- 23 Jun 2023 - 20:22(20:22 GMT)
Russia’s FSB opens criminal case against Wagner chief: TASS
Russia’s FSB security service has opened a criminal case against mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin for calling for armed mutiny, Russia’s state-owned TASS news agency has said, citing the National Antiterrorism Committee.
President Vladimir Putin has been briefed on the developments and “necessary measures are being taken”, Interfax news agency said, citing Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
- 23 Jun 2023 - 20:19(20:19 GMT)
Wagner chief: This is a ‘march for justice’
The founder of Russia’s Wagner mercenary force, Yevgeny Prigozhin, has said that his call to action against the Russian military was not a military coup but rather a “march for justice”.
“This is not a military coup,” Prigozhin said in a series of audio recordings posted on Telegram. “It is a march for justice. Our actions do not in any way interfere with troops.”
Prigozhin also accused Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu of ordering 2,000 bodies of Wagner fighters be hidden in a morgue in southern Russia.
- 23 Jun 2023 - 20:16(20:16 GMT)
Wagner chief: ‘There are 25,000 of us’, urges Russians to join
The chief of mercenary group Wagner said he had 25,000 troops under his command and urged others to join to resist Moscow’s military brass.
“There are 25,000 of us and we are going to look into why there’s total lawlessness in the country,” Yevgeny Prigozhin said in an audio message, urging Russians to join his forces.
- 23 Jun 2023 - 19:14(19:14 GMT)
Wagner chief pledges to ‘stop’ Russian military leadership
The chief of mercenary group Wagner has pledged to “stop” Moscow’s top military leadership and called on Russians not to resist his forces.
“The council of commanders of PMC Wagner has made a decision – the evil that the military leadership of the country brings must be stopped,” Yevgeny Prigozhin said in an audio message released by his spokespeople, urging Russians to remain calm.
- 23 Jun 2023 - 19:06(19:06 GMT)
Moscow strikes kill ‘huge’ number of Wagner forces: chief
The chief of Russian mercenary group Wagner has accused Moscow’s military leadership of ordering attacks on their camps and killing a “huge” number of forces.
“We were ready to make concessions to the defence ministry, surrender our weapons,” Yevgeny Prigozhin said in a furious audio message released by his spokespeople.
“Today, seeing that we have not been broken, they conducted missile strikes at our rear camps.”
The defence ministry quickly issued a statement saying Prigozhin’s accusations “do not correspond to reality and are an informational provocation”.
- 23 Jun 2023 - 18:20(18:20 GMT)
White House monitoring Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant situation
The White House has that it has not detected elevated levels of radioactivity at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, but that it is monitoring the situation closely.
- 23 Jun 2023 - 17:37(17:37 GMT)
Ukraine warns against ‘panic’ after alleged nuclear threat
Kyiv has urged Ukrainians not to panic or stockpile iodine tablets after Zelenskyy alleged that Russia planned to organise a radiation leak at an occupied nuclear plant.
Zelenskyy said this week that Russian forces controlling Zaporizhzhia – Europe’s biggest nuclear plant – were planning a “terror attack” by orchestrating a radiation leak.
The Kremlin said it was a “lie” but the president’s warning put many Ukrainians on alert and sent demand for iodine at many pharmacies skyrocketing.
“Read and share but don’t panic! Don’t play the enemy’s game. President Zelenskyy said nothing new,” the Ukrainian health ministry said late on Thursday.
“Russia is a terrorist country from which, like a monkey with a grenade, you can expect anything.”
- 23 Jun 2023 - 17:00(17:00 GMT)
EU fund that bankrolls Ukraine arms to get 3.5-billion-euro boost
European Union foreign ministers will approve a boost of 3.5 billion euros ($3.81bn) to a military aid fund used to bankroll weapons and ammunition for Ukraine, officials have said.
The ministers are expected to raise the financial ceiling on the European Peace Facility (EPF) – a fund that has already allocated some 5.6bn euros in military aid for Ukraine – at a meeting in Luxembourg on Monday.
However, Hungary continues to block the allocation of another 500-million-euro tranche of the fund for Ukraine, according to officials.
Budapest has said it will not lift its block until Kyiv removes Hungarian bank OTP from a list of companies it deems “international sponsors” of Russia’s war in Ukraine. Hungary has branded the bank’s inclusion “scandalous”.
“On Monday, a decision will be taken to top up the European Peace Facility by 3.5 billion euros,” said a senior EU official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“But there will be no decision on a new tranche of the European Peace Facility for Ukraine because there is not yet agreement among member states on that.”
- 23 Jun 2023 - 16:22(16:22 GMT)
Zelenskyy orders audit of heads of military draft offices
Zelenskyy has ordered the creation of a commission to carry out an audit of heads of military draft offices in regions across Ukraine.
