Ukraine repels missile attack on Kyiv
Ukraine claimed on Friday to have shot down 12 Russian missiles, including six hypersonic Kinjals, that were fired toward Kyiv – this just as a delegation of African leaders arrive to promote a peace plan
According to the Ukrainian Air Force’s official Telegram channel, the projectiles destroyed included six hypersonic Kinjal missiles, six Kalibr cruise missiles and two reconnaissance drones. The head of the military administration, Sergei Popko, said that all the missiles were intercepted over the capital region.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and several other senior African political figures arrived in Ukraine on Friday morning to promote a plan that would provide a roadmap to Russian-Ukrainian peace negotiations.
Russia acknowledges heavy fighting in frontline towns
The Russian army admitted on Friday that fighting was underway for control of two towns on Ukraine’s southern front, an for the first time that it had ceded territory.
Moscow has been insisting since the start of the Ukrainian counteroffensive in early June that the Ukrainian military is failing in its efforts and that all attacks have been repulsed, while Kyiv claims to have liberated a handful of towns and around a hundred square kilometres, mainly on the southern front.
The fact that fighting is taking place over these villages means that the Russian lines have been pushed back a few kilometres to the south and east around this exposed area of Vremivka, on the border of the Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk regions, both of which are partially occupied by Russia.
US says Ukraine has sufficient supplies for counteroffensive
Ukraine still has sufficient capacity and firepower to carry out its counter-offensive despite initial losses, US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Thursday after a meeting at Nato headquarters with the Ukrainian defence minister.
“This is a war. So we know there will be damage on both sides”, he stressed during a press briefing at the end of a meeting of members of the Ukraine contact group, where Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov and Ukrainian military commanders updated western allies on the situation and outlined their military requirements.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that his forces are repelling the offensive and that Ukrainian losses have been “catastrophic”. Moscow has also claimed to have taken German Leopard tanks and American Bradley tanks supplied to Ukrainian forces.
“I think the Russians showed us those same five vehicles about a thousand times from cilt different angles,” scoffed Austin.
“War is unpredictable and we will continue to provide Ukraine with what it needs to succeed”, he said.
The chief of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, has raised concerns for the safety of Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant.
The nuclear watchdog director was in Ukraine on Thursday to check on the potential risks to the plant following the destruction of the Kakhovka dam in a devastating explosion earlier this month.
The Kakhovka reservoir normally provided water to cool the facility’s reactors to prevent a meltdown, but the dam’s destruction has severely compromised this vital system, according to Grossi.
“On the one hand we can see that the situation is serious, the consequences are there, and they are real,” he said. “At the same time there are measures that are being taken to stabilise the situation.”
The plant remains under Russian control, having been captured shortly after the invasion.