Russia‘s top diplomat has warned that NATO is now fighting a proxy war with Russia in Ukraine and there is a ‘very serious’ risk the conflict could turn nuclear. 

Sergei Lavrov, speaking on Russian state TV last night, accused western leaders of risking a third world war by supplying heavy weapons to Ukraine with the goal of ‘wearing down the Russian army’ – an aim he described as an ‘illusion’.

Accusing NATO and its allies of attempting to bully Russia on the international stage, Lavrov said that tensions between east and west are now worse than during the Cuban missile crisis at the height of the Cold War.

Asked directly about the possibility of a nuclear war, he replied: ‘The risks are very significant. I do not want the danger to be artificially inflated [but] it is serious, real. It cannot be underestimated.’

Sergei Lavrov, Russia's foreign minister, has warned that NATO is now fighting a proxy-war against Moscow and there is a 'very significant' risk the conflict will turn nuclear

Sergei Lavrov, Russia's foreign minister, has warned that NATO is now fighting a proxy-war against Moscow and there is a 'very significant' risk the conflict will turn nuclear

Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, has warned that NATO is now fighting a proxy-war against Moscow and there is a ‘very significant’ risk the conflict will turn nuclear

Lavrov accused the West of risking a third world war in Ukraine by supplying weapons with the hope of 'wearing out the Russian army' - a goal he called 'an illusion'. This aerial photograph shows a destroyed residential area in Irpin

Lavrov accused the West of risking a third world war in Ukraine by supplying weapons with the hope of 'wearing out the Russian army' - a goal he called 'an illusion'. This aerial photograph shows a destroyed residential area in Irpin

Lavrov accused the West of risking a third world war in Ukraine by supplying weapons with the hope of ‘wearing out the Russian army’ – a goal he called ‘an illusion’. This aerial photograph shows a destroyed residential area in Irpin

People walk near a residential building destroyed during the Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol

People walk near a residential building destroyed during the Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol

People walk near a residential building destroyed during the Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol

A Ukrainian soldier sits on a Armoured personnel carrier driving on a road near Slovyansk lined with anti-tank defences

A Ukrainian soldier sits on a Armoured personnel carrier driving on a road near Slovyansk lined with anti-tank defences

A Ukrainian soldier sits on a Armoured personnel carrier driving on a road near Slovyansk lined with anti-tank defences

Smoke emerges from a substation near the Krasne Railway Station following Russian shelling near Lviv

Smoke emerges from a substation near the Krasne Railway Station following Russian shelling near Lviv

Smoke emerges from a substation near the Krasne Railway Station following Russian shelling near Lviv

Russia has lost more than 300 officers, analysis shows 

Russia has lost more than 300 officers fighting in Ukraine, according to new data collected by an independent Russian newspaper.

In total, 317 officers of junior lieutenant rank and above have been killed in a little over two months of fighting, analysis by outlet MediaZona revealed today.

Almost a third came from the most senior grades – major or above – including at least two generals and the deputy commander of Russia’s Black Sea fleet.

MediaZona, which is currently blocked in Russia but continues to operate online, compiled its data by looking at public reports of troop deaths from local government officials, newspapers, or families posting on social media.

That means the figures will be far lower than the true total because of delays between the troops being killed and their deaths being reported, difficulties in identifying bodies, and deliberate cover-ups by Moscow.

In total, MediaZona found 1,744 reports of military deaths in Ukraine – higher than the Kremlin’s official figure of 1,351 which it has not updated since late March.

It found 317 of those deaths were of officers, which accounts for almost a fifth of the total figure.

MediaZona believes that is because officer deaths are more-likely to be reported than those of foot-soldiers.

The highest-ranked deaths that Russia has acknowledged are of Andrei Sukhovetsky and Vladimir Frolov, who were both Major Generals.

Russia has also acknowledged the death of Captain 1st Rank Andrei Paly, the deputy commander of its Black Sea fleet, MediaZona said.

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Lavrov said: ‘During the Cuban Missile Crisis there were not many “written” rules. But the rules of conduct were clear enough. 

‘Moscow understood how Washington was behaving. Washington understood how Moscow was behaving. Now there are few rules left.

