Captured Russian pilot is a retired commander, revealing Moscow’s struggles to staff air force: UK

A Russian pilot shot down and captured by Ukrainian forces has confessed to being a retired commander of his country’s air force, the British Ministry of Defense wrote in its daily intelligence update. The pilot had joined the Russian Wagner military contracting group and flew several missions in Ukraine, the update said, citing Ukrainian forces.

“The use of retired personnel, now working as Wagner contractors, to perform close air support missions indicates that the Russian air force is likely struggling to support the invasion of Ukraine with sufficient aircrew,” the intelligence update, published today, said. in a series of tweets. .

“This is likely due to a combination of Russia’s insufficient number of properly trained personnel and its combat losses.”

The Russian pilot “allegedly used commercial GPS devices instead of Russian military navigation equipment” while flying his missions, the Defense Ministry added.

—Natasha Turak

Ukrainian troops will have to leave Severodonetsk, says Luhansk governor

Severodonetsk has been a prime target in the Kremlin’s quest to take full control of Luhansk.

Aris Messinis | Afp | fake images

Ukrainian troops fighting a brutal battle for the strategically crucial city of Severodonetsk in eastern Ukraine “will have to be withdrawn,” Lugansk regional governor Serhiy Haidai said on Ukrainian television.

“Staying in shattered positions for many months just to stay there is pointless,” he said. Ukrainian forces have lost large numbers of troops, as have Russian forces, in devastating fighting over key territory that is one of two cities remaining under Ukrainian control in Luhansk, which is part of the eastern Donbas region that Russia has called “unconditional priority.” in his military pursuit.

Haidai added that Ukrainian troops have, however, pushed back an offensive on the outskirts of Lysychansk, the other city remaining under Ukrainian control in Lugansk.

—Natasha Turak

Biden approves $450 million security assistance package for Ukraine

John Kirby, US National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications, speaks to reporters during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, US, on June 23, 2022.

Kevin Lamarques | Reuters

The Biden administration announced a 13th security assistance package for Ukraine worth $450 million.

“This package contains weapons and equipment, including new high-mobility artillery rocket systems, tens of thousands of additional ammunition for artillery systems that have already been provided, as well as patrol boats to help Ukraine defend its coastline and its waterways,” he said. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby at a daily White House news conference.

The assistance package includes the following, according to a Pentagon statement:

  • 4 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HMARS
  • 36,000 rounds of 105mm ammunition
  • 18 tactical vehicles to tow 155mm artillery
  • 1,200 grenade launchers
  • 2000 machine guns
  • 18 coastal and river patrol boats
  • Spare parts and other equipment

The latest security package brings the US commitment to $6.1 billion since Russia invaded Ukraine.

—Amanda Macias

Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova inching closer to becoming EU members

Ukrainian national flags and EU flags in front of the City Hall in Lille, France, on Wednesday, March 16, 2022.

Chris Ratcliffe | Mayor Bloomberg | fake images

European Union leaders have granted the countries of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia the status of candidates to join the bloc, a significant step on the long road to EU membership. All three countries applied to become members of the European Union in early March.

“Your countries are part of our European family. And today’s historic decision by leaders confirms it,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a tweet.

Ukrainian President Voldomyry Zelenskyy wrote on Twitter that he was grateful for the support of the European Union leaders.

Meanwhile, Kosovo and North Macedonia, among others, are waiting for their membership applications to progress.

—Amanda Macias

Read CNBC’s previous live coverage here:

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