Ukraine war latest: UK defence secretary in Kyiv on surprise visit; 'we could f****** lose Russia', Wagner boss warns (2023)

Key points
  • Ben Wallace in Kyiv on surprise visit
  • Prigozhin: 'We are in such a condition that we could f****** lose Russia'
  • Russia releases images of what they claim are abandoned US-made vehicles - but critics say it could be 'staged'
  • Ukrainian silence on Bakhmut 'suggests further Wagner advances'
  • Russia says city will now be known by Russian name
  • Your questions answered: What does defeat for Putin look like?
  • Got a question about the war? Ask our experts
  • Live reporting by Olive Enokido-Lineham


Moscow warns it will react 'extremely harshly' to further attacks on its territory

Russia's defence minister has said Moscow will react "extremely harshly" to further attacks by fighters entering its territory from Ukraine.

Sergei Shoigu told defence ministry officials: "We will continue to respond to such actions by Ukrainianmilitants promptly and extremely harshly".

His warning comes after Monday's cross-border incursion into Russia's Belgorod region.

Yesterday, the Russian military said it had routed militantswho attacked the region with armoured vehicles, adding that it had killed more than 70 "Ukrainian nationalists".

Moscow blamed the raid on Ukrainian military saboteurs whilst Kyiv portrayed it as an uprising against the Kremlin by Russian partisans.

The attack, which took place in Russia's southwest region, about 80km north of the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, was a fresh reminder of how Russia itself remains vulnerable to attack, along with Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine.


UK defence secretary in Kyiv for unannounced visit

Ben Wallace has arrived in Kyiv for a surprise visit to meet his Ukrainian counterpart, Oleksii Reznikov.

The Ukrainian defence secretary said the pair had a "very meaningful discussion" on increase Kyiv's defence capabilities and long-range weapons - including Storm Shadow missiles.

Mr Wallace signed a visitor's book, writing: "Glory to the brave men and women who fight for freedom and to defend their country. Their fight, our fight."

Earlier this month the defence secretary announced that the UK would send Storm Shadow missiles to Ukraine, marking a significant step-up in the capabilities of arms the UK has sent to Kyiv. He said the country "has a right to be able to defend itself."

Last week, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited the UK to meet with Rishi Sunak - as the prime minister revealed the UK would start training Ukrainian pilots to use Western fighter jets "relatively soon", helped by the opening of a new flying school.

(Video) The Final Days Of Bakhmut - Ukraine War Map Analysis, News


Russia releases images apparently showing abandoned US-made vehicles used by Ukraine - critics say it could be 'staged'

Back to the Belgorod incursion.

The Russian defence ministry has released pictures of what they claim are abandoned Western military vehicles used by Ukraine - including what Sky News has identified as US-made Humvees.

However, there are claims that part of the pictures may have been staged - pointing to details in the images which they say suggest the scene could have been choreographed.

They point to details including the lack of dirt in front of one of the vehicles which they say should have been created on impact as it fell into the gap and question how only one of the tires on the vehicle in the foreground got over the trench, but the other didn't.

Sky News has been able to geolocate the images to the Belgorod checkpoint and can confirm from previously released drone video that the two Humvees in the photo were not there earlier this week.

The vehicles also contain Ukrainian markings.

Monday's cross-border incursion into Russia's Belgorod region has been described as "humiliating" for Moscow.

Russia said more than 70 attackers have been killed in the region and the remnants of their units pushed back into Ukrainian territory after two days of fighting.

While there's still widespread confusion over reports of the raid - Moscow has blamed "Ukrainian militants" - but Kyiv portrayed the alleged incursion as an uprising by Russian partisans and said it had nothing to do with it.

Two groups operating in Ukraine - the Russian Volunteer Corps (RVC) and Freedom of Russia Legion - have claimed responsibility.

The US says it does not "enable or encourage" Ukrainian attacks on Russian territory, but that it is up to Kyiv to decide how it conducts military operations.


In pictures: Tanks, victory (or peace?) signs and a view from the frontline

Now to the frontline for some of the latest pictures we're receiving of Ukrainian soldiers near Bakhmut.

The battle for control of the besieged city in eastern Ukraine is continuing. It's been the epicentre of fierce fighting with huge losses on both sides.

Russia claims to have captured Bakhmut, but Ukraine insists it still controls part of it.

