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    A RUSSIAN baby-faced killer who was reportedly ordered by a senior officer to shoot dead an unarmed civilian has pleaded guilty. In the first war crimes trial, 21-year-old Sergeant Vadim Shyshimarin pleaded guilty to the murder as Russian swept into Sumy, northern Ukraine. 2Shishimarin pleaded guilty to the crimeCredit: AP 2Shyshimarin, a captured member of a tank unit, appeared at the Solomyanskyy district court in KyivCredit: AP Shishimarin was driving in a stolen vehicle with other soldiers when they spotted a 62-year-old cyclist using a phone in the northeastern village of Chupakhivka during the first week of the war. He is alleged to have been told to shoot the civilian to stop him telling Ukrainian defenders their position. It is the first of thousands of potential Russian war crimes to go to court and the soldier faces a life jail term of 10-15 years. The International Criminal Court has sent a group of 42 investigators to Ukraine to launch the largest ever war crimes probe into Russian atrocities. Shyshimarin, a captured member of a tank unit, appeared at the Solomyanskyy...
    By Patrick J. McDonnell and Jaweed Kaleem | Los Angeles Times LVIV, Ukraine — As fighting continued to rage in Ukraine on Saturday, with Kyiv making gains in a northeast offensive and Russia mounting a push amid fierce defenses in villages of the eastern Donbas region, senior Ukrainian officials predicted a “new, long-term phase” of fighting to last through much of the summer. Now in its 80th day, the war hit new flashpoints with the opening of the first war crimes trial of a Russian soldier in Kyiv and a Russian accusation that Ukrainian shelling killed a civilian in a Russian village near the Ukrainian border. “We are entering a new, long-term phase of the war,” Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov posted on Facebook. While he welcomed a growing supply of Western arms flowing into his nation, he said he expected “extremely difficult weeks” ahead, adding, “How many there will be? No one can say for sure.” In an interview on Sky News on Saturday, Ukrainian military intelligence leader Kyrylo Budanov said he expected battles to last through the summer...
    Mystery is growing over the fate of Vladimir Putin's Black Fleet chief, Admiral Igor Osipov, who has 'not been seen alive' since the sinking of the Moskva warship one month ago. There are now suspicions that the commander was on board the vessel when it was hit by Ukrainian Neptune missiles, say Kyiv sources. Initially Ukraine claimed that the admiral was detained amid fury from Putin over the cruiser's sinking. Mystery is growing over the fate of Vladimir Putin's Black Fleet chief, Admiral Igor Osipov (picture date unknown) Other claims were that he had been suspended. This was never confirmed by Russian officials who this week insisted he was at his 'combat post' but 'not in the mood' to face the public. Osipov, 49, was conspicuously absent from the Red Square Victory Day parade on Monday, which he would routinely be expected to attend. He was also nowhere to be seen at events linked to Black Sea Fleet Day this week. At one event on 7 May, he was reported as being present only for his name to be removed...
    U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Michael Carpenter said tens of thousands of Ukrainians have been deported to Russia or Russian-controlled territory A senior U.S. diplomat on Thursday laid out in the starkest terms how Moscow is forcibly deporting tens of thousands of Ukrainians to Russia or Russian-controlled territory, and that thousands have been processed through so-called 'filtration centers' where they have been beaten and tortured. It is the latest evidence of Russia's brutal tactics as it pursues a stalled invasion that has failed in its key objectives. Last month, President Joe Biden labeled Russia's Ukraine war as a 'genocide.' Although other officials did not follow up with the sort of formal declaration that would trigger further intervention, the latest comments will increase pressure on Western nations to do more. U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Michael Carpenter described some of the evidence that could form the basis of criminal trials. 'As many eyewitness accounts have described in detail, Russia is subjecting many of these civilians to brutal interrogations in so-called...
    (CNN)Russian forces have made some progress in Moscow's renewed assault on eastern Ukraine, according to US and NATO officials, as their military tries to fix the myriad problems that plagued the early weeks of the invasion. The US has seen "some evidence" of improvement in Russia's ability to combine air and ground operations, as well as its capacity for resupplying forces in the field, officials say.The progress is "slow and uneven," a senior US defense official said, allowing Russian forces to advance only "several kilometers or so" each day. But the US assesses that Russia is trying to learn from the mistakes it made early on, where columns of tanks and armor ran out of food and fuel, leaving them easy prey to Ukrainian hit-and-run tactics. Biden asks Congress for $33 billion in aid to Ukraine as war enters new phaseRussia has placed command and control elements near its border with eastern Ukraine, according to a senior NATO official, a sign they are attempting to fix the communications and coordination failures observed in the attack on Kyiv. Read MoreBefore...
