Day 476 of the Invasion of Ukraine: Germany named Russia the Biggest Threat in its First National Security Strategy

Ukraine | June 14, 2023, Wednesday // 11:56|  views

Day 476 of the invasion of Ukraine. Summary of key events in the last 24 hours:

  • Ukraine reported little progress in "extremely fierce" fighting
  • The Russian parliament supports the recruitment of criminals to fight in Ukraine
  • Germany named Russia the biggest threat in its first national security strategy
  • Ramzan Kadyrov's right-hand man, Adam Delimkhanov, wounded on the Zaporizhzhia Front
  • In France, they uncovered a huge disinformation campaign. Signed by: Russia
  • Russia hit Odesa with Kalibr missiles, people were killed and injured in a shopping center
  • Stoltenberg in the White House: Ukraine makes progress in counteroffensive
  • Putin: They deceived us once again. We are considering getting out of the grain deal
  • Belarus is already accepting Russian tactical nuclear weapons
  • The Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the Russian Ambassador for spreading disinformation

Ukraine reported little progress in "extremely fierce" fighting

Ukraine reported gradual progress in its counteroffensive against Russian forces amid "extremely fierce" fighting.

In a Telegram post, Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said the Ukrainian actions had "partial" success.

Over the past day, Ukrainian troops have advanced 200-500 meters in various areas near the small eastern town of Bakhmut and 300-350 meters in the direction of the southeastern city of Zaporizhzhia, she noted.

"Our troops are moving in the face of extremely fierce fighting and air and artillery superiority of the enemy," Maliar said.

She reported continuing fighting near the village of Makarovka in the direction of the southern port city of Berdyansk and said that fighting was taking place in the Novodanilovka and Novopokrovsk areas in the direction of Mariupol.

Reuters notes that it has not been able to verify the situation on the battlefield. Russia has not recognized any Ukrainian victories and President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that he saw no need for new mobilization for now.

The Russian parliament supports the recruitment of criminals to fight in Ukraine

Russia's lower house of parliament said it had voted initial support for legislation that would allow the Defense Ministry to sign contracts with suspected or convicted criminals to fight in Ukraine.

More than 15 months after the start of what Russia calls a "special military operation" in Ukraine, Moscow - whose forces have suffered heavy losses - is scrambling to recruit more troops.

Under the proposed changes, a contract can be concluded with a person who is under investigation for committing a crime, whose case is pending in court or after being convicted but before the sentence comes into force, according to the database of the State Duma, the lower house.

People convicted of sex crimes, treason, terrorism or extremism will not be able to register.

Those who enlist will be released from criminal liability after completing their contract or if they are awarded for bravery in battle.

The Wagner mercenary group was previously allowed to recruit convicts from prisons to fight in Ukraine, but said in February it had stopped doing so. Prisoner rights activists say the Department of Defense took over the process but wanted to make changes.

The new amendments being considered by the Duma do not cover the hiring of people already serving their sentences and the Ministry of Defense has not commented.

Germany named Russia the biggest threat in its first national security strategy

Germany has released its first national security strategy, calling Russia the biggest threat to Europe and warning of growing rivalry with China as Beijing tries to use its economic power to achieve political goals, reported Reuters.

The media reviewed Berlin's foreign policy, which has shifted to prioritizing security over economic interests since Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

It looks at a range of threats, from climate change to supply chain disruptions.

The plan also aims to ensure a more coordinated approach to security between ministries, although the government has failed to agree on the creation of a National Security Council due to disagreements within Chancellor Olaf Scholz's tripartite coalition over where it should be located.

One of the few concrete commitments in the strategy concerns military preparedness.

Days after Russia's invasion in February 2022, Scholz delivered a speech heralding a "tipping point" or "Zeitenwende", in which he said Germany would now invest more than 2% of GDP in defense after years of resisting calls from allies to let NATO do it.

The strategy contained a slightly weaker pledge for Germany to spend 2 percent of GDP, "on average over a multi-year period," on defense, initially in part by using a special 100 billion euro fund set up last year. Germany wants to meet the 2 percent defense spending target from next year, Finance Minister Christian Lindner said at a news conference with Scholz and other ministers.

