Russia-Ukraine war live: Kremlin accuses US of direct involvement in war; Moscow says it carried out Mykolaiv and Kharkiv strikes | Ukraine


Russia accuses US of direct involvement in Ukraine war over intelligence

Russia has accused the US of direct involvement in the Ukraine war after claims the US was sharing targeting intelligence with Ukrainian forces.

Russia said it was responding to comments by Vadym Skibitsky, Ukraine’s deputy head of military intelligence, about the way Kyiv used US-supplied long-range Himars rocket launch systems based on what he called excellent satellite imagery and real-time information.

Skibitsky had said in an interview with a British newspaper that there was consultation between US and Ukrainian intelligence officials before strikes, and that Washington had an effective veto on intended targets, though he said US officials were not providing direct targeting information.

Russia’s defence ministry said the interview showed that Washington was directly involved despite repeated assertions that it was limiting its role in the conflict to arms supplies because it did not want a direct confrontation with Moscow.

“All this undeniably proves that Washington, contrary to White House and Pentagon claims, is directly involved in the conflict in Ukraine,” the Russian defence ministry said in a statement.

“It is the Biden administration that is directly responsible for all Kyiv-approved rocket attacks on residential areas and civilian infrastructure in populated areas of Donbas and other regions, which have resulted in mass deaths of civilians,” the defence ministry said.

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Reuters reports there was no immediate reaction to the defence ministry’s allegations from the White House or Pentagon.

Russia’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, is additonally quoted by the RIA Novosti news agency as saying: “No other confirmation of the direct involvement of the United States in the hostilities on the territory of Ukraine is required. The supply of weapons is accompanied not only by instructions on its use, but in this case they perform the function of gunners in their purest form.”

Key events

Here are some of the latest images to be sent to us from Ukraine over the news wires.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Zbigniew Rau, OSCE Chairman-in-Office and foreign minister of Poland during their meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine on Tuesday.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Zbigniew Rau, OSCE Chairman-in-Office and foreign minister of Poland during their meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine on Tuesday. Photograph: Presidential Press Service Handout Handout/EPA
Havrysh, left, is comforted by her husband, Vadim, as she weeps while watching her elderly parents helped into a van to be evacuated to a safer part of the country in the west from their home in Kramatorsk, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022. “I understand that this will be the last time I ever see them,” she said. “You see their age, I can’t give them the proper care.” (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Havrysh, left, is comforted by her husband, Vadim, as she weeps while watching her elderly parents helped into a van to be evacuated to a safer part of the country in the west from their home in Kramatorsk, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine on Tuesday. Photograph: David Goldman/AP
Local resident Olexander inspects his beverages plant that was destroyed by a Russian missile on Monday night in the Kharkiv region of Ukraine.
Local resident Olexander inspects his beverages plant that was destroyed by a Russian missile on Monday night in the Kharkiv region of Ukraine. Photograph: Evgeniy Maloletka/AP
A woman carries a box after receiving humanitarian food aid in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022. (AP Photo/Andriy Andriyenko)
A woman carries a box after receiving humanitarian food aid in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine on Tuesday. Photograph: Andriy Andriyenko/AP
A Ukrainian serviceman looks though the aiming circle before shooting by MSLR BM-21 “Grad” toward Russian positions at the frontline in Kharkiv region, Ukraine, on Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022.(AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)
A Ukrainian serviceman looks though the aiming circle before shooting by MSLR BM-21 “Grad” toward Russian positions at the frontline in Kharkiv region, Ukraine, on Tuesday. Photograph: Evgeniy Maloletka/AP

Ukrainian officials say they are struggling to establish the truth surrounding an explosion in a prison that killed dozens of Ukrainian prisoners of war captured by the Russians following the fall of Mariupol, the Associated Press reports.

Ukraine’s human rights chief, Dmytro Lubinets, said he has tried to establish a direct link with his Russian counterpart in order to arrange a joint visit to the prison in Olenivka, a town in eastern Ukraine held by Russian-backed separatists.

Lubinets said:

Dialogue is when there is a conversation between two parties. At this moment, this is an official request from me, which remains unanswered.

Separatist authorities and Russian officials say 53 Ukrainian POWs were killed and a further 75 were wounded in the blast on Thursday night that ripped through a building at the prison. Both sides have blamed the other for the attack, saying it was premeditated with the aim of covering up atrocities.

