Russia-Ukraine war: Russian forces gathering in the south but unclear why, UK intelligence warns – live | World news

War ‘about to enter new phase’, UK intelligence warns

We’ve got more from the UK’s MoD.

On what Ukraine’s troops are focusing on, it adds:

Ukrainian forces are focusing their targeting on bridges, ammunition depots, and rail links with growing frequency in Ukraine’s southern regions.

Including the strategically important railroad spur that links Kherson to Russian-occupied Crimea, almost certainly using a combination of block, damage, degrade, deny, destroy, and disrupt effects to try to affect Russia’s ability to logistically resupply.

The MoD then adds it believes the war is about to enter a “new phase”.

Russia’s war on Ukraine is about to enter a new phase, with the heaviest fighting shifting to a roughly 350km frontline stretching south-west from near Zaporizhzhia to Kherson, paralleling the Dnieper River.

Key events

Oksana Pokalchuk, the head of Amnesty International’s office in Ukraine, has resigned from her role following a report published by the human rights organization which accused the Ukrainian military of breaching international humanitarian law.

The report, which has been criticized by Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, as well as western diplomas, including the British and US ambassadors to Ukraine, accused the Ukrainian military of putting civilians at risk by positioning themselves in residential areas such as empty or civilian schools buildings, meaning Russia will target urban areas risking civilian lives in the crossfire.

Announcing her resignation via Facebook, Pokalchuk said she held meetings with Amnesty International to discuss what they were going to publish but said that her input was ‘deleted’ and replaced with what the organization published in their report on Thursday.

“If you don’t live in a country invaded by invaders and are tearing it to pieces, you probably don’t understand what it’s like to condemn an ​​army of defenders. And there are no words in any language that can convey this to someone who has not felt this pain,” Pokalchuk said

The report has since been used by Kremlin-directed Russian media as a way to evidence their false claims that Russian forces are only going after military targets in Ukraine.

Despite ongoing criticism, Amnesty International said that while it condemns Russia’s invasion of the reports findings were based on evidence gathered during extensive investigations and that it would report Ukrainian violations when it observed them.

Here are some of the latest images from photographers on the ground in Ukraine:

Members of the Dnipro-1 regiment carry logs to fortify their position near Sloviansk, Donetsk region
Members of the Dnipro-1 regiment carry logs to fortify their position near Sloviansk, Donetsk region. Photograph: David Goldman/AP
Yulya, 33, and Roman, 36, say goodbye to each other as Yulya departs on a train and Roman's rotation to the frontline begins.
Yulya, 33, and Roman, 36, say goodbye to each other as Yulya departs on a train and Roman’s rotation to the frontline begins. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
The funeral ceremony for Ukrainian servicemen Andrii Zhovanyk and Yurii Kovalenko in Kyiv.
The funeral ceremony for Ukrainian servicemen Andrii Zhovanyk and Yurii Kovalenko in Kyiv.
Photograph: Reuters

War ‘about to enter new phase’, UK intelligence warns

We’ve got more from the UK’s MoD.

On what Ukraine’s troops are focusing on, it adds:

Ukrainian forces are focusing their targeting on bridges, ammunition depots, and rail links with growing frequency in Ukraine’s southern regions.

Including the strategically important railroad spur that links Kherson to Russian-occupied Crimea, almost certainly using a combination of block, damage, degrade, deny, destroy, and disrupt effects to try to affect Russia’s ability to logistically resupply.

The MoD then adds it believes the war is about to enter a “new phase”.

Russia’s war on Ukraine is about to enter a new phase, with the heaviest fighting shifting to a roughly 350km frontline stretching south-west from near Zaporizhzhia to Kherson, paralleling the Dnieper River.

Russian forces massing in the south, says UK MoD

As we just mentioned, the UK’s Ministry of Defense has revealed there is a significant build-up of Russian forces in southern Ukraine.

However, the MoD said it was unclear whether these additional forces were for a new assault on Ukrainian territory or in anticipation for a Ukrainian counteroffensive.

It reported:

Long convoys of Russian military trucks, tanks, towed artillery, and other weapons continue to move away from Ukraine’s Donbas region and are headed south-west.

Equipment was also reported to be moving from Russian-occupied Melitopol, Berdiansk, Mariupol and from mainland Russia via the Kerch Bridge into Crimea.

Battalion tactical groups (BTG), which comprise between 800 and 1,000 troops, have been deployed to Crimea and would almost certainly be used to support Russian troops in the Kherson region.

On 02 August 2022, a new BTG had been deployed to Crimea and BTGs are also being re-deployed from the Eastern Grouping of Forces. These will highly likely be felt into the Kherson region in the coming days.

Summary

Good morning, it’s approaching 8.30am in London and 9.30am in Kyiv. Here’s a summary of the latest developments in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

  • Russia is amassing troops in the south of Ukraine but the purpose of the build-up is not yet clear, UK intelligence has warned. The Ministry of Defense says Russian forces could be preparing for a new assault or merely anticipating a counter-offensive from Ukraine
  • Ukraine has accused Russian forces of strikes near a nuclear reactor at the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia power plant in the country’s south-east. Energoatom, the state-run operator of Ukraine’s nuclear power plants, said in a statement: “Three strikes were recorded on the site of the plant, near one of the power blocks where the nuclear reactor is located.” Russia’s defense plant ministry accused Ukrainian forces of shelling the radiation, saying a leak of radiation had been avoided only by luck.
  • A European Union plan to cut gas use and help Germany wean itself off dependency on Russia will come into effect early next weekthe bloc’s presidency said on Friday. Last week, EU member states agreed to reduce their use of gas by 15% over the winter, with exceptions for some countries and despite opposition from Hungary.
  • A leading Russian hypersonics expert has been arrested on suspicion of treason, the state-controlled Tass news agency reported on Friday. Andrei Shiplyuk heads the hypersonics laboratory at the Novosibirsk Institute of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, according to the institute’s website, and has in recent years coordinated research to support the development of hypersonic missile systems, Reuters reports.
  • Vladimir Putin has met Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for talks that were expected to focus on Russia’s war in Ukraine and that are being rumored to include Kremlin efforts to circumvent western sanctions. The Russian president welcomed Erdoğan to Sochi, a resort city on the Black Sea, by thanking the Turkish president for help in securing an international deal that summarized grain exports from Ukraine that had been disrupted by the Kremlin war machine – as well as Russian foodstuffs and fertilizers – to world markets. They agreed to boost cooperation in the transport, agriculture, finance and construction industries, they said in a joint statement after a four-hour meeting.

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