Ukraine-Russia war latest LIVE: Paranoid Putin's 'end is near' as Russian despot is 'losing grip on power' in Kremlin

VLADIMIR Putin SURVIVED an attempt on his life – but the despot is "losing his grip" on power in the Kremlin, according to US intelligence.

Three high-ranking US intelligence officials have revealed details about an attempted assassination attempt on the Russian despot.

However, no further details of the failed mission to kill Putin were given by the Pentagon insiders, who spoke under the conditon of anonymity.

The officials – one from the office of the Director of National Intelligence, one a retired Air Force senior officer, and one from the Defense Intelligence Agency – told Newsweek they fear Mr Putin’s paranoia about staying in power may heighten the conflict in Ukraine.

But they say it could be this very trait that prevents the "increasingly isolated" leader from launching nuclear weapons.

One of the senior intelligence officers told the publication: “Putin’s grip is strong but no longer absolute.

“The jockeying inside the Kremlin has never been more intense during his rule, everyone sensing that the end is near.”

Read our Ukraine war blog below for the latest rolling news and updates…

  • Louis Allwood

    Ukrainian embassy says Russia ships 'stolen' wheat to Syria

    Russia has sent its ally Syria an estimated 100,000 tonnes of wheat stolen from Ukraine since invading the country, the Ukrainian embassy in Beirut said, describing the shipments as "criminal activity".

    In a statement to Reuters, the embassy said the shipments included one aboard the Matros Pozynich, a Russian-flagged vessel which docked at Syria's main sea port Latakia in late May.

    "The wheat is stolen from a facility that combines wheat from three Ukrainian regions into one batch," the embassy said.

    "This is criminal activity," it said, adding that it had tried to reach out to the Syrian authorities but had never received a response.

  • Louis Allwood

    Zelensky: Russia occupies 20% of Ukraine's territory

    Russia is currently occupying about 20% of Ukraine's territory, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told Luxembourg's parliament in a video address on Thursday.

    "We have to defend ourselves against almost the entire Russian army. All combat-ready Russian military formations are involved in this aggression," he said, adding that the front lines of battle stretched across more than 1,000 kilometres (620 miles).

  • Louis Allwood

    Ukraine seeks UN-backed mission to export grain shipments through Black Sea

    Ukraine is working with international partners to create a United Nations-backed mission to restore Black Sea shipping routes and export Ukrainian farm produce, foreign ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko said on Thursday.

    Russia has captured some of Ukraine's biggest seaports and its navy controls major transport routes in the Black Sea, blocking Ukrainian shipments and deepening a global food crisis.

    "We call on countries whose food security may suffer more from Russian aggression against Ukraine to use their contacts with Moscow to force it to lift the blockade of Ukrainian seaports and end the war," Nikolenko wrote on Facebook.

  • Louis Allwood

    Denmark to join EU defense policy on July 1

    Denmark Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said today that he expects Denmark to join the European Unions common defense on July 1.

    In a referendum on Wednesday, two-third of voters decided to abandon a 30-year-old waiver that kept the Scandinavian EU country out. With 100% of the votes counted, 66.9% voted in favor of abandoning the 30-year opt-out and 33.1% against.

    The move is the latest example of a country in Europe seeking closer defense links with allies after Russias invasion of Ukraine.

    The referendum follows historic bids by fellow Nordic countries Sweden and Finland to join NATO.

  • Louis Allwood

    Moscow calls EU move to phase out Russian oil 'self-destructive'

    Russia warned on Thursday that the European Union's decision to partially phase out Russian oil would likely destabilize global energy markets, calling it a 'self-destructive' step that could backfire on the bloc.

    EU leaders agreed in principle on Monday to cut 90% of oil imports from Russia by the end of this year, the bloc's toughest sanctions yet since the start of the invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow calls a "special military operation".

    "The European Union's decisions to partially phase out Russian oil and oil products, as well as to ban insurance on Russian merchant ships, are highly likely to provoke further price increases, destabilize energy markets, and disrupt supply chains," Russia's foreign ministry said in a statement.

  • Louis Allwood

    Russia lifts quotas for some fertiliser exports

    he Russian government has removed export quotas on some fertilisers, the Interfax news agency said on Thursday.

    Extension of the non-tariff quota for di-ammonium phosphate (DAP), sodium nitrate and mixtures of calcium nitrate and ammonium nitrate has been deemed unworkable due to low demand from domestic farmers, the agency said citing the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade.

