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Russia-Ukraine war: Stop revealing our defence plans, Zelensky warns officials

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 12/08/2022 Marcus Parekh, Grace Millimaci
An Orthodox priest prays at the graves of unidentified civilians during their funeral at a local cemetery in the city of Bucha, Kyiv region, on Thursday - ERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP  © ERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP An Orthodox priest prays at the graves of unidentified civilians during their funeral at a local cemetery in the city of Bucha, Kyiv region, on Thursday - ERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has told officials to stop talking to reporters about Kyiv's military tactics against Russia, saying such remarks were "frankly irresponsible".

In the wake of blasts that wrecked a Russian air base in Crimea on Tuesday, newspapers cited unidentified officials as saying Ukrainian forces were responsible, but Kyiv declined to say whether it had been behind the explosions.

"War is definitely not the time for vanity and loud statements. The fewer details you divulge about our defence plans, the better it will be for the implementation of those defence plans," Mr Zelensky said in his evening address.

"If you want to generate loud headlines, that's one thing – it's frankly irresponsible. If you want victory for Ukraine, that is another thing, and you should be aware of your responsibility for every word you say about our state's plans for defence or counter attacks."

Mr Zelensky addressed his remarks to state, local and military officials as well as other people he said were commenting on events at the front.

Hanna Malyar, Ukraine's Deputy Defence Minister, said security services opened a probe into a case where officials talked to newspapers: "A leak like this disrupts the plans of the Ukrainian armed forces since the enemy adjusts its actions and uses this information against us."

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08:47 AM

First grain leaves Ukraine since outbreak of war

The first Ukrainian wheat has been exported under a UN-brokered deal, Turkey's defence ministry said.

The Belize-flagged Sormovsky left Ukraine's Chornomorsk port on Friday, Turkey's defence ministry said, carrying 3,050 tonnes of wheat to Turkey's northwestern Tekirdag province.

It was the first shipment of wheat from Ukraine, which, along with Russia, accounted for nearly a third of global wheat exports before Feb. 24, when Moscow launched what it describes as a "special operation" to demilitarise its neighbour.

Ukraine has some 20 million tonnes of grain left over from last year's crop, while this year's wheat harvest is also estimated at 20 million tonnes.

08:30 AM

Crimea attack is Russia’s ‘biggest loss of aircraft in a single day since Second World War’

Russia appeared to suffer its biggest loss of aircraft in a single day since the Second World War as fresh analysis of the explosive strike at an air base in occupied Crimea contradicted Moscow’s claim that no jets had been destroyed, reports our Brussels correspondent Joe Barnes.

A review of new satellite images revealed at least 10 Russian planes had been destroyed or seriously damaged by the series of explosions that rocked the Saky air base in Novofedorivka on Tuesday afternoon.

Military analysts predicted the full extent of the damage sustained by Russia’s air force was still yet to be discovered, with some suggesting Moscow could have lost as many as 20 jets in the attack.

"The satellite imagery presents clear indications that the full tally is higher," the War Zone website wrote.

You can read Joe's report in full here.

08:04 AM

Nuclear escalation and how Germany got hooked on Russian energy

Replay Video

07:40 AM

Gerhard Schroeder sues Bundestag to regain privileges

Gerhard Schroeder, who has become increasingly derided in Germany for his pro-Russian views, has filed a suit against Germany's Bundestag lower house of parliament that seeks to reinstate his privileges as former chancellor, DPA reported.

Mr Schroeder, 78, was stripped of his right to a publicly funded office in May, amid mounting dismay at his refusal to distance himself from Russian President Vladimir Putin following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The court filing, seen by DPA, said that the decision to close Mr Schroeder's office and reallocate its remaining staff was "rather reminiscent of an absolutist princely state in terms of the way they were made" and should not be allowed to stand in a democratic constitutional country.

While chancellor from 1998 to 2005, Mr Schroeder forged the relationship with Putin that came to overshadow much of his career. Schroeder called Putin a close personal friend, and they spent long hours in discussion over drinks.

He travelled to Moscow in late July for a meeting with Mr Putin, after which he said that Russia wanted a negotiated solution to the war in Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky branded Mr Schroeder's behaviour as "disgusting".

A champion of the Nord Stream pipeline which carries Russian gas to Germany under the Baltic Sea, Mr Schroeder is chairman of the shareholders' committee of Nord Stream AG, operator of the pipeline majority-owned by Russia's Gazprom, according to LinkedIn.

After intense criticism, Mr Schroeder stood down in May from the board of Russia's state-owned oil company Rosneft and declined a nomination for a board position at Gazprom.

