Madman Putin ‘thinks west will BLINK first’ as paranoid despot ‘losing grip on power’

VLADIMIR Putin SURVIVED an attempt on his life – but the despot is “losing his grip” on power in the Kremlin, according to US intelligence.

Three high-ranking US intelligence officials have revealed details about an attempted assassination attempt on the Russian despot.

However, no further details of the failed mission to kill Putin were given by the Pentagon insiders, who spoke under the conditon of anonymity.

The officials – one from the office of the Director of National Intelligence, one a retired Air Force senior officer, and one from the Defense Intelligence Agency – told Newsweek they fear Mr Putin’s paranoia about staying in power may heighten the conflict in Ukraine.

But they say it could be this very trait that prevents the “increasingly isolated” leader from launching nuclear weapons.

One of the senior intelligence officers told the publication: “Putin’s grip is strong but no longer absolute.

“The jockeying inside the Kremlin has never been more intense during his rule, everyone sensing that the end is near.”

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

  • Marriott Hotel group suspends all Russian operations

    Hotel group Marriott International has announced it is suspending all operations in Russia.

    In a statement it says the new US, UK and EU sanctions make it impossible to continue to operate its franchise hotels in Russia.

    It said: “As we take steps to suspend hotel operations in Russia, we remain focused on taking care of our Russia-based associates.”

  • Britain sends Ukraine rocket systems

    BRITAIN is sending Ukraine multiple launch rocket systems that can strike 49 miles away.

    We will also train them to use the M2701B1 launchers.

    Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said they will “better enable our Ukrainian friends to protect themselves”.

    The US has agreed to supply a small number of its medium-range “Himars” system.

  • Mariupol mayor says Ukrainians imprisoned in Russian occupied areas

    In Mariupol, Russians are finding it difficult to get Ukrainians to work with the new administration there.

    Mariupol’s mayor Vadim Boychenko, when it fell to Moscow, told a news conference today that Russian forces had begun handing out prison sentences as long as 10 years to those who refused to get on side.

    Occupied areas in eastern Donetsk are doing the same, he claimed, with special prisons already housing thousands of Ukrainians.

  • Russia claim to have made gains

    Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesperson says Russia has made gains and will not give up until it has achieved its objectives.

    Moscow claims that one of the aims is to protect people in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s and Luhansk People’s Republics.

    He said: “Measures have been taken to ensure their protection and certain results have been achieved.

    “Quite a number of localities have been cleared from the pro-Nazi Ukrainian armed forces, and people there can start bringing their lives back to normal now.

    “These efforts will be continued until all goals have been attained in the special military operation.”

  • Russia accuses Germany of ‘remilitarising’

    Russia on Friday accused Germany of throwing European security into imbalance by “remilitarizing”, as Berlin moves to boost its military spending in response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

    In comments published in German newspapers this week, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Berlin would soon have the largest conventional army of NATO’s European members.

    “We perceive the statement of the German Chancellor as yet another confirmation that Berlin has set a course for an accelerated remilitarization of the country. How could this end? Alas, this is well known from history,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.

    Scholz pledged in February to sharply increase defence spending and inject 100 billion euros ($107.39 billion) into Germany’s armed forces, marking a major policy shift for the military after decades of attrition following the end of the Cold War. Lawmakers were expected to vote on the spending plan on Friday.

    The money is to be used over several years to increase Germany’s regular defence budget of around 50 billion euros and enable the country to meet the NATO target of spending 2% of its economic output on defence each year.

    Russia has sharply criticised the move, which Berlin announced shortly after Moscow invaded Ukraine.

  • Zelensky: Russia occupies 20% of Ukraine’s territory

    Russia is currently occupying about 20% of Ukraine’s territory, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told Luxembourg’s parliament in a video address on Thursday.

    “We have to defend ourselves against almost the entire Russian army. All combat-ready Russian military formations are involved in this aggression,” he said, adding that the front lines of battle stretched across more than 1,000 kilometres (620 miles).

