATO summit next month in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius.

Wagner’s arrival in Belarus should be viewed “in light of the NATO summit and all discussions that we are having about defence, deterrence and the necessary decisions to strengthen the security of the eastern flank,” said Latvia’s Rinkevics.

UN report finds Russia tortured, executed civilians in Ukraine; Kyiv also abused detainees

Tuesday 27 June 2023 17:00 , Eleanor Noyce

Russian forces carried out widespread and systematic torture of civilians who were detained in connection with its attack on Ukraine, summarily executing dozens of them, the United Nations human rights office said Tuesday.

The global body interviewed hundreds of victims and witnesses for a report detailing more than 900 cases of civilians, including children and elderly people, being arbitrarily detained in the conflict, most of them by Russia.

The vast majority of those interviewed said they were tortured and in some cases subjected to sexual violence during detention by Russian forces, the head of the U.N. human rights office in Ukraine said.

Frank Jordans has the full story:

UN report finds Russia tortured, executed civilians in Ukraine; Kyiv also abused detainees

Belarus leader says he talked Prigozhin back from brink

Tuesday 27 June 2023 16:52 , Eleanor Noyce

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Tuesday that he had convinced Yevgeny Prigozhin in an emotional, expletive-laden phone call to end a mutiny by his Wagner militia that has jolted Russia.

Under a deal brokered by Lukashenko, an old friend, Prigozhin abandoned what a “march for justice” by thousands of his men on Moscow in exchange for safe passage to exile in Belarus.

His men – who have spearheaded much of Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine – were also pardoned and have been given the choice of joining Prigozhin in Belarus, being integrated into Russia’s security forces, or simply going home.

Lukashenko, recounting his role in Saturday’s drama to Belarusian officers and officials, hailed Prigozhin as a “heroic guy” who had been shaken by the deaths of many of his men in Ukraine.

“He was pressured and influenced by those who led the assault squads (in Ukraine) and saw these deaths,” Lukashenko said, adding that Prigozhin had arrived in the southern Russian city of Rostov from Ukraine in a “semi-mad state”.

With Prigozhin’s men having seized Rostov and others heading for Moscow, Lukashenko said he tried for hours by phone to reason with the Wagner chief, who has said he was furious at corruption and incompetence in the military leadership and wanted to avenge an alleged army attack on his men.

Lukashenko said their calls contained “10 times” as many obscenities as normal language.

“‘But we want justice! They want to strangle us! We’re going to Moscow!’” he quoted Prigozhin as saying.

“I say: ‘Halfway you’ll just be crushed like a bug’,” Lukashenko replied.

Lukashenko also said that, earlier on Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin had sought his help, complaining that Prigozhin was not taking any calls. Lukashenko said he had advised Putin against “rushing” to crush the mutineers.

Prigozhin said on Monday he had never planned to topple Putin’s government but wanted Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and the chief of the General Staff, Valery Gerasimov, sacked.

“Nobody will give you either Shoigu or Gerasimov,” Lukashenko said he told Prigozhin, finally convincing him that Moscow would be defended and to continue the mutiny would engulf Russia in turmoil and grief.

Belarusian president makes first speech since Wagner jet lands near Minsk after Russian mutiny

Tuesday 27 June 2023 16:45 , Eleanor Noyce

Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko made his first public statement on Tuesday (27 June) after mediating a deal to halt a mutiny against Russia by the Wagner forces.

Under the deal, the mercenary group’s leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, is meant to move to Belarus.

Data from a flight tracking website shows a Russian-registered Embraer Legacy 600 jet, which is linked to Prigozhin, flew to Belarus from Russia on Tuesday.

“We are clearly seeing a new wave of Nato expansion, and an unprecedented build-up of the potential of the alliance’s members in the region, including in close vicinity to our borders,” Lukashenko said, failing to mention Prigozhin.

