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Ukraine-Russia war latest: Navalny’s wife confirms funeral date as she says husband’s body was ‘abused’

Ukraine-Russia war latest: Navalny’s wife confirms funeral date as she says husband’s body was ‘abused’

Alexei Navalny’s widow has claimed his body was “abused” as the opposition leader’s funeral date is confirmed.

President Vladimir Putin’s fiercest political foe died while serving a prison sentence earlier this month.

His funeral will take place at a church in the southeastern Maryino district of Moscow at 2pm local time on Friday.

His wife Yulia Navalnaya said Putin had “abused” her husband’s body as she addressed the European Parliament on Wednesday.

“Putin killed my husband,” Yulia Navalnaya said. “On his orders, Alexei was tortured for three years, he was staved in a tiny stone cell. Cut off from the outside world and denied visits, phone calls and then even letters.”

She added: “And then they killed him. Even after that, they abused his body.”

She also told the lawmakers that said she was “not sure” whether her late husband’s funeral will be peaceful as she fears police will make arrests.

Key Points

  • Macron says putting Western troops on ground in Ukraine cannot be ruled out

  • North Korea has sent millions of artillery shells to Russia, South Korea says

  • Ukraine says it destroys 11 Russia-launched drones, two missiles

Zelensky co-hosts summit in Albania

11:52 , Athena Stavrou

President Zelensky has co-hosted a summit with the Albanian government to encourage further support for Kyiv from south-eastern European countries.

It comes as signs of fatigue grow as the war enters its third year.

Mr Zelensky arrived as part of an international tour that saw him in Saudi Arabia earlier on Tuesday to push for a peace plan and the return of prisoners of war from Russia.

The Ukrainian leader called Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama “Ukraine’s unwavering friend” in a message on X, adding the two would “discuss defence and political cooperation, support for the Peace Formula, and security agreements”.

“I will propose supporting Ukraine’s efforts to achieve just and lasting peace, as well as organizing the Global Peace Summit in Switzerland,” he said, referring to the summit.

Mr Zelensky and Mr Rama also signed a friendship and cooperation agreement “to strengthen our cooperation with Albania and Ukraine‘s position in the Balkans”.

The Ukrainian leader also awarded Mr Rama the “Yaroslav the Wise” medal for his contribution to Ukraine.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Navalny’s widow claims his 'body was abused’

11:00 , Athena Stavrou

While addressing the European Parliament on Wednesday, Alexei Navalny’s widow claimed he was tortured in prison and that his body was “abused”.

“Putin killed my husband,” Yulia Navalnaya said. “On his orders, Alexei was tortured for three years, he was staved in a tiny stone cell. Cut off from the outside world and denied visits, phone calls and then even letters.”

She added: “And then they killed him. Even after that, they abused his body.”

Navalny’s widow adressing the European Parliament

10:53 , Athena Stavrou

Alexei Navalny’s widow is currently addressing the European Parliament as the Russian opposition leader’s funeral in confirmed.

Speaking to the parliament on Wednesday, Yulia Navalnaya said she was “not sure” whether her late husband’s funeral will be peaceful as she fears police will make arrests.

 (Sky News)
(Sky News)

Ukraine facing ammunition shortages, head of UK Armed Forces says

10:20 , Athena Stavrou

Ukraine is facing ammunition shortages that could last for “several months”, according to the head of the UK Armed Forces claimed.

Admiral Sir Tony Radakin reportedly told a conference in London on Tuesday that NATO allies were discussing how to strengthen support for the country as the war enters it’s third year.

With US aid held up in Congress, Mr Radakin said Ukraine’s army “was struggling in terms of its ammunition and its stockpiles”.

“I think that’s the predicament that’s likely to last for at least the next few months,” Radakin said, according to The Guardian.

Navalny’s widow set to address European Parliament

09:40 , Athena Stavrou

The widow of Putin’s biggest political foe Alexei Navalny is due to address the European Parliament this morning.

Yulia Navalnaya is expected to speak about her late husband’s death on February 16 in a Russian prison and urge the parliament to support political prisoners in Russia.

The address is expected to begin at around 10am.