  • Lukashenko would allow Ukrainian grain to transit Belarus in exchange for access to Baltic ports 

    Minsk is ready to allow the transit of Ukraine’s grain to Baltic sea ports via Belarus if it is allowed to ship Belarusian goods from these ports, the Belta news agency quoted Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko as saying on Friday.

    The topic was discussed in a phone call between Lukashenko and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday, Belta added.

  • Help those fleeing conflict with The Sun’s Ukraine Fund

    Many of you want to help the five million caught in the chaos — and now you can, by donating to The Sun’s Ukraine Fund.

    Give as little as £3 or as much as you can afford and every penny will be donated to the Red Cross on the ground helping women, children, the old, the infirm and the wounded.

    Donate here to help The Sun’s fund

    Or text to 70141 from UK mobiles

    £3 — text SUN£3
    £5 — text SUN£5
    £10 — text SUN£10

    Texts cost your chosen donation amount (e.g. £5) +1 standard message (we receive 100%). For full T&Cs visit

  • Zelenskyy: 200,000 children forcefully taken to Russia

    At least 200,000 children, including from orphanages and those separated from their families, are among the Ukrainians who have been forcibly taken to Russia, Volodymyr Zelensky said today.

    Marking International Children’s Day, Mr Zelensky accused Russia of abducting children to make them forget about Ukraine, saying: “The purpose of this criminal policy is not just to steal people but to make those who are deported forget about Ukraine and unable to return”.

    Ukraine will punish those responsible, Mr Zelensky said, adding: “Ukraine cannot be conquered, that our people will not surrender and our children will not become the property of the occupiers”.

    Ukraine has seen the killing of 243 children in the war, and 446 have been injured with another 139 are missing, Mr Zelensky said.

  • EU formally approves embargo on Russian oil

    The European Union on Friday formally approved an embargo on Russian oil and other sanctions targeting major banks and broadcasters over Moscows war on Ukraine.

    EU headquarters says Russian crude oil will be phased out over six months, and other refined petroleum products over eight months.

    It says that a temporary exception is foreseen for landlocked countries like Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia that suffer from a specific dependence on Russian supplies and have no viable alternative options.

    Bulgaria and Croatia will also get temporary derogations for certain kinds of oil. EU leaders say the move means that around 90% of Russias oil exports to Europe will be blocked by years end. The EU imports around 25% of its oil from Russia.

  • Russia unleashes ‘hypersonic missile’ on NATO supply line

    Russia has unleashed a hypersonic missile on NATO supply lines inside Ukraine in a desperate attempt to stop arms crossing the border.

    Kalibr cruise missiles stuck the Beskydy railway tunnel in the Carpathian Mountains overnight, reports claim.

    The missiles were launched from a warship in the Black Sea and was captured on camera by a family caught up in the horror.

    They recorded the strike in Lviv region, reporting that two missiles had hit the area.

    Ukrainian official Anton Gerashchenko and Lviv governor Maksym Kozytskyy confirmed the late evening attack.

    “The goal is to try to disrupt the railway communication and stop the supply of fuel and weapons from our allies,” he said.

  • McDonald’s Russia files rebrand names – report

    McDonald’s new Russian owners have put up a list of new names for the burger chain after the fast-food giant pulled out of the country over the war in Ukraine.

    The fast-food chain announced on 20th May that they had sold nearly 850 restaurants to Russian billionaire Alexander Govor after closing stores in response to the invasion.

    Now the new owners have submitted a series of potential new names to the Russian patents office, Rospatent.

    Russian news site RBC stated they had seen the documents sent to Rospatent, and reported that potential name changes include ‘The Same One’, ‘Fun and Tasty’, ‘Open Checkout’, and ‘The Only Way’.

    A McDonald’s spokesperson told RBC: “We are working on creating a new brand and have already sent applications for the registration of several names. In the future, one of all registered names will be selected.”

