Russian woman on ‘terrible suffering’ in Ukraine
A Ukrainian military chief has said Russia has “given up hope” on its allies in Belarus.The head of the Main Directorate of Intelligence (GUR) of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine, Kirill Budanov, said Russia had exhausted its offensive potential and by now had built a layered defence.
In a video interview, he admitted that the Wagner PMC is much more effective than the units of the Russian Defence Ministry, adding that about 80 percent of what the head of the mercenaries Yevgeny Prigozhin says about the situation at the front and in the Russian army is “pure truth”.
He also claimed that Vladimir Putin has already “given up hope” of dragging Belarus into a war against Ukraine.
It comes as the wellbeing – or otherwise – of close Vladimir Putin ally and Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko has been the subject of intense speculation in recent days, and was on Monday trundled out for an uncomfortable photocall, after which Belerusian authorities posted pictures and video footage on the Telegram messaging app.
The claims also come as Wagner Group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin publicly criticised Vladimir Putin’s military over the past few months.
On Sunday, he said that four Russian military aircraft that reportedly crashed in a region that borders Ukraine may have been shot down by Russia’s own forces.
Russian officials have not commented on reports in Russian conventional and social media that two fighter planes — an Su-34 and an Su-35 — and two military Mi-8 helicopters crashed in the Bryansk region on Saturday.
State news agency Tass cited unspecified emergency services sources as saying the Su-34 and one helicopter crashed. Other sources, including Vladimir Rogov, the head of a Russian collaborationist organisation in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia province, claimed four aircraft went down.
All of them reportedly belonged to the same military air group.
On Tuesday, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said he spoke with Putin and Zelensky by phone over the weekend and they each agreed to host “an African leaders peace mission” in Moscow and Kyiv, respectively.
Ramaphosa said: “Principal to our discussions are efforts to find a peaceful resolution to the devastating conflict in the Ukraine.”
The leaders of Zambia, Senegal, Republic of Congo, Uganda and Egypt would make up the delegation along with Ramaphosa, he said in a statement. Putin and Zelenskyy gave him the go-ahead to “commence the preparations,” the South African leader said.
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Four of those six African countries — South Africa, Republic of Congo, Senegal and Uganda — abstained from a UN vote last year on condemning Russia’s invasion.
Zambia and Egypt voted in favour of the motion.
Ramaphosa did not give a time frame or outline any parameters for the possible peace talks. Zelenskyy has said he would not consider a peace deal to end the 15-month war until Russian forces withdraw completely from Ukrainian territory.
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