This means that budget consultations for the years up to 2029 will have to be reworked and some projects will be delayed.

"Projects that result from our security considerations have priority," Lindner said.

Other measures in the strategy include reducing dependence on other countries for raw materials and incentivizing companies to hold strategic reserves after Germany's excessive energy dependence on Russia led to a crisis last year.

China increasingly threatens regional stability and international security as it seeks to exercise its economic power to achieve political goals and assert its regional hegemony, the document said, reflecting Germany's hardened stance toward its biggest trading partner.

However, China remains a partner without which many of the global challenges and crises cannot be resolved, the document added.

"A more detailed strategy for China should be ready soon", Scholz said.

According to Germany, in addition, Russia is trying to destabilize European democracies, weaken the EU and NATO, and Scholz noted that "it is important to continue discussing security guarantees for Ukraine, including when the war is over."

Germany will continue to monitor investments to avoid dependencies in critical infrastructure and counter the problematic transfer of sensitive technologies.

It would create a federal agency to defend against serious cyberattacks.

The government will work to identify the perpetrators of cyber attacks and punish them in coordination with EU and NATO partners or other affected countries.

Ramzan Kadyrov's right-hand man, Adam Delimkhanov, wounded on the Zaporizhzhia Front

The deputy prime minister of the Chechen Republic and right-hand man of Ramzan Kadyrov, Adam Delimkhanov, is missing. According to various speculations in Russia and Ukraine, the Chechen, who is also a deputy in the State Duma of Russia, was killed or wounded in the course of hostilities on the territory of Ukraine. The Russian parliamentarians confirm that Delimkhanov was injured, and Ramzan Kadyrov himself stated that he had no contact with him.

State Duma deputy Adam Delimkhanov is wounded but alive, the military TV channel "Zvezda" announced with reference to the lower house of the Russian parliament. Russian and Ukrainian Telegram channels write that Delimkhanov died in Zaporizhzhia region. Duma chairman Vyacheslav Volodin personally refuted the rumors about his death in front of his parliamentary colleague. According to RIA Novosti, Volodin said he had spoken to Delimkhanov and that he was "alive and well".

On Monday, Adam Delimkhanov, of whom there were comments that he could become the first deputy speaker of the Duma on security issues, attended the signing of a contract between the Ministry of Defense and the volunteer detachment of Chechens "Akhmat".

"I myself cannot contact Adam Delimkhanov, he does not respond to my calls. I am asking the Ukrainian intelligence to provide information on exactly where and on what positions the strike was made, so that I can still find my DEAR brother. I promise a generous reward and ask for your cooperation," Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov wrote on his Telegram channel. Kadyrov has mentioned several times in the past that Delimkhanov may replace him in the future as the head of the Chechen Republic. RIA Novosti interprets Kadyrov's comment, specifying that it was written with irony.

Ukrainian military correspondent Kiril Sazono was the first to announce the death of the Chechen politician and fighter. "Minus Kadyrov's associate Delimkhanov. Passed to 200 (cargo 200 - kill designation). I already wrote that the intelligence of the 'Banderlogi' squad is very strong. Keep it up guys, amazing news. You killed Kadyrov's right-hand man in Prymorsk, Zaporizhzhia region, Delimkhanov." The Ukrainian side claims that, in addition to Delimkhanov, other close associates of Kadyrov and about 200 people from the personnel of "Akhmat" were killed.

In France, they uncovered a huge disinformation campaign. Signed by: Russia

In France, a huge campaign to spread pro-Russian disinformation was revealed, the Russian version of "Free Europe" reported.

According to a report published by the French Foreign Ministry, the campaign targeted the websites of a number of French national publications, including ministry portals. With the support of Russia, "mirror" pages of the sites in question were created, on which erroneous information was published.

The French service VIGINUM reports the identification of 355 domain names that were used in the Russian disinformation campaign.

"The participation of Russian embassies and cultural centers, which actively helped to expand this campaign, in particular through their accounts on social networks, is a new manifestation of a hybrid Russian strategy aimed at undermining democracy," the French foreign ministry said in a statement.