  • Russia’s pacific fleet begins week-long exercises

    Russia’s Pacific Fleet launched a week-long series of exercises with more than 40 ships and up to 20 aircraft taking part, Russian news agencies quoted the defence ministry as saying.

    The ministry statement said the exercises, taking place from June 3-10, would involve, among other matters, “groups of ships together with naval aviation taking part in search operations for (enemy) submarines”.

    The exercises were taking place amid Russia’s three-month-old incursion into Ukraine, described by Moscow as a “special military operation”. Ukraine lies thousands of kilometres to the west of where the exercises are occurring in the Pacific.

  • MoD says Russia FAILED to achieve objectives as conflict enters 100th day

    Britain’s defence ministry said that on the 100th day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that Moscow failed to achieve its initial objectives to seize Kyiv and Ukrainian centres of government but was achieving tactical success in the Donbas.

    “Measured against Russia’s original plan, none of the strategic objectives have been achieved,” Britain’s Ministry of Defence said in a Twitter update, but it said it was achieving tactical success in the eastern region of the Donbas and was controlling more than 90% of Luhansk Oblast.

    Russia is close to capturing all of Luhansk, one of two Ukrainian regions that make up the swathe of land known as the Donbas.

  • Sweden to supply more military aid including anti-ship missiles to Ukraine

    weden will provide Ukraine with more economic aid and military equipment, including anti-ship missiles, rifles and anti-tank weapons, Finance Minister Mikael Damberg and Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist said on Thursday.

    “The proposals that are submitted (to parliament) mean that allocated funds for the central government budget will increase by SEK 1.0 billion ($102 million) in 2022,” the Nordic country’s finance ministry said in a statement.

    “In solidarity with Ukraine, and as part of the international response to Russia’s actions, the government sees a continuing need to support Ukraine,” it said.

  • Ukrainian embassy says Russia ships ‘stolen’ wheat to Syria

    Russia has sent its ally Syria an estimated 100,000 tonnes of wheat stolen from Ukraine since invading the country, the Ukrainian embassy in Beirut said, describing the shipments as “criminal activity”.

    In a statement to Reuters, the embassy said the shipments included one aboard the Matros Pozynich, a Russian-flagged vessel which docked at Syria’s main sea port Latakia in late May.

    “The wheat is stolen from a facility that combines wheat from three Ukrainian regions into one batch,” the embassy said.

    “This is criminal activity,” it said, adding that it had tried to reach out to the Syrian authorities but had never received a response.

  • Zelensky: Russia occupies 20% of Ukraine’s territory

    Russia is currently occupying about 20% of Ukraine’s territory, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told Luxembourg’s parliament in a video address on Thursday.

    “We have to defend ourselves against almost the entire Russian army. All combat-ready Russian military formations are involved in this aggression,” he said, adding that the front lines of battle stretched across more than 1,000 kilometres (620 miles).

  • Ukraine seeks UN-backed mission to export grain shipments through Black Sea

    Ukraine is working with international partners to create a United Nations-backed mission to restore Black Sea shipping routes and export Ukrainian farm produce, foreign ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko said on Thursday.

    Russia has captured some of Ukraine’s biggest seaports and its navy controls major transport routes in the Black Sea, blocking Ukrainian shipments and deepening a global food crisis.

    “We call on countries whose food security may suffer more from Russian aggression against Ukraine to use their contacts with Moscow to force it to lift the blockade of Ukrainian seaports and end the war,” Nikolenko wrote on Facebook.

  • Denmark to join EU defense policy on July 1

    Denmark Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said today that he expects Denmark to join the European Unions common defense on July 1.

    In a referendum on Wednesday, two-third of voters decided to abandon a 30-year-old waiver that kept the Scandinavian EU country out. With 100% of the votes counted, 66.9% voted in favor of abandoning the 30-year opt-out and 33.1% against.

    The move is the latest example of a country in Europe seeking closer defense links with allies after Russias invasion of Ukraine.

    The referendum follows historic bids by fellow Nordic countries Sweden and Finland to join NATO.

