Monday, 22 April 2024 04:59

What to know after Day 788 of Russia-Ukraine war

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NATO members have military personnel in Kiev – Stoltenberg

NATO member states have service members stationed at their respective embassies in Kiev, performing advisory functions, NATO Secretary General Jens Soltenberg told MSNBC News on Sunday.

In an interview, Stoltenberg was asked whether NATO was planning to send additional personnel to help Kiev in its fight against Russia. “There are no plans for any NATO combat presence in Ukraine. But, of course, several NATO allies have men and women in uniform at the embassies giving advice,”Stoltenberg said.

His comment came after Pentagon spokesman Major General Pat Ryder told Politico magazine that the US is considering deploying more advisers to its embassy in Kiev. According to Politico, the additional advisers could be tasked with handling logistics and helping with the maintenance of US-supplied weapons systems.

Although French President Emmanuel Macron and several other European leaders are refusing to rule out some NATO boots on the ground in Ukraine in the future, the alliance has so far maintained that it is not a direct participant in the conflict.

The nearly $61 billion aid package passed by the US House of Representatives on Saturday was good news, however, “delay has had real consequences” on the battlefield, Stoltenberg said. “The Ukrainians have now for months been outgunned.”

The much-needed aid bill, which includes the money for the purchase of weapons for Ukraine, had remained stuck in the House for months due to political wrangling. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has complained that the petering out of American aid caused ammunition shortages on the front line, and warned that Kiev could lose if the delays continue. President Joe Biden directly blamed the fall of the Donbass stronghold of Avdeevka to Russia in February on “congressional inaction.”

Moscow has repeatedly warned that deliveries of Western arms and equipment to Ukraine will not stop it from reaching its military goals, including the abandonment of Kiev’s hopes to join NATO. Further arms deliveries from the West only “cause more Ukrainians to die because of the Kiev regime,” and de facto make Western states party to the conflict, the Kremlin has stated.

** Units of South battlegroup fully free Bogdanovka in Donetsk People’s Republic — top brass

Units of the South battlegroup have fully freed Bogdanovka in the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), as well as repelled two counterattacks by the Ukrainian armed forces near Chasov Yar and Krasnoye, the Russian Defense Ministry reported.

"Units of the South battlegroup have fully freed the Bogdanovka settlement in the Donetsk People’s Republic, improved positions at the forefront and inflicted fire defeat to troops and equipment of the 53rd mechanized brigade of the Ukrainian armed forces near the settlement of Krasnogorovka of the Donetsk People’s Republic. Moreover, two counterattacks by formations of the 93rd mechanized brigade of the Ukrainian armed forces near the settlement of Chasov Yar and to the west of the settlement of Krasnoye of the Donetsk People’s Republic have been repelled," the ministry said.

The enemy lost up to 440 troops, three cars and an Osa-AKM air defense system, a 152mm D-20 weapon, a Grad multiple launch rocket system, two Nota electronic warfare stations, as well as five field ammunition depots, according to the report.



Ukraine says it damaged Russian rescue ship in Crimea

Ukraine's military said on Sunday it had struck and damaged a long-serving Russian rescue vessel in Sevastopol, the headquarters in occupied Crimea of Moscow's Black Sea Fleet.

Navy spokesperson Dmytro Pletenchuk said the vessel, the Kommuna, had been hit in Sevastopol Bay on Sunday morning and it was "clear that the ship is no longer in a state to carry out assignments."

A post on the Ukrainian Armed Forces Telegram channel said the ship was one of the oldest operated by the Russian navy and had been launched in 1913.

News reports said the vessel had been dispatched as part of a rescue operation when Ukrainian forces sank the Russian Fleet's Moskva flagship in April 2022.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has pointed to the military's success in attacking and containing Russia's Crimea-based fleet in the nearly 26-month-old war against Russia. Crimea was seized and annexed by Russia in 2014.

Pletenchuk said earlier this month that Ukrainian operations had taken out of action about a third of the Russian fleet since the start of the war.

Sevastopol's Russia-installed governor, Mikhail Razvozhayev, said earlier that Russian forces had repelled an anti-ship missile attack on one of its vessels in the port.

Razvozhayev said fallen fragments caused a small fire, which was promptly extinguished.



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