Two Baltic NATO members, Estonia and Latvia, are all set to begin negotiations to purchase the medium-range IRIS-T SLM defense system from its German manufacturer very soon. Both countries, which border Russia, have greatly increased their defense budgets since Moscow's full-scale invasion of Ukraine began in February last year. Neither of the nations possess an air force… and both have to heavily rely on NATO to patrol their airspace. Deliveries of the system, manufactured by weapons maker Diehl Defence, could begin next year and possibly become operational in 2025. If the deal goes ahead, it would be the biggest defense cooperation project ever concluded between Tallin and Riga, according to the Estonian Defense Minister. The two nations hope to finalize the contract and make an official announcement by this summer. No details on the number of systems or on the price were revealed, but the Defence Minister have indicated that the purchase would cost hundreds of millions of euros.
In a major development, Russia has accused Kyiv of carrying ot cross-border sabotage in the Belgorod region. Kyiv has denied these accusations by saying that the groups responsible for the attacks don’t follow their orders…and they act on their own. Two groups have claimed responsibility for this cross-border raids….The Freedom of Russia Legion…and the Russian Volunteer Corps. Both have said that they had carried out the attacks and liberated a settlement in the region.The Free Russia legion was formed in March 2022. Reportedly, its first members were soldiers who had defected from the Russian military shortly after Moscow launched its massive, unprovoked Ukrainian invasion on February 24 last year. In their manifesto, they describe themselves as free citizens of Russia who take responsibility for themselves and are beginning to fight for a New Russia. The exact number of fighters in the organization is still a secret, but it is speculated that figures are as high as up to 4,000.
A group of anti-Putin Russian nationals – who are aligned with the Ukrainian army – has claimed responsibility for an attack in Russian’s southwestern region of Belgorod…as Moscow said it was fighting a group of saboteurs there. Shelling damaged an administrative building, several residential buildings, and a kindergarten in the area, according to Belgorod’s regional governor who said there were no fatalities. In a Telegram post, groups calling themselves the “Freedom of Russia Legion” and “Russian Volunteer Corps” said they had “liberated” a settlement in the Belgorod region, which borders Ukraine. Ukraine has disavowed connection to the Russian partisan fighters, saying that they act independently and are not subject to military control. The Freedom of Russia Legion, which describes itself as an anti-Kremlin militia seeking to liberate Russia from Vladimir Putin, said it had crossed the border and overrun the settlement of Kozinka, while sending units into the town of Grayvoron in Russia’s Belgorod region. Another anti-Kremlin militia, the Russian Volunteer Corps, which is led by a prominent Russian nationalist, also said it had taken part in the raid.
The Russian government has put the British prosecutor of the international criminal court or the ICC on a wanted list in an act of retribution after the Hague-based court issued an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin for allegedly overseeing the abduction of Ukrainian children. The arrest order said Russia’s interior ministry was seeking to detain Karim Khan, who has been serving as the ICC prosecutor since 2021. The ministry's listing does not specify which crime Khan has been accused of. As the court’s prosecutor, Khan had played an intimate role in the arrest warrant against Putin. He visited Ukraine four times in the year before the accusations were made public. Kyiv has accused Russia of abducting more than 16,000 children from the country since the full-scale invasion began in February last year.
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After a whirlwind week of diplomatic visits that has taken in the Vatican, Saudi Arabia, Europe's capitals and Japan, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's world tour has left his Russian counterpart looking increasingly isolated.
Credit: euronews (in English) Duration: 01:00Published
Russian President Vladimir Putin says he will deploy tactical nuclear weapons in neighbour and ally Belarus, bringing the arms to a country at the gates of the European Union and drawing the ire of the..