Live Updates | United Kingdom: the Russian army “significantly weaker”

LVIV, Ukraine – The British Army has said it believes the Russian military is now “significantly weaker” after suffering losses in its war against Ukraine.

The UK Ministry of Defense made the comment on Tuesday in its daily Twitter statement regarding the war.

He said: “The Russian military is now significantly weaker, both materially and conceptually, following its invasion of Ukraine. The recovery will be exacerbated by the sanctions. This will have a lasting impact on Russia’s ability to deploy conventional military force.

The ministry added that while Russia’s defense budget doubled from 2005 to 2018, the modernization program it undertook “did not allow Russia to dominate Ukraine”.

“Failures in both strategic planning and operational execution prevented him from translating numerical strength into decisive advantage,” the ministry said.

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KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIAN-UKRAINE WAR:

– US official says Russia plans to annex parts of eastern Ukraine

Civilians rescued from Mariupol steel factory head for safety

— Push to arm Ukraine by putting pressure on US arms stocks

—UEFA remove more russian football teams of its competitions

Follow all AP stories about Russia’s war on Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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OTHER DEVELOPMENTS:

LVIV, Ukraine — Satellite photos analyzed by The Associated Press show nearly 50 Russian military helicopters at a base near the Ukrainian border.

The image captured by Planet Labs PBC on Monday shows the helicopters in Stary Oskol, Russia, some 175 kilometers (110 miles) northeast of the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv.

Helicopters are parked on the tarmac, runway and grass of the otherwise civilian airport. Military equipment is parked nearby to support the aircraft.

Russia has used its military attack helicopters in its war against Ukraine, hovering low to the ground to try to avoid anti-aircraft missiles.

Meanwhile, another satellite image showed a bridge repeatedly targeted by Moscow near the Black Sea port city of Odessa, still standing around noon on Monday. This strategic bridge connects Odessa with the wider countryside and would be essential in defending the region.

A breakaway region of neighboring Moldova, home to nearby Russian troops, has seen a series of mysterious explosions in recent days, raising concerns about the widening conflict.

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ROME — Pope Francis told an Italian newspaper that he offered to travel to Moscow to meet Russia’s president about three weeks after the invasion began, but received no response.

Francis was quoted by the Corriere della Sera on Tuesday as saying his offer to visit Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow was made by Vatican No. 2 Cardinal Pietro Parolin 20 days after the invasion of the Ukraine by Russia.

He said: “Of course it would be necessary for the Kremlin leader to open a window of opportunity. But we still haven’t had an answer and we’re still pushing, although I’m afraid Putin can’t and won’t have that meeting right now.”

Francis said he spoke with the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Cyril, for 40 minutes via videoconference and during the first half “with a paper in his hand he read all the justifications for the war. I listened and said to him: I do not understand any of this. Brother, we are not clerics of the State, we cannot use the language of politics, but that of Jesus. … For that, we must to find the ways of peace, to stop the shootings of weapons.

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KYIV, Ukraine – Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said his visit to the Ukrainian capital showed “the full support of the Danish side” on arms transfer, sanctions against Russia, but also the humanitarian aid.

Kofod reopened the Danish embassy in Kyiv and met his counterpart Dymtro Kuleba and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Monday. Its meetings come as Denmark’s neighbors Sweden and Finland consider joining NATO. Denmark is a founding member.

Moscow warned that such a decision would have consequences, without giving details. However, on Friday, a Russian military plane violated Swedish and Danish airspace.

“I must tell Russia that every country has the sovereign right to organize itself in terms of security. Denmark is not threatening anyone. Sweden, Finland are not threatening anyone,” Kofod told The Associated Press. “It’s totally unwarranted if Russia or anyone else is trying, in some way, to violate our airspace (…) or do some kind of other hybrid attacks against us, it’s totally unjustified. And we will, of course, protect ourselves against that.

Earlier in the day, Kofod traveled to Irpin on the outskirts of Kyiv to witness firsthand the destruction and devastation.

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OTTAWA — Ukraine’s designated ambassador to Canada says Russia must be held accountable for sex crimes committed by its troops, including against children.

Yulia Kovaliv told a Canadian House of Commons committee on Monday that Russia uses sexual violence as a weapon of war and said rape and sexual assault must be investigated as crimes of war.

She said Russia has also kidnapped Ukrainian children and taken them to Russian-occupied territories and now to Russia itself. Ukraine is working with partners to find the children and bring them back.

“The Russians a few days ago killed a young mother and taped her living child to her body and tied a mine between them,” the ambassador said. She said the mine had exploded.

All of Russian society, not just President Vladimir Putin “and his proxies,” should take responsibility for the war on Ukraine because more than 70% of Russians support the invasion, Kovaliv said.

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