Secret service: Kremlin is already looking for Putin’s successor

Ukraine update tonight: What happened today

Secret service: Kremlin is already looking for Putin’s successor

The Kremlin is apparently already looking for a successor to President Vladimir Putin. At least that’s according to information from the Ukrainian secret service GUR. His spokesman Andriy Yusov says in a recent video on the situation in Russia: “The search for a successor for Putin is ongoing.” And he is no longer Putin, who decides on this successor.

More and more, the people around Putin are understanding that there is a “geopolitical catastrophe” in his regime, according to Yusov, who, however, did not name a possible successor.

Of course, the information should be treated with caution, because Ukraine, as a victim of the Russian war of aggression, naturally has an interest in destabilizing Russia. The only thing that is clear is that Putin is finding it increasingly difficult to legitimize the war in Ukraine. So far, however, there have been no particular signs that his power structure would crumble.

Three dead in Ukrainian village after Russian artillery shelling

According to Ukrainian authorities, a Russian artillery attack killed three civilians in a village near the front in the Zaporizhia region. Two people were injured, the area administration said on Sunday via Telegram. According to the information, the house in the village of Kamianske was hit by shells from a Grad multiple rocket launcher (hail). The village is located near the Dnipro River, a few kilometers from Russian positions. The Ukrainian administration called on people to evacuate such dangerous areas.

Prigozchin wants to recruit another 30,000 men for the Wagner mercenary force

The Russian mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin wants to recruit another 30,000 volunteers for his private troupe Wagner by May. In an advertising campaign in Russian sports clubs, 500 to 800 men signed a contract every day, Prigozhin said on Saturday in his press staff’s Telegram channel. “The recruits are sent to training camps.”

On Sunday, Prigozhin recalled that exactly one year ago, on March 19, Wagner fighters intervened in the fighting in Ukraine. Currently, the mercenaries are mainly fighting in the city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, where they are advancing with heavy losses.

Regarding the perspective of the Russian war of aggression, he said: “For the time being, the prospects are nebulous.” The Russian forces should prepare for an offensive in Ukraine. Unity is necessary for victory. That’s why you have to leave “differences of opinion, insults and everything else” behind you, he demanded. Prigozhin himself repeatedly criticizes the strategy of the regular armed forces, right up to Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. He complains that the army is giving his fighters too little ammunition.

Putin: In 2014, Russia was not yet ready for war

According to Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin, Russia was not prepared for a major war against Ukraine after annexing the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea in 2014. “We didn’t have hypersonic weapons then, but now we have them,” Putin said in an interview with Russian state television published on Sunday. So far, Russia has occasionally used the hypersonic weapons. “There are also other modern systems, there was nothing comparable in 2014,” he said, again claiming that Russia wanted to resolve the conflict over Ukraine peacefully at the time.

“We have a lot to do – for example to develop the ground forces,” Putin said when asked about the lessons of the war he began on February 24, 2022 against Ukraine. He also commented on the question of whether the “military special operation” should not have started earlier because Ukraine did not yet have such weapons: Putin made it clear that in 2014 Russia was taking “bigger actions” than when it annexed the Crimea was not ready.

At the same time, Putin accused the government in Kiev and the West of having worked on upgrading Ukraine after the annexation of Crimea and the start of hostilities in Donbass nine years ago. “As it turns out now, as we see, we were just being duped, none of our so-called partners had any intention of deciding anything peacefully,” he said. He accused the former mediators Germany and France of deception in the wake of Minsk’s peace plans for the Donbass last year. Western partners “just pumped weapons into Ukraine and prepared it for combat.”

Putin receives China’s head of state Xi Jinping for a three-day visit

Vladimir Putin receives China’s head of state and party leader Xi Jinping this Monday for a three-day state visit to the Kremlin in Moscow. Against the background of the Russian war in Ukraine, according to the Kremlin, the talks, which are scheduled to last until Wednesday, are about developing relations into an all-encompassing partnership and strategic cooperation between Russia and China. The visit from Beijing is also convenient for Putin because it allows him to show that he is not isolated internationally in the war. China has not condemned Russia’s war against Ukraine and is committed to peace talks.

Xi Jinping is coming to Moscow at Putin’s invitation. According to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, an informal meeting and a tête-à-tête meal between the two heads of state is planned for the second half of the day on Monday. The official negotiations of the delegations are then planned for Tuesday, said Peskow. It is also the first visit since an arrest warrant was issued against Putin for war crimes in Ukraine.