He added: ‘In those years, there was a channel of communication that both leaders trusted. Now there is no such channel. Nobody is trying to create it.’

America did set up a ‘deconfliction line’ to Moscow in the early days of the Ukraine war, but said the Russia side stopped answering. 

Lavrov also repeated warnings that shipments of western weapons into Ukraine will be considered legitimate targets by Russia – a day after missiles struck the country’s train network in an apparent attempt to stop the deliveries. 

he spoke as western nations shift focus in Ukraine from supplying small arms and defensive weapons such as anti-tank and anti-aricraft missiles, to providing heavier arms such as tanks, helicopters, aircraft and long-range artillery.

The move comes in response to calls from Kyiv to provide its armed forces with the means to recapture territory occupied by Russian forces, in the wake of atrocities carried out by Putin’s men in places such as Bucha and Irpin.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin travelled to Kyiv on Sunday for a face-to-face meeting with President Zelensky to discuss supplies, before pledging another multi-million dollar shipment.

Austin will also chair a meeting of more than 40 defence ministers at Ramstein air base in Germany today, aimed at securing additional supplies and coordinating efforts between allies to ensure Ukraine has everything it needs.

Ahead of the meeting, Austin stated the goal is to ensure Ukraine ‘can win’ the war against Russia and ‘weaken’ the country to the point where it cannot repeat its invasion a second time.

Ahead of the meeting, German media reported that the country will end weeks of dithering and agree to supply heavy arms to Ukraine in the form of 50 Gepard anti-aircraft systems. 

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Monday night that he regards Russia’s scaremongering as a sign of weakness.

Lavrov, speaking to Russian state TV, said tensions between east and west are now at a worse point than during the Cuban missile crisis at the height of the Cold War

Lavrov, speaking to Russian state TV, said tensions between east and west are now at a worse point than during the Cuban missile crisis at the height of the Cold War

Lavrov, speaking to Russian state TV, said tensions between east and west are now at a worse point than during the Cuban missile crisis at the height of the Cold War

Russia considers western arms shipments to Ukraine legitimate targets for attack, Lavrov added, after the US pledged to send heavier weapons to the country this week (file image)

Russia considers western arms shipments to Ukraine legitimate targets for attack, Lavrov added, after the US pledged to send heavier weapons to the country this week (file image)

Russia considers western arms shipments to Ukraine legitimate targets for attack, Lavrov added, after the US pledged to send heavier weapons to the country this week (file image)

Maria, 13, holds a photograph of her father Yurii Alekseev, 50, a territorial defence member who according to his family was killed by Russian soldiers, as she mourns him during his funeral today

Maria, 13, holds a photograph of her father Yurii Alekseev, 50, a territorial defence member who according to his family was killed by Russian soldiers, as she mourns him during his funeral today

Maria, 13, holds a photograph of her father Yurii Alekseev, 50, a territorial defence member who according to his family was killed by Russian soldiers, as she mourns him during his funeral today

Tetyana Boikiv, 52, right, meets and hugs her neighbour Svitlana Pryimachenko, 48, during a funeral service for her husband, Mykola Moroz

Tetyana Boikiv, 52, right, meets and hugs her neighbour Svitlana Pryimachenko, 48, during a funeral service for her husband, Mykola Moroz

Tetyana Boikiv, 52, right, meets and hugs her neighbour Svitlana Pryimachenko, 48, during a funeral service for her husband, Mykola Moroz

Germany will finally authorise tank deliveries to Ukraine 

Germany will finally authorise the delivery of heavy weapons to Ukraine today after weeks of dithering that has tarnished its reputation on the world stage and led to questions about its commitment to European security.

Defense minister Christine Lambrecht is expected announce the delivery of around 50 Gepard anti-aircraft vehicles to Ukraine during a meeting of more than 40 nations that will take place at Ramstein air base today.

Germany’s defence industry has been offering to sell the Gepard vehicles to Ukraine since February, but had been blocked from doing so by Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government which led to outcry both inside and outside the country.

Scholz, whose SPD party traditionally maintains close ties with Russia, had argued that it would take too long to train Ukrainian soldiers to use the weapons, that Germany had no weapons to sell, and that selling weapons could provoke Putin.

