Poland is about to send four MiG-29 planes to Ukraine. The Polish president, Andrzej Duda, said Warsaw would hand over four of the Soviet-made warplanes in the coming days and that “the rest are being prepared, serviced”. His announcement will make Poland the first country to deliver fighter jets to Ukraine, marking a significant upward step in military backing for Kyiv
Poland’s decision to give Ukraine the MiG-29 fighter jets was a “sovereign decision”, the White House said, and would not prompt Joe Biden to supply Kyiv with American F-16 aircraft. The US president has previously said the US will not provide the F-16 fighter jets that Ukraine has sought in its fight against Russia. White House spokesperson John Kirby said on Thursday that President Duda’s announcement “doesn’t change our calculus with respect to F-16s”.
Russia has committed a wide-range of war crimes in Ukraine including wilful killings, systematic torture and the deportation of children, according to a report from a UN-backed inquiry published on Thursday. The report by the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine was released a year to the day after the Russian bombing of a theatre in Ukraine’s south-eastern city of Mariupol which killed hundreds of people. Its head said the team was following the evidence and that there were “some aspects which may raise questions” about possible genocide. Russia dismissed the report.
The Pentagon released a video showing the moments before a Russian fighter crashed into a US Reaper drone after spraying it with jet fuel on Tuesday morning over the Black Sea. The declassified footage shows an Su-27 Flanker jet making two exceptionally close passes of the un-crewed drone, spraying fuel in front of it, a harassment tactic that US experts say has not been seen before.
The Kremlin said a decision on whether to retrieve the downed US Reaper drone from the Black Sea would come from the Russian military. “If they deem it necessary to do that in the Black Sea for our interests and for our security, they will deal with that,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday.
Denis Pushilin, the Russian-installed leader in occupied Donetsk, told state-owned news agency Tass that he did not see any signs Ukraine was withdrawing from Bakhmut. He is quoted as saying on Thursday: “In Bakhmut, the situation remains complicated, difficult – that is, we do not see that there are any prerequisites there that the enemy is going to simply withdraw units.”
Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, said he and senior Chinese diplomat Qin Gang had discussed the “significance of the principle of territorial integrity” during a phone call today. “I underscored the importance of [Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s] peace formula for ending the aggression and restoring just peace in Ukraine,” Kuleba wrote on Twitter.
Qin told Kuleba that China “hopes that all parties will remain calm, rational and restrained, and resume peace talks as soon as possible”, according to a Chinese foreign ministry statement.
The Chinese president, Xi Jinping, is expected to visit the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, in Moscow as soon as next week, and to subsequently hold a virtual meeting with Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
Polish authorities say they have detained nine members of a Russian spy ring who they say were gathering intelligence on weapons supplies to Ukraine and making plans to sabotage the deliveries. Six people have been charged with preparing acts of sabotage and espionage, and charges are being prepared against the other three.
The UN called for a 120-day renewal of a deal allowing the safe export of grain shipments from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports ahead of a deadline later this week. In response to remarks by UN spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric, Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said the deal “is being extended for 60 days”.
Vladimir Putin has told his country’s leading billionaires that Russia is facing a “sanctions war”. In an address to Russia’s business elite, the president urged them to invest in new technology, production facilities and enterprises to help Russia overcome what he said were western attempts to destroy its economy.
At least one person has been killed and two people injured in a blast and fire at a building belonging to Russia’s FSB security service in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don, according to officials quoted by Russian news agencies. Video footage showed thick black smoke billowing into the air near residential buildings and a shopping centre in Rostov, the capital of a region that adjoins parts of eastern Ukraine where battles with Russia are raging.
Ukrainian soldiers downed a Chinese-made drone near the city of Sloviansk in eastern Ukraine. The unmanned aerial vehicle was launched from Russian-held territory on Friday night, before being shot down from a low altitude by Ukrainian forces in the early hours of Saturday.