Russia preps for major offensive in eastern Ukraine, Donbas D-Day unclear: senior defense official

Russian has continued to accuse the U.S. of running a biological weapons program in Ukraine in recent days, raising fears that they could be attempting to create a pretext to use their own Weapons of Mass Destruction in the country.

The fears come after Russia’s Ministry of Defense released a list of names of U.S. and E.U. citizens the Krlemin claims have been involved in a biological weapons program in Ukraine, with the country’s Chief of Russia’s Radiological, Chemical and Biological Defense Forces Lt. Gen. Kirillov making similar accusations, Russian media reported.

Russian media also reported that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused the U.S. and allies of waging “total hybrid war” against Russian, which he said was designed to cut off the world from Russian information.

Rebekah Koffler, an author and former DIA intelligence officer, fears this could be the pretext for Russia to begin using WMD against Ukraine.

“Russia is escalating its disinformation campaign against the U.S., using accusations of alleged running WMD programs in Ukraine as a potential justification of employing WMD warfare in Ukraine,” Koffler told Fox News Thursday. “Feeling rushed to claim a victory by May 9 and frightened by Sweden and Finland’s pending plans to join NATO, Putin is considering catastrophic measures in the last and ‘hottest’ phase of Russia’s war on Ukraine.”

Russian warship sinks in Black Sea, according to state media

Ukraine refugee crisis: Food is a ‘major problem’

Putin makes nuclear threats to Sweden and Finland if they join NATO

Brittney Griner arrest in Russia: State Department says WNBA star ‘doing as well as can be expected’

The State Department on Thursday responded to a letter from Reps. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., and Burgess Owens, R-Utah, calling on the Biden administration to send a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin, letting him know Americans will not be made political pawns in the midst of the country’s war on Ukraine.

The letter on March 10, which Fox News Digital obtained exclusively, expressed concerns about Brittney Griner’s detention in the country. Griner was arrested in February after Russian officials said a search of her luggage revealed vape cartridges containing oil derived from cannabis.

Griner could face up to a decade in prison if she’s convicted.

Read more:
Brittney Griner arrest in Russia: State Department says WNBA star ‘doing as well as can be expected’

Fox News speaks with Ukrainian soldier wounded in Battle of Irpin

‘Millions’ of Ukrainians are fighting against food insecurity

CIA Director William Burns on Thursday said Chinese President Xi Jinping is “a silent partner” in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “aggression” in Ukraine, warning that China poses the “greatest challenge” and “most profound test” that the agency has ever faced.

Burns, speaking at the Georgia Institute of Technology Thursday, in his first public speech as CIA director, laid out a “new era” for the agency, and an international landscape that is “vastly different” from the inception of the Central Intelligence Agency.

“It’s a more complicated and contested world, featuring the rise of an increasingly adversarial China and a pugnacious and revisionist Russia,” Burns said, noting that the agency will “have to re-imagine itself to compete successfully in this new age.”

Read more: China’s Xi Jinping is ‘a silent partner’ in Putin’s ‘aggression’ in Ukraine, CIA Director Burns warns

Pentagon press secretary can’t confirm Ukraine hit Russian ship

Pro-Russian Ukrainian politician has trove of assets confiscated

Viktor Medvedchuk, the pro-Putin who was recaptured by Ukrainian authorities earlier this week, saw a trove of assets confiscated, the State Bureau of Investigation announced.

The items confiscated included 26 cars, 30 plots of land, 23 houses, 32 apartments, 17 parking lots and a motor yacht.

Medvedchuk is Putin’s closest ally in Ukraine, going to far as to claim that the Russian leader is his daughter’s godfather.

Medvedchuk was placed under house arrest in May of 2021 on charges of treason, but escaped in February.

Pentagon cannot confirm Russian naval vessel was hit by Ukrainian military

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said the U.S. could not confirm Ukrainian claims that their forces hit a Russian naval vessel with a missile, though he noted the Pentagon could not refute the report.

Kirby said that the U.S. can confirm that the vessel suffered some sort of an explosion and that that fire was still raging as of this morning.

The press secretary added that the loss of the ship, a cruiser, could deal a significant blow to Russian capabilities as it was one of only three that the Russians have in their inventory.

