Vladimir Putin’s military “largely neutralised” in its skill to regulate swathe of Black Sea, UK defence chiefs

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ladimir Putin’s military has been “largely neutralised” via Ukrainian coastal defences in its skill to regulate a swathe of the Black Sea, British defence chiefs mentioned on Tuesday.

They highlighted the reported “first successful use of Western-donated Harpoon anti-ship missiles” to sink a Russian tug.

The assault had thwarted Russian efforts to resupply its forces on Snake Island which has been fiercerly fought over, they added.

In its newest intelligence replace, the Ministry of Defence in London mentioned: “On 17 June 2022, Ukrainian forces claimed their first successful use of Western-donated Harpoon anti-ship missiles to engage Russian maritime forces.

“The target of the attack was almost certainly the Russian naval tug Spasatel Vasily Bekh, which was delivering weapons and personnel to Snake Island in the north-western Black Sea.

“The destruction of the Russian vessel on a resupply mission demonstrates the difficulty Russia faces when attempting to support their forces occupying Snake Island.”

The army intelligence briefing added: “This is the latest in a series of Russian vessels, including the cruiser Moskva, to be damaged or destroyed by Ukraine during the conflict.

“Ukrainian coastal defence capability has largely neutralised Russia’s ability to establish sea control and project maritime force in the north-western Black Sea.

“This has undermined the viability of Russia’s original operational design for the invasion, which involved holding the Odesa region at risk from the sea.”

Also referred to as Zmiinyi Island, Snake Island lies within the north-western Black Sea, some 30 miles from the Ukrainian coast and 180 miles west of annexed Crimea.

It turned into a logo of defiant Ukrainian resistance within the face of overwhelming Russian energy originally of Mr Putin’s invasion on February 24.

Around a dozen Ukrainian squaddies have been feared to were obliterated via a Russian bombardment after reportedly refusing to give up and telling one in all its warships to “go to hell”.

They have been awarded posthumous bravery honours via Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky.

Defence chiefs in Britain and different international locations within the West are engaged in a data warfare towards Russia, as a part of the war in Ukraine, so their intelligence briefings and claims wish to be handled in that context.

However, the Kremlin’s claims wish to be handled with much more warning for the reason that it does now not even settle for Mr Putin has unleashed a warfare in Ukraine and its denials of warfare crimes and killing hundreds of civilians are very a lot at odds with well-liked stories from the war zone.

Meanwhile, Russia has warned NATO member Lithuania that except it temporarily lifts a brand new ban at the transit of products to Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave at the Baltic Sea, then Moscow will take undisclosed measures to shield its nationwide pursuits.

Ukraine said on Tuesday difficulties in combating in its east as Russian forces regrouped to release a recent onslaught at the town of Severodonetsk within the Luhansk province of the Donbas area.

Serhiy Gaidai, governor of Luhansk, mentioned Russian forces had won some territory on Monday even though it was once slightly quiet in a single day.

“It’s a calm before the storm,” he mentioned.

Mr Zelensky predicted the Kremlin would step up assaults forward of the EU summit on Thursday and Friday. He was once defiant in a past due Monday deal with to the country, whilst additionally relating to “difficult” combating in Luhansk for Severodonetsk and its sister town, Lysychansk.

“We are defending Lysychansk, Severodonetsk, this whole area, the most difficult one. We have the most difficult fighting there,” he mentioned.

“But we have our strong guys and girls there.”

Mr Gaidai mentioned Russian forces managed maximum of Severodonetsk, excluding the Azot chemical plant, the place greater than 500 civilians, together with 38 kids, were sheltering for weeks.

The street connecting Severodonetsk and Lysychansk to town of Bakhmut was once underneath consistent shell hearth, he mentioned.

Rodion Miroshnik, ambassador to Russia of the self-styled Luhansk People’s Republic, mentioned its forces have been “moving from the south towards Lysychansk” with firefights erupting in quite a lot of cities.

“The hours to come should bring considerable changes to the balance of forces in the area,” he mentioned on Telegram.

Mr Putin despatched tens of hundreds of troops into Ukraine on February 24 in what Moscow referred to as a “special operation” to degrade its army functions and root out what it calls unhealthy nationalists.

It has offered a regulation making the unfold of “knowingly fake” knowledge or reporting that might discredit the Russian army an offence.

Dmitry Muratov, the co-winner of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize and editor of unbiased Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, auctioned off his Nobel medal for a document $103.5 million (£84 million) to assist kids displaced via the warfare.

His paper, fiercely crucial of Mr Putin, suspended operations in Russia in March after warnings over its protection of the warfare.

The warfare has entered a brutal attritional section in fresh weeks, with Russian forces focusing on Ukrainian-controlled portions of the Donbas, which Russia claims on behalf of separatists.

Ukrainian officers reported 3 civilian deaths in Russian shelling within the Donetsk area on Monday and some other 3 in shelling within the Kharkiv area.

In Odesa, Ukraine’s greatest Black Sea port, which is blockaded via the Russian military, a Russian missile destroyed a meals warehouse on Monday, Ukraine’s army mentioned.

The United States and its European allies have supplied guns and monetary help to Ukraine however have shyed away from direct involvement within the war. Some electorate from Britain, the United States and different countries, then again, have volunteered to combat for Ukraine.

On Monday, the Kremlin mentioned two Americans detained in Ukraine have been mercenaries now not lined via the Geneva conference who will have to face accountability for his or her movements.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov’s feedback have been the primary formal acknowledgment that the 2, recognized in US stories as Andy Huynh, 27, and Alexander Drueke, 39, have been being held.

A US State Department spokesperson mentioned they’d been in contact with Russian government relating to any American electorate who can have been captured.

“We call on the Russian government – as well as its proxies – to live up to their international obligations in their treatment of any individual, including those captured fighting in Ukraine,” it mentioned.

This month, a separatist court docket within the Donbas sentenced Britons Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner, and Moroccan Brahim Saaudun, to demise when they have been stuck combating for Ukraine.

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