After meeting his top military commanders, Zelenskyy said the commission would be headed by General Oleksandr Pavliuk, who is first deputy defence minister.
The decision follows Ukrainian media reports of corruption allegations against the head of a draft office.
Zelenskyy said he had ordered the urgent dismissal of the head of a draft office whose family was reported by the Ukrainska Pravda media outlet to own property and cars in Spain worth millions of dollars.
“I gave an urgent order to create a commission … and together with law enforcement units and the National Agency for Corruption Prevention to check all the heads of military draft offices in all regions of Ukraine so that they do not disgrace our state and the memory of heroes who die at the front,” Zelenskyy said on the Telegram messaging app.
- 23 Jun 2023 - 15:44(15:44 GMT)
Wagner Group chief slams Russia’s reasoning for the war
Yevgeny Prigozhin, leader of the Wagner mercenary group, says the official Kremlin version of why Russia invaded Ukraine was based on lies concocted by the army’s top generals.
For months, Prigozhin has been accusing Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu and Russia’s top general, Valery Gerasimov, of incompetence, but this was the first time he rejected Russia’s core justifications for invading Ukraine.
“The Defence Ministry is trying to deceive society and the president and tell us a story about how there was crazy aggression from Ukraine and that they were planning to attack us with the whole of NATO,” Prigozhin said in a video clip released on Telegram by his press service.
“The special operation was started for different reasons,” he said.
“The war was needed, … so that Shoigu could become a marshal, … so that he could get a second ‘Hero’ [of Russia] medal. The war wasn’t needed to demilitarise or denazify Ukraine.”
- 23 Jun 2023 - 15:15(15:15 GMT)
Ukraine expects ‘clear’ signal about NATO future: Minister
Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov says he expects Kyiv to receive a clear signal and “formula” to become a NATO member when the alliance meets next month.
“I expect them to give us a clear, understandable signal and formula for us, obviously, to become a NATO member,” Reznikov was quoted as saying by Ukraine’s military press centre.
The NATO summit is set to take place on July 11-12 in Lithuania.
Zelenskyy has repeatedly pushed for Ukraine to join the alliance but has said he understands it will be difficult while the war rages on.
Ukraine’s NATO allies remain divided about how fast Kyiv should join, as some Western governments are wary of any move that might take the alliance closer to war with Russia.
- 23 Jun 2023 - 14:50(14:50 GMT)
US sanctions two Russian intelligence officers over interference
The US sanctions two Russian intelligence officers who attempted to interfere in a local election, the Department of Treasury said.
Yegor Sergeyevich Popov and Aleksei Borisovich Sukhodolov, both members of Russia’s Federal Security Service, have worked to undermine democratic processes through a network of co-conspirators, the department said in a statement.
“The United States will not tolerate threats to our democracy, and today’s action builds on the whole of government approach to protect our system of representative government,” Treasury official Brian Nelson said.
The department added that both men worked with Aleksandr Viktorovich Ionov, a Russian the US Department of Justice charged last year for conducting a multiyear effort to use political groups in Florida, Georgia and California to interfere in elections.
The department did not say what election the two men were accused of interfering in.
- 23 Jun 2023 - 14:32(14:32 GMT)
Zelenskyy: There will be leadership changes following audit
Zelenskyy says there will be personnel changes following an inquest into the state of Ukraine’s bomb shelters.
“There will be personnel decisions,” Zelenskyy said in a statement, without saying who the changes would affect.
Following the deaths of three people after a bomb shelter refused to open, Zelenskyy opened an investigation.
- 23 Jun 2023 - 14:06(14:06 GMT)
Zelenskyy: Officials will be brought to justice after bomb shelter audit
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says the country’s top security body decided to bring officials to justice over the deaths of three people who were locked out of a bomb shelter on June 1.
“A quarter of bomb shelters in Ukraine and a third in Kyiv are unfit for use,” Zelenskyy said on Telegram, citing an audit of air raid shelters.
“The decision of the National Security Council is to bring the guilty to justice, and to get all protective structures in the proper condition.”
Zelenskyy did not provide further details on who might be punished for the faulty shelters.
- 23 Jun 2023 - 13:41(13:41 GMT)
Russia urges IAEA to ensure Ukraine does not shell nuclear plant
Moscow has urged the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to ensure Ukraine does not shell the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in southern Ukraine.
“We expect concrete steps from the IAEA aimed at preventing strikes by the Armed Forces of Ukraine, both on the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant and on adjacent territory and critical infrastructure facilities,” Alexey Likhachev, chief executive of the Russian state nuclear energy firm Rosatom, said in a statement.