 (Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Navalny’s funeral to be held on Friday

09:36 , Athena Stavrou

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s funeral and farewell ceremony will be held on Friday, Navalny‘s spokesperson Kira Yarmysh said on the X social network.

The funeral will be held at the Borisovskoye cemetery after a farewell ceremony at a church in the Maryino district of Moscow, she said.

 (Moscow City Court)
(Moscow City Court)

Pictures: Zelensky arrives in Albania

09:05 , Athena Stavrou

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in the Albanian capital of Tirana, Albanian Foreign Minister Igli Hasani said on Wednesday.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

EU should consider 'using frozen Russian asset profits for Ukraine’s military’

08:41 , Athena Stavrou

The European Commission President said that the EU should consider using profits from frozen Russian assets to fund Ukraine’s war effort.

Ursula von der Leyen said that it was “time to start a conversation” about the controversial policy on Wednesday.

“It is time to start a conversation about using the windfall profits of frozen Russian assets to jointly purchase military equipment for Ukraine,” she told the European Parliament in a speech urging the EU to do more on defence policy.

“There could be no stronger symbol and no greater use for that money than to make Ukraine and all of Europe a safer place to live.”

 (@vonderleyen via X via REUTERS)
(@vonderleyen via X via REUTERS)

Ukraine ‘struggling’ to hold defensive positions near city of Avdiivka

08:09 , Holly Evans

Military analysts have said that Russian forces are maintaining a “high tempo of operations” around the city of Avdiivka, which was captured after months of heavy fighting.

Putin’s troops are hoping to prevent the Ukrainian army from regrouping and building defensive lines, and have increased the size of their assault groups, the Institute for the Study of War said.

In a blow to Zelensky’s forces, they have also withdrawn from the villages of Stepove and Severne as Moscow focuses its attention to the settlements around the city.

Ukrainian soldiers defending their position near Avdiivka in the Donetsk region (EPA)
Ukrainian soldiers defending their position near Avdiivka in the Donetsk region (EPA)

Zelensky visits Albania in latest trip to boost solidarity

07:44 , Holly Evans

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in the Albanian capital of Tirana, Albanian Foreign Minister Igli Hasani said on Wednesday.

“A pivotal moment for fostering bilateral ties, and standing in solidarity with Ukraine in its heroic fight against Russia’s aggression,” Hasani wrote on the X social network.

North Korea has already sent millions of artillery rounds to Russia, warns South Korea

07:20 , Holly Evans

North Korea has shipped as many as 6,700 containers with potentially millions of rounds of artillery shells to Russia since talks between Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un in September last year, Seoul says.

South Korea’s defence minister said the exact contents of the containers could not be known, but that they likely contained either three million 152mm artillery shells or 500,000 122mm rounds.

“It could possibly be a mix of the two, and you can say that at least several million shells have been sent,” Shin Won-sik said.

Read the full article here

North Korea has already sent millions of artillery shells to Russia, says South Korea

Putin 'more powerful than Stalin' and Europe 'at war', says UK MP

05:00 , Alexander Butler

A UK MP says Vladimir Putin is “now more powerful than Stalin” and “Europe is at war”.

Speaking during an urgent question on the UK’s aid to Ukraine in the House of Commons, Tobias Ellwood said it was “very clear” that the Ukraine war would “move out further”.

“Putin is now more powerful than Stalin, trying to emulate what Stalin did in eastern Europe.

“Can we agree that Europe is at war? This affects us, this affects our economy and security.”

Russia 'unable' to protect high-value aircraft and Ukraine a constant 'threat', MoD says

04:00 , Alexander Butler

Russia has shown a repeated “inability” to protect its high-value aircraft and Ukraine’s defences “continue to pose a threat”, the UK defence ministry has said.

It referenced the downing of two Russian A-50 aircraft by Ukraine in as many months - specialist spy planes which are estimated to cost nearly £300m each.

The MoD pointed out that there was a “remote” chance that an A-50 shot down four days ago was hit by Russia itself.

'We are not on the cusp of war with Russia'

03:00 , Alexander Butler

The head of the UK armed forces has insisted “Britain is secure” and “we are not on the cusp of war with Russia”.

