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Ukraine war: Five key developments from the conflict this weekend

Ukraine war: Five key developments from the conflict this weekend

1. White House claims Iran showcased its drones to Kremlin officials

The White House says Russian officials have visited an airfield in central Iran at least twice in recent weeks to view weapons-capable drones it is looking to acquire for use in its ongoing war in Ukraine.

The administration released the intelligence as President Joe Biden gets set to meet on Saturday with leaders of six Arab Gulf countries plus Egypt, Jordan and Iraq for a regional summit. 

Iran showcased the drones to Russian officials at Kashan Airfield on 8 June and 15 July, according to the White House.

The administration also released satellite imagery of Shahed-191 and Shahed-129 drones being displayed and in flight on the airfield, while a Russian delegation transport plane was on the ground.

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2. Russian rockets hit Ukraine’s north, killing at least three civilians

At least three civilians were killed and three more were injured in a Russian rocket strike on the northern Ukrainian city of Chuhuiv in the early hours on Saturday, a regional police chief said.

Serhiy Bolvinov, the deputy head of Kharkiv’s regional police force, said that the rockets were likely fired from Russian territory. Chuhuiv lies some 120 kilometres from the border.

He said 4 rockets “presumably fired from around (the Russian city of) Belgorod at night” had hit a residential building, school and administrative block.

“The bodies of three people were found under the rubble,” he added.”Three more were injured. The victims are civilians.”

Elsewhere in the town, rockets also landed at an elementary school and a building materials store. No victims were reported there.

3. Dnipro in central Ukraine hit by Russian missiles, killing and injuring almost 20

Late on Friday, Russian missiles hit the central city of Dnipro, killing three people and wounding 15, regional Governor Valentyn Reznychenko said on Telegram.

Rockets hit an industrial plant and a street next to it, Reznychenko said. Footage on social media showed thick black smoke rising from the buildings and burning cars.

Ukraine’s air force stated the attack was carried out with several Kh-101 cruise missiles fired from Tu-95MS strategic bombers over the Caspian Sea. Four incoming missiles were intercepted, it said.

One of the dead was a bus driver who had just finished work and was returning to the depot when a missile struck, said Ivan Vasyuchkov, a member of the city council.

The emergency service said two vehicles were burned up, and 10 others were damaged. The missile strikes also set the plant on fire and blew out windows in nearby apartment buildings.

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4. The Kremlin orders its troops to ‘step up operations’ in Ukraine

Russia has ordered its forces in Ukraine to step up operations, its defence ministry said on Saturday, as rockets and missiles pounded the country in the latest of a series of bombardments that have killed dozens of people in recent days.

Russia’s defence ministry said in a statement on its website that Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu had ordered military units to step up their operations to prevent strikes on eastern Ukraine and other territories controlled by Moscow, according to Reuters.

It said Shoigu “gave the necessary instructions to further increase the actions of groups in all operational areas in order to exclude the possibility of the Kyiv regime launching massive rocket and artillery strikes on civilian infrastructure and residents of settlements in the Donbas and other regions”.

The ministry said Shoigu had issued his order after listening to reports at a command centre from generals leading the “South” and “Centre” command groups of Russian forces operating in Ukraine, as well as other commanders.

5. IMF chief warns of ‘exceptionally uncertain’ times turning worse at G20 meeting

IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva on Saturday warned officials from the Group of 20 major economies to take urgent action to combat inflation, warning that the “exceptionally uncertain” global economic outlook could turn worse if higher prices persisted.

Georgieva, speaking at a G20 finance officials meeting in Indonesia, said Russia’s intensifying war in Ukraine had increased pressure on commodity and energy prices, and global financial conditions were tightening more than expected.

At the same time, pandemic-related disruptions and renewed supply chain bottlenecks continued to weigh on economic activity.

Pressure was mounting on heavily-indebted countries, and the debt situation was “deteriorating fast,” she said, according to a text of her remarks.

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