A snapshot of recent news from sources around the world on the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.
Four African leaders visited Kyiv on Friday, aiming to promote a peaceful resolution to the conflict. While the leaders were touring the town of Bucha, which was occupied early in the war, Russia conducted missile strikes on Kyiv, prompting Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba to tweet, “Russian missiles are a message to Africa: Russia wants more war, not peace.”
As Ukraine begins its counteroffensive, Russia says it has blunted the attacks by Ukrainian forces in the Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions. Though he claimed Ukraine has lost more armor in recent days, Russian President Vladimir Putin did confirm the loss of 54 Russian main battle tanks.
Meanwhile, Ukraine says it has recaptured territory, including seven villages along the Mokri Yaly River, which flows northward out of Russian-held territory.
Russian mercenary group Wagner is rebuffing Moscow’s attempts to tighten control of the group. Yevgeny Prigozhin, the owner of the private military group, has refused to sign contracts with Russia’s Defense Ministry aimed at bringing paramilitary units in line.
That makes Wagner the odd one out, as other pro-Russia paramilitary groups, including Chechen warlord Ramzan Kadyrov’s Akhmat, have signed the MoD contracts.
In recent U.S. news, the United States announced a $2.1 billion security assistance package for Ukraine under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, meaning equipment and services are being acquired directly from manufacturers. The aid package includes Patriot munitions; HAWK air defense systems and missiles; 105mm and 203mm artillery rounds; Puma unmanned aerial systems; laser-guided rocket system munitions; and support for training, maintenance, and sustainment activities.
The U.S. announced a separate $325 million security assistance package for Ukraine on June 13 that includes 15 Bradley fighting vehicles and 10 Stryker vehicles. The package also includes National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS) munitions, Stinger anti-aircraft systems, HIMARS ammunition, 155mm and 105mm artillery rounds, Javelin anti-armor systems, TOW missiles, AT-4 anti-armor systems, over 22 million rounds of small arms ammunition and grenades, demolition munitions for clearing obstacles, tactical secure communications equipment, spare parts, and other field equipment.
A bipartisan group of six U.S. lawmakers wants the Biden administration to donate Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS) to Ukraine. The U.S. has been hesitant to provide long-range missiles like ATACMS because Ukraine could potentially escalate the conflict by striking targets inside Russian territory.
Canada is providing additional assistance to Ukraine as well. Canada is committing military support by contributing to the Leopard 2 tank maintenance center in Poland, and by providing 288 AIM-7 missiles to be repurposed in the United States for use in air defense systems, plus other equipment and support.
Elsewhere, Norway and Denmark agreed to donate an additional 9,000 rounds of artillery to Ukraine. Norway is providing the shells, while Denmark is donating fuzes and propellant charges. The ammunition will be replaced through the acquisition of new munitions.
The U.K. will contribute to the rapid delivery of a significant package of vital air defense equipment for Ukraine, working alongside international partners, the Defence Secretary has announced. The announcement was made by the defense ministries of Denmark, the Netherlands, the U.K. and the United States during a meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group. The UDCG brings together some 50 nations providing a variety of military support to Ukraine.
Russia is using the war with Ukraine to test a new cruise missile. Missiles of this type were used in combat on June 12. Three new air-launched cruise missiles are in development. These new missiles are to replace the Kh-101 and Kh-555.
Iran is reportedly offering assistance to Russia and Tajikistan to establish new unmanned air vehicle (UAV) production facilities, according to the U.S. State Department. Tehran is seeking to strengthen bilateral relationships with both countries.
In other news, Maj.-Gen. Sergey Goryachev died after a Storm Shadow missile struck targets in Zaporizhzhia region. General Goryachev was Chief of Staff of the 35th Combined Arms Army.
Ukraine is to receive additional Patriot air defense systems to counter the Russian aerial threat. The additional systems are to arrive before the end of 2024. One Patriot system was possibly damaged in a Russian air strike. Ukraine denies this.