Putin survives ‘assassination attempt’ at Kremlin
Two Ukrainian drones tried to attack Vladimir Putin’s residence in the Kremlin late on Tuesday, the Russian presidential press office has claimed.
Neither the Russian President nor his schedule was in any way affected by the attack, his office said on Wednesday.
The Kremlin’s press office described the incident as a “planned terrorist attack and an assassination attempt” and pledged to retaliate.
“Russia reserves the right to retaliate where and when it deems necessary,” it said.
Shortly before the statement, a public neighbourhood group on Telegram published two videos showing a plume of white smoke rising over the Kremlin Palace at night.
Follow the latest updates below.
Russian ultra-nationalists call for retaliatory strike on Ukraine
Russia’s ultra-nationalists are calling for blood after last night’s alleged drone attack on the Kremlin.
Igor Girkin, a former Ukrainian separatist commander and influential military blogger, said on Wednesday it was time for Moscow to launch a devastating strike on Ukraine.
“Ukraine should be destroyed,” he wrote in his blog.
Margarita Simonyan, the hawkish chief of the Russia Today TV channel indicated a possible escalation.
“Maybe, it’s time to start it in earnest,” she tweeted, referring to Russia’s invasion and echoing comments made by Putin last year.
Watch: Drone explodes over Kremlin in failed ‘assassination attempt’
Putin was not in the Kremlin at the time of the attack, says Russia
A spokesman for Vladimir Putin says the Russian president was not at the Kremlin when two alleged Ukrainian drones reportedly tried to attack it last night, writes Nataliya Vasilyeva.
Dmitry Peskov told the RIA Novosti news agency on Wednesday that Mr Putin is currently working at this out-of-town residence of Novo-Ogaryovo.
Mr Putin has living quarters at the Kremlin, a historical fortress in the heart of Moscow that houses both his administration, the Kremlin Palace where official ceremonies are held and Unesco heritage sites accessible for tourists, but he normally lives at Novo-Ogaryovo.
Mr Peskov also said that the suspected attack had no effect on Russia’s plans to hold the annual Victory Day parade on May 9.
Moscow mayor bans drones over the capital
The mayor of Moscow has issued a ban on all drones over the Russian capital shortly after the Kremlin claimed it had thwarted a Ukrainian drone attack, writes Nataliya Vasilyeva.
Sergei Sobyan did not mention the suspected attack in his statement, but said all drones over Moscow will now be banned to “prevent an illegal use of unmanned aircraft that could hamper the work of law enforcement agencies”.
The ban will not cover drones used by the government, he said.
Russia accuses Ukraine of trying to assassinate Putin with drone attack
Russia has accused Ukraine of attacking the Kremlin with drones in a failed attempt to kill President Vladimir Putin, according to the state-run RIA news agency.
The Kremlin said it considered the attack to be a “planned terrorist action” and reserved the right to retaliate, RIA reported.
It said two drones had been used in the alleged attack on Putin’s residence in the Kremlin citadel, but had been disabled by Russian defences.
Putin was not injured, and there was no material damage to the Kremlin buildings, the Kremlin said.
“The Kremlin has assessed these actions as a planned terrorist act and an assassination attempt on the president on the eve of Victory Day, the May 9 Parade,” RIA said.
“The Russian side reserves the right to take retaliatory measures where and when it sees fit,” it said.
An unverified video circulating on Russian social media including the channel of the military news outlet Zvezda showed pale smoke rising behind the main Kremlin Palace in the walled citadel after the purported incident.
Belarusian journalist sentenced to eight years after being hauled off Ryanair flight
A Belarusian journalist, arrested after being hauled off a Ryanair flight forced to land in Minsk almost two years ago, has been sentenced to eight years in prison on charges of conspiring against the state.
27-year-old Roman Proasevich was found guilty of several offences, including organising mass disturbances, inciting acts of terrorism and slandering Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko, according to Belta state news agency.
Mr Proasevich had worked as a journalist for the Nexta news outlet, which reported extensively on mass protests against the president in 2020.
Nexta’s founder Stsiapan Putsila and former editor Yan Rudik were sentenced in absentia by the same court to 20 and 19 years respectively.
Nexta news outlet was declared a “terrorist organisation” in Belarus last year.
EU proposal to spend 500 million euros on ammunition production
The EU has presented a proposal to boost ammunition production in Europe to replace depleted stocks, as it continues to arm Ukraine.
