US drone crashes in Black Sea
The U.S. military said a Russian fighter plane clipped the propeller of one its spy drones and made it crash into the Black Sea in the first such direct encounter between the two world powers since Russia invaded Ukraine over a year ago.
U.S. DRONE INCIDENT
A U.S military MQ-9 surveillance drone crashed into the Black Sea after being intercepted by Russian fighter jets. The Pentagon said that one of the Russian Su-27 jets struck the propeller of the drone, making it inoperable.
Russia’s defence ministry blamed “sharp maneuvering” by the drone for the crash and said that its jets did not make contact.
Russia views the drone incident as provocation, the RIA state news agency cited Russia’s ambassador to the United States as saying.
Ukraine’s top military command is unanimously in favour of defending eastern Ukraine including the besieged city of Bakhmut, and inflicting maximum losses on the enemy, President Voldoymyr Zelenskiy said.
Zelenskiy dismissed three regional governors including the head of the front-line region of Luhansk.
A major Ukrainian arms manufacturer announced it had started making 125mm rounds for Soviet-era tanks, as Kyiv seeks to boost its armour capabilities for a counter-offensive against invading Russian forces.
Russia’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu ordered a top Russian arms manufacturer to double its production of high-precision rockets, the TASS news agency reported.
The Kremlin said that Russia’s goals in Ukraine could only be achieved by military force at the moment, and that Kyiv needed to accept the “new realities” on the ground before a peaceful settlement could be reached.
Russia does not recognise the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, the TASS news agency quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying when asked about reports the ICC was expected to seek its first arrest warrants against Russian individuals.
The 2024 U.S. Republican presidential race could become a contest between isolationists and foreign policy hawks after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis sent his strongest signal yet he does not believe support for Ukraine is in the U.S. national interest.
GRAINS AND GAS
Russian President Vladimir Putin said that last year’s blasts on the Nord Stream gas pipelines had been carried out on a “state level”, dismissing the idea an autonomous pro-Ukraine group was responsible as “complete nonsense”.
Talks continued to extend a deal to allow grain shipments from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports ahead of a deadline later this week, the United Nations and Turkey said, after Kyiv rejected a Russian push for a reduced 60-day renewal.