Likhachev made the comments at a meeting with IAEA chief Rafael Grossi in the Russian city of Kaliningrad.
This week, the international nuclear watchdog said the nuclear plant was “grappling with … water-related challenges” after the destruction of the nearby Nova Kakhovka dam.
It added that the military situation in the area had become increasingly tense as Kyiv began its counteroffensive.
- 23 Jun 2023 - 13:15(13:15 GMT)
Russia-Ukraine war: List of key events, day 485
Click here for a roundup of the key events from day 485 of the war.
- 23 Jun 2023 - 12:46(12:46 GMT)
Russia bans members of the European parliament after new sanctions
In response to the 11th package of European Union sanctions, Russia’s foreign ministry says it is expanding the list of people banned from visiting in response and would respond “appropriately” in due course.
The ministry said in a statement that the list included security officials, civil servants, business people and members of the European Parliament.
On Friday, the EU formally adopted its new package of sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
- 23 Jun 2023 - 12:25(12:25 GMT)
Carlsberg signs agreement to sell Russian arm
Danish brewer Carlsberg says it has signed an agreement to sell its Russian business but has not named the buyer or the agreed price.
Last year, Carlsberg said it expected about 9.9 billion Danish crowns ($1.45bn) from a sale of the business, which came as a direct result of the invasion of Ukraine.
The sales agreement will not affect Carlsberg’s 2023 earnings expectations, the company said in a statement.
In March, Carlsberg said it was expecting to announce the sale of the Russian side of operations but June but was seeking an option to buy the business back in the future.
- 23 Jun 2023 - 11:56(11:56 GMT)
Russia accuses the West of trying to ruin relations with Kazakhstan
Russia accuses the West of trying to drive a wedge between Russia and Kazakhstan, Russia’s state-owned TASS news agency reported.
The report comes as Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev visited Kazakhstan to meet counterparts from across the former Soviet Central Asian region.
“The United States and their allies are trying to support nationalist sentiment, spreading lies, manipulating public opinion, including through the internet and social networks,” TASS quoted Patrushev’s deputy, Alexander Shevtsov, saying in Almaty.
Kazakhstan is a close Russian-ally and economic partner.
- 23 Jun 2023 - 11:35(11:35 GMT)
Russia will not disclose details of Belarus weapons: Interfax
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov says Russia will not disclose any details about the weapons it is deploying in Belarus, Russia’s Interfax news agency reports.
The TASS news agency also reported that Russia had no plans to inform the US about tests of its nuclear underwater drone because it does not fall under existing verification agreements.
- 23 Jun 2023 - 11:18(11:18 GMT)
Russia will defend its legal rights in Naftogaz case brought in US: Kremlin
The Kremlin says Russia will look into all possible ways to protect its rights in a case initiated by the Ukrainian state energy company Naftogaz in the United States.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a briefing, “All the legal details of this move will be worked on, and ways will be considered to defend our legal rights.”
Naftogaz said it had taken legal action against Russia to try to recover $5bn awarded to it by an arbitration court in The Hague in April as compensation for assets expropriated by Russia in Crimea.
In 2014, Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula in a move not recognised internationally.
- 23 Jun 2023 - 10:48(10:48 GMT)
Counteroffensive is not a ‘Netflix show’, Ukrainian official says
A senior Ukrainian presidential official says offensive operations against Russian forces are not “a new season of a Netflix show”.
On Twitter, Mykhailo Podolyak said: “There is no need to expect action and buy popcorn. Offensive operations of the Armed Forces of Ukraine continue in a number of areas. Formation operations are underway to set up the battlefield.”
“Time is always important, … especially in war. The time lost in convincing our partners to provide the necessary weapons is reflected in the specific Russian fortifications built during this period, the deeply dug defence line, and the system of minefields.
“Breaking the Russian front today requires a reasonable and balanced approach. The life of a soldier is the most important value for Ukraine today. The military command focuses on military science and intelligence, not on fans in the stands,” he added.
Real war is not a Hollywood blockbuster. The counteroffensive is not a new season of a Netflix show. There is no need to expect action and buy popcorn. Offensive operations of the Armed Forces of Ukraine continue in a number of areas. Formation operations are underway to set up…
— Михайло Подоляк (@Podolyak_M) June 23, 2023
- 23 Jun 2023 - 10:26(10:26 GMT)
Belgorod governor reports multiple attacks across region
The Russian governor of the Belgorod region, which borders Ukraine, says the Ukrainian military has fired multiple shells over the past 24 hours.
On Telegram, Vyacheslav Gladko said: “Nine artillery shells were fired at the village of Shchetinovka and four at the village of Zhuravlevka. As a result of the shelling, no one was injured, there was no damage.”