The European Commission put forward draft legislation that would allocate 500 million euros (£441m) from the EU’s budget to increase ammunition production.
Thierry Breton, the EU internal market commissioner, said he hoped the proposal would come into law by the end of next month.
Kremlin: Russia will continue talks on Black Sea grain deal
Russia will continue talks with the United Nations and other parties to the Black Sea grain deal, the Kremlin has said, adding that Moscow would not do anything to harm its own interests.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on a call with reporters: “”The Russian side will continue contacts with both U.N. and other representatives, in the hope that the terms of the deal will be fulfilled after all.”
He added: “Of course, Russia will not do anything further that will be contrary to its interests.”
Russia has previously said that it would not extend the Black Sea grain deal beyond mid-May unless certain obstacles to their own food and fertiliser exports were removed.
Zelensky to visit Berlin next week
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is set to travel to Berlin on May 13, German newspaper Tagesspiegel reported, citing police.
According to the report, the Ukrainian leader will be received by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz with military honours on May 14, and then will fly to Aachen later in the day to receive the 2023 Charlemagne Prize.
EU allows countries to block Ukraine grain at £160m cost
The European Union on Tuesday allowed five member states to ban imports of Ukrainian grains as domestic concerns outmuscled the bloc’s support for its war-torn neighbour, Joe Barnes reports.
The emergency blockade, the first major challenge to Brussels’ unwavering support for Ukraine, could cost Kyiv’s agricultural industry up to $200 million (£160m), according to analysis by its national bank.
Bowing to pressure from the likes of Poland and Hungary, the European Commission announced the countries could block imports of wheat, maize, rapeseed and sunflower seed from Ukraine.
Read more on this story from The Telegraph’s Brussels correspondent here.
Zelensky arrives in Finland
President Volodymyr Zelensky has arrived in Finland for meetings with Nordic leaders to discuss the war with Russia and European relations, governments of countries in the region have said.
The Swedish government said in a statement: “The theme of the summit is Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, the Nordic countries’ continued support for Ukraine, Ukraine’s relationship with the EU and NATO, and Ukraine’s initiative for a just peace.”
Mr Zelensky is set to meet with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto as well as the prime ministers of Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland, according to statements by the Swedish, Danish and Norwegian governments.
Watch: Ukrainian engineers ‘build DIY missile to fool Russian air defences’
58-hour curfew announced in Kherson
A 58-hour curfew has been announced in the city of Kherson from Friday evening, a local official said, as Ukraine prepares for a spring offensive.
The city in southern Ukraine is located near the front line, and residents were ordered to evacuate from the area last week as the head of the Kherson Oblast military administration warned that Russia had increased “bombardments” on the region.
Oleksandr Prokudin said: “We have recently noticed that the enemy has ramped up bombardments on Kherson Oblast as well as on the rest of Ukraine.”
He added: “I cannot let the people of Kherson suffer.”
Mr Prokudin announced the curfew on Telegram, saying that “during these 58 hours, it is forbidden to move on the streets of the city”.
In pictures: Art amongst the ruins
Kyiv targeted by airstrikes for third night in six days
Russia launched another round of airstrikes on Ukraine’s capital overnight, Kyiv said on Wednesday.
In last night’s attacks, a building in the Dnipropetrovsk region was hit.
Ukraine’s Air Force Command said its forces destroyed 21 of the 26 Iranian-made Shahed drones launched by Russia, while Kyiv officials said air defence systems eliminated those sent over the city.
The capital’s military administration wrote on Telegram: “All enemy targets were identified and shot down in the airspace around the capital.”
The attacks in the early hours of Wednesday morning mark the third round of night attacks on Kyiv in six days.
The building struck in Dnipro, the the administrative centre of the Dnipropetrovsk region, was an administrative building and was set on fire, which had been put out by morning, the regional governor said on Telegram.
Ukrainian engineers ‘build DIY missile that can fool Russian air defences’
Ukrainian engineers claim they have designed a “people’s missile” that can be built in an average front garden with almost double the range of the US-supplied Himars rocket, Joe Barnes and Maighna Nanu report.
The missile, which uses the same technology as the German V1, is essentially a motor-powered steel tube attached to a pair of glider wings and fired from a catapult.
