Ukraine-Russia war: Russia scrambles fighter jet to intercept US patrol plane

A Russian MiG-31 fighter jet takes off from the Hemeimeem air base in Syria on June 25, 2021
A Russian MiG-31 fighter jet takes off from the Hemeimeem air base in Syria on June 25, 2021 - Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP

Russia scrambled an MiG-31 fighter jet to intercept a US navy plane that was approaching its airspace over the Barents Sea, its defence ministry says.

The jet, sent from Russia’s Northern Fleet, escorted the Poseidon patrol aircraft away from the state border.

The defence ministry said in a statement: “As the Russian fighter approached, a foreign military aircraft made a U-turn away from the state border of the Russian Federation.

“There was no violation of the state border. The flight of the Russian fighter aircraft was carried out in strict compliance with international rules on the use of airspace.”

In August, Russia dispatched an MiG-29 fighter to “prevent a violation” of its border by a Norwegian patrol aircraft over the Barents Sea.

03:04 PM BST

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We will be back tomorrow with all the latest updates on the Ukraine war.

Read the latest news on the conflict here.

02:58 PM BST

Dismissed Ukrainian defence ministers 'could return to government'

Several of the Ukrainian deputy defence ministers dismissed today could return to the government, a source told state broadcaster Suspilne.

However, Hanna Maliar, who has developed a public profile for her regular updates on the war, is not believed to be among them.

02:40 PM BST

Russia reinforces southern front with elite paratroopers

A Ukrainian unit commander runs to his position at the frontline in Andriivka, Donetsk
A Ukrainian unit commander runs to his position at the frontline in Andriivka, Donetsk - Alex Babenko/AP

Russia has redeployed elite paratroopers to the southern front in a bid to prevent a Ukrainian breakthrough, according to British intelligence.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said the 58th Combined Arms Army had been supplemented with extra units on the Orikhiv axis in the last fortnight.

In total, at least five paratrooper regiments are thought to be stationed close to Robotyne. Ukraine seized the village last month and is attempting to push on to the city of Tokmak 12 miles away.

A Ukrainian defence minister said today they had seen “success” to the south and east of the village but did not give further details.

The MoD added that the practice of using paratroopers to plug holes in “over-stretched ground forces” would be seen as “highly unsatisfactory” by the units’ commanders.

02:29 PM BST

'Fierce fighting' in Bakhmut as Russia tries to regain lost ground

Russia is launching “fierce” counterattacks on Ukrainian positions in the east after losing two defensive settlements last week, according to the commander of Ukraine’s army.

Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi said: “Fierce fighting continues in the Bakhmut region.

“After losing the settlements of Andriivka and Klishchiivka last week, the enemy is conducting numerous counterattacks from different directions, unsuccessfully trying to regain lost positions.

“These small, at first glance, setlements were important elements of the enemy’s defensive line, which stretched form Bakhmut to Horlivka.”

02:10 PM BST

Kim Jong-un applauded by walrus on trip to Russia

Wherever Kim Jong-un goes he is met with applause - even from a walrus when he visited a sea life centre in Russia, James Crisp writes.

The North Korean leader looked delighted when he was clapped by the animal at Russky Island’s Primorsky Aquarium, at the end of his six-day trip.

The walrus, named Misha, bowed before blowing Mr Kim kisses during the show.

Read the full story here.

01:59 PM BST

Russia 'intercepts US plane approaching airspace'

Russia scrambled an MiG-31 fighter jet to intercept a US navy plane that was approaching its airspace over the Barents sea, its defence ministry has said.

It escorted the Poseidon patrol craft back over the sea before any border incursions could occur, according to state media.

01:44 PM BST

Donetsk government building suffered 'minor damage'

A Kremlin-backed separatist government building in Donetsk received “minor damage” when it was shelled earlier today, according to Russian media.

Denis Pushilin, head of the breakaway “Donetsk People’s Republic”, said there were no reports of any deaths or injuries.

01:40 PM BST

Russia fires cruise missiles in 'defensive' exercise across from Alaska

Russia has fired cruise missiles at mock targets in the seas separating it from Alaska in what it said was an exercise to protect its northern shipping route.

Its defence ministry said Vulcan, Granit and Onyx cruise missiles were fired over hundreds of miles to strike targets representing enemy ships in the Bering Sea.

