Ukraine launches tens of drones on Russian territory

Ukraine launched tens of drones overnight targeting several Russian regions but with no reported damage, Russian officials said on Sunday.

At least 23 drones were destroyed over Russia’s western region of Bryansk, which borders Ukraine, the governor of the region, Alexander Bogomaz, said on the Telegram messaging app.

Russia’s air defense systems also destroyed drones over the Smolensk region, Vasily Anokhin, governor of the region in Russia’s west, said on Telegram. It was not immediately clear how many drones were downed.

According to preliminary information, there were no casualties or destruction in either region, the governors said.

An air raid alert was announced for the Lipetsk region several hundred kilometers south of Moscow, the region’s governor said on Telegram. There was no immediate comment from Ukraine.

Kyiv has often said its strikes inside Russia territory are meant to undermine Moscow’s war effort and are in response to Russia’s relentless air attacks on Ukraine’s energy, military and transport infrastructure.

U.S. President Joe Biden (L) and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet at the Villa La Grange in Geneva, Switzerland, June 16, 2021. (Denis Balibouse/Pool via Xinhua/IANS)

‘Russia open to dialogue with US’

Russia is ready for comprehensive dialogue with the US, particularly due to the rise of global security concerns, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

“The Russian President said that we are ready for dialogue with the US… but only for comprehensive dialogue,” Peskov said on Friday, adding that such talks are necessary as problems continue to mount, especially concerning the global security architecture.

Such dialogue would need to be broad and cover all spheres, including the current Ukrainian crisis and “the direct involvement of the US in this conflict,” the Kremlin Spokesman said.

Peskov further noted that Russia’s cooperation with its partners “is in no way directed against third countries,” and is ultimately only aimed at improving the well-being of the people of those countries.

‘Ukraine to start membership talks with EU next week’

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal has said that his country will start membership talks with the EU next week.

“On June 25, we will hold the Ukraine-EU Intergovernmental Conference, which will mark the formal start of negotiations on our accession,” Shmyhal told a government meeting on Friday.

After the conference, Ukraine and the EU will launch detailed technical negotiations on dozens of different chapters of the future membership agreement, he said.

Earlier on Friday, the EU adopted the negotiating frameworks for accession negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova, thus greenlighting the membership talks.

Ukraine was accepted as a candidate for EU membership in June 2022. In December 2023, the EU leaders agreed to open accession talks with Kiev.

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