A high-profile Russian general, Gen. Ivan Popov, who was in command of forces in occupied southern Ukraine, revealed that he was fired from his post after accusing the defense minister of betraying Russian soldiers by not providing adequate support. This unprecedented dismissal of a senior officer amidst an open dispute over the Russian campaign in Ukraine has drawn significant attention from analysts.
Here are the latest updates on the situation:
- Kyiv attacks: Ukrainian officials reported that one person was killed and two others injured in the Ukrainian capital during early morning hours on Thursday. The casualties occurred after air defenses intercepted unmanned aerial vehicles, marking the third consecutive night of Russian airstrikes in the Kyiv region.
- On the ground: Ukrainian forces have made further advances in the Bakhmut area and successfully repelled Russian assaults in other parts of the Donetsk region. Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar highlighted Ukrainian forces’ successful defense against Russian offensives in the Kupyansk, Lyman, Avdiivka, and Marinka directions, where repeated attempts were made by Russian troops to break through Ukrainian defenses.
- General killed: Ukrainian officials claimed that Oleg Tsokov, the deputy commander of the Southern Military District, was among the Russians killed in a Ukrainian missile strike on a Russian headquarters in the occupied city of Berdyansk. Independent analysts and CNN’s own assessment suggest that Russia has lost approximately 10 generals in combat since the beginning of the invasion.
- NATO summit takeaways: The NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, saw US President Joe Biden and G7 leaders expressing strong support for Ukraine. They issued a joint declaration aimed at bolstering Ukraine’s military capabilities and affirmed their commitment to the country. However, Ukraine did not receive an invitation to join the alliance, despite President Volodymyr Zelensky expressing optimism about Ukraine’s path to NATO membership.
- Moscow’s take: The Russian foreign ministry criticized the NATO summit, suggesting that the alliance has returned to “Cold War schemes.” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan offered to act as a mediator between Russia and Ukraine if both parties agreed to the proposition.
- Military assistance: Estonia’s prime minister defended the US decision to provide Ukraine with controversial cluster bombs, and UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace emphasized the desire for gratitude from Ukraine’s allies for their support. Former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged the US not to waver in its support for Ukraine in its ongoing conflict against Russia.