Ukraine-Russia war latest: Kremlin responds to 'irresponsible' suggestion made by Starmer (2024)

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  • Kremlin responds to 'irresponsible' suggestion made by Starmer
  • Zelenskyy appears to admit concern over what US election means for war
  • NATO allies commit to sending air defence systems to Ukraine
  • Doctor recalls 'hell' of attack on children's hospital
  • Deborah Haynes analysis:Russia sending a message to NATO
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Analysis: NATO's focus also on 'Ukraine of East Asia' as China mimics Russian rhetoric

By Nicole Johnston, Asia correspondent in Beijing

NATO will appear focused on the Russia-Ukraine war this week, but there is another potential theatre of conflict in its sight - the Indo-Pacific.

NATO leaders understand that stability in the Indo-Pacific is essential to security in Europe and beyond: A war here would ripple across the world.

For that reason, representatives from Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand (called the IP4) are also at the NATO summit.

Secretary-general of the alliance Jens Stoltenberg wrote inForeign Affairsthis week that NATO had entered an era of "enduring competition with China".

The Indo-Pacific is being carved up by alliances and partnerships.

There is the AUKUS nuclear submarine deal between Australia, the UK and the US to counter China's military expansion.

The "Quad" is a security forum between India, Australia, Japan and South Korea.

This year the US held military training exercises with Japan and South Korea.

China's Communist Party feels hemmed in by these blocs. These alliances are taking shape in a region China regards as its own backyard. US influence here is not welcome.

The naval ships of Western countries are sailing through the East China Sea and South China Sea, off the coast of Taiwan and across the Pacific. China claims most of the South China Sea as its own.

The Chinese military is operating on the sea and in the skies close to forces from the US and Australia. There have been close calls. The risk of miscalculation is high.

China is alarmed by the strengthening ties between the IP4 and NATO.

On Monday, Lin Jian, a spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry, accused NATO of "breaching its boundary, expanding its mandate, reaching beyond its defence zone and stoking confrontation".

China's argument has overtones of the rhetoric used by Russia in its justification for launching a war on Ukraine.

Russia blamed NATO's eastward expansion. China compares US alliances in this region as being akin to a "NATO" in Asia.

China is also entangled in the Russia-Ukraine war. Officially it is neutral and calls for peace. But its ongoing trade with Russia allows President Vladimir Putin to continue the war.

The Chinese military has started 11 days of joint drills with Belarus close to the Polish and Ukrainian border, only a fortnight after the Polish president, Andrzej Duda, was in Beijing.

The big question here is what happens in Taiwan. Japan has said the "Ukraine of today may be East Asia of tomorrow".

China is adamant Taiwan will unite with the mainland eventually.

What's unclear is how the myriad of US-led alliances in the Indo-Pacific would respond.


Lammy demands British national's release from Russian prison after hospital transfer

Foreign Secretary David Lammy has demanded the immediate release of a British national being held in "deplorable" conditions in Russia.

He branded the sentencing of opposition politician Vladimir Kara-Murza to 25 years in prison "absurd".

Mr Kara-Murza, 42, was convicted of treason last year over public remarks critical of the Kremlin.

News broke last week that he was being transferred to a prison hospital and his attorneys had been unable to visit him there since Thursday.

"I am extremely concerned that Vladimir's lawyers are being denied access to him in prison hospital, and that the Russian authorities continue to refuse him consular assistance from the British Embassy," said Mr Lammy.

"Vladimir is being held in deplorable conditions in prison for having the courage to tell the truth about the war in Ukraine.

"His absurd 25-year sentence shows the Kremlin's deep fear that more Russians will know the reality of Putin's illegal war – and is further evidence of the targeted repression of the opposition."

Mr Kara-Murza has rejected the charges against him and likened the proceedings to the show trials under Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.


One dead and seven wounded after attack on Russian region

A man has been killed and seven people wounded in a Ukrainian attack on the Russian region of Belgorod, according to its governor.

Vyacheslav Gladkov said three apartment buildings were damaged inShebekino as well as five commercial facilities and 20 cars.

Three civilians were killed and several others wounded on Monday, he said, when Ukrainian shells hit a village in the region called Nikolskoye.

Earlier today, the Kremlin said Russia's military was still working to create a"buffer zone" in Ukraine's Kharkiv region but this would taketime.

Vladimir Putin said in May that Russia wascreating such a zone in order to protect its border regions fromUkrainian attacks - while continuing to launch rockets and missiles into Ukraine.


Ukrainian cyclist killed while serving in armed forces

A Ukrainian cyclist who competed in international competitions has been killed while serving in Ukraine's armed forces, authorities have said.

Andriy Kutsenko was killed in battle with Russian forces on 3 July, the local administration of Ukraine's western Lviv region confirmed.

Mr Kutsenko spent a decade in the national track cycling team and later moved to Italy.

When Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, he returned as a volunteer fighter, the administration said. He reportedly died during a combat mission.


Surgeons recall being hit with shrapnel and rushing to shift debris after hospital strike

Surgeons have recalled scenes of chaos after a missile hit Okhmatdyt children's hospital during one of Russia's heaviest attacks on Kyiv for months.

