Kremlin denies Putin threatened Britain
Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s claim that Russian President Vladimir Putin made a veiled threat to fire a missile at the UK is false, the Kremlin said on Monday.
Johnson, in a BBC interview published hours earlier, said the interaction happened during a phone call about three weeks before Russia invaded Ukraine.
“He threatened me at one point,” Johnson said, adding that Putin said, “‘I don’t want to hurt you, but with a missile it would only take a minute,’ or something. like that.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin only pointed out that if Ukraine joined NATO, deployment of NATO or US missiles near Russian borders would mean any missile could reach Moscow in minutes.
Peskov said Johnson’s account was false, “or, to be more precise, it was a lie”. Johnson deliberately lied or misunderstood what Putin was saying, Peskov said.
►France and Australia have announced their intention to jointly produce and deliver thousands of 155mm artillery shells to Ukraine.
►New US Ambassador to Moscow Lynne Tracy has met with a Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, the US Embassy announced. No details of the talk were announced. Tracy arrived in Moscow last week.
►The Kremlin has acknowledged that it upheld the partial mobilization decree it issued in the fall, giving credence to the belief of some war watchers that Russia will call in a second wave of conscripts.
►Ukraine has denied Russian claims that its forces captured a village that could serve as a crucial staging post to encircle Bakhmut. A fierce battle for control of the eastern city of 70,000 has been raging for weeks.
►Russia will again require basic military training in high schools and colleges – including teaching students how to handle assault rifles and hand grenades – the first time such training will be mandatory since 1993 , the British Ministry of Defense said.
Turkey asks for a separate examination of the Nordic countries’ request to NATO; Finnish objects
Turkey is pushing for Finland’s and Sweden’s NATO membership applications to be considered separately, an idea the Finns reject.
Admission to the alliance requires the unanimous approval of its members, and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan indicated on Sunday that Turkey could approve only Finland. The Turks have voiced objections to what they see as Sweden’s failure to crack down on groups Ankara considers terrorists.
“In my opinion, it would be right to differentiate between the problematic country and the less problematic country,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters on Monday of the idea of splitting the demands.
The Nordic countries applied for membership at the same time, and his Finnish counterpart, Pekka Haaivisto, said they should join NATO together.
“We have in fact stressed to all our future NATO partners, including Hungary and Turkey, that Finnish and Swedish security go hand in hand,” Haaivisto said.
Ukrainian fighter pilot dies trying to avoid crashing into houses
Ukraine was mourning the death of decorated fighter pilot Major Murashko Danil Gennadyevich, who is believed to have died in an accident on Friday while piloting his crippled plane away from a neighborhood after a clash with enemy planes.
“Seeing the Shabelkivka settlement nearby, the pilot, despite the low flying height, tried to keep the plane away from residential buildings until the last second” rather than eject to safety, said Ukrainian army in a statement. The army also said Gennadyevich was credited with 141 sorties since the war began less than a year ago, destroying more than 70 armored vehicles and 30 tank trucks.
He will receive the honor “Hero of Ukraine”.
Zelenskyy demands faster delivery of weapons from the West
Ukrainian forces face “very tough” fighting in the crucial Donetsk region and desperately need the delivery of weapons promised by the West, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said.
Key towns such as Bakhmut are under constant attack as Russian forces relentlessly attempt to break through Ukraine’s defense “despite many casualties”, Zelenskyy said. Putin claimed the annexation of the province.
The United States and Germany agreed last week to supply Ukraine with modern tanks, and training has already begun. But these tanks remain weeks or months away from the battlefield. Zelenskyy urged the United States, Germany, Poland, Canada, Belgium, Norway, Italy and other countries to speed up deliveries of all weapons and ammunition.
“Russia hopes to prolong the war, exhaust our forces,” he said. “We need to make time our weapon. We need to speed up events, speed up procurement and the opening up of new weaponry options needed for Ukraine.”
Croatian leader says tank deals will only prolong the war
Croatian President Zoran Milanovic has criticized Western nations for supplying Ukraine with heavy tanks and other weapons, saying this will only prolong the war. He asked why, almost a year after the start of the war, tanks are now approved for Ukraine. And he said the German tanks will take months to arrive, and the American tanks could take a year.
Prolonging the war costs Europe dearly while “America pays the least”, he said. He wondered if a nation with nuclear weapons could be defeated with conventional weapons.
” What is the point ? Disintegration of Russia, change of government? There’s also talk of tearing Russia apart,” he said. “It’s crazy.”
Contribute: The Associated Press