A disinformation operation called Doppelgänge was already documented in 2022, notably by the European organization EUDisinfoLab and the American giant "Meta". It has now entered a "second phase", "but with more sophisticated methods of operation aimed at circumventing countermeasures", a source in the French security structures told AFP.

In late September 2022, Meta announced that it had successfully stopped a "covert influence" and information manipulation operation by Russia on Facebook. It was run by two Russian consulting firms that promoted articles published on "pirate sites" on social networks. For this purpose, the two companies have spent about 105 thousand US dollars.

From the point of view of technology, this is about publishing fake articles on pages identical in appearance and parameters to the official sites of popular media, but with a different domain name (for example - with the extension .ltd instead of .fr). This type of cyber fraud is called "typosquatting".

Often, such fake posts were hyperlinked to genuine media articles to lend them authenticity. These fake materials were then spread through social networks.

The Russian disinformation campaign in France was revealed in the course of investigations conducted by the special service VIGINUM, which was created in 2021 under the French government to combat attempts at foreign interference in the digital sphere.

The VIGINUM service highlights four main motifs in the narrative of these fake posts:

- The ineffectiveness of the sanctions against Russia, which will primarily burden EU countries and/or their citizens;
- Russophobia of Western countries;
- The barbarity of the Ukrainian armed forces and the neo-Nazi ideology that prevails among the Ukrainian leadership;
- The negative consequences for European countries of accepting Ukrainian refugees.

AFP notes that in addition to French publications Le Parisien, Le Figaro, Le Monde and 20 Minutes, the Russian disinformation campaign has affected Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Der Spiegel, Bild and Die Welt, as well as a number of Italian media outlets.

Russia hit Odesa with Kalibr missiles, people were killed and injured in a shopping center

The Russian army attacked the Ukrainian city of Odesa with four 3M54-1 Caliber missiles from the Black Sea. At least three people were killed, there is information about 7 wounded and an unspecified number of missing, reported operational command "South" of the Armed Forces of Ukraine .

According to the military's official statement, the Russian ship fired four missiles, at least one of which hit the Shevchenkovsky shopping center directly across from the building of the Faculty of Humanities of the National Polytechnic University of Odesa. The university building is seriously damaged as a result of the blast wave, photos and videos on social networks show.

The explosion and the blast wave damaged a business center, an educational institution, and a residential complex.

The dead were warehouse workers in the business center area. On Wednesday morning, rescuers are clearing the ruins, under which there may be more victims.

An alarm was raised in Odesa at 2:26 a.m. Wednesday, and soon after, reports of loud explosions appeared on social media. The spokesman of the Odesa Military District Administration Serhiy Bratchuk called on his Telegram channel for people to stay in shelters and not to photograph the work of the Ukrainian Air Defense. Later in the morning, the Ukrainians announced that they had shot down two of the four Kalibr missiles.

On Tuesday evening, the Ukrainian Armed Forces announced that there were two missile carriers loaded with 16 Kalibr missiles in the Black Sea, and shortly after that a submarine appeared in the sea, with whose arsenal the Russians could launch a total of 20 3M54-1 missiles.

Stoltenberg in the White House: Ukraine makes progress in counteroffensive

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told US President Joe Biden on Tuesday at a meeting in the Oval Office that the Ukrainians are "making progress" in their counteroffensive, Reuters reported, quoted by BTA.

The agency notes that, according to Stoltenberg, this could strengthen their position when there is an opportunity to end the war with Russia through diplomatic channels.

Stoltenberg met at the White House with Biden, who said the US commitment to NATO is rock solid. It comes amid questions over whether the NATO secretary general's term will be extended. Stoltenberg is currently scheduled to leave at the end of September after nine years in the post.

"The support we are providing together to Ukraine is now making a difference on the battlefield," said the NATO Secretary General.

"Because the offensive has started and the Ukrainians are advancing, achieving success," he added.

"It is still too early, but what we know for sure is that the more land the Ukrainians manage to liberate, the stronger positions they will have at the negotiating table," Stoltenberg emphasized.

