- Russia’s defence ministry said it had foiled overnight Ukrainian attacks on the Novorossiysk naval base in the Black Sea.
- Sergei Shoigu, Russia’s defence minister, has visited Russian troops on the front line in Ukraine.
- At least 13 Ukrainian drones were downed over the Crimean Peninsula, Russia said.
Ukrainian intelligence says its sea drone attack damaged Russian naval vessel
Ukraine damaged a Russian naval vessel during a sea drone attack at the Russian port of Novorossiysk that was conducted by the security service of Ukraine and the Ukrainian navy, a Ukrainian intelligence source said.
“As a result of the attack, the Olenegorsky Gornyak received a serious breach and currently cannot conduct its combat missions,” the source told Reuters.
Russia doubles 2023 defence spending plan as war costs soar
Russia has doubled its 2023 defence spending target to more than $100bn – a third of all public expenditure – a government document reviewed by the Reuters news agency showed, as the costs of the war in Ukraine spiral and place growing strain on Moscow’s finances.
The figures shed light on Russia’s spending on the conflict at a time when sector-specific budget expenditure data is no longer published.
They show that in the first half of 2023 alone, Russia spent 12 percent, or 600 billion roubles ($6.4bn), more on defence than the 4.98 trillion roubles ($53bn) it had originally targeted for 2023.
Defence spending in the first six months of 2023 amounted to 5.59 trillion roubles ($58bn), 37.3 percent of a total 14.97 trillion roubles ($159bn) spent in the period, the document showed. Russia’s budget plan envisages 17.1 percent of total funds spent on “national defence”.
Russia’s government and finance ministry did not respond to requests by Reuters for comment on the numbers.
Kremlin doesn’t believe US promise to safeguard food exports if it returns to grain deal: RIA
Russia does not believe a United States promise that Washington would help ensure Moscow can freely export food if it returns to the Black Sea grain deal, state news agency RIA Novosti quoted the Kremlin as saying.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters on Thursday: “In the event of return to the agreement, of course, we’ll continue to do whatever is necessary to make sure that everyone can export their food and food products freely and safely to include Russia.”
Russia last month quit the agreement that had allowed Ukraine to ship food from its Black Sea ports, complaining about obstacles to its own exports of food and fertiliser.
Russia says it fended off Ukrainian drone attack on Crimea
Russian air defences downed 10 Ukrainian drones over the Crimean Peninsula and suppressed three more with electronic countermeasures, the TASS news agency quoted the Russian defence ministry as saying.
There were no casualties or damage in either attack, the ministry said.
Russian defence minister inspects operation zone in Ukraine
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu has visited a combat zone in Ukraine to inspect a command post and meet senior military officers, the army said.
Shoigu got an update on the situation on the front and “thanked commanders and soldiers… for successful offensive operations” in Lyman in eastern Ukraine, it said, without mentioning when the visit took place.
Television images showed Shoigu in uniform listening to a report presented by General Andrey Mordvichev, the head of the Central Military Unit in Ukraine.
The minister was also shown getting on a Swedish CV90, “one of the many armoured vehicles taken during fighting”, the army statement said.
Ukraine attack on Black Sea naval base thwarted, Russia says
Ukrainian sea drones attacked a Russian navy base near the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk, a major hub for Russian exports, and were destroyed by Russian warships, Russia’s defence ministry said.
“Tonight, the armed forces of Ukraine, with the use of two unmanned sea boats, attempted an attack on the Novorossiysk naval base of the Russian armed forces,” it said, adding that Russian ships had destroyed the naval drones.
The attack prompted the Novorossiysk port to temporarily halt all ship movement, according to the Caspian Pipeline Consortium which operates an oil terminal there. It said its facilities had not been damaged and oil loadings continued onto tankers which were already moored.
Russian social media users reported hearing explosions and gunfire near Novorossiysk on Friday morning.