  • Moscow calls EU move to phase out Russian oil ‘self-destructive’

    Russia warned on Thursday that the European Union’s decision to partially phase out Russian oil would likely destabilize global energy markets, calling it a ‘self-destructive’ step that could backfire on the bloc.

    EU leaders agreed in principle on Monday to cut 90% of oil imports from Russia by the end of this year, the bloc’s toughest sanctions yet since the start of the invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow calls a “special military operation”.

    “The European Union’s decisions to partially phase out Russian oil and oil products, as well as to ban insurance on Russian merchant ships, are highly likely to provoke further price increases, destabilize energy markets, and disrupt supply chains,” Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

  • Russia lifts quotas for some fertiliser exports

    he Russian government has removed export quotas on some fertilisers, the Interfax news agency said on Thursday.

    Extension of the non-tariff quota for di-ammonium phosphate (DAP), sodium nitrate and mixtures of calcium nitrate and ammonium nitrate has been deemed unworkable due to low demand from domestic farmers, the agency said citing the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade.

    Russia has set quotas for fertiliser exports for July through December, saying in a statement on Tuesday it aimed to secure sufficient supply for domestic farmers.

    The restrictions extend measures introduced for the past six months.

  • UK’s NATO envoy: Royal Navy may have to battle Russia

    A Tory MP who leads the UK’s parliamentary delegation to Nato has said that British warships could be forced to fight against Russia as part of an international delegation to break Moscow’s Black Sea blockade in Ukraine.

    The warships could be required to use “lethal defensive force” against Russia in the mission of escorting vital grain supplies from Ukraine’s ports, Alec Shelbrooke said.

    This would carry the “high risk” of deaths of UK personnel and the escalation of war in Europe, Mr Shelbrooke added, in a letter to his constituents/

    In his letter he also framed this as a reason not to oust PM Boris Johnson right now.

  • Slovakia to send Zuzana 2 howitzers to Ukraine

    The Slovakian defence ministry has confirmed it will deliver eight self-propelled Zuzana 2 howitzers to Ukraine.

    The ministry said the artillery will be sent under a commercial contract which a state-controlled producer signed.

    With an effective range of 40-50km plus depending on ammunition type, the Zuzana 2 howitzer is a modernised version of an older model using 155-mm rounds.

  • MoD Russia making local gains in Sievierodonetsk

    The British Defence Ministry has given its latest intelligence report today, and confirmed Russia’s significant gains in its efforts to capture the key Luhansk city of Sievierodonetsk.

    “Russia has taken control of most of Sievierodonetsk. The main road into the Sievierodonetsk pocket likely remains under Ukrainian control but Russia continues to make steady local gains, enabled by a heavy concentration of artillery,” the MoD said in its latest intelligence update on Thursday.

    It added that the territorial gain “has not been without cost, and Russian forces have sustained losses in the process”.

    “Crossing the Siverskyy Donets River – which is a natural barrier to its axes of advance – is vital for Russian forces as they secure Luhansk Oblast and prepare to switch focus to Donetsk Oblast,” the ministry said.

    It added: “Potential crossing sites include between Sievierodonetsk and the neighbouring town of Lysychansk; and near recently-captured Lyman. In both locations, the river line likely still remains controlled by Ukrainian forces, who have destroyed existing bridges.”

  • African Union head to speak to Putin on Friday in Russia

    The head of the African Union, Senegalese President Macky Sall, will speak with President Vladimir Putin in the southwestern Russian city of Sochi on Friday, Dakar said.

    The visit is aimed at “freeing up stocks of cereals and fertilisers, the blockage of which particularly affects African countries”, along with easing the Ukraine conflict, Sall’s office said today.

    The visit was organised after an invitation by Putin, and Sall will travel with the president of the African Union Commission, his office added.

    The AU will also receive a video address from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, though no date has been set. Madman Putin ‘thinks west will BLINK first’ as paranoid despot ‘losing grip on power’


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