Biden noted that NATO allies have become more united during the war in Ukraine and "we will build on that momentum" when the alliance gathers for its annual summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, on July 11 and 12. The US president, who is seeking to maintain the unity of NATO allies against Russia after the start of the war in February 2022, added: "With God's blessing, we will be able to maintain this unity."

Many NATO member countries would like a decision to be made on who will lead the alliance when their leaders meet in Lithuania. This does not give them much time to build the necessary consensus that is needed to elect a new leader. Stoltenberg did not answer the question of whether his mandate could be extended, notes Reuters.

The meeting between Biden and Stoltenberg at the White House, the fourth in a row between the two, is taking place at a time of particular risk and uncertainty for NATO, the agency said.

Ukraine, armed with Western weapons, is in the initial stages of its counteroffensive against Russia, which could significantly change the nature of the war that began nearly a year and a half ago. NATO wants to continue supporting Kyiv while avoiding the alliance being directly drawn into a conflict with Moscow. Russian President Vladimir Putin claims Ukraine is suffering setbacks by losing tanks and armored vehicles.

Putin: They deceived us once again. We are considering getting out of the grain deal

President Vladimir Putin said Russia was considering pulling out of a deal to export Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea because the West had deceived Moscow by failing to fulfill any of its promises to get Russian agricultural products to world markets, Reuters and BTA reported. .

The deal allowed Ukraine to resume grain exports by sea. It was agreed with the mediation of the UN and Turkey last July. The goal was to overcome the global food crisis. According to the UN, it was exacerbated by Europe's deadliest conflict since World War II. To persuade Moscow to approve the Black Sea Grain Initiative, a three-year agreement was signed in which UN representatives agreed to help Russia export food and fertilizers. But Putin said that this commitment was not fulfilled due to the treachery of the West. In response, Russia slowed grain shipments across the Black Sea.

"We are thinking of getting out of this grain deal now," Putin said at a meeting of Russian military correspondents and military bloggers. "Unfortunately, we were once again deceived - nothing was done in terms of liberalizing the supply of our grain to foreign markets." There were many conditions that the Westerners had to fulfill under the leadership of the UN. Nothing was done."

Western powers have imposed the toughest sanctions ever imposed on Russia over the full-scale war that began with Ukraine on February 24, 2022.

Although Russia's food and fertilizer exports are not subject to sanctions, Western restrictions on payments, logistics and insurance create barriers to supplies, Moscow and major Russian grain and fertilizer exporters say.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said today that progress has been made by UN officials to iron out problems facing Russian exports, but "there are still some obstacles."

"We are not holding all the levers of power to facilitate the export of Russian grain and fertilizers, which is not subject to sanctions," Dujarric said.

The United States has called on Russia to stop threatening the world's food supply.

Belarus is already accepting Russian tactical nuclear weapons

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said his country has begun receiving Russian tactical nuclear weapons, Reuters reported.

Some of them, he said, were three times more powerful than the American atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

The agency referred to an interview of Lukashenko for the Russian state television channel Russia 1, published on the Telegram channel of the Belarusian state news agency Belta.

The Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the Russian Ambassador for spreading disinformation

The Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned as unacceptable and inadmissible the disinformation attempts made by Russian Ambassador Eleonora Mitrofanova on June 12, which affect Bulgaria's support for Ukraine, BNR reports.

The diplomatic department defines as inadmissible the hypotheses and assumptions made in the text of the address published on the page of the embassy of the Russian Federation in social networks.

In its position, the ministry reminds that Bulgaria strongly condemns military aggression and contributes to international efforts to support Ukraine, and responsible behavior is incompatible with any distortion of information in the public space.

The reason for the reaction is the speculation spread by the ambassador about a possible dispatch of Bulgarian military to Ukraine, which, according to Mitrofanova, would have negative consequences for the dialogue between Bulgaria and Russia.

Novinite is still the only Bulgarian media that publishes a summary of events and highlights related to the conflict, every single day. Our coverage began on day one - 24.02.2022 and will not stop until the war has concluded. Despite the pressure, our independent media will continue to provide its readers with accurate and up-to-date information. Thank you for your support! #stayinformed

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Tags: odesa, Ukraine, Russia, Bulgarian


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