Admiral Sir Tony Radakin used a public speech today to stress that “we are not about to be invaded” and no one in the Ministry of Defence is talking about conscription.

“Britain is safe. We are safe because we are part of NATO... and also because we are a responsible nuclear power,” he said.

Russia's information war will peak in the 'coming weeks', Ukraine warns

02:00 , Alexander Butler

Russia’s information war will peak in the “coming weeks”, the Ukrainian intelligence department has warned.

Late last year, Ukraine reported Moscow had launched the Maidan-3 special operation which aimed to spread anti-Ukrainian messages online.

In a Telegram post today, it said the plan had cost $1.5bn and was “the most expensive action of the Russian special services in history”.

“During the coming weeks, the enemy will make every effort to spread narratives destructive to global security and attempts to incite conflicts - both inside Ukraine and in other parts of the world, where there is effective support of Ukraine,” it said.

Ukraine names new head of anti-corruption watchdog

01:00 , Alexander Butler

Ukraine has approved the new head of a state watchdog responsible for crafting anti-corruption policy, officials said.

Fighting graft is a top priority for Ukraine as it seeks membership in the European Union, and authorities have stepped up their crackdown during the war with Russia.

Viktor Pavluschyk, a former investigator, will serve a four-year term heading the National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NACP) after winning an internationally supervised recruitment competition.

NACP formulates Ukraine’s anti-corruption agenda and monitors public servants for illicit gains, working closely with Kyiv’s anti-graft law enforcement agencies.

Ukraine’s Zelensky says he is in Saudi Arabia on working visit

00:01 , Alexander Butler

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy arrived in Saudi Arabia on a working visit on Tuesday to meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to a statement posted on his Telegram account.

Zelenskiy wrote that the primary topics of discussion would be Kyiv’s Peace Formula framework for ending Russia’s invasion, as well as the return of captives and deported people.

The Saudi state news agency confirmed in a statement that Zelenskiy had arrived in the kingdom.

Ukraine warns delays in Western aid supplies ‘costing lives and territory’

Tuesday 27 February 2024 23:00 , Alexander Butler

Ukraine warns delays in Western aid supplies ‘costing lives and territory’

Watch: Zelensky warns Ukraine will not exist if Russia wins war

Tuesday 27 February 2024 22:00 , Alexander Butler

Zelensky warns Ukraine will not exist if Russia wins war

Sri Lanka ends visas for hundreds of thousands of Russians staying there to avoid war

Tuesday 27 February 2024 21:00 , Alexander Butler

Sri Lanka ends visas for hundreds of thousands of Russians avoiding war

Here’s what to know about Sweden’s bumpy road toward Nato

Tuesday 27 February 2024 20:00 , Alexander Butler

Here’s what to know about Sweden’s bumpy road toward Nato membership

Macron says putting Western troops on ground in Ukraine cannot be ruled out

Tuesday 27 February 2024 19:00 , Alexander Butler

Macron says putting Western troops on ground in Ukraine cannot be ruled out

Putin had Alexei Navalny killed to stop prisoner swap, ally claims

Tuesday 27 February 2024 18:00 , Alexander Butler

Putin had Alexei Navalny killed to stop prisoner swap, ally claims

Families of Ukrainians taken prisoner by Russia desperate for news: ‘Please do not forget them’

Tuesday 27 February 2024 17:00 , Alexander Butler

Families of Ukrainians taken prisoner by Russia desperate for news

Kyiv withdraws from two key villages, military says

Tuesday 27 February 2024 16:49 , Alexander Butler

Volodymyr Zelensky’s troops have withdrawn from two key villages in eastern Ukraine as Nato said it had no plans to send soldiers to Ukraine.

Kyiv’s troops withdrew from Severne and Stepove near Avdiivka, which was captured earlier this month by Russian forces.

Russia’s defence ministry claimed its forces had captured Severne earlier today.

Two police killed by Russian shelling in north Ukraine

Tuesday 27 February 2024 16:20 , Tom Watling

Two police officers were killed and four were wounded by Russian shelling in the northern Ukrainian region of Sumy, Ukraine‘s interior minister Ihor Klymenko said on Tuesday.

