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Ukraine war latest news: Roman Abramovich charged with exporting two US-made planes to Russia WITHOUT licence

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FORMER Chelsea owner, Roman Abramovich, has been charged with exporting two US-origin planes to Russia without a licence by American authorities.

The US Justice Department ordered the seizure of two aircraft owned by the Russian oligarch today, saying they had been used in violation of sanctions on Russia imposed over its invasion of Ukraine.

The department said in court filings that the two aircraft, a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner and Gulfstream G650ER executive jet, had been flown into Russian territory in earlier this year in violation of US export controls.

In a charging letter, the US Department of Commerce said Abramovich named his children as the beneficiaries of the "shell entities" that owned the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Gulfstream G650ER aircraft, but that he continued to control them. 

The letters show that federal prosecutors in the US are now seeking to seize the two aircraft.

Abramovich has been sanctioned in the UK and EU for alleged links to Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin, though he has avoided official sanctions in the US.

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

  • Milica Cosic

    NATO nations block Russian envoy's plane from Serbia visit

    Serbia and Russia confirmed today that a planned visit by Russia's foreign minister to the Balkan country will not take place, with Moscow accusing the West of preventing the trip by blocking the envoy's plane flight.

    The announcement followed reports that Serbia's neighbors Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Montenegro had refused to allow Sergey Lavrov's plane to fly through their airspace to reach Serbia.

    "An unthinkable thing has happened," Lavrov said during an online news conference Monday.

    "A sovereign state has been deprived of its right to conduct foreign policies. The international activities of Serbia on the Russian track have been blocked."

    Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic earlier today met with Russia's ambassador to Serbia who informed him that Lavrov could not come because the Russian government plane was denied necessary flyover permissions, a statement issued after the meeting said.

    Vucic expressed dissatisfaction over the circumstances that prevented the visit and added that "despite all, Serbia will preserve independence and autonomy in political decision-making."

  • Milica Cosic

    US orders seizure of two aircraft of Russian oligarch Abramovich

    The US Justice Department ordered the seizure of two aircraft owned by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich today, saying they had been used in violation of sanctions on Russia imposed over its invasion of Ukraine.

    The department said in court filings that the two aircraft, a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner and Gulfstream G650ER executive jet, had been flown into Russian territory in earlier this year in violation of US export controls.

  • Milica Cosic

    'Ukraine not ready to export grain via Belarus'

    Ukraine is not ready to agree to a plan to export its grain by rail across Belarus for shipment via the Baltic Sea to bypass Russia's blockade of its Black Sea ports, President Volodymyr Zelensky said today.

    "We are not yet ready to follow this format and help our 'friendly' neighbours," Zelensky was quoted as saying by Interfax Ukraine.

    Zelensky told reporters that Ukraine had discussed with Britain and Turkey the idea of a navy from a third country guaranteeing safe passage of Ukraine's grain exports through the Black Sea.

    However, he said the strongest guarantee of their safe passage would be with Ukrainian weaponry.

    "Our strongest guarantee of unblocking this or that corridor from ports for the export of grain is to respond with weapons that will be located in the region," he told reporters.

    "We are working on this with specific states, with specific anti-ship systems, we are working and are gradually receiving them," he said. 

  • Milica Cosic

    Families of Russia's National Guard who died in Ukraine to get £63,000

    The families of members of Russia's National Guard who died in Ukraine and Syria will receive a one-time payment of five million rubles (£63,000), a Kremlin decree said today.

    The decree signed by President Vladimir Putin said the payments would also be received by families of those who were killed during a "special military operation" in Ukraine's breakaway regions of Donetsk and Lugansk.

    In 2016, Putin created the National Guard, or Rosgvardia, to maintain public order and fight terrorism. The force reports directly to him.

    Russia has been tight-lipped on the number of its soldiers and members of the National Guard killed in Ukraine and Syria.