07:17 AM

Strikes at nuclear plant prompt UN chief to call for demilitarised zone

Russia and Ukraine accused each other of shelling Europe's biggest nuclear power plant as the UN chief proposed a demilitarised zone at the site amid fears of a catastrophe.

Ukraine's Energoatom agency said the Zaporizhzhia complex was struck five times on Thursday, including near where radioactive materials are stored. Russian-appointed officials said Ukraine shelled the plant twice, disrupting a shift changeover, Russia's TASS news agency said.

The UN Security Council met on Thursday to discuss the situation. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on both sides to halt all fighting near the plant.

"The facility must not be used as part of any military operation. Instead, urgent agreement is needed at a technical level on a safe perimeter of demilitarisation to ensure the safety of the area," Mr Guterres said in a statement.

06:45 AM

MoD: Russian military may revise threat perception

In its daily social media update, the Ministry of Defence posted on Twitter: "The loss of eight combat jets represents a minor proportion of the overall fleet of aircraft Russia has available to support the war.

"However, Saky was primarily used as a base for the aircraft of the Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet.

"The fleet’s naval aviation capability is now significantly degraded.

"The incident will likely prompt the Russian military to revise its threat perception. Crimea has probably been seen as a secure rear-area."

An infrared overview of Saki Airbase showing the extent of fire after attack, in Novofedorivka, Crimea - Maxar Technologies/Handout via REUTERS © Maxar Technologies/Handout via REUTERS An infrared overview of Saki Airbase showing the extent of fire after attack, in Novofedorivka, Crimea - Maxar Technologies/Handout via REUTERS

06:41 AM

'Airfield probably remains serviceable' after blast

The UK's Ministry of Defence said on Friday morning that the original cause of the explosions that occurred at the Russian-operated Saky military airfield in western Crimea was unclear, "but the large mushroom clouds visible in eyewitness video were almost certainly from the detonation of up to four uncovered munition storage areas".

"At least five Su-24 Fencer fighter-bombers and three Su-30 Flanker H multi-role jets were almost certainly destroyed or seriously damaged in the blasts," MoD said on Twitter.

"Saky’s central dispersal area has suffered serious damage, but the airfield probably remains serviceable."

06:36 AM

Ministry of Defence daily update

06:30 AM

More grain ships leave Ukraine port

Two more ships left Ukraine's Black Sea ports on Friday, Turkey's defence ministry said.

It brings the total number of ships to depart the country under a United Nations-brokered deal to 14 and marks the first export of wheat.

Belize-flagged Sormovsky left Ukraine's Chornomorsk port, carrying 3,050 tonnes of wheat to Turkey's north-western Tekirdag province, it said.

Also, Marshall Island-flagged Star Laura departed from Pivdennyi and headed to Iran, carrying 60,000 tonnes of corn.

06:16 AM

In pictures: Waiting on the front line

Ukrainian servicemen wait along the front line of Eastern Kharkiv Oblast in Ukraine © Provided by The Telegraph Ukrainian servicemen wait along the front line of Eastern Kharkiv Oblast in Ukraine

05:47 AM

Crimea strike may be start of counter-offensive

Rising smoke can be seen from the beach at Saky after explosions were heard from the direction of a Russian military airbase near Novofedorivka, Crimea, Tuesday - UGC via AP © UGC via AP Rising smoke can be seen from the beach at Saky after explosions were heard from the direction of a Russian military airbase near Novofedorivka, Crimea, Tuesday - UGC via AP

The Institute for the Study of War has said Ukrainian officials were framing the Crimea strike as the start of Ukraine's counter-offensive in the south, suggesting intense fighting in August and September that could decide the outcome of the next phase of the war.

Exactly how the attack was carried out remains a mystery but the near-identical impact craters and simultaneous explosions appear to indicate it was hit by a volley of weapons capable of evading Russian defences.

The base is well beyond the range of advanced rockets that Western countries acknowledge sending to Ukraine so far, though within range of more powerful versions Kyiv has sought. Ukraine also has anti-ship missiles that could theoretically be used to hit targets on land.

04:56 AM

Crimea attack destroys ‘up to 20’ Russian jets​

Russia appeared to suffer its biggest loss of aircraft in a single day since the Second World War as fresh analysis of the explosive strike at an air base in occupied Crimea contradicted Moscow’s claim that no jets had been destroyed.

A review of new satellite images revealed at least 10 Russian planes had been destroyed or seriously damaged by the series of explosions that rocked the Saky air base in Novofedorivka on Tuesday afternoon.