In a post on the Telegram app, Mr Klymenko wrote that an investigative team was deliberately fired upon while documenting damage caused by an earlier Russian strike.

“The bodies of two police officers were recovered from under the rubble. We express our condolences to the families of the dead,” he wrote.

Ukrainian emergency service workers attend to a fire in Sumy Oblast after a Russian missile strike (Telegram / Ihor Klymenko)
Ukrainian emergency service workers attend to a fire in Sumy Oblast after a Russian missile strike (Telegram / Ihor Klymenko)

French troops could have non-combat role in Ukraine - minister

Tuesday 27 February 2024 15:45 , Tom Watling

France’s foreign minister on Tuesday sought to clarify comments made by President Emmanuel Macron that Paris could send troops to Ukraine for specific needs, but not to fight in the war against Russia.

“We must consider new actions to support Ukraine. These must respond to very specific needs, I am thinking in particular of mine clearance, cyberdefence, the production of weapons on site, on Ukrainian territory,” Stephane Sejourne told lawmakers.

“Some of its actions could require a presence on Ukrainian territory, without crossing the threshold of fighting. Nothing should be ruled out. This was and still is the position today of the president of the Republic.”

Macron on Monday did not rule out European nations sending troops to Ukraine, but cautioned that there was no consensus at this stage as allies agreed to try harder to get munitions to Kyiv faster.

Hungary finally approves Sweden joining Nato after months of diplomatic tensions

Tuesday 27 February 2024 15:20 , Tom Watling

Hungary’s parliament has finally ratified Sweden’s bid to join Nato, clearing the last hurdle for a historic step after months of diplomatic wrangling.

Sweden applied for membership alongside Finland in May 2022 in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. At the time, it amounted to an intention to abandon a principle of neutrality that had stood since 1812, enacted in the wake of a Russian takeover of some of its land.

Prime minister Ulf Kristersson, who visited Hungary last Friday to sign an arms deal, said that Sweden is ready to take responsibility in Nato.

Hungary finally approves Sweden joining Nato after months of diplomatic tensions

Zelensky arrives in Saudi Arabia

Tuesday 27 February 2024 14:50 , Tom Watling

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has arrived in Saudi Arabia to meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to a statement posted on his Telegram account.

Mr Zelensky wrote that the primary topics of discussion would be Kyiv’s Peace Formula framework for ending Russia’s invasion, as well as the return of captives and deported people.

Ukraine has held several multilateral meetings to discuss the peace formula with representatives from dozens of countries.

Kyiv hopes to hold a Peace Summit in Switzerland involving the leaders of those nations this spring.

“Now we are very close to holding the first Peace Summit and we count on continued active support from Saudi Arabia,” Mr Zelensky wrote in his statement.

Saudi Arabia has previously acted as a mediator in prisoner swaps between Ukraine and Russia. Mr Zelensky said he was sure his meeting on Tuesday would “bring results” in this regard.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is seen descending the stairs from his presidential aircraft in Saudi Arabia (Telegram / Volodymyr Zelensky)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is seen descending the stairs from his presidential aircraft in Saudi Arabia (Telegram / Volodymyr Zelensky)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shakes hands with Saudi officials (Telegram / Volodymyr Zelensky)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shakes hands with Saudi officials (Telegram / Volodymyr Zelensky)

Update - Ukraine formally announces withdrawal from two more towns in eastern Ukraine

Tuesday 27 February 2024 14:23 , Tom Watling

Ukraine has withdrawn from the villages of Severne and Stepove near the eastern town of Avdiika, recently captured by Russian forces, military spokesperson Dmytro Lykhoviy said on Tuesday.

The announcement comes just minutes after Russia claimed to have captured Severne. They did not mention Stepove but the Ukrainian war tracker DeepState, with close ties to the Ukrainian military, registered the town as under Russian occupation overnight.

Russia says its forces capture second Ukrainian village near Avdiivka in two days

Tuesday 27 February 2024 14:08 , Tom Watling

Russia has claimed its forces have made further progress in eastern Ukraine by taking control of the village of Severne near Avdiivka, a Ukrainian town it captured earlier this month.

