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Ukraine war: Kyiv fights off Russian retaliation, Wagner in Belarus, frontlines 'changing'

A Ukrainian soldier prepares a Croatian RAK-SA-12 128mm multiple rocket launcher to fire towards the Russian positions. Monday, July 10, 2023.

Moscow claims to shoot down drones in Crimea region

Russian air defence shot down 28 Ukrainian drones over Crimea on Monday night, according to the country's Defence Ministry. 

"Seventeen Ukrainian drones were destroyed by air defence," the ministry wrote on Telegram. "Eleven other drones were neutralised" and "having failed to reach their target, they crashed".

The ministry also claimed "there were no casualties or damage" - with the local governor installed in Crimea by Moscow, Sergei Aksionov backing this statement. 

Since the start of the offensive against Ukraine in February 2022, Crimea, annexed by Russia in 2014, has been a regular target of air and naval drone attacks. 

The Black Sea peninsula is a vital supply line for Russian forces fighting in southern Ukraine.  

Russia vows bridge attack response

Russian President Vladimir Putin has promised a "response" to Ukraine's second attack on a key bridge in Crimea, which occurred early Monday morning. 

"Given that this is the second terrorist attack on the Crimean bridge, I expect concrete proposals to improve the security of this important and strategic transport infrastructure," Putin declared in a televised government meeting.

Putin called for enhanced security measures on the Kerch Bridge, which links Crimea to the Russian mainland. 

Yesterday, the Kremlin suggested the West could be "complicit" in the attack if it supplied the drones and intelligence that were allegedly used.  

The strike caused extensive damage to the road section of the structure. 

It was carried out by Ukrainian special services and naval forces using "naval drones", according to a source in the Ukrainian security services (SBU).

Wagner mercenaries training Belarus defence forces

Belarus' government has claimed Wagner fighters are training its defence forces, with more of the mercenaries reported to have entered the country as part of a deal brokered by Belarussian President Aleksandr Lukashenko. 

The state-controlled TV channel, Voen TV, showed footage of the Wagner fighters wearing black masks while training Belarusian soldiers. 

The video showed mercenaries instructing Belarusian soldiers how to shoot and provide medical assistance. 

Euronews cannot independently verify the footage.

According to Belarus's Ministry of Defence, the training was taking place near the town of Asipovichy, about 90km (56 miles) south of the capital, Minsk, where a camp offered to Wagner is located.

There are reports of over 100 vehicles carrying Russian flags and Wagner insignia heading towards the camp. 

President Lukashenko, who brokered a deal that ended last month's rebellion launched by Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin against Moscow, has said that his country's military could benefit from the mercenaries' combat experience.

Posted on 18 Jul 2023 08:42 link