01:35 PM BST

Footage emerges of alleged strike on Donetsk separatists

Unverified footage appears to show smoke billowing from a Russian-backed separatist government building in the centre of Donetsk.

State news agencies claim Ukrainian forces fired three missiles from a multiple launch rocket system (MLRS), although this has not been confirmed.

01:22 PM BST

Reports of Ukrainian strike on Moscow-backed separatist government

Ukraine has reportedly attacked the main administrative building in Russian-annexed Donetsk, according to state news agencies.

A pro-Russian Telegram account has also suggested a fire broke out after the building received a direct hit from a shell.

Another pro-Russian channel suggests the attack was “most likely” carried out by a multiple launch rocket system (MLRS).

The claims have not been confirmed and no casualties have been reported.

01:05 PM BST

Pictured: Unverified images show damage to Russia's Rostov submarine

12:58 PM BST

Drone discovered in Bulgarian tourist resort is defused

A Bulgarian navy team has defused an drone laden with explosives after it was founded at a tourist resort on the Black Sea.

Military specialists were dispatched to the coastal town of Tyulenov after a hotelier reported yesterday that a drone appeared to be stuck in the cliffs.

“We can certainly assume that it is linked to the war that Russia launched against Ukraine,” said defence minister Todor Tagarev, adding: “This war is inevitably associated with increasing risks for our security.”

12:48 PM BST

Defence ministers pushed out in 'complete overhaul'

Six Ukrainian deputy defence ministers resigned following a request by the newly-appointed defence minister, according to Ukrainian media.

Rustem Umierov asked his deputies to step down two weeks after replacing Oleksii Reznikov at the department, sources told Ukrainska Pravda.

“A complete overhaul is underway,” a figure close to the defence ministry added.

12:23 PM BST

Storm Shadow storage sites 'hit by Russia'

Russia says it has attacked Ukraine’s stock of Storm Shadow missiles after they were used to strike one of its landing ships and submarines in Sevastopol.

According to the Baza Telegram channel, which has links to the security services, they also struck centres used for electronic reconnaissance and training sabotage groups.

“The tarfet of the strike was achieved, all objects were hit,” it added. The report has not been independently verified.

12:15 PM BST

Zelensky: Counteroffensive must continue despite bad weather

Volodymyr Zelensky has insisted Ukraine will continue its counteroffensive even as the weather worsens because “we musn’t give Putin a break”.

He told CBS: “We need to liberate our territory as much as possible and move forward, even if it’s less than [half a mile or] a hundred [yards] we must do it. We can’t lose time.

“Forget about the weather, and the like. In places that we can’t get through in an armored vehicle - let’s fly. If we can’t fly - let’s send drones.  We mustn’t give Putin a break.”

It comes after Gen. Mark Milley, the US’ most senior military figure, warned Ukraine had just weeks before mud and rain hampered any attempted advances.

11:43 AM BST

Kim Jong-un’s parting gifts revealed as he heads home after Russia tour

The Kremlin gave North Korean leader Kim Jong-un five explosive drones and a bulletproof vest as he concluded his six-day visit to the country, Harriet Barber writes.

The visit has deepened ties between the two countries and fuelled Western fears that Pyongyang might arm Moscow in Ukraine.

The Russian agency said the “leader of the DPRK received five kamikaze drones and a Geran-25 reconnaissance drone with vertical take-off”. It said that Kim was also offered a “set of bulletproof protection” and “special clothing not detectable by thermal cameras”.

Read the full story here.

11:38 AM BST

Russia holds drills 'to protect Northern Sea Route'

Thousands of Russian soldiers are participating drills to protect its Northern Sea Route, the Kremlin has said.

Some 10,000 military personnel and more than 50 pieces of equipment are said to be part of the “defensive” exercise, according to state news agencies.

11:23 AM BST

Musk on counteroffensive: 'So much death for so little'

Elon Musk has declared Ukraine has achieved “little” in its counteroffensive in latest of his controversial interventions on the war.

Responding to a tweet on Ukraine’s campaign to recapture territory in the south and east, the billionaire wrote: “So much death for so little.”

It emerged earlier this month that he had refused to allow Kyiv access to his Starlink satellite network for a drone strike on occupied Crimea.

11:13 AM BST

Ukraine fighting ‘WW1 with drones’, says Zelensky

Ukraine is fighting “World War One with drones”, Volodymyr Zelensky has said, as its counteroffensive to recapture territory from Russia descends into a bloody attritional war.

