Russia-Ukraine war at a glance: what we know on day 490 of the invasion

russia-ukraine war at a glance: what we know on day 490 of the invasion

Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

    Nato is ready to defend itself from “Moscow or Minsk” after calls from countries bordering Belarus and Russia for the alliance to strengthen its eastern defences. Nato head Jens Stoltenberg said it is “too early to make any final judgment about the consequences” of Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin moving to Belarus, but said “what is absolutely clear is that we have sent a clear message to Moscow and to Minsk that Nato is there to protect every ally and every inch of Nato territory.”

    The movement of Wagner group troops to Belarus is a negative signal for Poland, president Andrzej Duda said on Tuesday, as he headed for talks with other Nato leaders in the Netherlands. “We see what is happening, the relocation of Russian forces in the form of the Wagner group to Belarus, and the head of the Wagner group going there, those are all very negative signals for us which we want to raise strongly with our allies,” he told reporters.

    Prigozhin flew into exile in Belarus on his private jet on Tuesday, as Moscow claimed the paramilitary force had agreed to hand over its weapons after the group’s failed insurrection. “Yes, indeed, he is in Belarus today,” the Belarusian president, Alexander Lukashenko, said in comments first reported by Belta, the country’s national news agency.

    Wagner forces in Russia are expected to begin the process of disarming after Moscow announced plans for the group to hand over weapons, vehicles and equipment. Elements of the force will be disbanded, absorbed into the Russian military or head into exile in Belarus along with Prigozhin under the agreement hammered out between the mercenary leader and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    The Wagner mercenary group was entirely financed by the Russian state, which spent 86bn roubles ($1bn) on it between May 2022 and May 2023, the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, said. In addition, Prigozhin, who led the group’s brief mutiny on Saturday, made almost as much during the same period from his food and catering business, Putin said at a meeting with security forces.

    The US Treasury department announced new sanctions on Tuesday targeting four companies it says engaged in illicit gold trading to help fund the Wagner Mercenary group. The treasury’s under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, Brian Nelson, said the companies were located in the United Arab Emirates, Central African Republic and Russia with the transactions used by the mercenary group to sustain itself. “The Wagner group funds its brutal operations in part by exploiting natural resources in countries like Central African Republic and Mali,” Nelson said.

    Putin on Tuesday told members of Russia’s security services that they “essentially prevented a civil war” by acting “clearly and coherently” during Prigozhin’s armed mutiny on Saturday. “The people and the army were not on the side of the mutineers,” Putin said, speaking outside the Kremlin in front of the heads of Russia’s main domestic security service, including the defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, whom Prigozhin had sought to oust with his uprising.

    Taiwan spotted two Russian warships off its eastern coast on Tuesday, according to the island’s defence ministry. Two frigates were observed sailing north before breaking off in a southeasterly direction near the port city of Suao, which is home to a naval base, and heading out of range. Russian state media reported on Tuesday that a detachment of ships of the Russian Pacific Fleet had entered the Philippine Sea to perform tasks as part of a long-range sea passage.

    A missile strike by Russian forces in Kramatorsk has struck a popular shopping centre in the city’s centre. The shopping centre was home to Ria, a popular restaurant frequented by war correspondents. Rescue operations for survivors are ongoing. Local authorities say casualties remain unclear, but at least four people are reported to have been killed.

    Russian forces have carried out widespread and systematic torture of civilians detained in connection with its attack on Ukraine, summarily executing more than 70 of them, the UN human rights office said on Tuesday. The global body interviewed hundreds of victims and witnesses for a report detailing more than 900 cases of civilians, including children and elderly people, being arbitrarily detained in the conflict, most of them by Russia.

    Alexei Navalny, the imprisoned Russian opposition leader, is “ready to continue to fight” for an alternative to Putin, despite being in solitary confinement and facing new charges that could put him in jail for decades, his friends and supporters have said. Launching a campaign in front of the European parliament on Tuesday, Maria Pevchikh, a Russian journalist and CEO of the Anti-Corruption Foundation, said he had been locked up in “punishment cell” for 180 days on fake charges, including not washing his teeth at the correct time.

    Ukraine’s government reprimanded Vitali Klitschko, Kyiv’s mayor, on Tuesday as city officials faced criticism over the state of bomb shelters after the deaths of three people locked out on the street during a Russian air raid. The government said it had also approved the dismissal of the heads of two Kyiv districts and two acting heads of districts, Reuters reported. It was not immediately clear whether Klitschko, a former boxer, would face any further action.

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