    (CNN)US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin traveled to Kyiv on Sunday where they met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and other Ukrainian officials, making them the highest-level US officials to have traveled to the country since the Russian invasion began in late February. While in Kyiv, Blinken and Austin met with Zelensky, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov and Interior Minister Denys Monastrysky for an extended, roughly 90-minute bilateral meeting, a senior State Department official said.Zelensky had announced on Saturday that Blinken and Austin would visit Kyiv, and the White House declined to comment at the time.During the visit, Blinken relayed that US diplomats would return to Ukraine this week, the senior State Department official said, characterizing the move as a strong message of solidarity from the United States. Blinken also relayed that US President Joe Biden would nominate Bridget Brink as US ambassador to Ukraine, according to the senior State Department official. The post that has been without a confirmed ambassador since Marie Yovanovitch was recalled in May 2019. Brink is the...
    Washington (CNN)President Joe Biden said Thursday he was still working with his team to determine whether he should dispatch a senior member of his administration to Ukraine, a potentially dramatic show of support for the nation as it comes under attack from Russia."We're making that decision now," Biden said when asked whether he would send a senior official to Ukraine. Asked who he would send, Biden turned back to a reporter and said, "You ready to go?"Since Russian forces withdrew from the region surrounding Kyiv, a number of Western leaders have made their way to the Ukrainian capital to demonstrate support.US officials have held preliminary discussions about sending a high-ranking member of the administration to Ukraine, according to a source familiar with the talks. While Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are unlikely to visit Kyiv themselves anytime soon, officials have discussed sending Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin or Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Read MoreStill, sources said a decision is far from finalized and the visit could ultimately not materialize. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a surprise visit to Kyiv last...
    Russia’s Vladimir Putin hailed his “brave” and “effective” troops in Ukraine on Tuesday, even as social-media posts surfaced showing the Russian military suffered yet another setback after more than 40 days of war. In televised comments, the Russian leader vowed that his “noble” war against Ukraine would be successful and defiantly said his country could not be isolated from the rest of the world. “There is no doubt that the goals and tasks of the operation in Ukraine will be fulfilled,” he said, claiming “confrontation with the growing anti-Russian forces in Ukraine was inevitable” and only “a question of time.” “The Russian Armed Forces have acted bravely, efficiently, and effectively in the course of the special military operation in Ukraine, using the most contemporary kinds of weapons,” he said. His glowing assessment comes amid reports that another high-ranking military official was killed in Ukraine. Lt. Col. Dibir Dibirovich Magomedovich, a Dagestan native, was killed on April 9, according to a now-deleted post on the VK page of a Russian military academy. A screenshot of the since-deleted post shared by Ukrainian...
    WARSAW – An incoming shipment of U.S.-made ‘Switchblade’ drones will not include the most effective version of that weapon, despite Ukrainian hopes to acquire the variant that can destroy armored Russian military targets, as President Joe Biden's team balances Ukrainian requests for aid against logistical challenges and the potential for additional Russian aggression. The impending delivery of 100 so-called “kamikaze drones” will be drawn from U.S. government stocks of Switchblade 300s, a lightweight “loitering missile system” with a range of about 6 miles over 15 minutes of flight. The transfer will not include any of the heavier Switchblade 600s, which Ukraine is eager to acquire in advance of an expected Russian effort to destroy their military in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas, now that the Russians have broken off their attack on the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv. “This is the biggest issue,” a Ukrainian official said, on condition of anonymity. “The Russians will bring all their capabilities to the battlefield . . . and we have those ridiculous tactical drones.” That frustration is in tension with the perspective offered...