But under strong pressure from Germany’s international allies as well as his own coalition partners, Scholz now appears to have decided to change course.

Lambrecht will today deliver a speech at Ramstein air base in which she will say the government has agreed to sign off the delivery of used Gepard anti-aircraft tanks.

At the same time, a plan will be submitted to parliament calling for the government to ‘continue and, where possible, accelerate the delivery of equipment to Ukraine.’

Equipment will be extended to include ‘the delivery [of] heavy weapons and complex systems’, according to a draft of the document shown to AFP.

The same document will suggest that Ukrainian soldiers are brought to Germany and other NATO nations so they can be trained how to use the weapons.

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Russia had lost its ‘last hope to scare the world off supporting Ukraine,’ Kuleba wrote on Twitter after Lavrov’s interview. ‘This only means Moscow senses defeat.’

British armed forces minister James Heappey agreed with that assessment today, saying he does not see an imminent threat of escalation in Ukraine and dismissing Lavrov’s comments as ‘bravado’.

‘Lavrov’s trademark over the course of 15 years or so that he has been the Russian foreign secretary has been that sort of bravado. I don’t think that right now there is an imminent threat of escalation,’ Heappey told BBC Television.

‘What the West is doing to support its allies in Ukraine is very well calibrated … Everything we do is calibrated to avoid direct confrontation with Russia.’

Heappey told Sky News that while NATO had been reinforcing its eastern flank, it was not, as an organisation, providing military aid.

‘The donor community is not NATO,’ Heappey said. ‘The donor effort is something that has been brought together by countries that are yes, many of them are from NATO, but others are from beyond … it is not NATO that is doing the military aid.’

During a visit to Kyiv on Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin promised more military aid for Ukraine.

The U.S. State Department on Monday used an emergency declaration to approve the potential sale of $165 million worth of ammunition to Ukraine. 

The Pentagon said the package could include artillery ammunition for howitzers, tanks and grenade launchers.

Moscow’s ambassador to Washington told the United States to halt shipments, warning Western weapons were inflaming the conflict.

Lavrov said: ‘NATO, in essence, is engaged in a war with Russia through a proxy and is arming that proxy. War means war.’

Russia’s two-month-old invasion of Ukraine, the biggest attack on a European state since 1945, has left thousands dead or injured, reduced towns and cities to rubble, and forced over 5 million people to flee abroad.

Moscow calls its actions a ‘special operation’ to disarm Ukraine and protect it from fascists. Ukraine and the West says this a false pretext for an unprovoked war of aggression by President Vladimir Putin.

The United States is due to host an expected gathering of more than 40 countries this week for Ukraine-related defence talks that will focus on arming Kyiv, U.S. officials said.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (centre) and Chair of Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley (centre left) chair a meeting to agree more arms for Ukraine at Ramstein air base in Germany

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (centre) and Chair of Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley (centre left) chair a meeting to agree more arms for Ukraine at Ramstein air base in Germany

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (centre) and Chair of Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley (centre left) chair a meeting to agree more arms for Ukraine at Ramstein air base in Germany

Christine Lambrecht, German defence minister, meets her Ukrainian counterpart Oleksii Reznikov as she prepares to announce supplies of heavy arms to Kyiv

Christine Lambrecht, German defence minister, meets her Ukrainian counterpart Oleksii Reznikov as she prepares to announce supplies of heavy arms to Kyiv

Christine Lambrecht, German defence minister, meets her Ukrainian counterpart Oleksii Reznikov as she prepares to announce supplies of heavy arms to Kyiv

Russia is trying to ‘destabilise’ breakaway Moldovan region 

Kyiv today accused Russia of trying to ‘destabilise’ Moldova’s breakaway region that borders Ukraine after two explosions there prompted fears of Russia launching ‘false flag’ attacks to justify invading the territory.

The explosions destroyed two powerful Soviet-era radio antennas that were re-broadcasting Russian stations in the region of Transnistria, an unrecognised Moscow-backed sliver of land bordering southwestern Ukraine, on Tuesday. 

