Ukraine war: French missiles, NATO friction, nuclear attack fears

A man runs while recovering items from a burning shop following a Russian attack in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Friday, March 25, 2022.
A man runs while recovering items from a burning shop following a Russian attack in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Friday, March 25, 2022. Copyright Felipe Dana/The AP
By Euronews
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All the latest developments from the war in Ukraine

France sends new missiles to Ukraine


French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Tuesday that his country will deliver long-range "Scalp" missiles to Ukraine – and a French government source has confirmed the weapons have already been sent.

"The first missiles were delivered at the same time as our president announced it," the source said on the sidelines of the Nato summit in Vilnius.

"We have decided to deliver new deep-strike missiles to Ukraine," said Macron on his arrival at the event. 

"I think that what is important for us today is to send a message of support for Ukraine, of Nato's unity", he added.

The Kremlin called the move a "mistake" that will force Russia to take "countermeasures" in the conflict in Ukraine.

"From our point of view, this is a mistaken decision, with serious consequences for the Ukrainian side, because naturally it will force us to take countermeasures," spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

Meanwhile, Germany is to supply nearly €700 million worth of additional weapons to Ukraine, government sources said on Tuesday. 

Germany is one of the largest contributors of military aid to Ukraine. In May, Berlin announced it would deliver arms worth €2.7 billion. 

Russian drones strike grain facilities in Odesa

Russia launched 28 explosive drones at Ukraine during the night, targeting a port in the Odesa region, Ukrainian authorities said on Tuesday. 

"A grain terminal in a port in the Odesa region" was the target of the "powerful" attack, said regional governor Oleg Kiper, without giving the name of the site.

The Odesa region is home to three ports that are part of the international agreement that allows grain exports to leave Ukraine despite the Russian invasion of the country. 

The deal expires on 17 July.

"Two terminals, one of which was a grain terminal, caught fire as a result of falling shrapnel from downed drones", said Kiper, adding the fires had been extinguished without causing any major damage or casualties.

Russia has 'no red lines' on nuclear attacks – Ukrainian minister

The catastrophic collapse of the Kakhovka dam has raised fears that Russia might stage an attack on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant to cause panic and quell Ukrainian advances on the frontline, Ukraine’s energy minister claimed on Monday.

Herman Halushchenko said the dam's destruction, while under Russian control in the Kherson region, warrants the level of alarm Ukraine’s leadership has raised in recent weeks, alleging Moscow might attack Europe's largest nuclear plant. 

Halushchenko said he and Zelenskyy warned as early as October 2022 that the Russians could plant mines to blow up the Kakhovka dam.

“For many, many people it sounded ridiculous … and when it happened everybody understood that there are no red lines for them,” he said. “And of course, it’s all connected to the counter-offensive operation, and after Kakhovka, the one tool they still have is Zaporizhzhia.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy alleged last week, citing intelligence reports, that Russian troops placed “objects resembling explosives” on top of several power units to “simulate” an attack. 

AP/Planet Labs PBC
This image provided by Planet Labs PBC shows the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in Southern Ukraine on Wednesday, July 5, 2023.AP/Planet Labs PBC

Drone and satellite images reportedly showed unidentified white objects on the roof of the plant’s fourth power unit, but Ukrainian leaders have so far been unable to provide further evidence.

Jeffrey Lewis, a professor at the Middlebury Institute and satellite image expert, said the objects appeared to be placed on the unit’s turbine hall. If it turns out to be a bomb, it is unlikely to cause serious damage to the reactor, he added.

Zaporizhzhia was seized by Russia early on in the war in March 2022.  Since then, Russia and Ukraine have repeatedly accused each other of shelling the plant amid fears of a nuclear accident.

Ukraine 'de facto' NATO member, says Zelenskyy

Ukraine is already in effect a member of NATO since most of the alliance stands with the war-torn nation, Zelenskyy said on Monday.

“The security reality here on NATO's eastern flank depends on Ukraine. When we applied to join NATO, we were frank: Ukraine is de facto already in the alliance," he said.


Zelenskyy also indicated that more military aid to Ukraine will be announced at  the NATO summit in Vilnius. 

“I am sure that there could be positive news regarding weapons for our men from Vilnius,” Zelenskyy said.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has maintained that Ukraine will not be granted membership while it is still at war with Russia.  

Stoltenberg added that the Vilnius meeting will not issue a formal invitation to Ukraine, contrary to Zelenskyy's nightly address. 

NATO's summit will begin on Tuesday with fresh momentum after Turkey withdrew its objections to Sweden joining the alliance, a step toward the unity that Western leaders have been eager to demonstrate in the face of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.


Prigozhin's commanders met Putin after mutiny – Kremlin

Just five days after staging a short-lived rebellion, Wagner mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin's commanders met with Vladimir Putin and pledged loyalty to the government, a senior government spokesman said Monday.

The three-hour meeting took place on 29 June and involved not only Prigozhin but commanders from his Wagner Group military contractor, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Putin gave an assessment of Wagner’s actions on the battlefield in Ukraine, where the mercenaries have fought alongside Russian troops, and of the revolt itself, said Peskov.

“The commanders themselves presented their version of what happened. They underscored that they are staunch supporters and soldiers of the head of state and the commander-in-chief, and also said that they are ready to continue to fight for their homeland."

The confirmation that Putin met face-to-face with Prigozhin, who led troops on a march to Moscow last month to demand a military leadership change, is an extraordinary turn. Though the Russian leader branded Prigozhin a traitor as the revolt unfolded and vowed harsh punishment, the criminal case against the mercenary chief on rebellion charges was later dropped.


Russian military recruiter 'assassinated'

A Russian official in charge of military mobilisation in the city of Krasnodar has been shot dead, authorities said on Monday evening, in the middle of a recruitment campaign.

In a statement, investigators said the body of the 42-year-old man was found on Monday morning with “bullet wounds” in a street in the Russian city.

According to the same source, the man was the deputy head of the town hall responsible for “mobilisation operations” in the army in Krasnodar.

Investigators are working to establish the identity of the perpetrator and the motive for the crime, the Investigative Committee said.

The state news agency TASS, citing police sources, said that the victim’s name was Stanislav Rjitski.


The Russian army has seen its ranks decimated since the start of the invasion, and has lately been conducting a vast military recruitment campaign to replenish its capacity.

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