(Video) Putin in joy after Bakhmut 'victory'; Praises Wagner Chief, announces state award


Why China, Iran, Belarus and Armenia 'all fear' a Russian defeat in Ukraine

Moscow has been widely condemned for the war in Ukraine, but there are a few countries that could fear a Russian defeat.

Four countries in particular have emerged as key allies that are prepared to defend Moscow, an expert writing for the think tank Atlantic Council says: China, Iran, Belarus and Armenia.

Despite their standing, these countries are "united by a common fear" of what a Russian defeat in might mean for them, according to Taras Kuzio, professor of political science at the National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy.

While China has stopped short of "outright support" for Russia's invasion, it has adopted a position that could be termed as "Kremlin-friendly neutrality", Mr Kuzio says.

He suggests a Russian defeat would "considerably complicate" any future Chinese efforts to invade Taiwan, adding that if Western military aid helps Ukraine win it could increase the chances of similar support for Taiwan against possible Chinese aggression.

In Belarus, a Russian defeat would likely "reignite domestic unrest" and affect Alexander Lukashenko's regime.

But Armenia, Mr Kuzio says, remains heavily invested in the view of "Russia as a protector" against perceived threats to national security posed by Azerbaijan and Turkey.

Iran, he says, shares China's geopolitical motivations for supporting Russia's war, but the leadership is fearful that a Russian defeat could "increase demands for democratic change" inside Iran.


Russians shoot down 'large number' of drones in Belgorod

Russian forces have shot down "a large number" of drones in the southern Belgorod region, a local official has claimed.

The drones were intercepted overnight, governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said in a Telegram post.

No one was hurt, he said, but administrative buildings, homes and cars were damaged in Borisov district.

Sky News was unable to verify this report.

On Monday, reports surfaced of an armed raid across the Ukrainian border into the region.

(Video) Ukraine appears to lose last major stronghold in Bakhmut

In what appeared to be one of the biggest incursions from Ukraine since the war began 15 months ago, two purported anti-Kremlin armed groups employing Russians based abroad said they were responsible for the attack in Belgorod.

Russia says more than 70 attackers were killed in the region and the remnants of their units pushed back into Ukraine after two days of fighting.

Moscow has blamed "Ukrainian militants" but Kyiv portrayed the alleged incursion as an uprising by Russian partisans and said it had nothing to do with it.


UN and Russia discuss situation at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

Security at Europe's biggest nuclear plant was the focus of a meeting in Beijing between Rafael Grossi, the UN nuclear watchdog chief, and Alexey Likhachev, head of Rosatom, the Russian state nuclear company.

The International Atomic Energy Agency says it was part of Mr Rossi's "intensified efforts" to "avoid a nuclear or radiological accident".

No other details were given.

Russia captured the plant early in the war and concerns have been raised about its safety on several occasions.

On Monday, the plant was temporarily disconnected from external power and switched on to emergency supply generators. Both sides blamed the other for the power outage.


Two people found dead in Donetsk ruins

Two bodies have been retrieved from the ruins of a building in a city in the Donetsk region, Ukraine's defence ministry said.

Russia "completely destroyed" a nine-storey building in Avdiivka yesterday, leaving another woman in a critical condition.

The eastern city was a main target of a Russian winter offensive that was intended to reinvigorate the full-scale invasion, but made only small territorial advances in the east.


Prigozhin: 'We are in such a condition that we could f****** lose Russia'

The founder of the Wagner mercenary group has warned that Russia's elite must get serious about fighting the war in Ukraine or it could lose and face a revolution.

Yevgeny Prigozhin said in an interview on his Telegram channel that Ukraine would try to encircleBakhmut and attack Crimea - which Russia illegally annexed in 2014.

"Most likely of all, this scenario will not be good forRussia so we need to prepare for an arduous war," he said.

"We are in such a condition that we could f****** loseRussia - that is the main problem... We need to impose martiallaw."

Mr Prigozhin said his political outlook was dominated by lovefor the motherland and serving Vladimir Putin.

Russia's elite, he said, protected their own children fromfighting the war while the children of ordinary Russiansperished on the front, a situation he said that could triggerturmoil in Russia.

If ordinary Russians continued getting their children backin zinc coffins while the children of the elite sunnedthemselves abroad, he said, Russia would face turmoil along thelines of the 1917 revolution.

The Wagner Group has been heavily involved in the fighting in Bakhmut. Mr Prigozhin previously threatened to pull his forces out of the city and accused Russia's military command of starving the group of ammunition.

