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US intelligence agencies predict that the combat in Ukraine will continue to wane through the upcoming winter. However, according to US head of intelligence Avril Haines, there hasn’t been any indication of Ukrainian forces’ resistance weakening.

Both sides, according to her, would endeavour to “refit, replenish, and reconstitute” for any springtime counteroffensive. The crucial energy infrastructure of Ukraine had already been attacked by Russia.

Even though Russia has lost more than half of the territory it had conquered, the war in Ukraine is already in its ninth month. The majority of the combat is presently taking place near the eastern Ukrainian cities of Bakhmut and Donetsk, Ms. Haines stated at a defence symposium in California.

She said fighting had slowed down following Russia’s withdrawal of troops from the west of the Kherson region last month.

“We’re seeing a kind of a reduced tempo already of the conflict… and we expect that’s likely to be what we see in the coming months,” she said.

She said both Ukraine and Russian militaries would be looking to prepare for any counter-offensive after the winter.

“But we actually have a fair amount of scepticism as to whether or not the Russians will be, in fact, prepared to do that,” she said.

“I think more optimistically for the Ukrainians in that time frame.”

According to Ms. Haines, US intelligence believes that Russian President Vladimir Putin is now unaware of the full extent of his military’s difficulties.

“We observe ammo shortages, morale problems, supply problems, logistics, and a host of other issues that they are dealing with.”

On the other hand, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Saturday that a price ceiling imposed on Russian oil exports by his Western partners was “weak” and that it was not “severe” enough to harm the Russian economy.

The cap, which is set to take effect on Monday, aims to prevent nations from paying more than $60 (£48) a barrel for Russian crude oil that is transported by sea.

Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Kremlin, stated that although Moscow had planned for the action, it would not sell its oil under the quota.

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In his first trip to Kyiv as prime minister, Rishi Sunak met with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky and committed £50 million in defence assistance.

According to No. 10, the meeting was organised to demonstrate “continuing UK support” for Ukraine.

Following the meeting, Mr. Zelensky posted on Telegram, “We discussed the most significant topics, both for our countries and for world security.”

He continued, “We are stronger, and we will get the desired outcomes.

Mr. Sunak, who assumed his position last month, described his visit to Kyiv as “very humbling” and promised that the UK would continue to support Ukrainians in their struggle.

During the meeting with Mr Zelensky, he said the UK would provide a major new package of air defence to help protect Ukrainian civilians and the country’s national infrastructure from Russian strikes.

As a result of frequent Russian aircraft raids on Kyiv and other parts of the country, Ukraine has recently asked for assistance from Western countries.

125 anti-aircraft guns, technologies to combat lethal drones supplied by Iran, several radars, and anti-drone electronic warfare capacity are included in the £50 million defence aid package.

It follows the announcement of more than 1,000 additional anti-air missiles made earlier this month by UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace.

Earlier that week, only days after being ordered to evacuate its forces from Kherson, Russia launched one of its heaviest missile barrages against Ukraine.

Strikes occurred all over the nation, from Chernihiv in the north to Lviv in the west, including in Kyiv.

That attack coincided with the G20 summit in Bali where, in a virtual speech, Mr Zelensky said he was “convinced now is the time when the Russian destructive war must and can be stopped”.

By sending skilled army physicians and engineers to the area to provide specialised support, Mr. Sunak indicated that the UK will also boost the training offer to the Ukrainian armed forces.

The British prime minister visited Kyiv and paid his respects at a war memorial and a memorial for those who perished in the Holodomor famine. He then spoke with first responders at a fire station. Mr. Sunak also observed drones of Iranian manufacture that had recently been used to target and bomb civilians in Ukraine.

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According to the local leader established by Russia, tens of thousands of citizens and Russian-appointed officials are being evacuated from the southern Ukrainian region of Kherson ahead of an invasion by Ukraine. All Russian-appointed agencies and ministries, according to Vladimir Saldo, would cross the Dnieper River.

He had stated that between 50 and 60,000 civilians would also depart in a “organised, progressive relocation.” Residents are being urged by Ukraine to disregard the Russian action. The regional administrator of Kherson claimed that Russia wants to kidnap residents and use them as human shields. A war crime is regarded to be the transfer or deportation of civilians from an occupied territory by an occupying power.

Vladimir Putin of Russia announced in a separate development that he had signed an order imposing martial law on four regions of Ukraine, including Kherson, which Moscow annexed last month in a move that was deemed unlawful by the international community.

He explained to Russia’s Security Council that it would allow local officials more authority to uphold social order and protect crucial infrastructure.

