Ukraine-Russia war LIVE – Coup to oust Vladimir Putin ‘already under way’ as Zelensky says he’s ‘ready to talk’


UKRAINIAN President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says that he’s ready to talk with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

He said “we must find an agreement,’’ – but with no ultimatum as a condition.

Zelensky told Italian RAI state TV in an interview: “We want the Russian army to leave our land, we aren’t on Russian soil“.

“We won’t save Putin’s face by paying with our territory. That would be unjust.”

In another comment, Zelensky said of the future: “We have to think of the future of Russia. I, as president of Ukraine, say these are our neighbours. There will be other presidents, other presidents and other generations” of Russia.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s spy chief last night claimed that a coup to remove Vladimir Putin is already under way and that Russia would lose the war by the end of this year.

Major General Kyrylo Budanov, 36, said he believed a turning point in the conflict will come later this summer and will eventually see Putin ousted from office.

“The breaking point will be in the second part of August,” General Budanov told Sky News. 

“Most of the active combat will have finished by the end of this year. It will eventually lead to the change of leadership of the Russian Federation. This process has already been launched.

“As a result, we will renew Ukrainian power in all our territories.”

Follow our Russia-Ukraine live blog below for up-to-the-minute updates…

  • Finland believes it can find a solution to win over Turkey on Nato admission

    Finland believes it can find a “solution” with Turkey to end Ankara’s opposition to its bid to join NATO, the EU nation’s foreign minister said Saturday.

    Speaking ahead of talks with NATO members including Turkey in Berlin, Pekka Haavisto said he was “confident that in the end we will find a solution and Finland (and) Sweden will become members of NATO”.

    Referring to a phonecall initiated by Finland’s president to his counterpart in Russia, Vladimir Putin, the minister said it was “very important that we communicate with our neighbour” even if “we don’t ask any permission for our political steps”.

    Moscow’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine has swung political and public opinion in Finland and neighbouring Sweden in favour of NATO membership as a deterrent against Russian aggression.

    Both countries have long cooperated with the Western military alliance and are expected to be able to join it quickly.

    Underlining the tense situation, the minister stressed that it was critical for as many NATO members as possible to “announce clear support” for Finland from when it files its application to its final accession.

  • Russia has ‘lost’ the battle for Kharkiv

    Russia has “lost” the battle for Kharkiv, according to an American think tank.

    The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) says Moscow’s forces have been pushed back from the city in northeastern Ukraine.

    Yesterday’s ISW report said: “The Russian military has likely decided to withdraw fully from its positions around Kharkiv City in the face of Ukrainian counter offensives and the limited availability of reinforcements. 

    “Russian units have generally not attempted to hold ground against counter attacking Ukrainian forces over the past several days, with a few exceptions.”

  • Kyiv renames iconic soviet monument

    Kyiv Saturday renamed an iconic Soviet-era arch symbolising ties with Moscow to “Arch of the Freedom of the Ukrainian People”, the mayor said.

    The symbolic move comes after the city demolished a statue of two workers — one Russian and the other Ukrainian — under the arch last month.

    “The city council today decided to ‘de-communise’ the name of the Arch of the Friendship of the Peoples. It will now be the Arch of the Freedom of the Ukrainian People,” the capital’s mayor Vitali Klitschko said on Telegram.

    He said officials had also “approved a list of more than 40 monuments and memorial plaques that will have to be removed from streets and buildings of the capital and transferred to a museum of totalitarianism.”

    He said renaming them all would take time and involve “specialists”, mainly historians, “so as not to take a hasty decision”.

    The arch is an imposing 35-metre-high monument that towers over central Kyiv. It was erected in 1982.

    Many Kyiv residents have called for plaques across the city linked to Russia and its ally Belarus to be replaced.

    The Kyiv metro has held online surveys on how to rename stations.

    Users have voted for the “Minsk” station to become “Warsaw” station, and for the “Leo Tolstoy Square” stop to instead celebrate Vassyl Stus, a Ukrainian dissident who died in the Soviet gulag.

  • Russia suspends electricity to Finland

    Russia suspended electricity supplies to Finland overnight after its energy firm RAO Nordic threatened to cut off supplies over payment arrears, an official for Finland’s grid operator told AFP on Saturday.