Russia setting up ‘shaping operation’ to prepare for ground offensive: senior defense official

Russia is setting up a “shaping operation” in preparation for a major ground offensive as it concentrates its war efforts in eastern Ukraine, a senior U.S. defense official told reporters Thursday. 

The senior defense official said Russians are moving in artillery units, command and control “enablers,” and aviation support. 

Over the last 24-hours defense officials have seen helicopters being brought into the norther part of the Donbas region.

“They’re doing the things that we believe they believe they need to do to set the proper conditions for a renewed ground offensive,” the senior defense official said.

Ukrainian prosecutor general announce 6,500 instances of war crimes

The Ukrainian Prosecutor General on Thursday said it had found 6,492 cases of alleged crimes of aggression and war crimes since the onslaught of Russia’s invasion nearly seven weeks ago.

The prosecutor’s office pointed to 570 “suspects” affiliated with the military or in the political sphere who are believed to have been involved. Another 2,941 “crimes against national security” were also announced. 

The number of Ukrainians killed since fighting began in February remains unclear. Read more here.

Senior U.S. defense official unable to verify what caused explosion on Russian cruiser

A senior U.S. defense official was unable to verify what caused an explosion to occur on a Russian warship in the Black Sea Thursday.

The official noted the cruise vessel, roughly 60 miles south of Odesa, could have been hit from a missile but also said ships carry many combustible materials.

“We just don’t know,” the senior defense official told reporters.

Ukraine gets 30 citizens back in prisoner of war exchange

In a fourth prisoner of war exchange since Russia’s invasion began seven weeks ago, Ukraine welcomed home 30 of its citizens Thursday.

The exchange was announced by Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk who said the exchange included 17 soldiers, five officers and eight civilians, including one woman, in a post on Telegram.

It is unclear how many Russian soldiers were exchanged in the prisoner swap.

Russian crackdowns silence war protestors

The Kremlin’s harsh tactics to silence Russians opposed to Moscow’s invasion into Ukraine has meant that hundreds of Russians are now facing charges for speaking out.

A repressive law passed by the Russian government last month bans the spread of what it deems “false information” about the invasion or anything disparaging relating to its military.

At least 23 people have been criminally prosecuted and given prison sentences for breaking the law, while another 500 are facing misdemeanor charges for disparaging the military.

Russia makes nuclear threat to Sweden, Finland over NATO consideration

Russia will have to bolster its defenses in the Baltic Sea — including a potential nuclear escalation — if Sweden and Finland join NATO, Moscow said on Thursday. 

“There can be no more talk of any nuclear-free status for the Baltic – the balance must be restored,” Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia’s security council and former president of Russia, said, Reuters reported. 

“Until today, Russia has not taken such measures and was not going to. If our hand is forced, well … take note it was not us who proposed this,” he added, according to Reuters. 

Read more: Russia makes nuclear threat to Sweden, Finland over NATO consideration

Russia’s finance minister plans to attend G20 meeting next week, Indonesia says

Russia’s finance minister Anton Siluanov plans to attend a G20 meeting with other global economic representatives virtually, Indonesia, which is hosting the G20 summit this fall said Thursday, according to a report.

Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to attend the G20 summit in Bali at the end of October, the country’s ambassador to Indonesia said late last month.

President Biden and other G20 leaders have spoken out in recent weeks against having Putin, who Biden has called a “war criminal,” at the summit.

The president also told reporters last month he thinks Putin should be removed from the G20.

Ukraine war is a ‘perfect storm,’ threatening food, energy, and debt crises across the globe: UN

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine appears to have set off a “perfect storm,” sparking multiple crises across the globe in the areas of food, energy, and debt, with devastating impacts for developing countries, the United Nations warned in a report Wednesday.

“The war in Ukraine, in all its dimensions, is producing alarming cascading effects to a world economy already battered by COVID-19 and climate change, with particularly dramatic impacts on developing countries,” the report warns. “Recent projections by UNCTAD [the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development] estimate that the world economy will be a full percentage point of GDP growth lower than expected due to the war, which is severely disrupting already tight food, energy, and financial markets.”