Moscow opened an investigation, sending a team to the site from its Investigative Committee, the country’s main criminal investigation agency. The state-run RIA Novosti agency claimed that fragments of US-supplied precision High Mobility Artillery Rocket System rockets were found at the site.

The Ukrainian military, however, denied conducting any rocket or artillery strikes in Olenivka, and it accused the Russians of attacking the prison to cover up the torture and execution of Ukrainians there.

Lubinets said:

Based on the analysis of the photos and videos that we have access to, we can say that it was an explosion from the inside of this barrack.

He said images from the scene show damage to only one building and not all the windows were blown out something he says would not be possible if the complex was shelled.

Ukraine has appealed to the United Nations and to the International Committee of the Red Cross for help in investigating the blast and to find out more about the condition of the injured.

Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in Kharkiv regionUkrainian servicemen fire with a BM21 Grad multiple launch rocket system in a frontline in Kharkiv region, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, Ukraine August 2, 2022. REUTERS/Sofiia Gatilova
Ukrainian servicemen fire with a BM21 Grad multiple launch rocket system in a frontline in Kharkiv region, as Russia’s attack continues. Photograph: Reuters

The former UK Labour leader has urged western countries to stop arming Ukraine in a TV interview likely to underscore Keir Starmer’s determination not to readmit him to the Labour party.

“Pouring arms in isn’t going to bring about a solution, it’s only going to prolong and exaggerate this war,” Jeremy Corbyn said. “We might be in for years and years of a war in Ukraine.”

Corbyn gave the interview on Al Mayadeen, a Beirut-based TV channel that has carried pro-Russia reporting since Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

He said:

What I find disappointing is that hardly any of the world’s leaders use the word peace; they always use the language of more war, and more bellicose war.

This war is disastrous for the people of Ukraine, for the people of Russia, and for the safety and security of the whole world, and therefore there has to be much more effort put into peace.

He called for the UN to be “much more centre stage”, and suggested involving other international bodies such as the African Union or the League of Arab States if the UN were unable to help negotiate a ceasefire.

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Pjotr Sauer

Pjotr Sauer

A group of Russian soldiers have accused their commanders of jailing them in eastern Ukraine for refusing to take part in the war, in a rare public exposure of tensions inside the ranks of Russia’s army over the invasion.

Maxim Grebenyuk, a lawyer who runs the Moscow-based advocacy organisation Military Ombudsman, said that at least four Russian soldiers had filed written complaints with the prosecutor general’s office, demanding punishment for the superiors who oversaw their detainment.

“We already have a list of 70 Russian soldiers who were held as prisoners. In total, about 140 soldiers were held,” added Grebenyuk, who represented the soldiers.

In one written testimony sent to Russian prosecutors on 1 August and reviewed by the Guardian, a soldier described how, after refusing to return to the battlefield, he was jailed for more than a week in different cells in the Russian-controlled separatist Luhansk People’s Republic.

Vladimir, a soldier whose name has been changed at his request, said:

As a result of what I believe were tactical and strategic mistakes made by my commanders … and their total disregard for human life … I made the decision not to continue in the military operation.

Vladimir said he was detained on 19 July and placed in a room with window bars where he was held without food with 25 other soldiers from his unit who also refused to fight.

Shortly after, Vladimir said he was transferred to the town of Bryansk in Luhansk, where he was held in a former school, which had been turned into a military base, with about 80 other soldiers from different units who had similarly refused to continue participating in the invasion.

He said they were guarded there by members of the private military firm Wagner, a notorious organisation that has been accused of committing human rights abuses while fighting alongside the Russian military in Ukraine.

The soldier wrote:

They [Wagner soldiers] told us that mines had been placed outside the military base and that whoever tried to flee would be considered an enemy and shot on the spot.

We were fed once a day at lunchtime. There was no basic hygiene.

The whole time, not a single document was provided that would explain our arrest.

“We were illegally jailed,” Vladimir wrote, asking the prosecutors to start a criminal investigation into two Russian colonels and a major who he said were responsible for his jailing.

Russia’s defence ministry did not respond to the Guardian’s questions for this article.

Read the full story here:

Canada said it was imposing more sanctions on Russia that would affect 43 military officials and 17 entities.

“The Russian war machine’s egregious actions will not be forgotten, and Canada will continue to work with its partners in the international community to hold it to account,” Canadian foreign minister Melanie Joly said in a statement, Reuters reports.

Canada has so far imposed sanctions on more than 1,150 individuals and entities in response to Russia’s latest invasion of Ukraine on 24 February.