    The supplies “are zero since midnight,” Timo Kaukonen said. RAO Nordic had Friday said it would suspend supplies, citing problems with payments, as Helsinki prepares to announce its application for NATO membership in the wake of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

  • Putin warns Finland Nato membership will ‘negatively affected’

    Russian President Vladimir Putin warned his Finnish counterpart Saturday relations between the two neighbors could be ‘negatively affected” if Finland follows through with plans to apply for NATO membership.

    The Kremlin’s press service said in a statement that Putin told Sauli Niinisto that Finland’s abandonment of its traditional policy of military neutrality would be an error since there are no threats to Finlands security.

    Such a change in the countrys foreign policy could negatively affect Russian-Finnish relations, which had been built in the spirit of good neighborliness and partnership for many years, and were mutually beneficial, the statement added.

    The response came after Niinisto told Putin in a phone conversation that the militarily non-aligned Nordic country that has a complex history with its huge eastern neighbor will decide to apply for NATO membership in the coming days.

    Niinistos office said in a statement that the Finnish head of state told Putin how starkly Finlands security environment had changed after Moscows Feb. 24 invasion on Ukraine, and pointed to Russias demands on Finland refraining from seeking membership to the 30 member-state Western military alliance.

  • Thank you for reading my coverage. Joe Gamp will now be taking over the blog until 10pm tonight.

  • G7 will continue economic pressure on Russia

    Following a meeting of the G7 nations in Germany, the group’s foreign ministers have co-signed a statement saying they will continue to put economic pressure on Russia.

    They said this would reinforce Russia’s political isolation.

    The group also said it would continue supplying weapons to Ukraine and work to ease the global food shortage.

    The joint statement said: “We reaffirm our determination to further increase economic and political pressure on Russia, continuing to act in unity.”

    The G7 is made up of the UK, USA, Canada, Japan, Germany, France and Italy, with the EU also participating.

  • ‘Up to 50 million people face hunger’ due to Ukraine war food shortage

    Germany’s foreign minister Annalena Baerbock has warned that tens of millions of people face hunger because of the war in Ukraine.

    Ukraine is a major contributor to world food stocks, exporting sizeable amounts of cooking oil, corn and wheat. 

    However, these supplies are currently trapped due to Russia’s invasion.

    Speaking after a G7 summit in Germany, Ms Baerbock said up to 50 million people, particularly in the countries of Africa and the Middle East, will face hunger in the next few months.

    A group statement from the G7’s foreign ministers said: “Russia’s war of aggression has generated one of the most severe food and energy crises in recent history which now threatens those most vulnerable across the globe,.

    “We are determined to accelerate a co-ordinated multilateral response to preserve global food security and stand by our most vulnerable partners in this respect.”

    Canada’s foreign minister, Melanie Joly, also told reporters: “We need to make sure that these cereals are sent to the world.

    “If not, millions of people will be facing famine.”

  • Putin tells Finland that abandoning its neutrality would be a mistake

    Russian President Vladimir Putin told his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinisto today it would be a mistake for Helsinki to abandon its neutral status and join NATO, the Kremlin said, report Reuters.

    Putin said there were no security threats to Finland, and the potential change in its foreign policy stance could be negative for bilateral relations.

  • Russia’s threats over use of Satan-2 hypersonic nuclear missile on Britain

    Russia has today made new threats to use its deadly Satan-2 hypersonic nuclear missile to strike Britain in just “200 seconds”.

    The warning comes from Russia’s defence committee deputy chairman, Aleksey Zhuravlyov.

    “If Finland wants to join this bloc, then our goal is absolutely legitimate – to question the existence of this state. This is logical,” Mr Zhuravlyov said in an interview with state TV Russia 1.

    “If the United States threatens our state, it’s good: here is the Sarmat [known Satan-2] for you, and there will be nuclear ashes from you if you think that Russia should not exist. And Finland says that it is at one with the USA. Well, get in line.”

    Asked if Russia would now rebase nuclear weapons onto its border with Finland, he said: “What for? We don’t need to.

    “We can hit with a Sarmat from Siberia, and even reach the UK. And if we strike from Kaliningrad… the hypersonic’s reaching time is 200 seconds – so go ahead, guys.”

  • G7 ‘will never recognise’ borders changed by force by Russia

    The Group of Seven industrialised nations said today they would never recognise the borders Russia is trying to shift in its war against Ukraine and pledged enduring support for Kyiv.

