Putin vows to expand North Korea ties

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin has pledged to expand ties with North Korea amid Western condemnation of the war in Ukraine.
  • Ukrainian forces report Russian shelling in the eastern region of Donetsk, but say they have repelled many attacks.

    Brittney Griner defence team appeals against Russian drugs conviction: Report

    Jailed US basketball star Brittney Griner has appealed against her conviction for narcotics possession and trafficking, according to her lawyer.

    Maria Blagovolina told the Reuters news agency that Griner’s defence team had lodged the appeal after the 31-year-old was sentenced to nine years in Russian prison earlier this month.

    Griner, who had played for a Russian club, was arrested at a Moscow airport on February 17 after cannabis-infused vape cartridges were found in her luggage.

    She pleaded guilty to the charges but said she had made an “honest mistake” by entering Russia with cannabis oil, which is illegal in the country.

    Risks of disaster at nuclear plant ‘increasing every day’: Mayor

    The risk of disaster at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant occupied by Russian troops is “increasing every day”, the mayor of the city where the facility is located has warned.

    The Zaporizhzhia power plant, Europe’s largest, was seized by Russian soldiers in the opening days of the invasion of Ukraine, and has remained on the front line ever since. Last week the facility came under fire repeatedly, with Kyiv and Moscow trading blame for the incidents.

    The mayor of the southeastern city of Energodar, where the plant is located, said on Sunday that “the risks are increasing every day”.

    “What is happening there is outright nuclear terrorism,” Dmytro Orlov said from the city of Zaporizhzhia, which remains under Ukrainian control. “It can end unpredictably at any moment.”

    Russian gas flows to Europe appear stable

    Russian gas flows to Europe via some major pipeline routes appear to be steady, operator data shows.

    Physical flows via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline from Russia to Germany were at 14,554,412 kilowatt hours per hour (kWh/h) at 08:00-09:00 CET (07:00-08:00 GMT) on Monday morning, similar to the previous 24 hours.

    Eastbound gas flows via the Yamal-Europe pipeline to Poland from Germany were also stable, data from operator Gascade showed. Exit flows at the Mallnow metering point on the German border were 2,520,133 kWh/h, little changed from midnight.

    Nominations for Russian gas flows into Slovakia from Ukraine via the Velke Kapusany border point were around 36.4 million cubic metres (mcm) per day, little changed from the previous day, data from the Ukrainian system operator showed.

    Putin says Russia and North Korea will expand bilateral relations

    Russian President Vladimir Putin has told North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that the two countries will “expand the comprehensive and constructive bilateral relations with common efforts”, Pyongyang’s state media has reported.

    In a letter to Kim for North Korea’s liberation day, Putin said closer ties would be in both countries’ interests and would help strengthen the security and stability of the Korean Peninsula and the Northeastern Asian region, the KCNA news agency said.

    Kim also sent a letter to Putin saying Russian-North Korean friendship had been forged in World War II with victory over Japan, which had occupied the Korean peninsula.

    The “strategic and tactical cooperation, support and solidarity” between the two countries has since reached a new level in their common efforts to frustrate threats and provocations from “hostile forces”, Kim said in the letter. Pyongyang did not identify the hostile forces, but it has typically used that term to refer to the United States and its allies.

    Wall Street revives Russian bond trading: Reuters

    Several major Wall Street banks have begun offering to facilitate trades in Russian debt in recent days, according to bank documents seen by the Reuters news agency, giving investors another chance to dispose of assets widely seen in the West as toxic.

    Most US and European banks had pulled back from the market in June after the Treasury Department banned US investors from buying any Russian security as part of economic sanctions to punish Moscow for invading Ukraine, investors who hold Russian securities and two banking sources told Reuters.

    Following subsequent guidelines from the Treasury in July that allowed US holders to wind down their positions, the largest Wall Street firms have cautiously returned to the market for Russian government and corporate bonds, the agency reported, citing emails, client notes and other communications from six banks as well as interviews with the sources.

    New Zealand to deploy 120 soldiers to UK to train Ukraine troops

    New Zealand is sending 120 military personnel to the United Kingdom to help train Ukrainians in front-line combat, its government has said.

    The deployment will enable two infantry training teams to equip about 800 Ukrainian personnel with the core skills to be effective in combat, including weapon handling, combat first aid, operational law and other skills, the government said.

    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, during a news conference announcing the deployment, stressed that New Zealand troops have not and would not engage in combat in Ukraine.

    Renewed Russian assaults in east, south, says Ukraine

    Ukrainian forces have reported heavy Russian shelling and attempts to advance on several towns in the country’s eastern region of Donetsk, which has become a key focus of the near six-month war, but say they had repelled many of the attacks.

    The General Staff of Ukraine’s armed forces also reported Russian shelling of more than a dozen towns on the southern front – particularly in the mainly Russia-controlled Kherson region, where Ukrainian troops are steadily recapturing territory.

    Particularly heavy fighting has focused on the village of Pisky, near Donetsk airport, the British Ministry of Defence said in its latest daily intelligence update on Sunday.

    Meanwhile, Russia said its forces had taken control of Udy, a village in the northeastern Kharkiv region.

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