British intelligence says Russia is bringing more reservists closer to Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatist forces in the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine on May 28, 2022.

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Russia is bringing its reserve forces from across the country closer to Ukraine in preparation for future advances, according to Britain’s Ministry of Defense. Meanwhile, Moscow says it has no plans to withdraw its forces from occupied areas in southern Ukraine, and that its soldiers will dismantle Ukrainian forces in the entire Donbass region.

“Russia is moving reserve forces from across the country and assembling them near Ukraine for future offensive operations,” Britain’s Ministry of Defense wrote in a tweet on Saturday.

“It is likely that a significant proportion of the new infantry units will be deployed with MT-LB armored vehicles taken from long-term stores as the primary transport.”

The ministry said that Russia has long considered its tanks “unsuitable for most front-line infantry transport missions,” suggesting the Russians are experiencing equipment problems.

“Despite President Putin’s claim on July 07, 2022 that the Russian military “has not started” its efforts in Ukraine, many of the reinforcements are ad hoc groups, deployed with outdated or inadequate equipment,” she added.

Read more: US sends another $400 million in military aid to Ukraine; Russia attacks the West at the G-20 summit

However, Russian forces continue to bombard eastern Ukraine in the Donbass, and Russia’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, Andrei Kelin, said Friday that its forces have no plans to leave the southern coastal areas they occupied in the past few months. Those include the Kherson, Mykolaiv and Zaporizhzhya regions, the last of which is home to Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.

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Meanwhile, Oleksiy Danilov of the National Security and Defense Council told Reuters that in the meantime, Ukrainian forces are able to slow some of Russia’s advance with advanced precision weapons from the West, but they still need more and the forces need more time to learn how to use them. Interview.

Read more: Ukraine says Western weapons are making a difference, but it needs more

Biden administration is scheduled to announce a $400 million security assistance package for Ukraine, according to a senior defense official, spoke on condition of anonymity in order to share new details of the aid package. The official said the latest security assistance would be a combination of systems already deployed for combat and new capabilities.

Moscow official jailed for anti-war statements

In an example of Russia’s tight control over dissent, a Moscow city council member was jailed Friday for seven years for what authorities described as spreading “false information” about the war in Ukraine.

One of the lawyers said it was the first time anyone had been imprisoned under Russian law, which was created shortly after the start of the invasion of Ukraine, and which criminalizes the “deliberate dissemination of false information about the Russian military.” “False information” by Kremlin standards is anything that contradicts government reports.

Moscow city deputy Alexei Gourinov, accused of spreading “knowingly false information” about the Russian army’s fighting in Ukraine, stands with a poster reading “Do you still need this war?” Inside a glass cell during the sentencing hearing at his court in Moscow on July 8, 2022.

Kirill Kudryavtsev | AFP | Getty Images

Council member Alexei Gourinov was discussing a children’s drawing competition at a local meeting which was filmed and later posted on Youtube, According to Reuters. He said, “What kind of children’s drawing competition can we talk about on Children’s Day…when children die every day?”

Gorinov’s supporters quoted him as saying during the verdict: “They took my spring, they took the summer from me, and now they have spent another seven years of my life.”

Read more: Moscow city council member jailed for seven years for anti-war comment

G20 tensions

At the G20 meeting in Indonesia, several foreign ministers called for an end to the Russian blockade of Ukrainian ports that is stifling vital food exports to most of the world.

On the other hand, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused Western officials at the meeting of being “afraid of rabid Russia” and focusing on criticizing Moscow and not on ways to address global economic issues.

“There is only a frenzied fear of Russia, which they are turning to rather than finding much-needed common ground on key issues related to the global economy and finance, for which the G20 was created,” Lavrov said on Friday.

“It is a direct provocation (from Ukraine) aimed at involving the West in military action,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a news conference while in Saudi Arabia.

Russian Foreign Ministry | Reuters

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, said on Saturday that he had spoken to his Chinese counterpart, Foreign Minister Wang Yi, about Russian aggression during several hours of talks in their first in-person discussion since October.

Read more: More Russian men are looking to avoid military service, some lawyers and rights groups say

Blinken said he was concerned about Beijing’s “alignment” with Moscow.

“I shared again with the State Councilor that we are concerned about the People’s Republic of China aligning with Russia,” Blinken said, adding that China “injected Russian propaganda.”

While China says it opposes the bloodshed and wants to see an end to the conflict in Ukraine, its media has largely blamed NATO and the United States for the war and has refused to keep pace with Western sanctions on Russia. Beijing had announced a “borderless” partnership with Moscow just weeks before it invaded Ukraine.

Amanda Macias of CNBC and Reuters contributed to this report.

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