Oleh Holubchenko, a paediatric surgeon, was preparing to operate on a five-month-old patient on Monday morning when air raid sirens started ringing out.

A missile then struck the hospital in daylight, levelling one of its wings, killing at least two adults and injuring 50 others.

Mr Holubchenko said it took him 15 minutes to realise he was covered in shrapnel wounds as he was focused on evacuating patients.

"I immediately got up and asked if everyone was okay," he said.

"After that, with the anaesthesiologist, we manually ventilated the lungs because the machine was completely punctured and the tubing was disconnected."

Meanwhile, maxillofacial surgeon Ihor Kolodka said he was "hit in the face" with glass shrapnel, which injured "most" people around him.

He said he quickly joined in the emergency operation to look for people under the rubble of the hospital's collapsed toxicology building.

"No one thought about anything else; everyone just wanted to do something useful, to save people," Mr Kolodka said.


Zelenskyy fears Putin-Trump summit where Ukraine 'told what will happen', analyst says

Donald Trump being re-elected to the White House would result in a Putin-Trump summit where Ukraine is "told what is going to happen", a military and security analyst has said.

Professor Michael Clarke said it's clear that Volodymyr Zelenskyy is "worried" about what the outcome of the ballot in November will mean for his country.

In Washington yesterday, the Ukrainian president said "everyone is waiting for November", including Vladimir Putin.

"It is time to step out of the shadows, to make strongdecisions... to act and not to wait for November or any othermonth," Mr Zelenskyy said.

Prof Clarke said the US and the Biden administration "will want to bake in to the American approach" as much as possible before US voters head to the polls.

He said NATO would "take a deep breath" if Mr Biden won again in November - but cautioned that a Trump win could lead to a change in "the whole demeanour of the war in Ukraine".

"If Trump wins in November it won't be a cliff edge, because he won't become president until January 2025 and it will take some time for his policies to work their way through. But undoubtedly, NATO will start to anticipate some changes," he said.

Prof Clarke added: "Clearly Zelenskyy is worried about that - and why wouldn't he be worried?

"If Trump becomes becomes president, then almost certainly there'll be a Putin-Trump summit which will try to impose some sort of negotiated settlement on Ukraine."

Any meeting between the pair could result in Ukraine being "told what is going to happen", Prof Clarke said, adding: "That's the danger that Zelenskyy sees."


Kremlin: 'Irresponsible' for UK to let Kyiv use Storm Shadow missiles in Russia

The Kremlin has responded after Sir Keir Starmer signalled that Ukraine can use UK-supplied Storm Shadow missiles to strike military targets inside Russia (see previous post).

Asked for his thoughts on the UK prime minister's comments, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said "if it's true" then "this is another irresponsible step towards increasing tension and escalating the situation".

Signalling that Russia would respond if the UK permitted the use of its missiles in Russian territory, Mr Peskov said: "We will carefully record everything and take measures."


Starmer signals Ukraine can use UK missiles to strike inside Russia

Sir Keir Starmer has said it's up to Ukraine to decide how it uses UK-supplied Storm Shadow missiles, in an indication that its forces would be allowed to strike targets inside Russia.

The prime minister said aid supplied by Britain was "for defensive purposes" but Kyiv can "decide how to deploy it for those defensive purposes".

Bloomberg reported a little more detail of Sir Keir's answer to the question, which came as he spoke to journalists en route to the NATO summit in Washington.

The outlet quoted the Labour leader as saying the long-range cruise missiles should "obviously to be used in accordance with international humanitarian law as you would expect".

Former foreign secretary Lord Cameron, who was part of the previous Conservative government, made similar comments about Ukraine's use of Storm Shadow missiles earlier this year.

At the time, Russia branded it a "very dangerous statement".


Russia lacks manpower and munitions for major offensive, NATO official says

Russia lacks the amount of ammunition and troops necessary to launch a major offensive in Ukraine, a senior NATO official has said.

The official said Moscow would need to procure a significant supply of munitions from other countries beyond the stocks it already has in order to do so.

However, he warned Russia would be able to keep its economy on a war footing for several more years.

He also cautioned it would be "some time" before Ukraine could gather the munitions and soldiers it needed to mount its own offensive.

Russia has been encouraging people to sign up to fight in the war by offering them well above average pay.

Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said recently that nearly 200,000 recruits had signed contracts in 2024 so far.


UK 'expects' all allies to continue supporting Ukraine

The UK's armed forces minister has said the country's allies should continue supporting Ukraine "regardless of their political stripe".

Appearing on Sky News ahead of Sir Keir Starmer's appearance at a major NATO summit in Washington, Luke Pollard answered a question on whether he was concerned about a drop in support for Kyiv if Donald Trump wins the US presidential election.

"We want all our allies to be supporting Ukraine. That's our expectation," he said.

"We'll work with every single one of them, regardless of political stripe, to make sure they do so, because Ukraine's security is all our security."

Mr Pollard said Russia's defeat in Ukraine was not just important for Ukraine itself, but also the UK and US.

"If [Russia] do win in Ukraine, they won't stop with Ukraine," he warned.

Ukraine-Russia war latest: Kremlin responds to 'irresponsible' suggestion made by Starmer (2024)


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