The daughter of a key Kremlin adviser was killed in a fiery explosion while driving near Moscow, a dramatic attack that appeared poised to become a new flash point in the six-month war. In Russian-occupied Crimea, a string of Ukrainian strikes deep behind enemy lines has transformed the peninsula from a Russian vacation destination to a battlefield in a matter of weeks.
Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.
- The daughter of Alexander Dugin, referred to as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “brain,” was killed in a car explosion overnight in the Moscow region, according to Russia’s main investigative authority, which said it was opening a criminal murder investigation. Daria Dugina, 29, was reportedly driving her father’s car from a festival they had both attended when the vehicle erupted in flames, per Russia’s state-run media outlet Tass.
- Ukraine denied involvement and suggested it could be the result of an internal dispute within Russia. “I emphasize that we certainly had nothing to do with it,” Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said Sunday on Ukrainian television. Dugina had been sanctioned by the United States as part of a list of Russian elites and Russian intelligence-directed disinformation outlets, alongside her father, who has been designated for sanctions since 2015.
- Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said he has “not yet been briefed” on Dugina’s killing. “I couldn’t say who was behind it,” he told CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. “There are so many factions and internecine warfare within Russian society, within the Russian government, anything is possible.” He said he hoped the attack, on a civilian, “wasn’t something emanating from Ukraine.”
- This week marks six months since the invasion, Zelensky noted in his nightly address. It also brings the nation’s Flag Day on Tuesday. He hinted at the prospect that Russia this week “may try to do something particularly nasty, something particularly cruel. Such is our enemy.” The city of Kharkiv will be under curfew all day on Ukrainian Independence Day on Wednesday, its regional governor, Oleh Synyehubov, said. Kyiv has banned mass events from Monday through Thursday, Ukraine’s parliament said.
- The head of the Security Service of Ukraine in the central Kirovohrad region was found fatally shot in his apartment, according to the Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office. Oleksandr Nakonechnyi’s death is being investigated.
- Russia increased its Black Sea presence this weekend, to two naval vessels and five missile carriers with more than 30 Caliber-type missiles, according to Ukraine’s Operational Command South.
- Russian shelling in a small central Ukrainian city killed at least one person, injured seven others and destroyed homes and a school building, local officials said. The Sunday strike, in the Dnipropetrovsk region, is at least the second major attack on the area, which has come under increased fire as the standoff over the nearby Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant has escalated.
- Drone attacks, including one on the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, were reported in Crimea on Saturday. The governor of Sevastopol, a Russian appointee, said a drone hit the roof of the fleet’s headquarters after Russian forces were unable to shoot it down. But he later reversed his claim, saying in a “clarification” on Telegram that the drone was struck and landed on the roof, catching fire. “There was no defeat,” he wrote. The claims could not be independently verified.
- The Russian-backed occupation mayor of Mariupol survived a recent assassination attempt, a Ukrainian official reported. While the attack failed, it was “only the beginning,” Petro Andriushchenko, an adviser to Mariupol’s exiled mayor, wrote on Telegram. He lamented that efforts to depose the head of the local puppet government were “so far not very successful,” but if confirmed, the attempt would demonstrate a still-active resistance in the ruined port city.
- Ukraine paraded defunct Russian tanks through the streets of Kyiv on Saturday. The display of “rusty Russian metal is a reminder to all dictators how their plans may be ruined by a free and courageous nation,” Ukraine’s armed forces said. Residents of the capital posed for photos next to the tanks, even as air raid sirens rang out, The Washington Post’s Liz Sly reported.
- Western leaders discussed the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant Sunday. According to a White House statement announcing their phone call, President Biden, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz shared their desire to “avoid military operations” near Europe’s largest nuclear plant. They also advocated for the International Atomic Energy Agency to assess the area’s safety systems as soon as possible.
- Putin said he supports allowing United Nations experts to inspect the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant “as soon as possible” and agreed to provide “necessary assistance” during a call with French President Emmanuel Macron. However, Moscow has rejected broader requests to withdraw its military from the site, and has accused Ukraine of shelling the facility and preparing to cause a “radiation leak” there — claims Ukraine and the United States have likened to a “false flag” operation.
- Two more ships carrying grain and sunflower oil left Ukraine over the weekend, Turkey’s Defense Ministry said. They left the port of Chornomorsk, close to Odessa in southwest Ukraine, bringing the total number of ships to have sailed out under a U.N.-backed deal to 27. Ukraine’s grain and oilseed exports could reach more than 50 percent of prewar levels by the end of August, one official estimated, underscoring the early impact of the unblocked ports.
- The United States has presented to NATO officials instruments of ratification for Sweden’s and Finland’s accession to the military alliance, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said. The war has seen moves to expand NATO, and Blinken said handing in the documents was “the final step in our process to have these important partners become vital NATO Allies.”
- Draped in the Ukrainian flag, boxer Oleksandr Usyk celebrated his defense of his world heavyweight titles after a split-decision victory Saturday night. Usyk, perhaps Ukraine’s most decorated active athlete, was patrolling Kyiv in a Ukrainian army battalion six months ago. “I devote this victory to my country, to my family, to my team, to all the military defending this country,” he said after the win.
From our correspondents
A Russian soldier’s journal: ‘I will not participate in this madness.’ The revealing 141-page journal of Russian paratrooper Pavel Filatyev, who spent more than a month fighting in Ukraine, describes an army in disarray, The Post’s Mary Ilyushina reports from Riga, Latvia. Filatyev went to Ukraine “after his poorly equipped unit was ordered to march from its base in Crimea for what commanders called a routine exercise,” she writes.
His journal, which is “the most detailed day-by-day account to date of the attacks on Kherson and Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine as seen through the eyes of a Russian soldier,” details “commanders clueless and terrified, equipment old and rusty, troops pillaging occupied areas in search of food because of a lack of provisions, morale plummeting as the campaign stalled.”
“They simply decided to shower Ukraine with our corpses in this war,” he wrote.
News Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/