The blasts occurred in the small town of Maiac roughly 12 kilometers (7 miles) west of the border with Ukraine, just days after a Kremlin military chief warned that ‘Russian-speakers’ had been ‘oppressed’ there.

A day earlier, several explosions believed to be caused by rocket-propelled grenades were reported to hit the Ministry of State Security in the city of Tiraspol, the region’s capital. No one was hurt in the explosions, officials said.

On Tuesday, a military unit in the village of Parcani was also targeted. Officials did not offer any details on the incident, but declared a ‘red level of terrorist threat’ and promised to impose additional security measures in the region.

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Britain said all tariffs on goods coming into the country from Ukraine under an existing free trade deal will be axed and it would send new ambulances, fire engines, medical supplies and funding for health experts to help the emergency services.

Russia’s foreign ministry said on Monday that it had declared 40 German diplomatic staff ‘personae non gratae’ in a retaliatory move after Berlin expelled the same number of Russian diplomats.

Russia has yet to capture any of the biggest cities. Its forces were forced to pull back from the outskirts of Kyiv in the face of stiff resistance.

‘It is obvious that every day – and especially today, when the third month of our resistance has begun – that everyone in Ukraine is concerned with peace, about when it will all be over,’ President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said late on Monday.

‘There is no simple answer to that at this time.’

Having failed to take the capital Kyiv, Moscow last week launched a massive assault in an attempt to capture eastern provinces known as the Donbas, which if successful would link territory held by pro-Russian separatists in the east with the Crimea region that Moscow annexed in 2014.

Ukraine’s general staff said on Tuesday that Russia’s offensive continued in the eastern Kharkiv region with Russian forces trying to advance towards Zavody.

Russia’s defence ministry earlier said its missiles destroyed six facilities powering the railways that were used to deliver foreign weapons to Ukrainian forces in the Donbas region. Reuters could not verify the report.

The head of Ukraine’s state rail company said that one railway worker had been killed and four injured by Russian missile strikes on five Ukrainian railway stations on Monday.

Ukrainian forces have repelled five Russian attacks and killed just over 200 Russian servicemen, said the Ukrainian military command in the southern and eastern sectors.

An Ukrainian tank drives through obstacles on a road near Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, today amid the Russian invasion

An Ukrainian tank drives through obstacles on a road near Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, today amid the Russian invasion

An Ukrainian tank drives through obstacles on a road near Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, today amid the Russian invasion

A huge pile of missiles is gathered up by members of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine after shellings in Kharkiv

A huge pile of missiles is gathered up by members of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine after shellings in Kharkiv

A huge pile of missiles is gathered up by members of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine after shellings in Kharkiv

Firefighters extinguish fire at a substation near the Krasne Railway Station following Russian shelling, amid Russia's attack

Firefighters extinguish fire at a substation near the Krasne Railway Station following Russian shelling, amid Russia's attack

Firefighters extinguish fire at a substation near the Krasne Railway Station following Russian shelling, amid Russia’s attack

Five tanks were also destroyed, along with eight armoured vehicles, it said in a statement.

Russia is probably attempting to encircle heavily fortified Ukrainian positions in the country’s east, the British military said in an update on Tuesday.

Reports say the city of Kreminna has fallen, with heavy fighting in the south of the city of Izium, as Russian forces try to advance towards the cities of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk, Britain’s defence ministry said on Twitter.

The governor of Russia’s Belgorod province, Vyacheslav Gladkov, said Ukraine had fired on two villages, and at least two people were wounded. Reuters was unable to verify the Ukrainian or Russian reports.

Russian forces were continuing on Monday to bomb and shell the vast Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol where fighters are hunkered down in a city ravaged by a siege and bombardment, Ukrainian presidential aide Oleksiy Arestovych said.

Moscow said it was opening a humanitarian corridor to let civilians out of the plant but Kyiv said no agreement had been reached.

Ukraine war timeline: Putin’s invasion enters its third month

Russia heads into the third month of its invasion of Ukraine on Sunday with no end in sight to fighting that has killed thousands, uprooted millions and reduced cities to rubble.

In the face of mounting sanctions and fierce Ukrainian resistance bolstered by Western arms, Russia has kept up its long-distance bombardment and opened up a new offensive in the east.

