World: Ukraine round-up: Russia's tech weakness and latest fighting

Florida political group defends its ties with Russia after FBI alleges they teamed up with Kremlin agents in a 'brazen' attempt to interfere with US elections

  Florida political group defends its ties with Russia after FBI alleges they teamed up with Kremlin agents in a 'brazen' attempt to interfere with US elections Prosecutors allege Russian national Aleksandr Viktorovich Ionov infiltrated US political groups and tried to sow discord in the US electoral process.Biden's son was also a major topic amid chaotic discourse during the first Trump-Biden debate, Trump mentioned his business dealings, including his connections with the Ukrainian gas company Burisma Holdings and profiting in China while his father was vice president. Hunter was previously at the center of Trump's Ukraine scandal that launched an impeachment inquiry.

Russia is running low on key Western-made components for its hi-tech weapons and military communications, defence experts say, advocating tighter export controls.

Russian troops have pounded Ukraine's urban areas with missiles and rockets © Getty Images Russian troops have pounded Ukraine's urban areas with missiles and rockets

The Russian military is exhausting those weapons stocks in Ukraine and tighter controls would leave it permanently short, the Royal United Services Institute argues in a new report.

The study says Moscow has been using shipments through third-party hubs such as Hong Kong to secure the supplies it needs - which it calls Russia's "silicon lifeline".

Germany to send Ukraine 16 bridge-laying tanks, adding to its arsenal of Western weapons, as it wages a new offensive against the Russian invasion

  Germany to send Ukraine 16 bridge-laying tanks, adding to its arsenal of Western weapons, as it wages a new offensive against the Russian invasion Germany plans to send Ukraine Biber bridge-layer tanks to help its forces "overcome water or other obstacles in battle," the ministry said Friday.Throughout the buildup to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, NATO countries, including the US, insisted they would not send troops to the region amid concern that the presence of their personnel on the ground would lead to a dangerous escalation of the conflict.

It examines modern military systems used by Russia, including cruise missiles and electronic warfare technology. It says Russian intelligence officers are trying to build new routes to access Western microelectronics.

BBC Security Correspondent Frank Gardner examines the findings here.

Ukraine's push towards Kherson

On the ground, fighting grinds on at several fronts.

Ukraine says it is planning a counter-offensive in the Russian-occupied south of the country, and its forces have been shelling a key bridge in the occupied city of Kherson.

The Antonivskiy crossing is one of only two points where Russian troops can gain access to territory they hold west of the Dnieper (Dnipro) river.

Russian forces meanwhile are still trying to gain full control of Ukraine's eastern Donbas region.

Pentagon says Russia has suffered as many as 80,000 casualties in Ukraine and lost thousands of armored vehicles

  Pentagon says Russia has suffered as many as 80,000 casualties in Ukraine and lost thousands of armored vehicles An official said the figures are "pretty remarkable considering that the Russians have achieved none" of Putin's objectives from the start of the war.Roughly 70,000 to 80,000 Russian soldiers have been killed or wounded during the first five and a half months of the war, Colin Kahl, the undersecretary of defense for policy, said during a press briefing Monday, adding that the figure is "pretty remarkable considering that the Russians have achieved none of Vladimir Putin's objectives at the beginning of the war.

We have been tracking each sides' movements in maps.

  Ukraine round-up: Russia's tech weakness and latest fighting © BBC

Russians 'using nuclear plant as base'

A Russian guard at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant © Reuters A Russian guard at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

North-east of Kherson, the shelling of Europe's biggest nuclear power plant at Zaporizhzhia has caused international alarm.


Video: Ukraine under pressure in east as NATO chief says Russia must not win (Reuters)

Russia and Ukraine have accused each other of shelling the plant and the International Atomic Energy Agency has warned the fighting risks a "nuclear disaster".

The head of Ukraine's nuclear power company, Petro Kotin, told the BBC the Russians had turned the Zaporizhzhia plant into a military base, using it to launch attacks against Ukrainian positions.

The complex has been under Russian occupation since early March, although Ukrainian technicians still operate it.

UN demands end to military activity at Ukraine nuke plant

  UN demands end to military activity at Ukraine nuke plant UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. nuclear chief warned Thursday that “very alarming” military activity at Europe’s largest nuclear plant in southeastern Ukraine could lead to dangerous consequences for the region and called for an end to attacks at the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia facility. Rafael Grossi urged Russia and Ukraine, who blame each other for the attacks at the plant, to immediately allow nuclear experts to assess damage and evaluate safety and security at the sprawling nuclear complex where the situation “has been deteriorating very rapidly.

He spoke to the BBC's Hugo Bachega in Kyiv.

Meanwhile, the Moscow-installed head of Zaporizhzhia region, Yevgeny Balitsky, says he has signed a decree to hold a referendum there on "reunification" with Russia.

It was through such a referendum - declared illegal by Western governments - that Russia annexed Crimea in 2014. The Russian occupation authorities in Kherson have similar plans.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky has said there can be no peace talks with Russia if it holds such referendums in occupied territory.

More US weapons for Ukraine

The US has stepped up its military aid for Ukraine with a new $1bn (£828m) package including munitions for long-range artillery.

US high mobility rocket systems (Himars) have helped Ukrainian forces to hit Russian military targets behind front lines.

The package also includes other weapons and armoured medical transport vehicles.

The US has now given Ukraine security assistance worth more than $9bn since Russia invaded in February.

Russia suspends nuclear treaty inspections

A Russian RS-24 Yars strategic nuclear missile © AFP A Russian RS-24 Yars strategic nuclear missile

In another sign of deteriorating relations with the West, Russia has told the US it has "temporarily" suspended on-site inspections of its strategic nuclear weapons.

Pentagon official warns China's 'aggressive' behavior in the South China Sea could lead to a 'major incident or accident'

  Pentagon official warns China's 'aggressive' behavior in the South China Sea could lead to a 'major incident or accident' A top Pentagon official said the number of "unsafe" Chinese fighter jet intercepts has "increased dramatically" in recent years."We see Beijing combining its growing military power with greater willingness to take risks," Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Ely Ratner said at a Center for Strategic & International Studies conference.

It said sanctions opposed by the US had changed conditions between the two countries, depriving Russia of the right to carry out inspections on US territory.

The New START treaty, which came into force in 2011 after years of negotiations, is the last remaining arms reduction treaty between the two rivals.

It caps at 1,550 the number of long-range nuclear warheads that each country can deploy.

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Ukraine's Black Sea deal also helps Russian farmers, economy .
With much fanfare, ship after ship loaded with grain has sailed from Ukraine after being stuck in the country's Black Sea ports for nearly six months. More quietly, a parallel wartime deal met Moscow’s demands to clear the way for its wheat to get to the world, too, boosting an industry vital to Russia’s economy that had been ensnared in wider sanctions. While the U.S. and its European allies work to crush Russia's finances with a web ofWhile the U.S. and its European allies work to crush Russia's finances with a web of penalties for invading Ukraine, they have avoided sanctioning its grains and other goods that feed people worldwide.

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