The Ukraine update in the morning: What happened in the night

  • Ukrainian secret service: Due to a lack of missiles, Russia relies on unmanned drones

As the Ukrainian secret service reports, Russia is shifting its attack to a drone war. The reason: Because of the running out of missiles, the Russian military is using more unmanned drones. The reports the “Wall Street Journal” and refers to the intelligence information.

At the beginning of the year, drone strikes on Ukraine decreased slightly. In the meantime, however, more Shahed-type kamikaze drones are being aimed at targets in Ukraine. The special thing about the drones: they are not controlled from the ground, but fly independently on a pre-programmed trajectory towards the target. According to the Wall Street Journal, Ukraine’s anti-aircraft defenses shot down 11 of 16 Iranian-made drones on Saturday.

Three of the drones were aimed at Kiev. Two of the drones probably landed in Novomoskovsk near the Dnipro River. It can be assumed that the Russian military is also relying more on drone attacks because the fronts are so hardened.

  • Zelenskyj announces sanctions against Russia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has announced new sanctions against Russia and its allies Iran and Syria. “Ukrainian sanctions are part of the global pressure on Russia,” the 45-year-old said in his daily video address on Saturday. 400 people and companies are affected by the measure, said Zelenskyj.

Meanwhile, Kremlin boss Vladimir Putin has shown himself unimpressed by the latest punitive measures against him – the issuance of an arrest warrant by the International Criminal Court. The 70-year-old visited the occupied Ukrainian territory for the first time on Saturday and drove through the destroyed port city of Mariupol. Shortly before, he used the ninth anniversary of the annexation of Crimea to perform in the port city of Sevastopol, where the Russian Black Sea Fleet is also based.

For the first time since Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine began, Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin has visited the occupied territories of the neighboring country. As the Kremlin announced on Sunday night, Putin had paid a “working visit” to the port city of Mariupol on the Azov Sea, which had been destroyed in heavy fighting. After his arrival in a helicopter, he informed himself about the situation during a tour and also talked to residents of the city, the state agency Tass reported. Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Marat Chusnullin informed Putin about the status of the reconstruction work.

Appropriate: Putin visits Mariupol for the first time since the beginning of the war

Putin had just arrived on an unannounced visit to the Black Sea Peninsula to mark the ninth anniversary of Russia’s annexation of Crimea. “Our President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin knows how to surprise,” Moscow-appointed governor of the port city of Sevastopol, Mikhail Rasvozhayev, wrote on his Telegram channel on Saturday. State television broadcast images of the Kremlin chief opening an art school for children in Sevastopol.

After his visits to Ukraine, Putin met with the commanders of the Russian armed forces fighting in Ukraine in Rostov-on-Don. Among other things, Chief of Staff Valery Gerasimov reported to him on the situation at the fronts.

  • Dead and injured after Russian shelling in eastern Ukraine

According to local authorities, at least two people died in a Russian bombardment with cluster munitions in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk. Eight other people were also injured, said the Ukrainian military governor of the Donetsk region, Pavlo Kyrylenko, on his Telegram channel on Saturday. Kramatorsk is about 20 kilometers west of the front line in the Donetsk region.

Following the arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court against Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chancellor Olaf Scholz emphasized that no one is above the law. “The International Criminal Court is the right institution to investigate war crimes,” said Scholz at a press conference in Tokyo on Saturday. He added: “And the fact is that no one is above the law.” The court in The Hague, Netherlands, issued an arrest warrant for kidnapping children from occupied territories in Ukraine to Russia.

In his video message, Zelenskyy blamed the international community’s passivity in Syria a few years ago, when Putin kept President Bashar al-Assad in power there with his bombs, for the start of the war in Ukraine. “The people of Syria have not received adequate international protection and this has given the Kremlin and its accomplices a sense of impunity,” Zelenskyy said.

“There is only one way to save life – it is necessary to expel the Russian army from Ukrainian soil. And we will do it,” Zelenskyy promised. In his weekly summary, he thought his country was on the right track. For example, Ukraine received a new armaments package with ammunition, artillery and combat aircraft from the West. In addition, there were larger rounds of negotiations with the United States about further armaments aid, the Ukrainian head of state said.

  • What will be important on Sunday

The extension of the grain agreement between Russia and Ukraine comes into force on Sunday. According to information from Moscow, Ukraine can still export food via its Black Sea ports for 60 days.

Outside of this limited compromise, the positions of the two warring factions are unchanged. Further fighting is to be expected on Sunday, especially around the Bachmut area.

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