Kremlin says video needs to be authenticated

Leaked US documents might be ‘fake’, says Russia
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov says leaked US intelligence documents might be fake and a deliberate attempt to mislead Moscow.

Ryabkov told Russian news agencies that, for now, the leak threw up many questions.

“It’s probably interesting for someone to look at these documents, if they are documents at all, or maybe they are fake, maybe this is a deliberate information dump,” Ryabkov was cited as saying.

“Since the United States is a party to the (Ukraine) conflict and is in essence waging a hybrid war against us, it’s possible such things are being done to mislead the enemy – that is the Russian Federation,” he said.

The Kremlin said earlier on Wednesday that it did not know “like everyone else” how authentic the documents were.

Some national security experts and US officials say they suspect the culprit could be American but do not rule out pro-Russian actors.Russia’s troops hit a Ukrainian army reserve in Bakhmut: Ministry
The Interfax news agency reported that Russia’s defence ministry had struck a Ukrainian army reserve trying to break through to the city of Bakhmut.

Russia also said Wagner mercenary forces had captured three more blocks in their attempt to seize control of the city in eastern Ukraine, Russian news agencies reported.UK sanctions ‘financial fixers’ for Russian oligarchs
Britain sanctioned individuals and companies who it accused of acting as “financial fixers” for Russian oligarchs Roman Abramovich and Alisher Usmanov.

Britain’s Foreign Office said in a statement the new measures would target those helping the two prominent businessmen to avoid the total cost of sanctions that were imposed following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“We are closing the net on the Russian elite and those who try to help them hide their money for war,” foreign minister James Cleverly said in the statement.

“We will keep cutting them off from assets they thought were successfully hidden.”

The government said sanctions were imposed on Demetris Ioannides and Christodoulos Vassiliades, two Cypriots it described as “professional enablers” who had helped to create offshore structures and trusts.

Britain froze the assets of Abramovich and Usmanov within weeks of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February last year.

1h ago (11:41 GMT)
Digital draft letters needed to sort out ‘mess’: Kremlin
The Kremlin says that a move to bring in electronic draft papers was needed to sort out what it called “a mess” at military recruitment offices.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that the problems in drafting men into the army had come to light last year.

“When the special military operation began, you and I saw that in some places we had a lot of mess in the military recruitment offices,” said Peskov.

“That is exactly the purpose of this legislative initiative: to clear up this mess and to make it (the system) modern, effective and convenient for citizens.”

On Tuesday, the State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, gave its backing to a package of legislative amendments that will bring in electronic draft papers and close numerous loopholes exploited by draft dodgers.

1h ago (10:58 GMT)
Serbia dismisses reports that it sent weapons to Ukraine
Serbia’s Defence Minister Milos Vucevic dismissed reports that Belgrade agreed to supply arms to Kyiv or has sent them already in leaked Pentagon files.

Vucevic said the intel was “untrue” in a statement.

“Serbia did not, nor will it be selling weapons to the Ukrainian nor the Russian side, nor to countries surrounding that conflict,” Vucevic said.

Serbia is the only European country which has not sanctioned Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

Grain deal not great as obstacles remain, says the Kremlin
The Kremlin said the outlook for the landmark UN-brokered Black Sea grain deal was not great as promises to remove obstacles had not been fulfilled.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the current agreement was not working for Russia, despite some efforts by the United Nations to get the parts of the deal relating to Moscow’s interests implemented.

“No deal can stand on one leg: it must stand on two legs,” Peskov told reporters.

“In this regard, of course, judging by the state of play today, the outlook (for its extension) is not so great.”

While the West has not placed sanctions on Russia’s food and fertiliser exports, Moscow says obstacles, such as insurance and payment hindrances, compromise them.

The agreement, due to expire next month in its current form, has already been extended twice.

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