(Video) Battle For Bakhmut: Russia’s Wagner Chief Claims Full Control Of City


Russian-backed official calls Bakhmut by its former Soviet name

The acting head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic says Bakhmut would now be known by its former Soviet name "Artemovsk".

Denis Pushilin said he visited the Ukrainian city on Tuesday and claimed on Telegram that the Russian flag was "hoisted" over "Artemovsk".

He thanked Wagner Group fighters for their efforts in the battered city, adding that the "Russian city" would be restored.

Bakhmut is located in Ukraine's Donetsk - part of the largely Russian-speaking industrialised Donbas region which Moscow wants to annex with its self-declared "special military operation".

While the Russian military and mercenary fighters Wagner claimed they had taken full control of the city over the weekend - Ukrainian forces contest this and say they have made minor progress against Russian forces on the edge of the city.


Who is the secretary of state for defense in the UK? ›

The Rt Hon Ben Wallace MP

Ben Wallace was appointed Secretary of State for Defence on 24 July 2019.

Who is the Minister of War in the UK? ›

The Rt Hon Ben Wallace MP.

Who are the recent UK Defence secretaries? ›

Secretaries of State for Defence (1964–present)
Name (birth–death)Term of office
Gavin Williamson MP for South Staffordshire (born 1976)2 November 20171 May 2019
Penny Mordaunt MP for Portsmouth North (born 1973)1 May 201924 July 2019
Ben Wallace MP for Wyre and Preston North (born 1970)24 July 2019Incumbent
32 more rows

How do you address the secretary of defense? ›

Use the formal salutations "Sir" or "Madam" when addressing high-ranking Federal, State, or local officials. Use "Sir" or "Madam" when addressing court officials by title only.

Who is over the military in England? ›

The Commander-in-Chief of the military is the British monarch, currently Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, while the British Prime Minister maintains de facto authority.

Who set up military dictatorship in England? ›

Policies. The Rule of the Major-Generals was set up by Cromwell by his orders to the army, and was not supported by parliamentary legislation.

How much was the old war office sold for? ›

The 580,000 sq ft property, marketed as 57 Whitehall, was sold on a long lease arrangement to the joint venture for in excess of £350 million following a competitive marketing process.

What rank is the Secretary of Defence? ›

The secretary of defense is the highest ranking leader in the department and serves as the principal advisor to the president, the commander in chief of the armed forces, on defense policy. The deputy secretary of defense is the second-highest ranking DOD leader.

Who replaced secretary of defense? ›

Christopher C. Miller
PresidentDonald Trump
Preceded byThomas Alexander (acting)
Succeeded byEzra Cohen-Watnick (acting)
Personal details
26 more rows

What are the names of the secretary of defense? ›

  • Secretary of Defense. Lloyd J. Austin III.
  • Deputy Secretary of Defense. Kathleen H. Hicks.
  • Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Army Gen. Mark A. Milley.
  • Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Navy Adm. Christopher W. Grady.

How much does the defense secretary make? ›

Salary. Secretary of Defense is a Level I position in the Executive Schedule, thus earning a salary of US$221,400, as of January 2021.

How do I contact the secretary of the army? ›

phone (703) 695–1717, fax (703) 697–8036

Secretary of the Army. —Dr. Mark T. Esper.

Does the secretary of defense control the military? ›

The President of the United States of America is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. The Secretary of Defense is the principal defense policy advisor to the President. Under the direction of the President, the Secretary exercises authority, direction, and control over the DoD.

Who has the strongest military in the world? ›

1. United States Of America. US Military has the biggest defence budget in the world. They are known for their most powerful Air Force on the planet, named as United States Air Force (USAF).

Who has the biggest army in the world? ›

China has the world's largest standing army and navy, with Beijing announcing on Sunday the biggest increase to its military budget since 2019.

How strong is the US military? ›

United States is ranked 1 of 145 out of the countries considered for the annual Global Firepower review. The nation holds a Power Index score of 0.0712 with a score of 0.0000 being considered exceptional in the GFP assessment. This country is a Top 5 world power according to the GFP index formula.

Does England have its own military? ›

The British Army comprises of 112,000 experienced, committed and highly skilled Regular and Reserve soldiers.

Who runs the English Army? ›

General Sir Patrick Sanders KCB CBE DSO ADC GEN. The Chief of the General Staff is the head of the British Army.

