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Ukraine Latest: Russian Lawmaker Says US Fears Losing ‘Colony’

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A senior North Korean official slammed the US decision to send Abrams battle tanks to Ukraine to held defend against Russia, following up earlier comments from the sister of leader Kim Jong Un. Pyongyang also denied it’s provided arms to Russia, as the US as claimed.

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(Bloomberg) —

A senior North Korean official slammed the US decision to send Abrams battle tanks to Ukraine to held defend against Russia, following up earlier comments from the sister of leader Kim Jong Un. Pyongyang also denied it’s provided arms to Russia, as the US as claimed. 

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Germany’s chancellor warned Sunday against an arms race in Ukraine. The speaker of Russia’s Duma said rising US involvement comes out of a fear of losing its “colony,” and that Washington and NATO are using Ukraine as a “training ground.” Russian officials have increasingly couched their war in recent months as a broader battle with the West, even as NATO has not directly engaged in the conflict in Ukraine. 

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On Saturday, Russia’s defense ministry said 14 people were killed in an overnight Ukrainian strike on a hospital in occupied Luhansk using HIMARS. Three civilians were killed and more than a dozen people were injured in a Russian strike Saturday on Kostyantynivka in Donetsk oblast, Ukrainian officials said.  

(See RSAN on the Bloomberg Terminal for the Russian Sanctions Dashboard.)  

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On the Ground 

Russia’s defense ministry said its troops have taken up “more advantageous lines and positions” in their offensive in the Donetsk region. Five people were killed and at least 15 injured in Russian shelling of Donetsk region over the past day, local governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said on Telegram. In the past day, Russians launched on missile and 32 air strikes and fired more than 65 rounds of anti-aircraft fire, damaging civil infrastructure in Donetsk and the Kherson regions. Ukraine’s army repelled attacks in some settlement of the Luhansk region and in the over a dozen of settlements in Donetsk region, including Bakhmut. 

(All times CET)

Germany’s Scholz Warns Against Weapons Race (12:30 p.m.)

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz warned against allies getting into a race to send even more advanced weaponry to Ukraine, days after his government said it would send battle tanks. On Saturday, Ukraine’s president said that the nation “needs long-range missiles” so that “terrorists do not have a sense of impunity.”

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“It’s my responsibility to do everything in my power to ensure that Russia’s war on Ukraine doesn’t become a war against NATO,” Scholz said in an interview with Tagesspiegel newspaper. “I won’t allow such an escalation.”

Germany has pledged to send Ukraine more than 100 Leopard 2 battle tanks in a joint effort with allies. The US offered M1 Abrams tanks, in a reversal of a previous position. 

Ukraine Crews Arrive in UK for Tank Training (11:53 a.m.)

Crews from Ukraine have arrived in the UK to begin training on the Challenger 2 main battle tanks offered by Britain to Ukraine, the UK defense ministry said. 

Russia, Belarus in Tactical Exercises With Kinzhal Missiles (10:10 a.m.)

The armed forces of Belarus and Russia are doing “joint tactical flight exercises” on Sunday involving the Kinzhal hypersonic missile system, the Belarusian defense ministry said. 

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The exercises come as Kremlin forces step up their activity in Belarus, which many Ukrainian and allied officials believe is a prelude to a new Russian assault on Ukraine from the north. 

Russian Duma Speaker Volodin Says Ukraine Merely US ‘Training Ground’ (10 a.m.)

Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker in Russia’s State Duma, the lower house of parliament, said the US is being driven by “the fear of losing its colony” in Ukraine with the provision of ever-heavier weapons.

“Ukraine is a training ground for Washington and NATO to test their weapons and test out new ways of waging war,” Volodin said in a lengthy Telegram post on Sunday. “There are American instructors, mercenaries. All this indicates the direct participation of Washington in the hostilities, the fear of losing their colony.”  

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In separate comments Sunday, Russia’s foreign ministry noted a “lack of reaction” from the US to Russia’s claim that Ukraine had struck a hospital in occupied Luhansk with US-donated HIMARS on Saturday, killing 14. That, the ministry said, “confirms their direct involvement in the conflict.” 

Ukraine Sets Sanctions on Russian. Belarusian Chemical Giants (9:30 a.m.)

Ukraine’s president signed a decree to implementing sanctions against 182 enterprises from Russia and Belarus, mainly engaged in transportation, vehicle leasing and chemical production. The list includes “Uralkali” and “Belaruskali,” which jointly control about 40% of global potash output. 

The sanctions provide for blocking of assets, restricting trade operations, and termination of trade agreements, joint projects and industrial programs, among other things. 

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Ukraine’s foreign ministry plans to push the EU and US for similar measures.

Ukraine Needs Long-Range Missiles, Zelenskiy Say (8:30 a.m.)

Ukraine’s president stepped up his call for allies to provide long-range missiles “so that terrorists do not have a sense of impunity.” 

Volodymyr Zelenskiy spoke in his nightly video address on Saturday of a Russian missile launch that hit a residential area of Kostiantynivka in the Donetsk region.