    “We will never recognise borders Russia has attempted to change by military aggression, and will uphold our engagement in the support of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, including Crimea, and all states,” the G7 foreign ministers said in a statement after three days of talks in northern Germany.

    They also vowed to expand sanctions to include sectors on which Russia is dependent and keep supplying Ukraine with weapons to help it repel Russia’s invasion.

    “We reaffirm our determination to further increase economic and political pressure on Russia, continuing to act in unity,” they said.

  • Russian troops reportedly withdrawing from Kharkiv

    Ukraine’s military says Russian troops are withdrawing from Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second city.

    Ukraine’s general staff said Russian troops were pulling back and focusing on guarding supply routes, as mortar, artillery and air strikes were launched against the Donetsk region further south.

    Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov said Ukraine is “entering a new – long-term – phase of the war”. 

  • Kyiv intel chief: Ukraine could win war by year-end

    The war in Ukraine could reach a “breaking point” by August and end in defeat for Russia before the end of the year, Kyiv’s head of military intelligence told the UK’s Sky News today.

    Major General Kyrylo Budanov, 36, told the news network that he was “optimistic” about the current trajectory of the conflict.

    “The breaking point will be in the second part of August,” he said.

    “Most of the active combat actions will have finished by the end of this year.

    “As a result, we will renew Ukrainian power in all our territories that we have lost including Donbas and the Crimea,” he said.

    Budanov also added that that Ukraine knows “everything about our enemy. We know about their plans almost as they’re being made.”

    The intelligence chief also made unverified claims that a coup was already under way in Moscow to depose President Vladimir Putin, and that the Russian leader was “very sick” with cancer.

  • Russia suspends electricity to Finland

    Russia suspended electricity supplies to Finland overnight after its energy firm RAO Nordic threatened to cut off supplies over payment arrears, an official for Finland’s grid operator told AFP on Saturday.

    The supplies “are zero since midnight,” Timo Kaukonen said. RAO Nordic had Friday said it would suspend supplies, citing problems with payments, as Helsinki prepares to announce its application for NATO membership in the wake of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

  • Zelensky on Russian losses

    President Volodymyr Zelensky has given a video update on the number of Russia’s losses, according to Ukraine’s intelligence.

    He says that Vlaidmir Putin’s military has lost 200 airplanes, 27,000 soldiers and 3,000 tanks, armoured vehicle and drones.

  • Russia has ‘lost’ the battle for Kharkiv

    Russia has “lost” the battle for Kharkiv, according to an American think tank.

    The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) says Moscow’s forces have been pushed back from the city in northeastern Ukraine.

    Yesterday’s ISW report said: “The Russian military has likely decided to withdraw fully from its positions around Kharkiv City in the face of Ukrainian counter offensives and the limited availability of reinforcements. 

    “Russian units have generally not attempted to hold ground against counter attacking Ukrainian forces over the past several days, with a few exceptions.”

  • Moscow will respond if NATO moves nuclear forces closer to Russia’s border

    Moscow will take adequate precautionary measures if NATO deploys nuclear forces and infrastructure closer to Russia’s border, Russian news agencies quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko as saying today.

    “It will be necessary to respond … by taking adequate precautionary measures that would ensure the viability of deterrence,” Interfax agency quoted Grushko as saying.

    Moscow has no hostile intentions towards Finland and Sweden and does not see “real” reasons for those two countries to be joining the NATO alliance, Grushko added.

    He also reiterated the Kremlin’s earlier statement that Moscow’s response to NATO’s possible expansion will depend on how close the alliance moves military assets towards Russia and what infrastructure it deploys.

  • Russian dead gathered to be sent home

    The bodies of Russian soldiers killed in Ukraine were brought to a rail yard outside Kyiv and stacked with hundreds of others in a refrigerated train.

    “Most of them were brought from the Kyiv region, there are some from Chernihiv region and from some other regions too,” Volodymyr Lyamzin, the chief civil-military liaison officer, told Reuters on Friday as stretcher-bearers in white, head-to-toe protective suits lifted bodybags into the box cars.

    He said refrigerated trains stationed in other regions across Ukraine were being used for the same grim purpose.