Belarus president makes first speech since Wagner jet lands near Minsk after mutiny

Russia summons Israel’s charge d’affaires over Ukraine ambassador’s comments

Tuesday 27 June 2023 16:43 , Eleanor Noyce

Russia’s foreign ministry on Tuesday said it had summoned the charge d’affaires of Israel over comments made by Israel’s ambassador to Kyiv.

Wagner moving to Belarus is bad for Poland, says Polish president

Tuesday 27 June 2023 16:30 , Eleanor Noyce

The movement of Wagner Group troops to Belarus is a negative signal for Poland, president Andrzej Duda said on Tuesday, as he headed for talks with other NATO leaders in the Netherlands.

“We see what is happening, the relocation of Russian forces in the form of the Wagner Group to Belarus, and the head of the Wagner Group going there, those are all very negative signals for us which we want to raise strongly with our allies,” he told reporters.

Lukashenko says Belarus ready to accommodate Wagner mercenaries on abandoned base – BELTA

Tuesday 27 June 2023 16:15 , Eleanor Noyce

Belarus is not building any camps for Russia’s mercenary Wagner group, but will accommodate them if they want, the Belarusian state news agency BELTA quoted President Alexander Lukashenko as saying on Tuesday.

“We offered them one of the abandoned military bases. Please – we have a fence, we have everything – put up your tents,” Lukashenko said.

Under a deal brokered by Lukashenko late on Saturday that ended a mutiny by the Wagner fighters, they were allowed either to join Russia’s regular armed forces, move with their leader Yevgeny Prigozhin into exile in Belarus, or simply return to their families.

Lukashenko was also quoted as saying there were no plans to open any Wagner recruitment centres in Belarus.

Ukraine reprimands Kyiv mayor Klitschko after bomb shelter audit

Tuesday 27 June 2023 16:00 , Eleanor Noyce

Ukraine‘s government reprimanded Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko on Tuesday after criticism of city officials over the state of bomb shelters following the deaths of three people locked out on the street during a Russian air raid.

The government said it had dismissed the heads of two districts under the Kyiv military administration, and two acting heads of districts.

It was not immediately clear whether Klitschko, a former boxer, would face any further action.

Uncertainty about his political future grew after President Volodymyr Zelensky criticised city officials over the 1 June incident, in which two women and a girl were killed by falling debris after rushing to a Kyiv shelter and finding it shut.

Zelensky ordered an audit of all bomb shelters after the three deaths and said personnel changes would be made. The audit found only 15% of Kyiv’s 4,655 bomb shelters were suitable and only 44% were freely accessible.

Prigozhin to be investigated after being paid $2 billion in a year – Putin

Tuesday 27 June 2023 15:44 , Eleanor Noyce

President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that the finances of Wagner mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin’s catering firm would be investigated after his mutiny, saying Wagner and its founder had received almost $2 billion from Russia in the past year.

Putin initially vowed to crush the mutiny, comparing it to the wartime turmoil that ushered in the revolutions of 1917 and then a civil war, but hours later a deal was clinched to allow Prigozhin and some of his fighters to go to Belarus.

Speaking to soldiers from the Russian army at a meeting in the Kremlin, Putin said he had always respected Wagner’s fighters, but that the fact was the group had been “fully financed” from the state budget.

He said it had received 86 billion roubles ($1 billion) from the defence ministry between May 2022 and May 2023.

In addition, Prigozhin’s Concord catering company made 80 billion roubles from state contracts to supply food to the Russian army, Putin said.

“I do hope that, as part of this work, no one stole anything, or, let’s say, stole less, but we will, of course, investigate all of this.”

Prigozhin, whom Putin did not mention by name, could not be reached for immediate comment on Putin‘s remarks.

He said earlier this year that he had always financed Wagner but had looked for additional financing after the war began in Ukraine.

He said on Monday that he had not been trying to overthrow the Russian state and that he remained a patriot who was trying to settle scores with the defence ministry.