    KYIV (CBS News) — A U.S. official confirmed to CBS News senior national security correspondent David Martin that Ukrainian helicopters carried out a strike against an oil depot inside Russian territory Friday morning. The official told Martin there was concern in Washington about how Russia might react to the strikes. Ukrainian officials did not claim responsibility for the attack themselves, but as CBS News senior foreign correspondent Holly Williams reports, it was a significant move by Ukraine’s forces. Read more at CBSNews.com>>
    Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced on Thursday that he has fired two of his top generals, accusing them of being "antiheroes" and "traitors." The two generals stripped of their rank are Naumov Andriy Olehovych, former chief of the Main Department of Internal Security of the Security Service of Ukraine, and Kryvoruchko Serhiy Oleksandrovych, the former chief of the Office of the Security Service of Ukraine in the Kherson region. "Today, another decision was made regarding antiheroes. Now I do not have time to deal with all the traitors. But gradually they will all be punished," Zelensky said in his nightly address on Thursday. The Ukrainian president warned that any other military officers caught violating their oath to the country will be punished. UKRAINE STRIKES FUEL DEPOT INSIDE RUSSIAN TERRITORY: LOCAL OFFICIAL "Those servicemen among senior officers who have not decided where their homeland is, who violate the military oath of allegiance to the Ukrainian people as regards (to) the protection of our state, its freedom and independence, will inevitably be deprived of senior military ranks. Random generals don't belong here!”...
    WARSAW, Poland — A grievance rooted in the breakup of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after the First World War has hampered Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s quest for support against Russian aggression and fueled suspicions within Europe about Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s ambitions in a tumultuous moment. Orban, who has developed an international reputation as a conservative populist who favors strong economic ties to Russia and China, has clashed with Ukrainian officials in recent years in response to Kyiv’s adoption of a language law that Budapest has denounced as discriminating against ethnic Hungarians in Ukraine — one of the many Hungarian communities that found themselves living under new governments a century ago when a post-war settlement shrank the Hungarian state. “The Hungarians have always resented [that at the end of the war] they lost two-thirds of their country,” former special envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker, an American diplomat whose career included a stop in Hungary, told the Washington Examiner. “Several million Hungarians were, all of the sudden, no longer living in Hungary — they were living in other countries. So that's...
    One of Russia's most senior officials on Wednesday admitted that sanctions on Moscow in response to its unprovoked attack on Ukraine caught Russia, its leaders, and its oligarchs off guard. "Nobody who was predicting what sanctions the West would pass could have pictured that," Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a group of students at Moscow State Institute of International Relations. "It's just thievery." Lavrov's comments mark the first time a Russian official has admitted to being unprepared for the Western response and come as another high-ranking official in Russian President Vladimir Putin's inner circle calls it quits over the Ukraine invasion. Anatoly Chubais, Russia's climate envoy and the man who gave Putin his first job at the Kremlin, resigned, Bloomberg reported. The 66-year-old is one of the few Soviet-era economic reformers who remained in Putin's inner circle and maintained ties with Western officials. He is known as the architect of Russia's 1990s privatizations and profited off of Putin's rise to power. Chubais had taken high-profile and lucrative jobs at big state companies until he was named envoy for sustainable...
    Russia may not be able to mount an all-out attack on Kyiv as its demoralised troops suffer increasing casualties and become bogged down outside the Ukrainian capital, Western officials suggested today.   Intelligence suggests Vladimir Putin's troops are only making small advances without a major strategic breakthrough in the face of 'fierce and mobile' Ukrainian resistance. The Pentagon estimates at least 7,000 Russian troops have now died in the fighting while another 14,000 to 21,000 have been wounded. That accounts for nearly a fifth of the estimated 150,000 men that Putin amassed on the border before giving the order to attack 21 days ago.  There are questions over whether the occupying force could absorb the additional losses they would suffer if they tried to storm the well-prepared capital.  Officials cautioned against ruling out Putin ordering a bloody direct attack in an attempt to end Ukrainian resistance. But they cited the deaths of four senior generals as a sign things are not going well - because top-ranking officers would not usually have to get in harms way to provide 'close-up supervision' of troops. ...
    (CNN)Russia has relied far more heavily on less sophisticated, so-called "dumb" bombs than it has on its arsenal of precision-guided munitions in its punishing war on Ukraine. It's a dynamic that US officials are watching closely for clues about the state of Russia's military — as these indiscriminate weapons kill scores of civilians.Russia has used a combination of missiles, artillery and rocket launchers to pummel major Ukrainian cities over the past two weeks, Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier, the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday. On Friday, Russia launched a barrage of missile attacks on a wide range of targets across central and western Ukraine, causing substantial damage and using what Russia's defense ministry said were "high-precision long-range weapons."But the number of "precision-guided munitions that are being dropped from aircraft ... is small," Berrier said.US and Western officials say they don't know why Russia hasn't used more of these more sophisticated weapons, which its Su-34 fighter-bomber fleet regularly employed, along with other unguided bombs in Syria. It's an approach some US military and intelligence...