  • Milica Cosic

    Latest on losses of Russian armed forces

    It has been 103 days since Russia invaded Ukraine.

    According to the Ukrainian Embassy, here are the latest losses of the Russian armed forces in Ukraine.

    The tweet states that over 30,000 soldiers have died.

    Alongside this, Russia has also lost 3,400 armoured personnel vehicles and over 1,300 tanks.

  • Milica Cosic

    Russia puts investigative journalist on wanted list

    Investigative journalist Andrei Soldatov, known for his coverage of Russian security agencies, said today that Russian authorities had placed him on a wanted list and frozen his bank accounts.

    Soldatov, who co-founded the Agentura.ru website, wrote on Twitter: "My Monday: my accounts in Russian banks are under arrest, plus I'm placed on Russia's wanted list."

    The Interior Ministry's website listed Soldatov, who could not be reached by phone, as wanted under an unspecified article of the criminal code.

    In a separate post in the Telegram messaging platform, Soldatov wrote that the case against him had been filed in a manner similar to that of two journalists accused of spreading "fake information" about Moscow's military campaign in Ukraine.

    "We are clarifying the details," Soldatov wrote.

  • Milica Cosic

    Spain ‘to send tanks and anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine'

    Spain could soon send Leopard tanks and anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine, El Pais has reported.

    Citing government sources, the Spanish newspaper has claimed that Madrid could also train the Ukrainian military on how to use the tanks.

    The tanks are German-built, meaning Germany would need to approve a move to re-export them to Ukraine, according to Politico.

  • Milica Cosic

    Ukrainian official says dozens of reporters killed amid Russia’s invasion

    At least 32 journalists have been killed in Ukraine amid Russia’s offensive.

    The country’s culture and information policy minister, Oleksandr Tkachenko, also hailed all reporters still working in the war-ravaged country as “heroes.”

    He tweeted: “Eternal memory to our fighters of information front. All journalists today who work 24/7 are heroes. Our information front is strong thanks to all of you”.

  • Milica Cosic

    Estonian PM thanks PM for ‘great leadership’ on Ukraine

    Estonia’s prime minister has thanked Boris Johnson for his “great leadership” on the world stage against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

    The British prime minister welcomed Kaja Kallas at Downing Street to discuss the war, and upon her exit from No 10, Ms Kallas told the PA news agency that Mr Johnson seemed in “good” spirits ahead of the confidence vote, adding: “We have been great allies in Nato and we are very grateful for the British troops in Estonia, and also that you have doubled them while the war took place.

    “I also thank you for the great leadership in fighting with Ukraine and giving them all the help they need. I think the UK has been a very leading voice on the world stage so that the moral compass would be correct in this regard, so thank you for that.”

  • Milica Cosic

    Zelensky: 75m tonnes of grain could be stuck in Ukraine

    Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky today said there could be as much as 75 million tonnes of grain stuck in Ukraine by this autumn.

    Ukraine, Zelensky told a briefing in Kyiv, has been discussing with Britain and Turkey the idea of a third country's navy guaranteeing the passage of Ukrainian grain exports through the Russia-dominated Black Sea.

    The strongest guarantee of their safe passage though would be Ukrainian weaponry, he told reporters.

  • Milica Cosic

    Zelensky: 75m tonnes of grain could be stuck in Ukraine

    Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky today said there could be as much as 75 million tonnes of grain stuck in Ukraine by this autumn.

    Ukraine, Zelensky told a briefing in Kyiv, has been discussing with Britain and Turkey the idea of a third country's navy guaranteeing the passage of Ukrainian grain exports through the Russia-dominated Black Sea.

    The strongest guarantee of their safe passage though would be Ukrainian weaponry, he told reporters.

  • Milica Cosic

    Russia warns West against long-range weapons for Ukraine

    Moscow today warned that it would respond to Western supplies of long-range weapons to Ukraine by stepping up efforts to push Kyiv's forces further from its border.