Russia accuses US of direct involvement in Ukraine war over intelligence

Russia has accused the US of direct involvement in the Ukraine war after claims the US was sharing targeting intelligence with Ukrainian forces.

Russia said it was responding to comments by Vadym Skibitsky, Ukraine’s deputy head of military intelligence, about the way Kyiv used US-supplied long-range Himars rocket launch systems based on what he called excellent satellite imagery and real-time information.

Skibitsky had said in an interview with a British newspaper that there was consultation between US and Ukrainian intelligence officials before strikes, and that Washington had an effective veto on intended targets, though he said US officials were not providing direct targeting information.

Russia’s defence ministry said the interview showed that Washington was directly involved despite repeated assertions that it was limiting its role in the conflict to arms supplies because it did not want a direct confrontation with Moscow.

“All this undeniably proves that Washington, contrary to White House and Pentagon claims, is directly involved in the conflict in Ukraine,” the Russian defence ministry said in a statement.

“It is the Biden administration that is directly responsible for all Kyiv-approved rocket attacks on residential areas and civilian infrastructure in populated areas of Donbas and other regions, which have resulted in mass deaths of civilians,” the defence ministry said.

Reuters reports there was no immediate reaction to the defence ministry’s allegations from the White House or Pentagon.

Russia’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, is additonally quoted by the RIA Novosti news agency as saying: “No other confirmation of the direct involvement of the United States in the hostilities on the territory of Ukraine is required. The supply of weapons is accompanied not only by instructions on its use, but in this case they perform the function of gunners in their purest form.”

While all eyes have been on the Sierra Leone-registered ship, Razoni, which set sail from Odesa for Lebanon on Monday, there have been further developments with the seized ship Laodicea, which is already in Lebanon.

Reuters reports the country’s top prosecutor has lifted his seizure order on the ship, which is accused by Ukraine of carrying stolen flour and barley, allowing it to sail after finding “no criminal offence committed”.

Syrian cargo ship Laodicea is being held at Tripoli.
Syrian cargo ship Laodicea is being held at Tripoli. Photograph: AP

However, the ship remains unable to sail for the time being due to another seizure order issued by a judge in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, where the ship is docked, on Monday. That seizure order was only valid for 72 hours, the judge who issued it previously told Reuters.

An official at the Ukrainian embassy in Beirut said it could not immediately comment, and that the embassy would hold a news conference tomorrow.

Ukraine has said that the Syrian-flagged ship was carrying 10,000 tonnes of flour and barley plundered by Russia from Ukrainian stores. Moscow has denied stealing any grain.

Here are some of the latest images to be sent to us from Ukraine over the news wires.

An image supplied by Ukraine’s state emergency service shows a fuel reservoir damaged by a Russian military strike in Mykolaiv.
An image supplied by Ukraine’s state emergency service shows a fuel reservoir damaged by a Russian military strike in Mykolaiv. Photograph: State Emergency Service Of Ukraine/Reuters
General secretary of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Helga Maria Schmid and Chairman-in-office and Polish foreign minister Zbigniew Rau visit the site of a mass grave in the town of Bucha.
General secretary of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Helga Maria Schmid and Chairman-in-office and Polish foreign minister Zbigniew Rau visit the site of a mass grave in the town of Bucha. Photograph: Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters
Former engineer Maria Nikolaevna, 92, eats as her daughter Natalya, 58, watches, inside a basement where they have lived since the beginning of the war, in northern Saltivka in Kharkiv.
Former engineer Maria Nikolaevna, 92, eats as her daughter Natalya, 58, watches, inside a basement where they have lived since the beginning of the war, in northern Saltivka in Kharkiv. Photograph: Nacho Doce/Reuters
Communal workers remove the debris of a student hostel destroyed as a result of shelling in Mykolaiv.
Communal workers remove the debris of a student hostel destroyed as a result of shelling in Mykolaiv. Photograph: Oleksandr Gimanov/AFP/Getty Images

Here is the full text of that statement by the Azov regiment, a grouping of the Ukrainian armed forces which retains some far-right affiliations. It says:

After the public execution of the prisoners of war of the “Azov” regiment in Olenivka, Russia is looking for new excuses and explanations for its war crimes. The Supreme Court of Russia recognised the “Azov” regiment as a “terrorist organisation”.

This pathetic empire, which every day threatens to destroy the civilised world with nuclear weapons, whose president said he will “slay his opponents in their outhouse”, blew up houses with its own citizens, suffocated its own and Syrian women and children with poisonous gas, must be punished once and for all.