    By Rob Picheta and Jack Guy | CNN The Ukrainian defense ministry has claimed that a Russian general was killed in battle near Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv. The short statement on Monday offered no proof of the death of Maj. Gen. Vitaly Gerasimov, and gave no details of when he was killed. Russian state media said nothing Tuesday about Gerasimov, although it did name other Russians killed in Ukraine. CNN has not been able to independently verify Ukraine’s claim, and Russia’s defense ministry did not immediately respond to CNN’s questions about Gerasimov on Tuesday, which is a national holiday in Russia. The United States also cannot confirm the Ukrainian claims, a senior US defense official said Tuesday. Ukraine identified Gerasimov as “a Russian military commander, major general, chief of staff and first deputy commander of the 41st Army of the Central Military District of Russia” and said he was a veteran of Russian campaigns in Chechnya and Syria. “A number of senior Russian army officers were also killed and wounded,” the Ukrainian defense ministry statement said. The Ukrainian ministry also...
    London (CNN)A war in Europe was unimaginable two weeks ago. There's been widespread shock around the world over Russian President Vladimir Putin's merciless and unprovoked attack on Ukraine, and among many in his own homeland.It is at times like these that we look to our own leaders to express how we feel and to respond accordingly. Britain's Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has risen to the occasion enough for many to forget -- for now at least -- about lockdown parties that led to calls for his resignation.The Queen has been lying low at Windsor Castle as she continues to recover from Covid. She has been well enough to do paperwork and host virtual audiences but little else (more on that later). We learned on Thursday, though, that she was so moved by events in Ukraine she had privately made a "generous" donation to the humanitarian appeal from the Disasters Emergency Committee -- a group of 15 leading UK aid charities. Buckingham Palace confirmed the Queen's donation but would not comment further, telling us it was a "private matter."Other members of...
    A senior defense official told reporters Thursday that Russia has “every intention of basically decapitating” Ukraine’s government. “They’re making a move on [Kyiv], yes, but what they’re going to do in [Kyiv] is hard to say. We still believe, it’s our assessment, that they have every intention of basically decapitating the government and installing their own method of governance,” the official said during the background briefing. The assessment comes after Russia on Thursday morning began an attack on several key cities in Ukraine from three different axes — from Crimea to Kherson, Belarus to Kyiv, and Belarus to Kharkiv. The official emphasized that the assault is still in its initial phases. The official said that thus far, the U.S. estimates that roughly more than 100 Russian-launched missiles of various types have hit primarily military targets in Ukraine. “The targets thus far [have been] primarily focused on military and air defense, so barracks, ammunition warehouses, nearly 10 airfields targeted,” the official said. The official said Russian troops have not yet moved into Western Ukraine and that U.S. troops remain outside of Ukraine....
    Washington (CNN)Multiple US and western government officials tell CNN that the US has intelligence that Russia has drawn up lists of current political figures that it would target for removal in the event it invades Ukraine and topples the current government in Kyiv.Sources familiar with the intelligence say the target lists are part of Russian planning to replace the current administration in Kyiv with a more Russia-friendly government, bolstering a previous disclosure by the British government identifying pro-Moscow figures it said Russia planned to install. The most likely outcome for those politicians and public figures whom Moscow has targeted to be ousted in the event Kyiv falls, these sources say, is jail or assassination. "We'll see what kinds of choices these people will be given, but a lot of them will be jailed or killed," said one source familiar with the intelligence. "I think for most it will depend on how cooperative these people are when the time comes and the circumstances in which they are captured or taken.""If it's in public" — in front of cameras — "that'll be...
    By Jasmine Wright | CNN Vice President Kamala Harris will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky this weekend when she embarks on her latest high-stakes trip to the Munich Security Conference in Germany, senior administration officials said Wednesday, as Russia amasses forces on Ukraine’s border. The vice president will maintain a “very intense,” schedule when she is in Munich, the senior administration officials said, as she leads the US’ delegation amid grave warnings that a Russian invasion into Ukraine could come any day. The meeting with Zelensky, their first-ever engagement, will be one of several high-level meetings Harris will hold. “We are in a very decisive moment,” a senior administration official told reporters on a preview call Wednesday. “The vice president is leading the US delegation to the Munich Security Conference this year, as a resounding signal that engagement with our allies and partners is an absolutely critical part of our overall diplomacy in our approach to this situation.” Harris’ latest high-profile foreign trip comes as the US has partnered with key allies in attempt to deter Russia from invading...
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