Russia has accused the United States of being “directly involved” in the war by supplying targeting information for Ukraine’s long-range missile strikes.
A spokesman for Moscow’s defence ministry claimed the United States was approving targets for the US-made Himars artillery used by Ukrainian forces.
Vadym Skibitsky, Ukraine’s acting deputy head of military intelligence, denied US officials were providing direct targeting information but acknowledged there was consultation.
Himars (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) artillery fires precision-guided missiles at a range of some 80km (50 miles). The system gives Ukraine’s forces the ability to strike further behind Russian lines, and at distances better protected from Russia’s own long-range weaponry.
Elsewhere, the UN Refugee Agency has reported that the number of border crossings from Ukraine has passed 10 million for the first time since Russia invaded the country.
The latest intelligence update from the UK Ministry of Defence said there is likely to be an increase in civilians attempting to flee Kherson and the surrounding area as hostilities continue and food shortages worsen, putting pressure on transport routes.
The ministry also said a Ukrainian strike against a Russian ammunition train in Kherson oblast, southern Ukraine, means it is “highly unlikely” the rail link between Kherson and Crimea is operational.
A group of Russian soldiers have accused their commanders of jailing them in eastern Ukraine for refusing to take part in the war. About 140 soldiers were detained and four have filed complaints with an investigative committee, said Maxim Grebenyuk, head of Moscow-based group Military Ombudsman.
Former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, a friend of Vladimir Putin, said the Russian president wanted a negotiated solution to the war in Ukraine and last month’s agreement on grain shipments might offer a way forward.
“The good news is that the Kremlin wants a negotiated solution,” Mr Schroeder told Stern weekly and broadcasters RTL/ntv, adding he had met Mr Putin in Moscow last week.
“A first success is the grain deal, perhaps that can be slowly expanded to a ceasefire.”
Russia and Ukraine struck a deal last month to unblock grain exports from Black Sea ports and the first ship carrying Ukrainian grain to world markets since Moscow’s invasion five months ago arrived in Turkey overnight.
Mr Schroeder said solutions to crucial problems such as Crimea could be found over time, “maybe not over 99 years, like Hong Kong, but in the next generation”. He said an alternative to Nato membership for Ukraine might be armed neutrality, such as with Austria.
The future of the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, the scene of fierce fighting, however, was more complicated. “A solution based on the Swiss cantonal model will have to be found,” he said, adding it would have to be seen if Mr Putin would go back to a pre-war “contact line” in a ceasefire.
Mr Schroeder, German chancellor from 1998 to 2005, has criticised the war in Ukraine but refused to condemn Mr Putin. Increasingly derided in Germany for his pro-Russia stance, Mr Schroeder has been stripped of his right to a publicly funded office. — Guardian
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