In a statement, the Kremlin’s defence ministry said its forces captured Severne, “occupied more advantageous lines and positions” and struck concentrations of Ukrainian manpower and equipment near three other settlements.

The Independent could not independently verify the battlefield claims but DeepState, a Ukrainian war tracker, has suggested the town is now under Russian occupation.

Ukraine’s southern military commander Oleksandr Tarnavskyi said on Tuesday that they had stablilised the defensive line in Tonenko roughly a mile behind Severne. He did not mention the status of Severne itself.

If confirmed, it is the third town Russia has captured in the Avdiivka direction in the past 10 days and the second in just two days. Yesterday, Ukraine announced it was withdrawing from nearby Lastochkyne.

Sri Lanka ends visas for hundreds of thousands of Russians staying there to avoid war

Tuesday 27 February 2024 13:40 , Tom Watling

Sri Lanka has told hundreds of thousands of Russians and some Ukrainians staying in the country to escape the war that they must leave in the next two weeks, immigration officers said.

The immigration controller issued a notice to the tourism ministry asking Russian and Ukrainian people staying on extended tourist visas to leave Sri Lanka within two weeks from 23 February.

Just over 288,000 Russians and nearly 20,000 Ukrainians have traveled to Sri Lanka in the last two years since the war began, according to official data.

Sri Lanka ends visas for hundreds of thousands of Russians avoiding war

German Vice-Chancellor to France: Send Ukraine weapons, not soldiers

Tuesday 27 February 2024 13:31 , Tom Watling

German Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck has rejected French suggestions that Ukraine could be supported with a deployment of Western troops.

“German soldiers are not going to Ukraine,” he told a news conference.

“I’m glad if France is considering how to support Ukraine more strongly, but if I can make a suggestion, then send more weapons,” he added. “Do what you can do now and give Ukraine the ammunition and tanks that can be sent right now.”

A Russian court sentences the co-chair of a Nobel-winning rights group to 30 months in prison

Tuesday 27 February 2024 13:10 , Tom Watling

A Moscow court on Tuesday sentenced a veteran human rights advocate who spoke out against the war in Ukraine to two years and six months in prison. He was taken directly into custody from the courtroom.

Oleg Orlov, 70, was convicted of “repeatedly discrediting” the Russian army in an article he wrote denouncing the invasion of Ukraine. He has rejected the case against him as politically motivated.

The prosecution on Monday demanded that he be sentenced to two years and 11 months in prison.

A Russian court sentences the co-chair of a Nobel-winning rights group to 30 months in prison

Germany's Scholz rules out Western ground troops for Ukraine

Tuesday 27 February 2024 12:40 , Tom Watling

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has ruled out suggestions that European countries and Nato alliance members would send ground troops to Ukraine, a day after French President Emmanuel Macron had raised the prospect that some might do so.

German lawmakers spoke out against the idea, which Mr Macron floated at a hastily arranged meeting of European leaders in Paris on Monday. The Kremlin warned it would mark a major escalation.

“Once again, in a very good debate, it was discussed that what was agreed from the outset among ourselves and with each other also applies to the future, namely that there will be no ground troops, no soldiers on Ukrainian soil sent there by European countries or Nato states,” Scholz said on the sidelines of an event.

Mr Scholz did, however, say that European leaders now appeared willing to procure weapons from third countries outside Europe as a way of speeding up military aid to Ukraine.

Germany has become Ukraine‘s second-biggest supplier of military aid since the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022 but is extremely wary of steps that would draw the NATO alliance into direct conflict with Russia.

Mr Scholz was already reluctant to supply Ukraine with long-range Taurus missiles, which have a reach of 500 km (310 miles), facing down calls from within his own coalition to send them.

Such missiles at this stage would likely require German troops to help operate them for precision targeting - a red line for Scholz.

It was not immediately clear how many other countries supported Mr Macron’s suggestion, though the French leader had anyway emphasised that there was no consensus at this stage, even as allies agreed to boost efforts to supply munitions to Kyiv.