Putin’s two-faced tirades over the Wagner mutiny could still be his undoing

Tuesday 27 June 2023 15:05 , Matt Mathers

Claiming treachery one minute, then praising Wagner’s role in Ukraine the next, may have allowed the Russian leader to steer out of an immediate storm, writes Mary Dejevsky. But such mixed messages expose cracks in his authority that will be hard to repair.

Read Mary’s full comment piece here:

Opinion: Putin’s two-faced tirades over the Wagner mutiny could still be his undoing

Exiled warlord Yevgeny Prigozhin sends defiant message in Russia’s game of thrones

Tuesday 27 June 2023 13:40 , Matt Mathers

His advance on Moscow has been likened by some to Mussolini’s march on Rome – but can the mercenary contninue to escape Putin’s wrath, asks Kim Sengupta.

Read Kim’s full analysis here:

Exiled warlord Yevgeny Prigozhin sends defiant message in Russia’s game of thrones

Putin will cling on to power until people inside the Kremlin are up for the fight

Tuesday 27 June 2023 13:20 , Matt Mathers

Prigozhin’s march on Moscow will have frightened Putin – but the Russian leader survived because no other senior figures joined the call for change, writes historian Peter Frankopan.

Read Peter’s full piece here:

What the coup that never was tells us about Putin’s grip on power | Peter Frankopan

Pope Francis’ peace envoy to visit Moscow this week

Tuesday 27 June 2023 12:57 , Matt Mathers

An Italian cardinal tasked by Pope Francis with trying to help end the war in Ukraine will visit Moscow this week as a follow up to his trip to Kyiv, the Vatican said on Tuesday.

Cardinal Matteo Zuppi Cardinal will be in the Russian capital on Wednesday and Thursday, a statement said.

“The main purpose of the initiative is to encourage humanitarian gestures, which can contribute to facilitating a solution to the current tragic situation and find ways to achieve a just peace,” the statement said.

It was not clear who Zuppi would meet in Moscow. He met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and religious leaders in Kyiv on June 6.

If Zuppi, 67, meets Russian President Vladimir Putin, he would be one of the first foreigners to do so since an aborted mutiny against the Russian military over the weekend.

A Vatican source said Zuppi’s trip had been at risk of being called off because of the attempted mutiny and the confusion surrounding it.

Zuppi told reporters last week that he would consult with the pope before leaving for Moscow. Speaking of his dual visits to the two capitals, he said it was “a pattern that needs to be woven for the resolution of the conflict”.

Vatican Bishops Conference (AP)

Vatican Bishops Conference (AP)

Russia strikes Ukrainian city on anniversary of deadly attack

Tuesday 27 June 2023 12:29 , Matt Mathers

Russia hit a cluster of buildings in a missile strike on Kremenchuk in central Ukraine on Tuesday, the first anniversary of a deadly attack on a shopping mall in the city, Ukrainian officials said.

Dmytro Lunin, governor of the Poltava region that includes Kremenchuk, said what he described as a dacha – or cottage – cooperative had been struck, but reported no casualties.

Ukrainian officials said at the time that at least 18 people were killed at the Amstor shopping mall during a Russian missile strike on Kremenchuk on June 27, 2022. Later reports put the toll at least 20.

“The enemy attacked Poltava region. Just like a year ago on this day, with X-22 missiles,” Lunin wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

Russia did not immediately comment on the attack. It has regularly carried out air strikes since its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

File photo of Kremenchuk:

Russia Ukraine War Referendum Explainer (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Russia Ukraine War Referendum Explainer (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Putin finally admits how close Russia came to civil war after Wagner mutiny

Tuesday 27 June 2023 12:10 , Matt Mathers

Vladimir Putin has finally admitted how close Russia came to civil war during last weekend’s mutiny.

He told some 2,500 members of Russia’s security forces, National Guard and military units on Tuesday that the people and the armed forces had stood together in opposition to rebel mercenaries in Saturday’s aborted mutiny.