When did royalty lose power in England? ›

On 7 February 1649, the office of King was formally abolished. The Civil Wars were essentially confrontations between the monarchy and Parliament over the definitions of the powers of the monarchy and Parliament's authority.

Who owns the old War Office? ›

War Office
Department overview
JurisdictionGovernment of the United Kingdom
HeadquartersWar Office building Whitehall London 51°30′20″N 0°07′33″W
Department executiveSecretary of State for War
Parent DepartmentHM Government
5 more rows

How big is the Old War Office? ›

Completed in 1906, the property served as the office of political and military leaders including Winston Churchill, David Lloyd George, Lord Kitchener and Herbert Asquith. The 760,000 square feet development illustrates Ardmore's growing track record in delivering high profile sustainable developments for clients.

Who was working in the war office in London? ›

Among the notable Secretaries of State for War to work in the building in its early years were Lord Haldane (1905-12), Mr Asquith (1914), Lord Kitchener (1914-16), Mr Lloyd- George (1916) and Winston Churchill (1919-21).

Who is the Secretary of State defense? ›

Lloyd J. Austin III is the 28th secretary of defense, sworn in on Jan. 22, 2021. A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., Austin served 41 years in uniform, retiring as a four-star Army general after three years as commander of U.S. Central Command.

Who is the new UK Secretary of State? ›

Secretary of State for Business and Trade
Incumbent Kemi Badenoch since 7 February 2023
Department for Business and Trade
StyleThe Right Honourable
StatusSecretary of State Minister of the Crown
8 more rows

Who is the secretaries of state defense? ›

United States Secretary of Defense
Incumbent Lloyd Austin since January 22, 2021
United States Department of Defense Office of the Secretary of Defense
StyleMr. Secretary (informal) The Honorable (formal)
15 more rows

Who is the current head of the secretary of defense? ›

Lloyd James Austin III was sworn in as the 28th Secretary of Defense on January 22, 2021. Mr. Austin is the principal assistant to the President in all matters relating to the Department of Defense and serves on the National Security Council.

Does the secretary of defense have Secret Service? ›

No, Cabinet members do not get Secret Service protection. That is reserved for the president, vice president, and their families. The Secretary of Defense is protected by the U.S. Army Protective Services Battalion.

What is the salary of the secretary of defense? ›

How much does a Secretary Of Defense make in USA? The average secretary of defense salary in the USA is $154,138 per year or $74.10 per hour. Entry level positions start at $40,272 per year while most experienced workers make up to $179,046 per year.

What rank is the secretary of defense? ›

The secretary of defense is the highest ranking leader in the department and serves as the principal advisor to the president, the commander in chief of the armed forces, on defense policy. The deputy secretary of defense is the second-highest ranking DOD leader.

Who is above the Secretary of State? ›

As the highest-ranking member of the cabinet, the secretary of state is the third-highest official of the executive branch of the U.S. federal government, after the president and vice president, and is fourth in line to succeed the presidency, after the vice president, the speaker of the House of Representatives, and ...

Who is Secretary of State usa? ›

Antony J. Blinken was sworn in as the 71st U.S. Secretary of State on January 26, 2021.

What do you call a Secretary of State UK? ›

His Majesty's principal secretaries of state, better known as secretaries of state, are senior ministers of the Crown in the Government of the United Kingdom.

Does the U.S. have a secretary of war? ›

Lloyd James Austin III was sworn in as the 28th Secretary of Defense on January 22, 2021.

Who is in charge of U.S. military? ›

General Mark A. Milley is the 20th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the nation's highest-ranking military officer, and the principal military advisor to the President, Secretary of Defense, and National Security Council.

Does the Secretary of Defense control the military? ›

The President of the United States of America is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. The Secretary of Defense is the principal defense policy advisor to the President. Under the direction of the President, the Secretary exercises authority, direction, and control over the DoD.

What is our nation's highest military honor? ›

The nation's highest military award for valor is the Medal of Honor, presented by the president in Congress' name. By law, only U.S. service members who distinguish themselves “through conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty” can receive the medal.

Who controls the Pentagon? ›

The Pentagon
OwnerUnited States Department of Defense
Roof77 ft (23 m)
Technical details
28 more rows

Is the secretary of the Army a civilian? ›

The Honorable Christine Wormuth was confirmed by the U.S. Senate and appointed as the 25th Secretary of the U.S. Army on May 27, 2021. The Secretary of the Army is the senior civilian official within the Department of Defense (DoD) responsible for all matters relating to the U.S. Army.


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