This combination of pictures from handout satellite images courtesy of Maxar Technologies shows the Saki airbase at Novofedorivka, Crimea, before (top) and after - Satellite image Maxar Tech/AFP  © Satellite image Maxar Tech/AFP This combination of pictures from handout satellite images courtesy of Maxar Technologies shows the Saki airbase at Novofedorivka, Crimea, before (top) and after - Satellite image Maxar Tech/AFP 

Military analysts predicted the full extent of the damage sustained by Russia’s air force was yet to be discovered, with some suggesting Moscow could have lost as many as 20 jets in the attack.

READ MORE: Crimea attack is Russia’s ‘biggest loss of aircraft in a single day since Second World War’

03:55 AM

Zelensky demands Moscow returns nuclear power plant

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has demanded that Russia return the Zaporizhzhia plant to Ukraine's control.

Russia and Ukraine have accused each other of shelling Europe's biggest nuclear power plant as the United Nations' chief proposed a demilitarised zone at the site amid fears of a catastrophe.

Russia seized Zaporizhzhia in March. The plant, near the front line in the fighting, is held by Russian troops and operated by Ukrainian workers.

"Only a full withdrawal of the Russians... and the restoration of full Ukrainian control of the situation around the station can guarantee a resumption of nuclear security for all of Europe," Mr Zelensky said in a video address.

France echoed his demand and said Russia's occupation of the site endangered the world.

"The presence and actions of the Russian armed forces near the plant significantly increase the risk of an accident with potentially devastating consequences," the French foreign ministry said.

The United States has supported calls by the UN and others to establish the demilitarised zone around the plant.

03:43 AM

Leaks disrupt Ukrainian army's plans, officials warned

Ukraine's Deputy Defence Minister, Hanna Malyar, has said that security services have opened a probe into a case where officials have talked to newspapers.

"A leak like this disrupts the plans of the Ukrainian armed forces since the enemy adjusts its actions and uses this information against us," she wrote on Facebook.

03:16 AM

Zelensky: Stop revealing our defence plans

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has told officials to stop talking to reporters about Kyiv's military tactics against Russia, saying such remarks were "frankly irresponsible".

In the wake of blasts that wrecked a Russian air base in Crimea on Tuesday, the New York Times and Washington Post newspapers cited unidentified officials as saying Ukrainian forces were responsible. Kyiv, on the other hand, declined to say whether it had been behind the explosions.

"War is definitely not the time for vanity and loud statements. The fewer details you divulge about our defence plans, the better it will be for the implementation of those defence plans," Mr Zelensky said in his evening address.

"If you want to generate loud headlines, that's one thing – it's frankly irresponsible. If you want victory for Ukraine, that is another thing, and you should be aware of your responsibility for every word you say about our state's plans for defence or counter attacks."

Mr Zelensky addressed his remarks to state, local and military officials as well as other people he said were commenting on events at the front.

03:12 AM

Fear of nuclear catastrophe

A Russian serviceman guards in an area of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station - Russian Ministry of Defence © Russian Ministry of Defence A Russian serviceman guards in an area of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station - Russian Ministry of Defence

Several times in the past 10 days reports have emerged of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant being shelled, writes The Telegraph's defence editor, Danielle Sheridan:

Moscow accuses Ukraine; Kyiv counters that Russian munitions are to blame, part of an effort to destroy Ukrainian infrastructure.

On Thursday, Ukrainian authorities said five Russian shells struck the site next to an area where radiation sources are stored. No one was hurt and staff managed to contain the fire, according to Energoatom, Ukraine’s nuclear regulator.

The US State Department on Thursday said the United States supported calls by the UN and others to establish a demilitarised zone around the plant.

READ MORE: ‘It won’t be another Chernobyl, it will be worse’: Zaporizhzhia locals live in fear of nuclear catastrophe

02:56 AM

Today's top stories

  • Russia appeared to suffer its biggest loss of aircraft in a single day since the Second World War as fresh analysis of the explosive strike at an air base in occupied Crimea contradicted Moscow’s claim that no jets had been destroyed
  • A German army officer has gone on trial accused of feeding Russia’s spy service with German military and industrial secrets out of “sympathy” for the country
  • Plumes of smoke on Thursday rose over the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, a low-slung grey complex on the banks of the river Dnipro. For the Ukrainian citizens on the other side of the river – and the world watching on social media – the smoke provoked a fresh shiver of fear: was it a shell? Fire? Something worse?

  • A Russian state TV journalist who denounced Vladimir Putin’s attack on Ukraine live on air has been placed under house arrest by a Russian court

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