In an appearance on a square inside the Kremlin that looked designed to send a message that he remained firmly in control, Putin said: “You have defended the constitutional order, the lives, security and freedom of our citizens.

“You have saved our Motherland from upheaval. In fact, you have stopped a civil war,” Putin said.

Watch: Plane ‘carrying Wagner boss Prigozhin’ lands in Belarus

Tuesday 27 June 2023 11:56 , Matt Mathers

Data from a flight tracking website shows a Russian-registered Embraer Legacy 600 jet, which is linked to Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin , flew to Belarus from Russia on Tuesday (June 27), Holly Patrick reports:

Watch: Plane ‘carrying Wagner boss’ lands in Belarus after group’s armed rebellion

Charges against Prigozhin and others dropped

Tuesday 27 June 2023 10:50 , Matt Mathers

Russia’s chief mercenary Yevgeny Prigozhin and others involved in the weekend mutiny will not face charges, officials have said.

The Federal Security Service, or FSB, said its investigation had concluded that those involved in the mutiny “ceased activities directed at committing the crime.”

The charge of mounting an armed mutiny carries a punishment of up to 20 years in prison.

Prigozhin escaping prosecution poses a stark contrast to how the Kremlin has been treating those staging anti-government protests.

EUR-GEN UCRANIA-GUERRA (AP)

EUR-GEN UCRANIA-GUERRA (AP)

‘Living hell’

Tuesday 27 June 2023 10:35 , Matt Mathers

Eerie drone footage reveals the scale of destruction in Bakhmut – the scene of some of the most intense battles since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.

“Even the fiercest battles of WWII pale in comparison with the living hell that is today’s #Bakhmut,” Ukraine’s defence ministry said in a caption accompanying the clip.

“This is Ukraine in the 21st century. This is our daily reality.”

Lukashenko claims he played role in ending Russian mutiny

Tuesday 27 June 2023 10:25 , Matt Mathers

Belarus president Alexander Lukashenko has claimed he played a role in ending the mutiny in Russia over the weekend.

It comes following reports that Yevgeny Prigozhin, the Wagner chief mercenary who led the revolt, landed in Belarus earlier this morning on a private jet.

“Given the role of Belarus in resolving this situation, I must say a few words here about what happened and explain our position and the decisions taken,” Mr Lukashenko said, referring to the deal.

He did not give many details of what role he played.

Belarus Lawyer Shortage (Sputnik)

Belarus Lawyer Shortage (Sputnik)

Russia has detained hundreds of civilians since Ukraine war began: UN

Tuesday 27 June 2023 10:08 , Matt Mathers

A UN monitoring mission in Ukraine said on Tuesday that Russia has detained more than 800 civilians since the conflict began last February, of whom 77 were executed.

The report showed that Ukraine had also violated international law by arbitrarily detaining civilians but on a considerably smaller scale.

“(The UN rights office) identified patterns of conduct which have resulted in arbitrary detention, as well as further human rights violations including torture, ill treatment and enforced disappearances,” the report said, adding that the detentions by Russia had taken place in both Ukraine and Russia.

“While such conduct was found in relation to both parties to the conflict, there was greater prevalence of conduct attributed to forces of the Russian Federation.”

Russia Cyber Gulag (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press.)

Russia Cyber Gulag (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press.)

UK should begin compiling lists of Britons in Russia, says senior Tory

Tuesday 27 June 2023 09:41 , Matt Mathers

Alicia Kearns, chair of the foreign affairs select committee, called on the Foreign Office to start compiling lists of British citizens in Russia in case they need to be evacuated, Adam Forrest reports.

Official travel advice to UK citizens continues to be to leave Russia.

Asked about British citizens inside the country on Monday, foreign secretary James Cleverly said: “We of course look at scenario planning to make sure we are able to respond to whatever happens.”

He added: “But we don’t force British nationals to register with the embassy so therefore it is not possible for us to give accurate figures.”

 (UK Parliament)

(UK Parliament)

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