  • Help those fleeing conflict with The Sun’s Ukraine Fund

    Many of you want to help the five million caught in the chaos — and now you can, by donating to The Sun’s Ukraine Fund.

    Give as little as £3 or as much as you can afford and every penny will be donated to the Red Cross on the ground helping women, children, the old, the infirm and the wounded.

    Donate here to help The Sun’s fund

    Or text to 70141 from UK mobiles

    £3 — text SUN£3
    £5 — text SUN£5
    £10 — text SUN£10

    Texts cost your chosen donation amount (e.g. £5) +1 standard message (we receive 100%). For full T&Cs visit redcross.org.uk/mobile

  • Putin sparks claims his head is ‘PHOTOSHOPPED’ 

    VLADIMIR Putin’s bizarre latest appearance has sparked rumours that footage of the Russian president has been edited while he undergoes treatment for cancer.

    Putin‘s head appeared “bloated” according to some commenters during Friday’s virtual meeting of Russia‘s security council.

    Some even claimed his head had been artificially attached to his body in manipulated footage.

    The video has sparked further speculation about his condition, and whether the Kremlin is keeping the Russian people in the dark about 69-year-old mad Vlad.

    One comment under the clip read: “His face and head look so bloated, especially his cheeks and around the back of his head.

    “He looks photoshopped onto his body. It’s clearly him, but what a strange look.”

    Another wrote: “Either his clothing is too tight around the neck, or he sits in an unfortunate position.”

    It comes amid widespread rumours about Putin’s health, with some claiming he is due to have cancer surgery any day now.

  • Moscow will respond if NATO moves nuclear forces closer to Russia’s border

    Moscow will take adequate precautionary measures if NATO deploys nuclear forces and infrastructure closer to Russia’s border, RIA news agency quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko as saying today.

    Moscow has no hostile intentions towards Finland and Sweden and does not see “real” reasons for those two countries to be joining the NATO alliance, Grushko added.

  • More than 700,000 Ukrainian refugees recorded in Germany

    More than 700,000 people fleeing the war in Ukraine have been recorded in Germany thus far, Welt am Sonntag newspaper has reported, citing Interior Ministry data.

    Around 40% of Ukrainian refugees were minors and women make 81% of the adult refugees registered, Welt added.

    The Russian invasion has triggered a massive displacement of people, including more than 8 million Ukrainians within the country, according to the latest International Organization for Migration (IOM) report.

  • Two Russa Today journalists injured in rocket attack

    Two journalists for Kremlin-backed television channel RT were injured Friday during a rocket attack in eastern Ukraine the channel blamed on Ukrainian forces.

    A TV crew of RT’s correspondent Valentin Gorshenin came under Ukrainian troops’ rocket fire near the town of Dokuchaevsk in separatist-controlled eastern Ukraine, the channel said in a statement on messaging app Telegram.

    “Cameramen Vladimir Batalin and Viktor Miroshnikov received shrapnel wounds to their legs and back,” the statement said. “They are being taken to the hospital now.”

    The correspondent himself was not injured.

    There was no immediate comment from Ukrainian authorities.

  • What happened last night?

    Here’s a recap of all the main events that happened last night:

    • Breakthrough talks have taken place between Russia’s defence minister and the US defence secretary
    • More than 700,000 Ukrainian refugees have registered in Germany, according to Welt am Sonntag newspaper
    • The Ukrainian military has claimed to have destroyed at least 73 Russian tanks
      • Alongside this, other equipment was also destroyed during a battle over a river in the Donbas region
    • Russian state media reported the country’s senior lawmaker had visited Kherson in Ukraine to discuss social and healthcare needs
  • UK: Russia to include Ukraine’s Kherson in its territory

    The military-civilian administration imposed by Russia in Kherson is set to include the southern city Kherson into its fold, the British defence ministry claimed today.

    “The Russian-imposed military-civilian administration in Kherson announced they will ask Russia to include Kherson Region in the Russian Federation. A central part of Russia’s original invasion plan was highly likely to use rigged referendums to place the majority of Ukraine’s regions under long-term pro-Russian authority,” the ministry said in its latest intelligence update.

    It added: “The fact that Russia has only succeeded in imposing a pro-Russian local leadership in Kherson highlights the failure of Russia’s invasion to make progress towards its political objectives in Ukraine.”

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