Omid Nouripour, a Greens member of Mr Scholz’s coalition, also said the idea of sending troops was not being discussed within Germany or with allies.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz gestures during a groundbreaking ceremony speech at the new Freiburg-Dietenbach housing development in Freiburg, Germany, 27 February (REUTERS)
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz gestures during a groundbreaking ceremony speech at the new Freiburg-Dietenbach housing development in Freiburg, Germany, 27 February (REUTERS)

Britain has no plans for large-scale deployment in Ukraine - PM's spokesman

Tuesday 27 February 2024 12:10 , Tom Watling

Britain has no plans for a large-scale deployment of troops to Ukraine, a spokesman for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Tuesday, in response to French President Emmanuel Macron’s comments about European nations sending troops to Ukraine.

“Beyond the small number of personnel we do have in country supporting the armed forces of Ukraine, we haven’t got any plans for large-scale deployment,” the spokesman told reporters, adding that large numbers of Ukrainian troops were being trained in Britain and London was supporting Kyiv with equipment and supplies.

No venue found for public 'farewell' to Navalny - spokesperson

Tuesday 27 February 2024 11:45 , Tom Watling

Alexei Navalny‘s spokeswoman has said that his allies have been unable to find a venue in Russia where people could pay their respects to the opposition leader who died in prison this month.

In a post on X, Kira Yarmysh said: “Since yesterday we have been looking for a site where we can say farewell to Alexei. We called round most private and public funeral agencies, commercial sites and funeral halls.”

“Some places say the space is busy, some places refuse upon mention of the name ‘Navalny‘. In one place we were directly told that funeral agencies were prohibited from working with us.”

Poland does not plan to send troops to Ukraine, PM says

Tuesday 27 February 2024 11:30 , Tom Watling

Poland is not considering sending army troops to Ukraine, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said on Tuesday after meeting with his counterparts from the Czech Republic.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday opened the door to European nations sending troops to Ukraine, although he cautioned that there was no consensus at this stage.

Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk arrives at the V4 meeting in Prague, Czech Republic, Tuesda (AP)
Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk arrives at the V4 meeting in Prague, Czech Republic, Tuesda (AP)

Nato chief says alliance has no plans to send troops to Ukraine

Tuesday 27 February 2024 11:16 , Tom Watling

The head of Nato has said the military alliance has no plans to send combat troops into Ukraine, amid reports that some Western countries may be considering putting boots on the ground in the war-ravaged country.

Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told the Associated Press: “Nato allies are providing unprecedented support to Ukraine. We have done that since 2014 and stepped up after the full-scale invasion. But there are no plans for Nato combat troops on the ground in Ukraine.”

Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance has no plans to send troops to Ukraine (REUTERS)
Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance has no plans to send troops to Ukraine (REUTERS)

Russian magazine more popular than ever after Kremlin censorship of Navalny cover story

Tuesday 27 February 2024 11:00 , Tom Watling

The editor of a Moscow-based weekly magazine said the Kremlin’s crackdown on its front page coverage of Alexei Navalny’s death has made his publication more popular than ever.

Navalny, a fierce opposition figure who frequently spoke out against Vladimir Putin, died at an Arctic penal colony on 16 February in mysterious circumstances. Western leaders and Navalny’s family and team believe he was killed and that Mr Putin was responsible for his death.

Navalny’s mother Lyudmila said she was forced to sign a death certificate that stated that he died of natural causes.

Russian editor says Navalny report more popular than ever after Kremlin censorship

Kremlin says war with Nato ‘inevitable’ if Macron sends troops to Ukraine

Tuesday 27 February 2024 10:32 , Tom Watling

The Kremlin has said war with Nato is inevitable if Western nations send some of their own troops to Ukraine.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov was responding to comments made by French President Emmanuel Macron, during a meeting of 25 European leaders in Paris on Monday, in which he said he “could not rule out” sending soldiers to Ukraine.

Asked how Russia would respond if foreign troops did enter the war, Peskov said war with Nato “wouldn’t be likely but inevitable”.