The Ukrainian president said Kyiv, which has recently reclaimed villages on the southern and eastern fronts, had the “initiative” but had been bogged down by the depth of Moscow’s defences.

Mr Zelensky told CBS’ 60 Minutes: “Western donated tanks were supposed to punch through cutting the Russian force in half. But trenches, minefields and artillery stopped the armoured advance.

“Now, it’s an artillery duel with each side firing about 40,000 shells a day. Ukrainian infantry is advancing bloody yards at a time. It’s World War One with drones.”

11:02 AM BST

Russian war critics 'face torture and ill-treatment'

Human rights in Russia have deteriorated since its invasion of Ukraine last year, according to a report by a UN expert.

Special Rapporteur Mariana Katzarova said authorities have carried out mass arbitrary arrests of critics of the war, who face “persistent use of torture and ill-treatment”.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment because he had not seen the report.

10:43 AM BST

Russia braces for Ukrainian attack on ‘linchpin’ town

Russian forces are preparing to defend a “linchpin” town along the southern frontline as Ukraine pushes on with its counteroffensive before winter closes the fighting season, James Kilner writes.

Britain’s Ministry of Defence has said that the Kremlin has rushed reinforcements to Tokmak, which is 12 miles south of the recent breakthrough Ukraine made at Robotyne.

“Improvements to the town’s defences likely indicate Russia’s growing concern about Ukrainian tactical penetrations of the first main defensive line,” it said.

Read the full story here.

10:32 AM BST

Russia 'to launch eastern push after Ukrainian gains'

Russia has eased its pressure on Kupyansk and Lyman but is “regrouping its troops” in preparation for a push in the east of Ukraine. according to reports.

Hanna Maliar, a deputy Ukrainian defence minister who has since been dismissed, said: “The east is the main offensive direction for Russian troops, where Russia is conducting offensive in several directions.

“Over the past week, at the Kupyansk and Lyman directions, we observed a decrease in the activity of Russian troops.

“But we witness that Russia is regrouping its troops there and concentrating forces to move forward again.”

09:58 AM BST

Deputy defence minister 'dismissed' in Kyiv cull

Six of Ukraine’s deputy defence ministers have been dismissed after Volodymyr Zelensky declared the department needed a “new approach”.

Among their number was Hanna Maliar, who issued a number of updates on the war and pre-emptively announced the recapture of Klishchiivka last week.

Defence minister Oleksii Reznikov, who had been in post since Russia’s invasion in February 2022, was sacked by Mr Zelensky two weeks ago.

09:55 AM BST

Pictured: US Bradleys spotted in Orikhiv on southern front

Ukrainian soldiers gesture atop their Bradley Fighting Vehicle (BFV) in the frontline town of Orikhiv
Ukrainian soldiers gesture atop their Bradley Fighting Vehicle (BFV) in the frontline town of Orikhiv - Oliver Weiken/Avalon

09:50 AM BST

Russian spy 'arrested for gathering counteroffensive information'

An alleged Russian security service agent who allegedly spied on the eastern front counteroffensive has been arrested in Ukraine.

The man, who apparently disguised himself in a Ukrainian uniform to gather information on the movement of troops and equipment, was detained in Dnipro.

The Security Service of Ukraine said in a statement: “The occupiers needed agency intelligence to plan combat operations and sabotage aimed at slowing down the Ukrainian counteroffensive in the areas of Vuhledar and Novosilka.

“He is currently in custody. The investigation is ongoing. The perpetrator faces life imprisonment.”

09:37 AM BST

Attack drone lands in Bulgarian tourist town

Bulgaria’s defence ministry has sent a special unit to deactive an explosives-laden drone which landed yesterday evening in the Black Sea town of Tyulenovo.

The tourist resort is 43 miles south of the Romanian border and situated across from Crimea, the Russian-annexed peninsula regularly targeted by Ukrainian drone strikes.

It is unclear whether the drone had fallen from the air or had been washed in by the sea. Its origin is unclear.

09:26 AM BST

Russian planes 'fire cruise missiles at Ukrainian targets'

An “unprecedented number” of Russian aircraft reportedly attacked Ukraine last night in concert with “kamikaze” drones.

In comments reported by Ukrainska Pravda, a spokesman for the Ukrainian air force said: “Last night there was an unprecedented number of aircraft: several dozen aircraft.