We call on the US State Department and authorised bodies of other states that consider themselves civilised to recognise the Russian Federation as a terrorist state!

Russia has been proving this status with its daily actions for many years. Its army and special services commit war crimes every day. Acquiescence to these crimes or silence is complicity!

The whole world must unite once and for all against the terrorist state!

The reference to Olenivka is about the deaths of prisoners of war that were being held there. Both Russia and Ukraine have blamed the other side for an attack which burnt down part of the building, and which Russia claims killed at least 50 and wounded at least 75 others.

Yesterday evening the Institute for the study of war published a report in which it said it “assesses that Russian forces were responsible for the killing of 53 Ukrainian POWs in an explosion at a Russian-controlled prison in Olenivka.”

It said:

Satellite and other imagery from the site indicate that the attack only damaged one building, did not collapse the walls of that building, and did not leave any shell craters in the vicinity, very strongly suggesting that the destruction of the prison was the result of either a precision strike or an internally planted incendiary or explosive.

However, the report was based in part on US-supplied intelligence, which denied that US-manufactured Himars systems were involved in the incident.

Ukraine’s Azov regiment issued a response on Tuesday to its designation as a “terrorist” group by Russia’s highest court, decrying the move as a justification for Russia to commit war crimes, Reuters reports.

In a post on its Telegram page, the Azov regiment also called for the US state department to declare Russia a “terrorist state” in response to alleged war crimes by Moscow during its invasion of Ukraine.

Russia claims to have carried out deadly strikes in Mykolaiv and Kharkiv

Deadly strikes have been carried out against Ukrainian forces in Ukraine’s southern Mykolaiv region and eastern Kharkiv region, Russia said on Tuesday.

The defence ministry also said it destroyed seven ammo depots in the east and south of the country, including in Zaporizhzhia region, Reuters reports.

Ukraine, which has stepped up its drive to retake Russian-controlled regions in the south, said last week it saw evidence Moscow was redeploying its forces to defend the captured territory.

Reuters was not able to immediately verify battlefield reports.

Jasper Jolly

Jasper Jolly

BP will hand billions of pounds to shareholders after tripling its profits to nearly £7bn in the second quarter of the year amid high oil prices during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, even as families struggle in a cost of living crisis.

The FTSE 100 oil company on Tuesday said its preferred measure of profit, which it describes as its underlying replacement cost profit, rose to $8.5bn (£6.9bn) between April and June. That is up from $6.2bn in the first three months of the year, and three times BP’s underlying profits of $2.8bn in the second quarter of 2021.

It was the second highest quarterly profit in BP’s history, behind only its $8.8bn underlying profit in the summer of 2008.

Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor, said the “eye-watering profits” showed that the government was “totally wrong” to have given significant tax breaks to oil companies. However, the government’s Brexit opportunities minister, Jacob Rees-Mogg, said he was not in favour of an extra windfall tax.

BP also said it would hand investors $3.5bn through a share buyback programme, while it increased its total dividend payout by 10% to about $1.1bn.

Oil companies in the UK and beyond have enjoyed booming earnings in recent months on the back of rising energy prices as households around the world have struggled with soaring bills. As Russia’s invasion grinds on, the research firm Cornwall Insight predicts the energy price cap on bills in Great Britain is on track to rise to £3,615 a year from January.

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Russia’s supreme court has designated the Azov regiment – a former volunteer battalion that was incorporated into Ukraine’s army – a “terrorist” organisation, allowing for lengthy jail terms for its members.

On Tuesday, the court ruled to “recognise the Ukrainian paramilitary unit Azov a terrorist organisation and to ban its activities on the territory of the Russian Federation”, the judge said, state news agency Tass reported. The decision takes immediate effect.

According to Russia’s criminal code, members of “terrorist” groups can face up to 10 years in jail, while their leaders and organisers can be jailed for up to 20 years, AFP reports.

Ukraine’s Azov regiment has drawn controversy for its links to far-right figures, with Russia calling it a “neo-Nazi” group.

The battalion was formally incorporated into Ukraine’s national guard in 2014 as it helped fight Kremlin-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Azov fighters have been fighting alongside Ukrainian troops to repel Russia’s offensive in Ukraine that Moscow launched in February.

In May, Ukrainian soldiers, including members of Azov, ended a weeks-long siege of the vast Azovstal steel plant in Ukraine’s port city of Mariupol by agreeing to surrender.

About 2,500 people were taken captive by Moscow’s forces after calling a halt to their resistance.





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