Some key events so far:

February 24: Russia invades Ukraine from three fronts in the biggest assault on a European state since World War Two. Tens of thousands flee. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin says he is launching a ‘special military operation’ to demilitarise and ‘denazify’ Ukraine. Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy tweets: ‘Russia has embarked on a path of evil, but Ukraine is defending itself.’ 

February 25: Ukrainian forces battle Russian invaders in the north, east and south. Artillery pounds Kyiv and its suburbs and authorities tell residents to prepare Molotov cocktails to defend the capital. 

February 26: A U.S. defence official says Ukraine’s forces are putting up ‘determined resistance’. 

February 28: The first talks between the two sides make no breakthrough. 

March 1: Russia hits a TV tower in Kyiv and intensifies bombardment of Kharkiv in the northeast and other cities, in what is seen as a shift in tactics as Moscow’s hopes of a quick charge on the capital fade.

A U.S. official says a miles-long Russian armoured column bearing down on Kyiv has not made any advances in the past 24 hours, bogged down by logistical problems.

March 2: Russian forces bombard the southern port of Mariupol for 14 hours and stop civilians leaving, its mayor says – the start of Moscow’s blockade of the city. Russia denies targeting civilians.

Russian troops reach the centre of the Black Sea port of Kherson and claim their first capture of a large urban centre. 

March 3: Russia and Ukraine agree to set up humanitarian corridors for fleeing civilians. A cargo ship sinks near a Ukrainian port hours after another is hit by a blast at another port.

A million people have fled Ukraine, the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) says.

March 4: Russian forces seize Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Europe’s biggest. NATO rejects Ukraine’s appeal for no-fly zones, saying it would escalate the conflict.

March 6: ‘Rivers of blood and tears are flowing in Ukraine,’ Pope Francis tells crowds in St. Peter’s Square. ‘This is not just a military operation, but a war, which sows death, destruction, and misery.’

March 8: Civilians flee the besieged city of Sumy in the first successful humanitarian corridor. Two million have now fled Ukraine, the UNHCR says. 

March 9: Ukraine accuses Russia of bombing a maternity hospital in Mariupol, burying people in rubble. Russia later says the hospital was no longer functioning and had been occupied by Ukrainian fighters.

March 13: Russia extends its war deep into western Ukraine, firing missiles at a base in Yavoriv close to the border with NATO member Poland. The attack kills 35 people and wounds 134, a local official says.

March 14: Russian journalist Marina Ovsyannikova bursts into a state TV studio during a live news bulletin, with a banner reading: ‘NO WAR. Stop the war. Don’t believe propaganda. They are lying to you here.’

March 16: Ukraine accuses Russia of bombing a theatre in Mariupol where hundreds of civilians are sheltering. Moscow denies it.

March 25: Moscow signals it is scaling back its ambitions and will focus on territory claimed by Russian-backed separatists in the east, as Ukrainian forces go on the offensive to recapture towns outside Kyiv.

March 29: Ukraine proposes adopting a neutral status during talks in Istanbul.

March 30: More than 4 million people have fled Ukraine, the UNHCR says.

April 1: Ukraine recaptures more territory around Kyiv from Russian soldiers who leave shattered villages and abandoned tanks as they move away from the capital.

April 3/4: Ukraine accuses Russia of war crimes after a mass grave and bodies of people shot at close range are found in the recaptured town of Bucha. The Kremlin denies responsibility and says images of bodies were staged.

April 8: Ukraine and its allies blame Russia for a missile attack on a train station in Kramatorsk that killed at least 52 people trying to flee the looming eastern offensive. Russia denies responsibility.

April 14: Russia’s lead warship in the Black Sea, the Moskva, sinks after an explosion and fire that Ukraine says was caused by a missile strike. Russia says the ship sank after an ammunition explosion. Washington believes the warship was hit by two Ukrainian missiles.

April 18: Russia launches its assault on east Ukraine, unleashing thousands of troops in what Ukraine described as the Battle of the Donbas, a campaign to seize two provinces and salvage a battlefield victory.

April 20: More than 5 million people have fled Ukraine, the UNHCR says.