“It is unusual that they  were in the airspace at night. These are both drones and tactical aircraft that attacked Ukraine together with... cruise missiles and Shahed drones. Aircraft activity was high.”

Air defences are said to have brought down 18 attack drones around Mykolaiv and Odesa, along with 17 missiles.

09:19 AM BST

Ukraine hails 'success' in push south from Robotyne

Ukraine has recaptured two square miles on the southern front in the last week, according to a Ukrainian defence minister.

Hanna Maliar said: “To the south and east of Robotyne, we had success and during the past week, 5.2 square kilometres [two square miles] were released in the southern direction.”

09:06 AM BST

Pictures: Ukraine raises flag above liberated Andriivka

A Ukrainian unit commander raises the Ukrainian flag as a symbol of liberation of the frontline village
A Ukrainian unit commander raises the Ukrainian flag as a symbol of liberation of the frontline village - Alex Babenko/AP
A Ukrainian unit commander speaks with a soldier in the frontline a few kilometers from Andriivka, Donetsk region
A Ukrainian unit commander speaks with a soldier in the frontline a few kilometers from Andriivka, Donetsk region - Alex Babenko/AP
Ukrainian servicemen carry body bags of their fallen comrades through the trees near Andriivka, Donetsk region
Ukrainian servicemen carry body bags of their fallen comrades through the trees near Andriivka, Donetsk region - Alex Babenko/AP

08:45 AM BST

Two dead in attack on Kherson

Two people were killed in Kherson as Russia carried out a new wave of overnight attacks on Ukraine, the southern region’s governor has said.

Oleksandr Prokudin said a 72-year-old man aged 72 and an elderly woman had been killed and three others wounded, but gave no further details.

He said four others were injured in a drone strike on the town of Beryslav, adding: “The occupiers deliberately attacked a crowded place, dropping explosives near the local bus station.”

08:24 AM BST

'Ukraine has a moral right to strike Russia'

Volodymyr Zelensky has said Ukraine has a “moral right” to strike Russian territory, warning its leadership: “Your sky is not as well protected as you think.”

The Ukrainian president stopped short of claiming credit for the attacks on Moscow and other regions, but issued a warning if Russia targeted its power stations as the winter draws in.

He told CBS: “They must know if you cut off our power, deprive us of electricity, deprive us of water, deprive us of gasoline you need to know we have the right to do it.”

08:13 AM BST

Zelensky pays tribute to 'Klishchiivka warriors'

Volodymyr Zelensky has thanked Ukrainian “warriors” for “liberating our land” after the eastern village of Klishchiivka was recaptured.

It comes a few days after Kyiv said it had taken back the nearby settlement of Andriivka as it attempts to encircle the besieged city of Bakhmut.

08:08 AM BST

Bakhmut battles 'open way for breakthrough in south'

Kyiv’s campaign on the eastern front around Bakhmut is preventing Russia from shoring up its defences to the south, a think tank has said.

According to the Institute for the Study of War: “Elements of two of Russia’s four Airborne (VDV) divisions and three of Russia’s four VDV separate brigades are currently defending the Bakhmut area.

“This significant Ukrainian achievement has helped prevent Russia from creating a large mobile VDV operational reserve that could have been used to stop the main Ukrainian counteroffensive effort in Zaporizhzhia.”

07:56 AM BST

MoD: Russian paratroopers 'used to plug holes in infantry'

07:55 AM BST

Oil depot attacked in 'Ukrainian drone strike'

Ukraine has attacked a Russian oil depot in a bid to cut off its resources and choke up its military machine, according to unconfirmed reports.

According to the Rybar Telegram channel, a drone hit a fuel tank in the Oryol region close to the border between the two countries.

“The resulting fire was promptly eliminated by the operational services staff,” it added.

07:50 AM BST

Russia: Nine Ukrainian drones destroyed over Crimea

Russia says it destroyed nine Ukrainian drones across Crimea on Sunday as Kyiv seeks to loosen its grip on the annexed peninsula.

More drones were said to have been brought down in three Russian regions. It is unclear whether the alleged strikes caused any casualties or damage.

“Drones were intercepted over the western, southwestern, northwestern and eastern parts of the Crimean peninsula; Istra and Domodedovo districts of Moscow region, Belgorod and Voronezh regions,” the defence ministry said.

07:43 AM BST

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