12:04pm: Russian defence minister visits troops in Ukraine
Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu visited army units fighting in Ukraine, Russian state-owned news agency RIA reported.
RIA cited the ministry as saying that Shoigu had visited Russian units deployed to the “area of the special military operation”, using Moscow’s term for the war in Ukraine. It did not specify where the visit took place.
10:48am: Patriot missiles will not stop Russia from ‘achieving its goals’ in Ukraine, Russia says
Russia said Thursday that US supplies of Patriot missile systems to Ukraine, announced during Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s visit to Washington, would not contribute to settling the conflict or prevent Russia from achieving its goals.
In a call with reporters, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said of the Patriot shipment: “This is not conducive to a speedy settlement, quite the contrary. And this cannot prevent the Russian Federation from achieving its goals during the special military operation,” using Russia’s term for the conflict.
10:47am: Kremlin says US fighting ‘indirect war’ against Russia
“We can say with regret that so far neither President Biden nor President Zelensky have said even a few words that could be perceived as potential readiness to listen to Russia’s concerns,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
“Not a single word was heard warning Zelensky against the continued shelling of residential buildings in towns and villages in Donbas and there were no real calls for peace,” Peskov said.
“This suggests that the United States is continuing its line of de facto fighting an indirect war with Russia to the last Ukrainian,” he added.
10:27am: Belarus’s Lukashenko dismisses ‘conspiracy theories’ about manoeuvres
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Thursday that recent military manoeuvres were not aimed at Ukraine and dismissed “conspiracy theories” about deployments of Belarusian armed forces at the border.
Speaking at a conference of military leaders, Lukashenko also said that he could not rule out “aggression” against Belarus on the part of unspecified “neighbours”.
”If you want peace, prepare for war,” Lukashenko added, saying that military moves were limited to Belarusian territory and did not threaten anyone else.
Belarus has in recent weeks announced a flurry of military activity, including readiness checks and a fresh deployment of Russian troops to the country.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and Reuters)
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