    Russia has set quotas for fertiliser exports for July through December, saying in a statement on Tuesday it aimed to secure sufficient supply for domestic farmers.

    The restrictions extend measures introduced for the past six months.

  • Louis Allwood

    UK's NATO envoy: Royal Navy may have to battle Russia

    A Tory MP who leads the UK’s parliamentary delegation to Nato has said that British warships could be forced to fight against Russia as part of an international delegation to break Moscow’s Black Sea blockade in Ukraine.

    The warships could be required to use “lethal defensive force” against Russia in the mission of escorting vital grain supplies from Ukraine’s ports, Alec Shelbrooke said.

    This would carry the “high risk” of deaths of UK personnel and the escalation of war in Europe, Mr Shelbrooke added, in a letter to his constituents/

    In his letter he also framed this as a reason not to oust PM Boris Johnson right now.

  • Louis Allwood

    Slovakia to send Zuzana 2 howitzers to Ukraine

    The Slovakian defence ministry has confirmed it will deliver eight self-propelled Zuzana 2 howitzers to Ukraine.

    The ministry said the artillery will be sent under a commercial contract which a state-controlled producer signed.

    With an effective range of 40-50km plus depending on ammunition type, the Zuzana 2 howitzer is a modernised version of an older model using 155-mm rounds.

  • Louis Allwood

    MoD Russia making local gains in Sievierodonetsk

    The British Defence Ministry has given its latest intelligence report today, and confirmed Russia’s significant gains in its efforts to capture the key Luhansk city of Sievierodonetsk.

    “Russia has taken control of most of Sievierodonetsk. The main road into the Sievierodonetsk pocket likely remains under Ukrainian control but Russia continues to make steady local gains, enabled by a heavy concentration of artillery,” the MoD said in its latest intelligence update on Thursday.

    It added that the territorial gain “has not been without cost, and Russian forces have sustained losses in the process”.

    “Crossing the Siverskyy Donets River – which is a natural barrier to its axes of advance – is vital for Russian forces as they secure Luhansk Oblast and prepare to switch focus to Donetsk Oblast,” the ministry said.

    It added: “Potential crossing sites include between Sievierodonetsk and the neighbouring town of Lysychansk; and near recently-captured Lyman. In both locations, the river line likely still remains controlled by Ukrainian forces, who have destroyed existing bridges.”

  • Louis Allwood

    African Union head to speak to Putin on Friday in Russia

    The head of the African Union, Senegalese President Macky Sall, will speak with President Vladimir Putin in the southwestern Russian city of Sochi on Friday, Dakar said.

    The visit is aimed at "freeing up stocks of cereals and fertilisers, the blockage of which particularly affects African countries", along with easing the Ukraine conflict, Sall's office said today.

    The visit was organised after an invitation by Putin, and Sall will travel with the president of the African Union Commission, his office added.

    The AU will also receive a video address from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, though no date has been set.

  • Louis Allwood

    Help those fleeing conflict with The Sun’s Ukraine Fund

    Many of you want to help the five million caught in the chaos — and now you can, by donating to The Sun’s Ukraine Fund.

    Give as little as £3 or as much as you can afford and every penny will be donated to the Red Cross on the ground helping women, children, the old, the infirm and the wounded.

    Donate here to help The Sun’s fund

    Or text to 70141 from UK mobiles

    £3 — text SUN£3
    £5 — text SUN£5
    £10 — text SUN£10

    Texts cost your chosen donation amount (e.g. £5) +1 standard message (we receive 100%). For full T&Cs visit redcross.org.uk/mobile

  • Louis Allwood

    Sweden to send anti-ship missiles to Ukraine

    Sweden has said it will send extra weapons to Kyiv’s forces, in a new package worth 1bn kronor (£81m), including coastal anti-ship missiles.

    The Swedish-made Robot 17 missiles, plus 5,000 anti-tank launchers and AG 90 assault rifles come on top of arms already sent by Sweden.

    Denmark has already sent Harpoon anti-ship missiles to Ukraine, which is beefing up the defence of Odesa, a vital port.

  • Louis Allwood

    Zelensky: 200,000 children forcefully taken to Russia

    At least 200,000 children, including from orphanages and those separated from their families, are among the Ukrainians who have been forcibly taken to Russia, Volodymyr Zelensky said today.

    Marking International Children’s Day, Mr Zelensky accused Russia of abducting children to make them forget about Ukraine, saying: “The purpose of this criminal policy is not just to steal people but to make those who are deported forget about Ukraine and unable to return”.

