Putin ‘showed how weak he is’ when he ‘killed Wagner chief in plane crash’
The president of Ukraine has claimed his Russian counterpart killed warlord Yevgeny Prigozhin – a move he said would signal Vladimir Putin’s “weakness”.
Answering a question about the leader of Russia, who ordered the invasion of Ukraine in February last year, Volodymyr Zelensky said: “The fact that he killed Prigozhin – at least that’s the information we all have, not any other kind – that also speaks to his rationality, and about the fact that he is weak.”
The Ukrainian president didn’t provide any evidence to back up this claim.
Mr Prigozhin, the leader of the mercenary Wagner Group which staged a mutiny against the Kremlin defence leadership in June, died in a yet unexplained plane crash on August 23.
Aboard his private jet were also Dmitry Utkin and Valery Chekalov, two other key members of Wagner – an organisation UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman recently said will be proscribed as a terrorist group in Britain.
READ MORE: Inside hidden war between Putin and Macron as they jostle for power in Africa
In the wake of the plane crash, many Wagner supporters as well as people in the West – including US President Joe Biden – suggested little happens in Russia without Putin knowing it.
The Kremlin has since slapped down as a “complete lie” the allegation the Kremlin was involved in the crash.
Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said two days after the incident: “In the West of course this speculation comes from a certain angle. It’s all a complete lie. Of course when we talk about this issue we should be guided only by facts.”
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Inside the hidden war between Russia and France as they jostle for control in Africa
Wagner Group mercenaries have launched an “informational war” in Africa, fighting against democracy by stoking anti-Western sentiment sweeping across some of the poorest nations in the world, experts have warned.
The result could be catastrophic, both domestically and abroad, with a seismic uptick in violence causing the death of thousands and a potential mass migration to Europe, including, eventually, the United Kingdom.
Read the full report here.
Ukrainians ‘hide in their homes’ as armed Russians force them to vote in sham elections
Ukrainians trapped in the regions occupied by Russia following its invasion are “hiding in their homes” as Russian soldiers armed with “machine guns” go door-to-door forcing them to vote for Kremlin-backed war criminals, desperate civilians in the area have reported.
Sham elections in the four occupied regions of Ukraine, as well as Crimea, culminate on Sunday after more than a week of staggered voting. They are taking place alongside regional elections across Russia.
In an effort to falsely convince the population at home and abroad that Vladimir Putin’s “special military operation” is one of liberation not invasion, the Kremlin’s forces are going to extraordinary lengths to ensure a significant turnout to these elections.
Millions of Ukrainians are being subjected to “psychological pressure” and threats of “detainment, injury, torture and death” in a bid to force their participation.
The result is predetermined – a victory for Putin’s United Russia party is imminent; most of the available candidates represent them – but for the sake of the “propaganda machine”, Ukrainians have no choice but to partake.
Read the full exclusive report here.
Good morning from London. I’m Alice Scarsi, I’ll be bringing you all the latest developments on the war in Ukraine. Please feel free to get in touch with me as I work if you have a story or tips to share! Your thoughts are always welcome.
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