Russia’s Prigozhin Says Ukraine Has Retaken Part of Settlement North of Bakhmut

Ukrainian artillery fires towards the frontline during heavy fighting amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, near Bakhmut, Ukraine, April 13, 2023. (Reuters)
Ukrainian artillery fires towards the frontline during heavy fighting amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, near Bakhmut, Ukraine, April 13, 2023. (Reuters)
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Russia’s Prigozhin Says Ukraine Has Retaken Part of Settlement North of Bakhmut

Ukrainian artillery fires towards the frontline during heavy fighting amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, near Bakhmut, Ukraine, April 13, 2023. (Reuters)
Ukrainian artillery fires towards the frontline during heavy fighting amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, near Bakhmut, Ukraine, April 13, 2023. (Reuters)

Russian mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin said on Monday that Ukrainian forces had retaken part of the settlement of Berkhivka, north of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, calling it a "disgrace".

Prigozhin's private Wagner militia captured Bakhmut last month after the longest battle of the war and handed its positions there to regular Russian troops. Ukrainian forces have continued to attack areas close to the city.

"Now part of the settlement of Berkhivka has already been lost, the troops are quietly running away. Disgrace!" Prigozhin said in an audio message published by his press service.

He urged Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and the chief of the general staff, Valery Gerasimov, to come to the front to rally the troops.

"Come on, you can do it!" he said. "And if you can't, you'll die heroes."

Prigozhin has waged a public feud with Shoigu and Gerasimov for months, frequently accusing them of failing to provide sufficient ammunition and support for Wagner in the field, and so causing it to suffer needlessly heavy losses.



NATO Chief Says the Alliance Is Adapting Its Nuclear Arsenal to Security Threats

 NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg gives a press conference on the eve of a NATO Defense ministers meeting at the organization's headquarters in Brussels on June 12, 2024. (AFP)
NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg gives a press conference on the eve of a NATO Defense ministers meeting at the organization's headquarters in Brussels on June 12, 2024. (AFP)
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NATO Chief Says the Alliance Is Adapting Its Nuclear Arsenal to Security Threats

 NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg gives a press conference on the eve of a NATO Defense ministers meeting at the organization's headquarters in Brussels on June 12, 2024. (AFP)
NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg gives a press conference on the eve of a NATO Defense ministers meeting at the organization's headquarters in Brussels on June 12, 2024. (AFP)

In a rare reference to the Western nuclear arsenal, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday highlighted the alliance's efforts to adapt its capabilities to current security threats, taking note of Russia latest nuclear rhetoric and drills.

Talking to reporters before a two-day NATO defense ministers' meeting in Brussels that will include a gathering of the alliance's nuclear planning group, he called nuclear weapons NATO's "ultimate security guarantee" and a means to preserve peace.

While it is well known that the US has deployed nuclear bombs to several locations in Europe, NATO rarely talks about these weapons publicly.

Discussing what he called "the ongoing adaptation" of NATO's nuclear arsenal, Stoltenberg said the Netherlands in June declared the first F-35 fighter jets ready to carry nuclear arms and said the US was modernizing its nuclear weapons in Europe.

He described increasing Russian activity around its nuclear capabilities. "What we have seen over the last years and months is a dangerous nuclear rhetoric from the Russian side.... We also see some more exercises, nuclear exercises on the Russian side," he said.

On Tuesday, Russia said its troops had started the second stage of drills to practice the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons alongside Belarusian troops after what Moscow said were threats from Western powers.

Since sending thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly said Moscow could use nuclear weapons to defend itself in extreme situations.

Russia accuses the US and its European allies of pushing the world to the brink of nuclear confrontation by giving Ukraine billions of dollars worth of weapons, some of which are being used against Russian territory.

Stoltenberg also referred also to the modernization of China's nuclear weapons, saying Beijing was expected to boost the number of nuclear missiles within a few years and many of them would be able to reach NATO territory.