“Ukraine needs long-range missiles – in particular, to remove this possibility of the occupiers to place their missile launchers somewhere far from the front line and destroy Ukrainian cities with them,” he said. 

North Korea Slams US for Donating Tanks to Ukraine (8 a.m.)

A North Korean official called last week’s US move to send Abrams main battle tanks to Ukraine an “unethical crime” aimed at perpetuating an unstable international situation, according to a statement carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency. 

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Kwon Jong Gun, director general of the department of US affairs at North Korea’s Foreign Ministry, also denied Pyongyang was providing Russia with arms. The White House this month showed intelligence images it said showed Russian railcars entering North Korea, loading missiles and rockets, and returning to Russia. 

“Trying to tarnish the image of” North Korea “by fabricating a non-existent thing is a grave provocation,” Kwon said, warning that it could trigger a “reaction.” 

Russia Plans Basic Military Training in High Schools, UK Says (8 a.m.)

Russia has recently provided detail on the planned rollout of “basic military training” for the nation’s high schools, the UK defense ministry said. 

The lessons will be mandatory starting in September and highlight the “increasingly militarized atmosphere” in Russia. 

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“The module within the ‘Basics of Life Safety’ course will include training with AK series assault rifles and hand grenades, military drill and salutes, and the use of personal protective equipment,” the ministry said in a Twitter update.  

Zelenskiy Aide Says Talks Underway on Planes, Missiles (5:39 p.m.)

Ukraine is engaged in talks with allies on the need for long-range missiles and military aircraft, an adviser to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s chief of staff said Saturday on Freedom TV. “Talks are moving fast,” Mykhailo Podolyak added.

“Partners understand the logic of the war. We will have more losses without jets,” he said, adding that Ukraine needs long-range missiles to hit Russian ammunition storage sites, including in Crimea. Zelenskiy called for more support, including planes and missiles, after the US and Germany this week said they would send battle tanks. 

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On Friday, Hungarian leader Viktor Orban said Western allies have “drifted” toward being active combatants in Ukraine by sending “ever more modern” weaponry to Kyiv. “It started with the Germans saying they were willing to send helmets,” Orban said. “Now, we’re at battle tanks, and they’re already talking about planes.” 

Four Ships Carrying Grain Sail From Ukraine’s Ports (4 p.m.)

Four vessels with a total of 147,170 tons of soybeans, wheat, and corn left Ukrainian ports Saturday, heading to Turkey, Bangladesh and China, the Joint Coordination Center said. 

The JCC monitors implementation of the deal brokered by the UN and Turkey that allowed export of food from three Ukrainian ports otherwise blocked by Russia since it invaded Ukraine in February. The JCC’s inspections team concluded seven inspections of vessels Saturday and plan another 10 on Sunday, according to an emailed statement. 

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Currently, 34 vessels are waiting for inspection: 10 of them waiting to move into Ukrainian ports and 24 loaded with cargo waiting to sail. Another 80 more applications have been submitted, Ukraine said. 

Russia Says Many Killed, Wounded in Ukraine Strike on Hospital (3:30 p.m.)

Russia’s defense ministry said Ukrainian forces struck with HIMARS a district hospital in Novoaidar in occupied Luhansk, killing 14 people and wounding 24. The report couldn’t be verified and there was no immediate comment from Ukraine. 

Service members and the local population were being treated at the facility, Russia’s ministry said. Among the casualties were patients and medical staff. 

Ukraine-Backing Ex-NATO General is Next Czech President (3:32 p.m.)

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A former NATO general pledging unwavering support for Ukraine will become the next Czech president after securing a convincing victory over a former billionaire prime minister. 

Petr Pavel, who once served as NATO’s highest-ranking military, had 57.1% with almost 90% of polling districts counted, according to data published by the Czech Statistics Office on Saturday. Andrej Babis, a chemicals, farming and media magnate known for his clashes with the European Union, had 42.9%.  

Read more: Ex-NATO General Scores Victory Over Populist in Czech Election

Finland Hints at Russian Involvement in Swedish Koran Incident (3:10 p.m.)

Finland’s foreign minister hinted that Russia may have been involved in last week’s Koran-burning protest that threatens to derail Sweden’s accession to NATO. 

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Potential ties between a right-wing activist and Russia have “been investigated and certain connections in his vicinity have been found,” Finland’s Pekka Haavisto said Saturday. Sweden’s government has made no official comment. Russia didn’t respond to Haavisto’s remarks. 

The episode “raises the question of whether some third party is seeking to stir the pot,” the Finnish minister said. 

Read more: Finland Hints at Russian Involvement in Sweden Koran Burning 

Three Civilians Dead as Russia Strikes Donestsk (1 p.m.)

Three civilians were killed and more than a dozen were injured in a Russian strike on Kostyantynivka in Donetsk on Saturday, said Pavlo Kyrylenko, head of the Donetsk regional military administration. 

Four high-rise apartment buildings, a hotel, garages and civilian cars were damaged, Kyrylenko said on Telegram. Rescue workers are at the scene. 


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