Leaked US intelligence documents appear to indicate that Egypt was planning to covertly supply Russia with rockets and munitions. A document, dated 17 February, claims to summarise conversations between Egypt’s president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, and senior Egyptian military officials. In the document, Sisi instructs officials to keep the production and shipment of rockets secret “to avoid problems with the west”, and additionally also references plans to supply Russia with artillery rounds and gunpowder.
The US is attempting to mend fences with key allies, after leaked Pentagon documents claimed that Washington had been spying on friendly nations, including South Korea and Israel.
Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, has said he was assured of Washington’s “ironclad” support for Kyiv during a phone call with the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken. His tweet came after a recent report detailed a downbeat assessment by US intelligence officials of Ukraine’s potential to retake significant portions of Russian-occupied territory.
Ukraine needs more long-range weapons and “less contemplation on leaks”, said the senior presidential adviser, Mykhailo Podolyak, referring to the recent leak of Pentagon documents. “If we had time, we could watch the [Russian Federation] fall apart & its ‘elites’ devour each other. But we don’t have it, as our people are dying,” he posted to Twitter.
Russia continues to make gains in Bakhmut, but is suffering “significant” casualties in the process, the Institute for the Study of War, a US thinktank, says in its latest update.
A spokesperson for the Ukrainian armed forces has denied a claim by Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of Russia’s private Wagner mercenary group, who said Russian forces now control more than 80% of Bakhmut city. Prigozhin has previously made claims about Russian control of Bakhmut that turned out to be premature.
Russia’s lower house of parliament voted unanimously on Tuesday to introduce electronic call-up papers via an online portal for the first time. The State Duma, the lower house of parliament, gave its preliminary approval to changes in the law that are intended to facilitate mobilisation, as Russia seeks to make it harder to avoid the draft. Changes to the legislation would mean that once an electronic summons is received, citizens who fail to show up at the military enlistment office are automatically banned from travelling abroad.
Hungary’s foreign minister, Péter Szijjártó, has announced new agreements to ensure the country’s continued access to Russian energy, a sign of the country’s continuing diplomatic and trade ties with Moscow amid the war in Ukraine.
A Danish decision on whether to supply western fighter jets to Ukraine is likely to take place “before the summer”, Denmark’s acting defence minister, Troels Lund Poulsen, has said. Discussions are taking time because countries have to act together, Poulsen said during a visit to Ukraine. Poulsen on Monday confirmed Denmark’s intention to provide refurbished 100 Leopard 1 battle tanks to Ukraine.
The Ukrainian prime minister, Denys Shmyhal, has arrived in Canada, on an official trip during which he will seek supplies of ammunition and armoured vehicles for a counteroffensive against invading Russian forces.
The UN-brokered deal that enables Ukraine to export grain via the Black Sea is in a “critical state” because of Russia’s actions, a Ukrainian government minister told the Guardian on Tuesday. Yurii Vaskov, Ukraine’s deputy minister responsible for seaports and maritime affairs, said: “The Russians have violated the conditions of the Black Sea grain initiative. They decided to unilaterally change the plans of Ukrainian ports. It’s unacceptable.”
Russia’s state-owned news agency Tass reports that a man has been detained in Khabarovsk, one of Russia’s furthest eastern cities, charged with treason and accused of sending money to Ukrainian armed forces.
The RIA Novosti news agency in Russia reports on its Telegram channel that yesterday an unknown drone fell near Belgorod airport. Citing emergency services, it said “there were no casualties, the fence was slightly damaged”.
Hungary’s foreign minister, Péter Szijjártó, has arrived in Moscow for discussions about energy. The head of the Hungarian foreign ministry said he planned to meet the Russian deputy prime minister, Alexander Novak, and the head of Rosatom, Alexei Likhachev.
Poland’s prime minister has flown to the US for meetings aimed at strengthening the economic and defence cooperation of the two nations. Mateusz Morawiecki is due to meet the US vice-president, Kamala Harris, today at the White House. His three-day visit will also include meetings with the representatives of American defence companies.
Almost 8,500 civilians are confirmed to have been killed in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a UN body has said, with many thousands more unverified deaths feared. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has long described its figures as “the tip of the iceberg” because of its limited access to battle zones. The majority of the deaths were recorded in territory controlled by the Ukrainian government and under attack by Russian forces.
The Kremlin, appearing to pre-judge any judicial hearing, said on Tuesday that the Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich had “violated Russian law” and been caught “red-handed”, after the US state department officially designated him as having been “wrongfully detained” by Russia. Russia has presented no evidence to support the case against Gershkovich. Next week, a court will hear an appeal from Gershkovich’s legal team against an order that he be held in pre-trial detention at Moscow’s Lefortovo prison until 29 May.
The Kremlin has said there are no plans for an Orthodox Easter ceasefire in Ukraine, Russian state media reported.
Russia plans to increase air defences over its north-western border to counter Finland’s accession to Nato, a commander in its aerospace forces has said. Lt Gen Andrei Demin, the deputy commander-in-chief of aerospace forces, also said further reforms of Russian air defences were “undoubtedly planned and will be implemented”.
Only 1,800 civilians are still living in the “ruins” of Avdiivka, the embattled eastern Ukrainian city that had a prewar population of 32,000, according to the local governor. “The Russians have turned Avdiivka into a total ruin,” said Pavlo Kyrylenko, Donetsk’s regional governor. In a separate statement, the Ukrainian general staff said Russian forces were continuing to mount offensive operations around Avdiivka but were suffering heavy losses of personnel and equipment.
Russia continues to prioritise operations around Donetsk in eastern Ukraine “expending significant resources for minimal gains”, the UK Ministry of Defence has said in its daily briefing. The MoD said that over the past seven days Russia had increased armoured assaults around Marinka, a small town about 12 miles (20km) south-west of Donetsk city.
A Russian court has sentenced two men to 19 years in prison each for setting fire to a government building in a demonstration against the war in Ukraine. Roman Nasryev, a former driver for the Russian national guard, and Alexei Nuriev, an officer in the emergency situations ministry, threw a molotov cocktail on 11 October 2022 into an administrative building in the town of Bakal in Russia’s Chelyabinsk region in protest of the war in Ukraine and Russia’s “partial” mobilisation.