Text messages advising Kherson residents to leave right away in order to avoid Ukrainian military shelling residential areas began to arrive on Tuesday night.

Transport across the Dnipro River would be accessible beginning at 7:00 on Wednesday, according to the texts.

One resident told the BBC, requesting anonymity, “They are told to flee because the nasty Ukrainians are going to shell the city.”

“People are panicking because of propaganda.”

Russian TV footage on Wednesday showed a number of people gathering near the west bank of the Dnieper. As they queued for boats, it was not clear how many were leaving.

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Alla Pugacheva, one of the most well-known singers in Russia, has asked the government to label her a “foreign agent” in support of her adamantly anti-war husband Maxim Galkin. He is also a celebrity in show business, and on Friday after denouncing Russia’s invasion on Ukraine, he was called a “foreign agent.”

Pugacheva referred to her husband as “a truly incorruptible Russian patriot, who wants to put an end to our guys dying for illusory goals” on social media. She has a long history of success. The “illusory intentions” of the Kremlin in Ukraine, according to her, “make our country a pariah and the lives of our inhabitants very miserable.”

She noted that Galkin, a comedian, TV host, and singer, wished for “prosperity for his motherland, peace, and freedom of speech.”

The Russian government has branded a number of media outlets, political organisations, and people who openly oppose Kremlin policies as “foreign agents.”

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Through a secure maritime route, four more ships transporting grain and sunflower oil have departed Ukrainian ports. Due to Russian blockades, millions of tonnes of grain were delayed in Ukraine, causing shortages and higher food costs outside.

However, the first ship to leave Ukrainian ports since February did so last week. The most recent ships to leave port are headed for Turkey where they will be examined as part of an agreement negotiated with Russia and the UN. They began their journey over the Bosphorus strait on Sunday from the ports of Odessa and Chornomorsk.

Two are then slated to dock in Turkey following the inspections, with the other two sailing to Italy and China.

On Sunday afternoon, a new empty ship made her way to Chornomorsk and is now waiting to be loaded with grain for export.

Russia agreed last month not to attack ships that were in transit, and Ukraine said it would direct ships through mined seas as part of a pact mediated by Turkey and the UN.

If both parties concur, the 120-day agreement may be extended.

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For the first time, Russia has charged that the US is directly involved in the conflict in Ukraine. The US, according to a spokesperson for Moscow’s defence ministry, is approving targets for the Himars artillery that Kyiv’s soldiers utilise.

Intercepted calls between Ukrainian authorities, according to Lt Gen Igor Konashenkov, showed the connection. The BBC was unable to confirm this independently. US government representatives did not immediately respond to the accusations. Previously, Russia charged that the United States was waging a “proxy war” in Ukraine.

The Biden administration is “directly liable” for all missile attacks that Kyiv authorised against residential areas and infrastructures used by the general public in the towns of the Donbass and other regions, according to Mr. Konashenkov.

Himars, a multi-rocket system, is much more powerful than Ukraine’s previous artillery and can fire precision-guided missiles up to 70 kilometres (45 miles) distant from their target. Additionally, they are thought to be more accurate than their Russian counterparts.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov claimed in April that NATO was essentially fighting Russia through a proxy and arming that proxy as a result of US President Joe Biden’s decision to provide Ukraine with billions of dollars’ worth of weapons. The 72-year-old said, “War means war.”

Russia has been charged with various war crimes and crimes against humanity throughout the Ukrainian conflict. Ukraine accused Moscow this week of bombing a prison in Donetsk, which is controlled by separatists, in order to hide claims of abuse.

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According to Russian media, some locations of the recently launched fast food chain “Tasty and that’s it,” which took the position of McDonald’s in Russia, would temporarily stop providing fries. Because there aren’t enough of the right kind of potatoes available, customers will need to order another side dish to go with their burgers and nuggets. By the fall, according to the business, fries will be back on the menu. In opposition to the invasion of Ukraine, McDonald’s withdrew from Russia. A Russian investor purchased the American fast food chain’s eateries, and in June, a few of them reopened under the slogan “Vkusno I Tochka,” which translates to “Tasty and that’s it.”

However, a month after the restaurant’s debut, one of its signature dishes remains hard to find. It’s also possible that “rustic potatoes,” a thicker-cut variation of the standard French fry, won’t be available. According to a statement given to the Russian news outlet Tass, the harvest for the type of potato required to create fries in 2021 was subpar.