“The very fact of discussing the possibility of sending certain contingents to Ukraine from NATO countries is a very important new element,” he said.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said war with Nato is ‘inevitable’ if West enters Ukraine (via REUTERS)
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said war with Nato is ‘inevitable’ if West enters Ukraine (via REUTERS)

West's discussion of direct intervention in Ukraine is good, Kyiv says

Tuesday 27 February 2024 10:30 , Tom Watling

Discussion by Western democracies of direct military intervention in Ukraine‘s war against Russia is good and shows awareness of the risk to Europe from Russian aggression, a senior Ukrainian presidential official told Reuters on Tuesday.

French President Emmanuel Macron raised the possibility on Monday of European nations sending troops to Ukraine, although he cautioned that there was no consensus, as allies agreed to try harder to get more munitions to Kyiv.

“This shows, firstly, an absolute awareness of the risks posed to Europe by a militaristic, aggressive Russia,” presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said in a written comment on Macron’s statement.

Adviser to the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, Mykhailo Podolyak, welcomed French President Emmanuel Macron’s comments (AFP via Getty Images)
Adviser to the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, Mykhailo Podolyak, welcomed French President Emmanuel Macron’s comments (AFP via Getty Images)

Czech Republic not considering sending troops to Ukraine, PM Fiala says

Tuesday 27 February 2024 10:00 , Tom Watling

The Czech Republic is not considering sending any troops to Ukraine, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala said on Tuesday when asked about comments by French President Emmanuel Macron not ruling out the option for European nations.

French President Emmanuel Macron, left, welcomes Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Monday (AP)
French President Emmanuel Macron, left, welcomes Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Monday (AP)

What's life like for Russia's political prisoners? Isolation, poor food and arbitrary punishment

Tuesday 27 February 2024 09:42 , Tom Watling

Vladimir Kara-Murza could only laugh when officials in Penal Colony No. 6 inexplicably put a small cabinet in his already-cramped concrete cell, next to a fold-up cot, stool, sink and latrine.

That moment of dark humor came because the only things he had to store in it were a toothbrush and a mug, said his wife, Yevgenia, since the opposition activist wasn’t allowed any personal belongings in solitary confinement.

Another time, she said, Kara-Murza was told to collect his bedding from across the corridor — except that prisoners must keep their hands behind their backs whenever outside their cells.

What's life like for Russia's political prisoners? Isolation, poor food and arbitrary punishment

North Korea has sent 6,700 containers of munitions to Russia, South Korea says

Tuesday 27 February 2024 08:45 , Tom Watling

North Korea has shipped about 6,700 containers carrying millions of munitions to Russia since July to support its war against Ukraine, in a sign of ongoing arms transfers, South Korean media has reported, citing the defence minister.

At a briefing on Monday for local media, Minister Shin Won-sik said the containers might carry more than 3 million 152 mm artillery shells, or 500,000 122 mm rounds.

"It could possibly be a mix of the two, and you can say that at least several million shells have been sent," Shin said, according to the Yonhap news agency.

Hundreds of North Korean munitions factories are running at around 30% of their capacity due to a lack of raw materials and electricity, but those producing artillery shells for Russia were operating "at full swing," he added, without elaborating on the source of the information.

Seoul and Washington have accused Pyongyang and Moscow of trading arms and condemned the North for supplying weapons to Russia for use against Ukraine. Both countries have denied it even as they pledged to strengthen military cooperation.

The U.S. State Department, in a fact sheet released on Friday, said that North Korea has delivered more than 10,000 containers of munitions or related materials to Russia since September.

In exchange, North Korea has received some 9,000 containers mostly containing food supplies, which Shin said has helped stabilise prices there.

Pyongyang has also asked for assistance with aircraft and ground mobility equipment technology.

“It is unclear how much Russia will give, but the more dependent Russia gets on North Korean artillery shells, the greater the degree of Russian technology transfers will be,” he said, according to Yonhap.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un attend a meeting at the Vostochny ?osmodrome in the far eastern Amur region, Russia, September 13, 2023 (via REUTERS)
Russia's President Vladimir Putin and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un attend a meeting at the Vostochny ?osmodrome in the far eastern Amur region, Russia, September 13, 2023 (via REUTERS)

Navalny ‘murder’ in Russia gives green light for more activist killings, warns Belarus opposition leader

Tuesday 27 February 2024 08:20 , Tom Watling

The death of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny in Russian custody could send a “green light” to authoritarian regimes to kill other political prisoners, exiled Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya said.