    Ukraine will punish those responsible, Mr Zelensky said, adding: “Ukraine cannot be conquered, that our people will not surrender and our children will not become the property of the occupiers”.

    Ukraine has seen the killing of 243 children in the war, and 446 have been injured with another 139 are missing, Mr Zelensky said.

  • Louis Allwood

    Moment Russian Z-tank rolls over TWO landmines 

    IMAGES show the dramatic moment a Russian tank rolled over two landmines before being hit by Ukrainian artillery.

    It triggered what is known as the ‘Jack-in-the-box’ effect – when a tank’s ammunition compartment explodes – causing its turret to be violently torn off the rest of the vehicle.

    In the video, obtained from the Land Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the turret – which appears to be a T-72B3 – can be seen lying next to the tank.

    The T-72B3 is a recent Russian upgrade to their ageing T-72B tanks, but they do not appear to have fixed the vehicle’s known vulnerability to the Jack-in-the-box effect.

    It is currently unclear where exactly in Ukraine the footage was filmed, but local media report it was shot in the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine.

  • Louis Allwood

    Chernobyl pics show destruction left behind by Russian forces 

    SHOCKING pictures reveal the chaos left behind by Russian troops at the Chernobyl nuclear site as they trashed the area before retreating.

    In a total disregard for safety regulations at the highly radioactive site, soldiers left live electrical wiring uncovered, broke windows and left stacks of litter strewn over floors and worktops.

    Putin's troops also graffitied walls with taunting messages toward Ukrainian defenders.

    Chernobyl is considered one of the most radioactive places on earth after the deadly nuclear disaster in 1986.

    Russian troops took control of the site after they seized it in the early days of the invasion, sparking fears of a major radioactive disaster as a result of heavy fighting around the plant.

    The careless soldiers dug trenches in the highly toxic Red Forest zone, just a few miles west of the plant, but retreated as part of a pull-out from around the capital Kyiv at the start of April.

  • Louis Allwood

    Man City had to stop Oleksandr Zinchenko from returning home to fight on Ukraine front line

    OLEKSANDR ZINCHENKO had to be talked out of heading home to the front line when war broke out in Ukraine earlier this year.

    The Manchester City ace led his country to within one win of the World Cup finals with a brilliant performance against Scotland on Wednesday.

    But he was heart-broken by the scenes from his homeland after Russia invaded back in February.

    And he was anxious over the well-being of his family – with his grandad and aunt refusing to join the thousands fleeing the country.

    The 25-year-old was desperate to go and help his people – but was convinced by family and friends to stay in the North West and carry on playing for City.

  • Louis Allwood

    Russia unleashes ‘hypersonic missile’ on NATO supply line

    Russia has unleashed a hypersonic missile on NATO supply lines inside Ukraine in a desperate attempt to stop arms crossing the border.

    Kalibr cruise missiles stuck the Beskydy railway tunnel in the Carpathian Mountains overnight, reports claim.

    The missiles were launched from a warship in the Black Sea and was captured on camera by a family caught up in the horror.

    They recorded the strike in Lviv region, reporting that two missiles had hit the area.

    Ukrainian official Anton Gerashchenko and Lviv governor Maksym Kozytskyy confirmed the late evening attack.

    “The goal is to try to disrupt the railway communication and stop the supply of fuel and weapons from our allies,” he said.

  • Louis Allwood

    US announces new sanctions on Russia

    The US Treasury has announced new sanctions against Russian individuals.

    The State Department has imposed sanctions on five of Russia’s oligarchs and elites, including Maria Zakharova, the spokeswoman of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    Also targeted is Alexey Mordashov, one of Russia’s wealthiest billionaires; and family members and entities associated with the oligarchs and elites.

    Brian Nelson, undersecretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, said: “Russia’s elites, up to and including President Putin, rely on complex support networks to hide, move, and maintain their wealth and luxury assets.

    “Today’s action demonstrates that Treasury can and will go after those responsible for shielding and maintaining these ill-gotten interests. We will continue to enforce our sanctions and expose the corrupt systems by which President Putin and his elites enrich themselves.”

  • Louis Allwood

    Russia accuses the US of seeking to prolong the war

    RUSSIA has accused the US of seeking to prolong the war after President of the United States, Joe Biden, said he would supply Kyiv with new long-range missiles.

    Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the US was "intentionally adding fuel to the fire" with the deliveries.

    "Such supplies do not contribute to the Ukrainian leadership's willingness to resume peace negotiations," he added.