The report describes this disruption as a “perfect storm,” coming “on the brink of a global debt crisis.”

Read more:
Ukraine war is a ‘perfect storm,’ threatening food, energy, and debt crises across the globe: UN report

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine failed on numerous fronts, so Putin turns to ‘Plan D’ to ‘save face’

Former deputy national security adviser K.T. McFarland told Fox News Digital that Russia has fallen back on “Plan D” after failing to maintain a protracted siege in Kyiv. 

Russia re-evaluated its strategy and on March 25 began to pivot focus toward securing eastern Ukraine, which culminated in the surprise withdrawal from Kyiv and surrounding cities – a move that some intelligence and military experts claim is little more than an attempt to save face after a military disaster. 

“Their Plan A was to mass along the border as if to invade, and assume Ukraine would capitulate on NATO membership and Donbas,” McFarland said. “When Ukraine did not, Russia’s Plan B was to invade and be in control in a few days.”

Read More: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine failed on numerous fronts, so Putin turns to ‘Plan D’ to ‘save face’

Russia has repeatedly launched ‘indiscriminate’ attacks on Ukrainian cities: UK Defense Ministry

Russia has repeatedly launched “indiscriminate” attacks on urban centers in Ukraine since the invasion started, the U.K.’s Defense Ministry said in a Thursday morning update.

“The towns of Kramatorsk and Kostiantynivka are likely to be Russian targets for similar levels of violence,” the update said.

The ministry added that Russia is preparing for a renewed offensive in the Donbas in eastern Ukraine.

“The combination of widespread missile and artillery strikes and efforts to concentrate forces for an offensive represents a reversion to traditional Russian military doctrine,” the update continued. “However, this will require significant force levels. Ukraine’s continued defence of Mariupol is currently tying down significant numbers of Russian troops and equipment.”

Fiji investigates arrival of sanctioned Russian oligarch’s superyacht

Fiji is investigating the arrival of a superyacht owned by a sanctioned Russian oligarch without customs clearance, reports said.

Billionaire Suleiman Kerimov has been sanctioned by the U.S., U.K., and the European Union, according to Reuters.

The yacht was reportedly seized by Fiji authorizes and the crew was detained.

“The United States is committed to finding and seizing the assets of the oligarchs who have supported the Russian Federation’s brutal, unprovoked war of choice against Ukraine,” the U.S. embassy in Fiji said in a statement about the yacht’s seizure. “We and several of our EU partners have already frozen or seized many assets of these oligarchs. We are working closely with governments and private sector partners in Europe, and the entire world, including Fiji, on this issue.”

Russian flagship of Black Sea fleet seriously damaged

Russia’s flagship of its Black Sea fleet was seriously damaged and had to be evacuated on Wednesday, Russia confirmed, according to reports.

The Russian government said a fire on the ship caused an explosion, according to Russian media but Ukrainian officials said the ship had been hit by two missiles.

Maksym Marchenko, governor the Odesa region, said “Neptune missiles guarding the Black Sea caused very serious damage,” to the Russian Moskva missile cruiser, according to Reuters.

Last month, Ukraine said it damaged another Russian ship on the Sea of Azov. 

Read more: Russian warship seriously damaged in Black Sea

How paranoid is Putin?

The West got it so right and Russia got it so wrong when it came to intelligence before the war in Ukraine. 

Now, according to an expert on Russian intelligence services, President Vladimir Putin is looking for the spy who shafted him. “We hear some new rumors and more information about an apparent hunt for a traitor inside the FSB, Russia’s federal security service, because lots of people are asking themselves right now in Moscow, why is it that US intelligence was so exact, so precise before the invasion,” said Andrei Soldatov.

Soldatov thinks the United States and NATO learned the details of Russian planning from more than just electronic intercepts, because he says Russia has a Byzantine system and the way decisions are made is never clear.  So Putin would assume that someone sang.  And it would be convenient to hang his military losses on that someone. 

Read more: How paranoid is Putin?

Ukrainian refugees are entering the US through the southern border

Fox News senior national correspondent William La Jeunesse explains why Ukrainian refugees entering the U.S. through Mexico on ‘Special Report.’

Click here for Wednesday’s live coverage.


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