Ms Tsikhanouskaya took shelter in Lithuania in 2020 after she stood for office against Belarus’s incumbent president Alexander Lukashenko. Mr Lukashenko won what were widely described as “rigged” elections.

Her husband Siarhei remains in Belarusian custody after his arrest in May 2020 when he announced his intention to run against Mr Lukashenko, a close ally of Vladimir Putin.

Navalny ‘murder’ gives green light for more killings, says Belarus opposition leader

Below are some of the latest pictures from Ukraine

Tuesday 27 February 2024 08:02 , Tom Watling

Here are some of the latest pictures from Ukraine after another round of overnight Russian strikes.

An educational institute in Kharkiv Oblast, near the Russian border, is hit overnight by a Russian strike (Ukraine’s State Emergency Service / Telegram)
An educational institute in Kharkiv Oblast, near the Russian border, is hit overnight by a Russian strike (Ukraine’s State Emergency Service / Telegram)
A warehouse filled with sunflower seeds in Sumy Oblast, northeast Ukraine, is hit by a Russian missile overnight (Ukraine’s State Emergency Service / Telegram)
A warehouse filled with sunflower seeds in Sumy Oblast, northeast Ukraine, is hit by a Russian missile overnight (Ukraine’s State Emergency Service / Telegram)
Local residents receive food kits distributed by volunteers of the NGO ‘Responsible Citizens’ with the financial support of the UK Government, in Sloviansk, eastern Ukraine (AFP via Getty Images)
Local residents receive food kits distributed by volunteers of the NGO ‘Responsible Citizens’ with the financial support of the UK Government, in Sloviansk, eastern Ukraine (AFP via Getty Images)

Macron says putting Western troops on ground in Ukraine cannot be ruled out

Tuesday 27 February 2024 07:33 , Tom Watling

French president Emmanuel Macron has told European leaders that sending Western troops into Ukraine cannot be ruled out.

Mr Macron was speaking at a gathering of 20 European leaders in Paris to display collective “conviction” backing Ukraine against the Russian invasion that is now in its third year.

“There is no consensus at this stage to send troops on the ground. Nothing should be excluded. We will do everything that we must so that Russia does not win,” Mr Macron told reporters on Monday.

Macron says putting Western troops on ground in Ukraine cannot be ruled out

Ukraine says it destroys 11 Russia-launched drones, two missiles

Tuesday 27 February 2024 07:13 , Tom Watling

Russia launched 13 attack drones and a barrage of missiles at Ukraine overnight, with air defence systems destroying 11 drones as well as two guided missiles over several regions, Ukraine‘s air force said on Monday.

In total, Russia launched 13 attack drones, four of the Kh-59 guided air missile, one air-to-surface Kh-31P missile and ballistic missiles, the Ukraine‘s force said on the Telegram messaging app.

It was not immediately clear how many ballistic missiles Russia reportedly launched or what happened to the missiles and drones that were not downed.

Send weapons not troops to Ukraine, says Spain

Tuesday 27 February 2024 17:08 , Alexander Butler

Spain is the latest of a host of countries reacting to Emmanuel Macron saying sending Western troops to Ukraine could not be ruled out.

Government spokesperson Pilar Alegria said Madrid did not agree with the proposal, and aid should be limited to weapons and other material.

“Unity has been and is the most effective weapon Europe has to face up against [Vladimir] Putin’s attack,” she said.

Inside a frontline drone ‘laboratory’ creating new ways for Ukraine’s troops to hit Putin’s forces

Tuesday 27 February 2024 05:00 , Joe Middleton

Askold Krushelnycky meets members of a battalion in eastern Ukraine using 3D-printed explosive casings to build ‘bomber’ drones to take out artillery, armoured vehicles and tanks

Inside Ukraine’s frontline drone ‘laboratory’ creating new ways to hit Russian forces