April 21: Putin declares the southeastern port of Mariupol ‘liberated’ after nearly two months of siege, despite leaving hundreds of defenders holding out inside a giant steel works.

April 22: A Russian general says Moscow wants to take full control of southern and eastern Ukraine. 

April 24: Antony Blinken and Lloyd Austin travel to Kyiv, becoming the highest-level US delegation to make the journey since war with Russia broke out

April 25: Germany agrees to send anti-aircraft tanks to Ukraine, reversing earlier policy not to supply heavy weapons

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EXCLUSIVE: Boobytrapped milk carton primed with a BOMB is given to grandmother by Russian soldier distributing ‘humanitarian aid’ in Ukraine

By Ed Wight for MailOnline 

A Ukrainian grandmother has narrowly escaped death after a Russian soldier gave her a boobytrapped carton of milk loaded with explosives.

In a disturbing new twist to Putin‘s war on Ukraine, Russian soldiers are now pretending to hand out ‘humanitarian aid’.

But when the pensioner from the besieged city of Kherson went to open the screw top carton she noticed wires attached to the lid.

Further investigation revealed the wires led to a detonator.

The OAP’s son told local media in.kherson.ua: ‘My retired mother noticed that there was something wrong with this milk, as if someone had been drinking from it before, or if it was broken.

‘She carefully unscrewed the cap and showed me what was there.’

The boobytrapped milk carton contained a homemade explosive attached to a fishing line which when opened would detonate the bomb.

A Ukrainian grandmother has narrowly escaped death after a Russian soldier gave her a boobytrapped carton of milk loaded with explosives. When the pensioner from the besieged city of Kherson went to open the screw top carton she noticed wires attached to the lid

A Ukrainian grandmother has narrowly escaped death after a Russian soldier gave her a boobytrapped carton of milk loaded with explosives. When the pensioner from the besieged city of Kherson went to open the screw top carton she noticed wires attached to the lid

A Ukrainian grandmother has narrowly escaped death after a Russian soldier gave her a boobytrapped carton of milk loaded with explosives. When the pensioner from the besieged city of Kherson went to open the screw top carton she noticed wires attached to the lid

Further investigation revealed the wires led to a detonator placed inside the carton in what appeared to be a cruel boobytrap

Further investigation revealed the wires led to a detonator placed inside the carton in what appeared to be a cruel boobytrap

Further investigation revealed the wires led to a detonator placed inside the carton in what appeared to be a cruel boobytrap

An elderly Ukrainian woman is pictured receiving aid from soldiers in Ukraine - it is not clear whether this is the woman who picked up the boobytrapped milk carton

An elderly Ukrainian woman is pictured receiving aid from soldiers in Ukraine - it is not clear whether this is the woman who picked up the boobytrapped milk carton

An elderly Ukrainian woman is pictured receiving aid from soldiers in Ukraine – it is not clear whether this is the woman who picked up the boobytrapped milk carton

The OAP's soon told local media in.kherson.ua: 'My retired mother noticed that there was something wrong with this milk, as if someone had been drinking from it before, or if it was broken. She carefully unscrewed the cap and showed me what was there.' The boobytrapped milk carton contained a homemade explosive attached to a fishing line which when opened would detonate the bomb

The OAP's soon told local media in.kherson.ua: 'My retired mother noticed that there was something wrong with this milk, as if someone had been drinking from it before, or if it was broken. She carefully unscrewed the cap and showed me what was there.' The boobytrapped milk carton contained a homemade explosive attached to a fishing line which when opened would detonate the bomb

The OAP’s soon told local media in.kherson.ua: ‘My retired mother noticed that there was something wrong with this milk, as if someone had been drinking from it before, or if it was broken. She carefully unscrewed the cap and showed me what was there.’ The boobytrapped milk carton contained a homemade explosive attached to a fishing line which when opened would detonate the bomb

The woman’s son added: ‘The bag of aid was bought home by my mother, although I had asked her not to.

‘But yesterday she took the groceries. She saw that the screw in the milk was not airtight, she thought that someone had already drank it, that it might be spoiled, she carefully unscrewed it and saw something like thread.’

To fool locals into thinking the products are safe, Russian soldiers are using products made in Ukraine.