    Britain will also reportedly send multiple launch rocket systems, capable of striking targets as far away as some 49 miles.

    The M270B1 launchers will offer a “significant boost in capability for the Ukrainian forces,” a statement from the British Foreign Office, reported by CNN, said.

    The move has been “coordinated closely” with the United States.

    “The UK stands with Ukraine and has taken a leading role in supplying its heroic troops with the vital weapons they need to defend their country,” British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said on Wednesday.

    “As Russian’s tactics change, so must our support to Ukraine. These highly capable multiple-launch rocket systems will enable our Ukrainian friends to better protect themselves against Russia’s brutal use of long-range artillery, which Putin’s forces have used indiscriminately to flatten cities."

  • Louis Allwood

    Putin treated for ‘advanced cancer in April’

    SICK Vladimir Putin was treated for advanced cancer in April, US spy chiefs have claimed.

    The high-ranking officials reportedly said aides inside the Kremlin are "sensing that the end is near" for the 69-year-old Russian dictator.

    The Russian leader has long been rumoured to be battling illnesses such as cancer and Parkinson's.

    It's been claimed that Putin could already be using tricks such as pre-recorded appearances and even body doubles to stage manage his health.

    The three US spy chiefs, who read the latest intelligence report on Putin's health at the end of May, said there are concerns Putin is increasingly paranoid about his hold on power.

    One of the sources told Newsweek: "Putin's grip is strong but no longer absolute.

    "The jockeying inside the Kremlin has never been more intense during his rule, everyone sensing that the end is near."

  • Milica Cosic

    Kremlin denounces Western arming of Ukraine

    The Kremlin has again denounced Western plans to supply more weapons to Ukraine.

    Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters during his daily conference call that the pumping" of weapons will bring more suffering to Ukraine, which is merely a tool in the hands of those countries that supply it with weapons.

    Britain today announced that it is sending sophisticated medium-range rocket systems to Ukraine. The pledge came a day after the United States and Germany said they would equip the embattled nation with advanced weapons for shooting down aircraft and knocking out artillery.

    Peskov warned of absolutely undesirable and rather unpleasant scenarios in case they hypothetically try to use these weapons against targets on our territory.

    This will significantly change the situation in an unfavorable direction, Peskov said.

  • Milica Cosic

    Sweden to supply more military aid including anti-ship missiles to Ukraine

    weden will provide Ukraine with more economic aid and military equipment, including anti-ship missiles, rifles and anti-tank weapons, Finance Minister Mikael Damberg and Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist said on Thursday.

    "The proposals that are submitted (to parliament) mean that allocated funds for the central government budget will increase by SEK 1.0 billion ($102 million) in 2022," the Nordic country's finance ministry said in a statement.

    "In solidarity with Ukraine, and as part of the international response to Russia's actions, the government sees a continuing need to support Ukraine," it said.

  • Milica Cosic

    Ukrainian embassy says Russia ships 'stolen' wheat to Syria

    Russia has sent its ally Syria an estimated 100,000 tonnes of wheat stolen from Ukraine since invading the country, the Ukrainian embassy in Beirut said, describing the shipments as "criminal activity".

    In a statement to Reuters, the embassy said the shipments included one aboard the Matros Pozynich, a Russian-flagged vessel which docked at Syria's main sea port Latakia in late May.

    "The wheat is stolen from a facility that combines wheat from three Ukrainian regions into one batch," the embassy said.

    "This is criminal activity," it said, adding that it had tried to reach out to the Syrian authorities but had never received a response.

  • Milica Cosic

    Zelensky: Russia occupies 20% of Ukraine's territory

    Russia is currently occupying about 20% of Ukraine's territory, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told Luxembourg's parliament in a video address on Thursday.

    "We have to defend ourselves against almost the entire Russian army. All combat-ready Russian military formations are involved in this aggression," he said, adding that the front lines of battle stretched across more than 1,000 kilometres (620 miles).

  • Milica Cosic

    Ukraine seeks UN-backed mission to export grain shipments through Black Sea

    Ukraine is working with international partners to create a United Nations-backed mission to restore Black Sea shipping routes and export Ukrainian farm produce, foreign ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko said on Thursday.

    Russia has captured some of Ukraine's biggest seaports and its navy controls major transport routes in the Black Sea, blocking Ukrainian shipments and deepening a global food crisis.

    "We call on countries whose food security may suffer more from Russian aggression against Ukraine to use their contacts with Moscow to force it to lift the blockade of Ukrainian seaports and end the war," Nikolenko wrote on Facebook.

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