    "The more long-range weapons you supply, the further we will push away from our territory" the line of Ukrainian forces, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned Moscow would hit new targets if the West supplies Ukraine with long-range missiles.

    Washington and London have defied Putin's warnings against supplying Kyiv with advanced weapons, saying they would send long-range missile systems to Ukraine.

  • Milica Cosic

    More than 260 children 'murdered by Russian Nazis'

    Ukraine's parliament has claimed that a total of 262 children have been "murdered by Russian Nazis" during the war.

    The Verkhovna Rada cited the figure from data collected by the Office of Ukraine's Prosecutor General today. 

    It has also warned that 3 million children trapped in Ukraine are now in need of humanitarian assistance.

  • Milica Cosic

    Top diplomat to will invite Serbian counterpart to Moscow instead

    Russia has called flight bans that prevented its foreign minister from heading to Serbia “hostile action”, adding that such such actions could cause problems with the timetabling of high-level diplomatic meetings.

    This comes after Sergei Lavrov was forced to call off his visit today.

    The foreign minister said: “If a visit by the Russian foreign minister to Serbia is seen in the West as something approaching a threat on a universal scale, then things in the West are clearly pretty bad.”

    He said that he would instead invite his Serbian counterpart to visit him in Moscow, adding: “The main thing is no one will be able to destroy our relations with Serbia”.

  • Joseph Gamp

    PM discusses efforts to end blockade on Ukraine grain exports

    Boris Johnson and President Volodymyr Zelensky have discussed efforts to end Russia's blockade on grain exports from Ukraine, Downing Street said.

    The Prime Minister's official spokesman said the two leaders had an "in depth" discussion about the latest military situation as Moscow continued its offensive in the eastern Donbas region.

    The call came as the UK confirmed it is joining the US in supplying Ukraine with long-range multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) capable of hitting targets up to 50 miles away.

    The spokesman said Mr Zelensky had briefed the Prime Minister on his recent visit to Ukraine, noting "the strength of the Ukrainian armed forces' will to fight" as well as highlighting the areas where they needed more support.

    "The leaders also discussed diplomatic negotiations and the efforts to end the damaging Russian blockade of Ukraine's grain exports," the spokesman said.

    "They agreed to intensify work with other allies, including G7 leaders, to drive progress on ending Russia's illegal invasion and supporting Ukraine's economy."

  • Joseph Gamp

    Ukraine 'has enough resources' to repel Russian attacks in Sievierodonetsk, says mayor

    Ukraine has concentrated enough forces to repel Russian attacks in the frontline eastern city of Sievierodonetsk, but neither side is preparing to withdraw and street fighting rages, mayor Oleksandr Stryuk told Ukrainian television.

    "(We) have focused enough forces and resources there to beat back attacks on the city," Stryuk said.

    In separate comments, Defence Ministry spokesperson Oleksandr Motuzyanyk told a briefing that Russia was not sparing troops or equipment in its push to capture Sievierodonetsk, the largest remaining Ukrainian-controlled city in Luhansk region. 

  • Joseph Gamp

    Britain to send long-range missiles to Ukraine after Russia hits Kyiv

    The UK is to send its first long-range missiles to Ukraine after Russia struck the outskirts of Kyiv for the first time since April.

    Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said Britain will send an unspecified number of M270 launchers, which can fire precision-guided rockets up to 50 miles - a longer range than any missile technology currently in use in the war.

    "The UK stands with Ukraine in this fight and is taking a leading role in supplying its heroic troops with the vital weapons they need to defend their country from unprovoked invasion," Mr Wallace said in a statement from the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

    "If the international community continues its support, I believe Ukraine can win.

    "As Russia'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 the brutal use of long-range artillery, which (Vladimir) Putin's forces have used indiscriminately to flatten cities."

    Ukrainian troops will be trained in the UK to use the equipment, he added.

    Boris Johnson said the systems will help Ukraine "effectively repel the continuing Russian onslaught".