Gladko added that attacks were reported in the village of Tsapovka, in the Volokonovsky district, and the villages of Tishanka, Konovalovo, Krasny Pakhar, Spodaryushino, Dronovka, Sereda, Belyanka and Novaya Tavolzhanka.
- 23 Jun 2023 - 09:47(09:47 GMT)
Australia says embassy site secure after Russian squatter
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says the site of a proposed Russian embassy is secure after reports that a Russian diplomat was squatting there.
This month, Australia passed a law to prevent Russia from moving its embassy from a Canberra suburb closer to parliament and the Chinese embassy, citing national security concerns.
“Australia will stand up for our values, and we will stand up for our national security, and a bloke standing in the cold on a bit of grass in Canberra is not a threat to our national security,” Albanese said at a news conference.
“The site is secure, and we are comfortable with our position.”
This week, Moscow banned 48 Australians from entering Russia in retaliation for Australia’s long-running sanctions regime.
- 23 Jun 2023 - 09:15(09:15 GMT)
At least two people killed in attack in Kherson: Governor
The Ukrainian governor of the Kherson region says two people have been killed and several injured in an attack on a transport company.
On Telegram, Oleksandr Proudkin said: “In Kherson, occupying forces hit a communal transport company with targeted fire. Civilian workers who provide vital city services were hit.
“Unfortunately, a 55-year-old man died on the spot. Five more of his colleagues were injured and were hospitalised.”
In a later update, Proudkin said a 43-year-old man died in hospital due to his injuries.
- 23 Jun 2023 - 08:55(08:55 GMT)
Russian navy appears to be training dolphins: British Ministry of Defence
The British Ministry of Defence says Russia appears to be training dolphins for combat from the Crimean Peninsula.
In its daily intelligence update, the ministry said the Russian navy has invested heavily in security at the Black Sea Fleet’s main base at Sevastopol for about a year.
“In recent weeks, these defences have highly likely also been augmented by an increased number of trained marine mammals. Imagery shows a near doubling of floating mammal pens in the harbour which highly likely contain bottle-nosed dolphins,” the report said.
“In Arctic waters, the navy also uses beluga whales and seals. Russia has trained animals for a range of missions, but the ones housed in Sevastopol harbour are highly likely intended to counter enemy divers.”
Latest Defence Intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine – 23 June 2023.
Find out more about Defence Intelligence's use of language: https://t.co/ALCbH4WFSc
— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) June 23, 2023
- 23 Jun 2023 - 08:31(08:31 GMT)
Drone shot down over Russian city of Kursk
A drone was downed over the southern Russian city of Kursk, near the Ukrainian border, the regional governor said.
On Telegram, Roman Starovoit said: “Unmanned aerial vehicles were shot down in the sky over Kursk by our air defence forces. As a result of the fall of debris on the site of one of the gardening associations of the regional centre, the fence was destroyed.”
Attacks on Russian border regions have intensified over the past month, with anti-Kremlin groups claiming some incursions.
- 23 Jun 2023 - 08:00(08:00 GMT)
Ukraine says it advances in south, stops Russian attack in east
Ukraine’s armed forces say they have halted a Russian offensive towards the cities of Kupiansk and Lyman in the east of the country, and are advancing in the south, a senior Ukrainian defence official has said.
“We had very fierce battles in the Kupiansk and Lyman directions, but our soldiers stopped the enemy there,” Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar told Ukrainian television.
Ukraine is in the early stages of its most ambitious counterattack since Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022 and says it has retaken eight villages, its first substantial gains on the battlefield for seven months.
- 23 Jun 2023 - 06:28(06:28 GMT)
Ukraine’s Naftogaz takes legal action in US against Russia
Ukrainian state-owned energy company Naftogaz has taken legal action in the United States against Russia to recover $5bn awarded in The Hague as compensation for damages and lost property in Crimea.
It said it had filed a motion in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, and that it had the right to do so as the US is among countries hosting Russian assets.
“Since Russia has not voluntarily paid the funds to Naftogaz as provided for by the award, we intend to leverage all available mechanisms to recover these funds,” Naftogaz CEO Oleksiy Chernyshov said.
- 23 Jun 2023 - 06:03(06:03 GMT)
Ukraine deflects Russian missile attack on military airfield
Ukrainian air defences have downed 13 Russian cruise missiles that were headed towards a military airfield in the western Khmelnytskyi region, Ukraine’s air force said in a statement.
It added that the missiles had been launched by Russian strategic bombers from the Caspian Sea area.
Air raid alerts sounded throughout Ukraine early on Friday, with warnings of Russian missile and drone attacks issued over wide areas.
Telegram channels reported explosions in several regions, from Lviv in the west, far from the front lines, to Kherson in the south.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies