Is it fair game for Ukraine to strike in Russian soil? US and allies disagree: Live updates

A regional governor in Russia said Wednesday that a town in his border province was shelled by Ukrainian forces for the third time this week, adding to the debate over whether Ukrainian attacks on Russian territory constitute self-defense.

Belgorod Gov. Vyacheslav Gladkov said four people were injured and several buildings and houses were damaged by artillery strikes in Shebekino, Reuters reported. Gladkov had said a man was killed and two others were seriously wounded by Ukrainian shelling Tuesday, the same day Moscow buildings were evacuated after being hit by drones, a rare instance of the war reaching the Russian capital.

Ukraine has not claimed responsibility for the attacks, and the U.S. reiterated its position Wednesday when National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told CNN the Biden administration has “been clear, privately and publicly, with the Ukrainians that we don’t support attacks on Russian soil.”

But some U.S. allies increasingly disagree. German government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said Wednesday that "international law allows Ukraine to carry out strikes on the territory of Russia for the purpose of self-defense."

On Tuesday, U.K. Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said Ukraine not only has the right to defend itself within its soil, "but it also does have the right to project force beyond its borders to undermine Russia's ability to project force into Ukraine itself.”

Cleverly's remarks were greeted with the bluster and vitriol that have become typical of former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, now the deputy head of the country's Security Council.

Britain is essentially "leading an undeclared war against Russia,'' Medvedev tweeted. "That being the case, any of its public officials (either military, or civil, who facilitate the war) can be considered as a legitimate military target.''


∙ Mercenary leader and frequent Russian military antagonist Yevgeny Prigozhin said he has requested prosecutors examine whether Russian Defense Ministry leaders committed a crime in their preparation and execution of the "special military operation'' in Ukraine.

∙ Two oil refineries in southwest Russia were hit by drones, causing a fire in one of them, according to Russian officials, who did not assign blame for the incidents.

∙ Of the 70,000 people who lived in the eastern city of Bakhmut before the war, only about 500 remain, Mayor Oleksiy Reva told ukrinform, saying 204 residents have been killed and 505 injured. "Today Bakhmut is ruins and ashes,'' he said.

∙ The German government is making Russia close four of its five consulates in Germany in response to Moscow setting a limit for the number of staff at the German embassy and related bodies in Russia.

∙ Despite launching 20 nighttime drone and missile attacks across Ukraine in May, the Russian military has taken a reactive stance as it waits for the long-expected Ukrainian counteroffensive, the British Defense Ministry said, adding that those efforts have been undermined by the need to assign troops to plug gaps around Bakhmut.

Pallets of 155 mm shells ultimately bound for Ukraine are loaded by the 436th Aerial Port Squadron, April 29, 2022, at Dover Air Force Base, Del.
Pallets of 155 mm shells ultimately bound for Ukraine are loaded by the 436th Aerial Port Squadron, April 29, 2022, at Dover Air Force Base, Del.

Russia says it destroyed last Ukrainian warship

The Russian Defense Ministry said Wednesday that its Aerospace Forces destroyed Ukraine's last warship with "a high-precision weapon."

The Yuriy Olefirenko was struck Monday in the port of Odesa, the ministry said on Telegram. Ukraine's military had no immediate comment on the claim, although it said Monday that blistering airstrikes had ignited a fire and damaged infrastructure at the port crucial to shipping Ukrainian grain to the developing world.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the ship from USA TODAY.

The Yuriy Olefirenko, a landing ship almost as long as a football field and weighing 1,200 tons, was launched as part of the Soviet Union's Navy in 1970 before being transferred to Ukraine in 1994. The Moscow Times says the Yuriy Olefirenko was named the Kirovohrad until 2016, when it was renamed to honor a Ukrainian marine killed near the southeastern port of Mariupol in 2015.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy decorated its crew in June 2022.

$300 million military assistance package includes lots of ammo

The Pentagon announced a $300 million aid package for Ukraine on Wednesday that includes millions of rounds of ammunition ahead of its expected offensive against entrenches Russian forces.

The weaponry, including missiles for the Patriot air defense system, long-range rocket artillery munitions and 30 million rounds of small-arms ammunition, is the 39th authorized by the White House. Since Russia’s invasion in February 2022, the Biden administration has authorized more than $37 billion in military aid to Ukraine.

The latest package also includes rockets for warplanes, weapons for drones and air defense systems and missiles to counter ongoing Russian missile and drone attacks on Ukraine.

− Tom Vanden Brook

US providing $1.25 billion in humanitarian aid

The U.S. is sending Ukraine an additional $1.25 billion in humanitarian aid through the World Bank PEACE project, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said Wednesday. He said the money will be used to support Ukraine's budget, especially for social and humanitarian spending.

"Grateful to US & the World Bank," Shmyhal said on Twitter. "We appreciate the help of our partners in the fight against the aggressor."

The Public Expenditures for Administrative Capacity Endurance (PEACE) project partially supports Ukraine for needs not directly related to security and defense. The money will support numerous programs, among them pensions, social assistance to people with low income and children with disabilities, wages to medical and emergency workers and grants to internally displaced Ukrainians. Ukraine has received $14.5 billion from international donors under the PEACE project.

Contributing: The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Ukraine again strikes in Russian soil; US, allies disagree on issue