The anti-Russian Vidsich protest group behind the design, dubbed Trembita in Ukrainian, says it can be produced cheaply from everyday materials.
Read more on this story here.
RAF fighter jets scrambled to intercept Russian spy plane
RAF fighter jets were scrambled to intercept a Russian spy plane operating near UK airspace.
A Russian anti-submarine aircraft, a Tu-142 (also known by its NATO code name Bear-F) was identified flying over the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean north of Scotland on Sunday having approached from the North East.
Jets were scrambled from Royal Air Force Lossiemouth, with Norwegian F-35A fighter jets also deployed to monitor the Russian plane as part of NATO’s response.
The aircraft flew in international airspace and did not enter UK airspace, the RAF said. However, the Typhoons shadowed the Russian aircraft closely while keeping an eye on their movements.
Latest MoD update: The recent Russian airstrikes
The UK Ministry of Defence has supplied information about Friday and Monday’s airstrikes on Ukraine, the first in 50 days, in its latest intelligence update.
The ministry said that both strikes had used “smaller numbers of missiles than seen in previous attacks” which they consider is “likely due to Russian attempts to rebuild its ALCM stockpiles”.
The airstrike on Monday in Pavlohrad, central Dnipro region, wounded 34 people, according to the Emergency Services ministry. One of the rockets appeared to hit a major chemical plant or ammunition dump.
FSB arrests seven suspected saboteurs planning attacks in Crimea
The FSB said that it had arrested members of a Ukrainian sabotage network who were planning attacks on Russian-occupied Crimea, Tass reported.
The Russian security service was quoted as saying: “The FSB has broken up the activities of an agent network of Ukrainian military intelligence planning to carry out major sabotage and terrorist attacks in Crimea.”
The FSB added that they had seized explosive devices and detonators, and that the group had been planning to assassinate political leaders including the Russian-installed head of Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov.
Mr Aksyonov said on Telegram: “There is no doubt that the people who ordered these crimes are in Kyiv.”
The FSB said the same group had carried out a railway sabotage in February.
The news of the arrests come after a fire broke out in a fuel depot in Volna, close to the bridge between Russia and the Crimean peninsula, as tensions mount in the region.
A fire also broke out at a fuel depot in Sevastopol, the main port in Crimea, on Saturday.
Kyiv has not claimed responsibility for either of the incidents.
Pictured: Derailed freight train in Bryansk, Russia
Zelensky: Washington did not warn me about Pentagon leaks
Washington did not warn Ukraine about the Pentagon leaks on internet chat rooms, which contained sensitive information about the war, before the news broke last month, President Volodymyr Zelensky said.
Speaking to the Washington Post from Kyiv, Mr Zelensky said: “I did not receive information from the White House or the Pentagon beforehand.”
“We did not have that information. I personally did not. It’s definitely a bad story,” he said, describing the situation as “unprofitable.”
“Anything that informs our enemy in advance in one way or another is definitely a minus for us,” Mr Zelensky added, refusing to confirm or deny the veracity of any of the exposed material.
Pentagon press secretary Pat Ryder would not confirm or deny the Ukrainian president’s claim, telling CNN that Washington remains “committed to working very closely with Ukraine and our international allies to ensure that they have the security assistance they need to be able to defend their country.”
Former US Air Force National Guardsman Jack Teixeira, 21, is accused of leaking classified intelligence documents online.
Fuel depot near Crimea caught fire after ‘fall of a drone’
A fuel depot caught fire overnight in the Russian village of Volna, close to the bridge to the Crimean peninsula.
The governor for Krasnodar Krai, Veniamin Kondratyev, said on Telegram on Wednesday: “A tank with petroleum products caught fire in Volna village of Temryuksky district. The fire has been assigned the highest level of severity.”
“According to preliminary information, there are no dead or injured,” he added, adding there was no threat to residents.
“Everything possible is being done so that the fire does not spread further.”
Russian state news agency Tass has reported that the fire was caused by “the fall of a drone”.
“A tank with oil products in the village of Volna in the Temryuk district of the Krasnodar territory caught fire due to the fall of a drone. This was reported to us by the emergency services,” it wrote on its Telegram channel.
Volna is located at the end of the bridge which links Russia to Crimea, which was illegally annexed from Ukraine in 2014. The Russian-built bridge was partially destroyed by a truck bomb in October 2022, which Moscow blamed on Ukraine, though Kyiv denied it.
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