    "We cannot stand by while Russian long-range artillery flattens cities and kills innocent civilians," the Prime Minister said.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Putin gives stark warning to West

    President Vladimir Putin warned the West that Russia would strike new targets if the United States started supplying Ukraine with longer-range missiles, the TASS news agency reported on Sunday.

    If such missiles are supplied, “we will strike at those targets which we have not yet been hitting,” Putin was quoted as saying in an interview Rossiya-1 state television channel.

    Putin did not name the targets Russia planned to pursue if Western countries began supplying Ukraine with longer-range missiles.

    Ukraine has been seeking Multiple Rocket Launch Systems (MLRS) such as the M270 and M142 HIMARS to strike troops and weapons stockpiles at the Russian forces’ rear.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Russia brands Lavrov flight block a 'hostile action'

    The Kremlin on Monday said airspace closures by three eastern European countries which prevented Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov from travelling to Serbia were a "hostile action."

    Countries surrounding Serbia - Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Montenegro - closed their airspace to an official plane that would have carried Moscow's top diplomat to Belgrade on Monday.

    Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters such actions could cause problems with the timetabling of high-level diplomatic meetings. But they would not prevent Moscow from maintaining contacts with friendly countries, he said.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Moscow to hit new targets if long-range missiles supplied to Ukraine, says Putin

    Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Sunday that Moscow will strike new targets if the West supplies long-range missiles to Ukraine and said new arms deliveries to Kyiv were aimed at “prolonging the conflict”.

    If Kyiv is supplied with long-range missiles, “we will draw the appropriate conclusions and use our arms…. to strike targets we haven’t hit before,” Putin was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying, without specifying which targets he meant.

  • Joseph Gamp

    PM says new rocket systems will 'effectively repel the Russian onslaught'

    Boris Johnson said the systems will help Ukraine "effectively repel the continuing Russian onslaught".

    "We cannot stand by while Russian long-range artillery flattens cities and kills innocent civilians," the Prime Minister said.

    The MoD said the decision to provide the launchers was closely coordinated with the US government, which said it will supply High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems to Ukraine.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Ukraine says Russia using ‘phosphorus arms’ in village

    Ukraine’s General Staff has accused Russian forces of using phosphorus munitions in the village of Cherkaski Tyshky in the Kharkiv region. The claim couldnt be independently verified.

    The update also confirmed strikes on Kyiv, which occurred in the early hours of Sunday. It wasnt immediately clear from the statement which infrastructure facilities in Kyiv were hit.

    The General Staff said Russian forces continue assault operations in Sievierodonetsk, one of two key cities left to be captured in the Luhansk region of the Donbas. The Russians control the eastern part of the city, the update said, and are focusing on trying to encircle Ukrainian forces in the area and blocking off main logistical routes.

  • Joseph Gamp

    The Pope calls for ‘real negotiations’ for Ukraine

    He said that it is an ‘increasingly dangerous escalation’ of the conflict in Ukraine.

    The pontiff said from the window of the apostolic palace in St Peter’s Square: “As the fury of destruction and death rages and clashes flare, fuelling an escalation that is increasingly dangerous for all, I renew my appeal to the leaders of nations: Please do not lead humanity to destruction,”

    On Saturday, the 85-year-old pope confirmed his desire to visit Ukraine, but said he wanted to wait for “the right moment”.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Ukraine says position 'has worsened' amid Sievierodonetsk fighting

    The position of Ukrainian forces fighting in the eastern city of Sievierodonetsk has "worsened a little", the regional governor said on Monday.

    "Our defenders managed to undertake a counter-attack for a certain time; they liberated almost half of the city. But now the situation has worsened a little for us again," Luhansk regional governor Serhiy Gaidai told national television.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Explosions heard in southern city of Mykolaiv

    Explosions were heard on Monday in the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv, Mayor Oleksandr Senkevych said in a post on the Telegram messaging service. 

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