On Sunday, the UK’s MOD reported that Russia plans to hold a staged referendum in Kherson to justify its occupation.

In its daily intelligence update, the ministry wrote: ‘This city is key to the Russian goal of creating an overland corridor to Crimea and dominating southern Ukraine.

‘Russia previously held an illegal referendum on the annexation of Crimea to the Russian Federation in 2014 to retroactively justify the occupation of the peninsula.’

Now Russia cuts off WATER supplies

Desperate Ukrainians hit by a lack of food have had their water cut off by Russian shelling too. 

Luhansk governor Serhiy Haidai accused the Kremlin of systematically attacking electricity plants and water pumps to punish the local population.

Last week officials in Luhansk said Russian forces had deliberately targeted the supply of food to the eastern region.

They swamped the key city of Sievierodonetsk with missiles that wiped out all food depots, as well as markets and shops. 

The city’s 100,000 population has fallen by 17,000 and they are now reliant on aid supplies.

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Evidence of Russian soldiers boobytrapping humanitarian aid packages for elderly Ukrainian residents comes as Kremlin insiders told The Financial Times that Putin has given up on peace talks with Ukraine and is intent on seizing as much land as possible.   

The three insiders claimed that the Russian president wanted to grab territory because he felt negotiations had reached a ‘dead end’.

One insider said: ‘There was hope for a deal. Putin was going back and forth. He needs to find a way to come out of this a winner.’ 

‘Putin sincerely believes in the nonsense he hears on [Russian] television and he wants to win big,’ another insider added. 

A third said he wouldn’t sign anything after the humiliation caused by the sinking of the Moskva.

A senior member of the Ukrainian delegation, Rustem Umirov, said: ‘We continue the negotiation process. Primarily — to save more lives of our people.’

‘We will use all the political and diplomatic efforts to stop this bloodshed. But there are red lines we will never cross. Ukraine will never give up its people and its territories,’ he told The Times

Meanwhile, officials in the embattled Ukrainian city of Mariupol say a new ‘200-yard mass grave’ has been identified north of the city that could contain hundreds of bodies. 

Vladimir Putin has given up on peace talks with Ukraine as he wants to seize as much land as he can for Russia, according to Kremlin insiders

Vladimir Putin has given up on peace talks with Ukraine as he wants to seize as much land as he can for Russia, according to Kremlin insiders

Vladimir Putin has given up on peace talks with Ukraine as he wants to seize as much land as he can for Russia, according to Kremlin insiders

Emergency management specialists and volunteers remove the debris of a theatre building destroyed in the course of Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol

Emergency management specialists and volunteers remove the debris of a theatre building destroyed in the course of Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol

Emergency management specialists and volunteers remove the debris of a theatre building destroyed in the course of Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol

Smoke rises above a plant of Azovstal Iron and Steel Works during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol

Smoke rises above a plant of Azovstal Iron and Steel Works during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol

Smoke rises above a plant of Azovstal Iron and Steel Works during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol

Mayor Vadym Boychenko said authorities are trying to estimate the number of victims in the grave about six miles north of Mariupol.

This would be the third after satellite photos released over the last few days have shown what appear to be images of other mass graves.

On Saturday, chilling satellite photos revealed a second mass grave near Mariupol – as Russian forces continued to pummel the last 2,000 Ukrainian defenders trapped in a steelworks in the city. 

The photos from Maxar Technologies showed the site at a cemetery in the town of Vynohradne. It has several newly dug parallel trenches measuring about 131 feet long, Maxar said in a statement. 

Volodymyr Zelensky warned Vladimir Putin that if he tried to build a Nazi-style ‘millennial Reich’ he would ‘lose’.

The site at a cemetery in the town of Vynohradne has several newly dug parallel trenches measuring about 40 meters (131 feet) long, Maxar said in a statement

The site at a cemetery in the town of Vynohradne has several newly dug parallel trenches measuring about 40 meters (131 feet) long, Maxar said in a statement

The site at a cemetery in the town of Vynohradne has several newly dug parallel trenches measuring about 40 meters (131 feet) long, Maxar said in a statement

Source: DailyMail

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