Although it had also become impossible to import potatoes from markets that may temporarily replace the domestic supply, it was stated that the corporation normally tried to purchase potatoes from Russian suppliers. However, Russia’s agriculture ministry attempted to allay any worries about a potato scarcity in a Telegram message headed “There are potatoes – and that’s it.”

“There are plenty of potatoes, especially processed ones, on the Russian market. Additionally, crops from the upcoming harvest have already begun to arrive, eliminating the danger of a scarcity “added the ministry. In 1990, McDonald’s built its first location in Moscow, signalling the opening of deeper trade and cultural links between the West and the former Soviet Union.

But more than three decades later, in opposition to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the American icon and scores of other Western businesses withdrew from the country.

Wide-ranging sanctions imposed by the West on Russia currently damage supply chains and raise unemployment. Up to 10% of the Russian economy is predicted to contract in 2022.

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According to regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov, explosions in the Russian city of Belgorod, which is close to the Ukrainian border, have killed at least three people.

At least 39 privately owned residential buildings and 11 apartment complexes were partially destroyed by the explosions, he claimed. The blasts, he said, activated air defence systems. The governor’s claim could not be independently verified, and Ukraine showed no immediate response. The information was obtained through Mr. Gladkov’s Telegram channel.

Numerous civilians and combatants have been killed or injured since Russia’s invasion on February 24 on the pretext of “demilitarising” and “de-Nazifying” Ukraine as it moved closer to Nato, and at least 12 million people have left their homes. In response, Western nations have armed Ukraine and imposed previously unheard-of sanctions on Russia, a nuclear powerhouse and a major source of energy.

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Since three of Serbia’s neighbours have refused to let his plane use their airspace, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s visit to Serbia has been cancelled.

Bulgaria, North Macedonia, and Montenegro, all EU members, have imposed a flight ban, as have Serbia and North Macedonia. In February, the EU imposed an airspace ban in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Mr. Lavrov has blamed the latest move on “the Brussels puppeteers.” Serbia has remained friendly with Russia despite the EU’s broad sanctions against the country. Days after the invasion on February 24, the EU and the UK imposed a blanket flight ban on Russian planes, including oligarchs’ private jets.

Serbia, like many other European countries, is heavily reliant on Russian gas. On the 6-7 June, Mr. Lavrov was scheduled to meet with President Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade.

He called the decision “unprecedented” and said that “no one will be able to destroy our relations with Serbia” in a statement broadcast on Russian state news channel Rossiya 24.

“It appears that the Brussels puppeteers did not want to give us a platform so that we could confirm Russia’s position on the Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina problems in the capital of Serbia,” he added.

Serbia’s refusal to recognise Kosovo’s independence is backed by the Kremlin. The NATO bombing campaign against Serbia during the Kosovo war in 1999 enraged Russia.

Mr. Lavrov accused Nato and the EU of wanting to “turn the Balkans into their own project called closed Balkans” in a statement released on Monday. “Our diplomacy has yet to master teleportation,” a Russian foreign ministry source said of the decision to bar Mr Lavrov’s flight.

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By cycling and dodging Russian shells and warplanes, a Ukrainian man managed to escape the heavily bombed eastern city of Severodonetsk unharmed.

Arif Bagirov, 45, told BBC Newshour that it was his “craziest journey.” He described his 70-kilometer (43-mile) bike ride to Bakhmut as “a lot of firing and at least two air strikes near me.”

The editor and blogger predicted that if one shell landed close by, the Russians would most likely avoid hitting the area again. Using these strategies, he was able to reach Bakhmut unharmed. “There were holes in the road, and everything, including cars, was smashed up,” Mr Bagirov said.

“And there was a lot of debris strewn about.” It is, after all, a frontline road. Thankfully, there were no bodies, but it was clear that people had died there.”
Mr Bagirov claimed that avoiding Russian warplanes was easier because he could hear them approaching from afar.
“I found a ditch to lie down in and stayed there until they passed.”
When he finally arrived in Bakhmut, a Ukrainian-controlled city further west, he said it was a huge relief. “When I was riding my bike, it wasn’t so much a sense of fear as it was a sense of anger: ‘This is my land, this is my country!’

And whether you like it or not, I’m going to finish this journey!’ He describes the sensation as “sporting anger, a positive anger” that kept him going. Mr Bagirov, a seasoned cyclist, added, “It was definitely my craziest journey on a bike.” “I’d travelled great distances before, but never in such adverse conditions.”

“I don’t know at the moment,” he said simply when asked about his future plans. I’m just on my way to Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, and once there, I’ll get some rest.” “As soon as the opportunity presents itself, all I want to do is help my home town again,” he added.

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