Russia-Ukraine war news: Putin has no plans to attend Prigozhin funeral; new Paul Whelan video


A funeral for Valeriy Chekalov, Yevgeny Prigozhin’s logistics chief, took place on Aug. 29 at St. Petersburg’s Northern Cemetery, Russian media said. (Video: Reuters)

The Kremlin says Russian President Vladimir Putin does not plan to attend the funeral of Wagner Group chief Yevgeniy Prigozhin and that it has no details about a possible ceremony.

Russian investigators have now confirmed that Prigozhin and top members of his mercenary group died in a plane crash, weeks after leading a short-lived mutiny against Russian military leaders. The Kremlin has dismissed speculation of its involvement in the crash, amid suspicion among Russia’s elite that Prigozhin’s death was an assassination.

“The president’s presence is not planned,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Tuesday. “We do not have any information about the funeral. After all, the decision on this matter is made by family and friends.”

A Russian state news outlet published new footage of Paul Whelan, the Marine-turned-security-consultant serving a 16-year prison term in Russia. His brother, David Whelan, told a news outlet in Detroit that the video was his first glimpse of Paul since 2020, and that he looked determined and strong.

Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.

The video of Whelan, published by Russia Today, appeared to show him eating lunch and completing various tasks around a penal colony while wearing a black uniform. Whelan was arrested in Moscow in late 2018 on espionage charges, which he and the United States deny. The Biden administration has said it is working to secure his release.

The funeral for Valeriy Chekalov, a senior Wagner manager in charge of logistics, is taking place in St. Petersburg’s Northern Cemetery, Russian media reported Tuesday.

Poland and the three Baltic countries called on Belarus to expel Russia’s Wagner Group over border security concerns. Wagner fighters led by Prigozhin — until the plane crash last week — moved to Russian ally Belarus as part of an agreement after threatening to march on Moscow in June. Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski made the demand at a news conference attended by his Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian counterparts.

The United Nations said it has recorded 9,511 confirmed civilian deaths in Ukraine since the start of the war in February 2022 but noted that its count is incomplete and that “the actual figures are considerably higher.” The U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights also said 17,206 people have been confirmed injured in the conflict.

Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) has said it plans to interrogate two U.S. diplomats after charging a former consulate staffer with “cooperation on a confidential basis with a foreign state,” The Washington Post reported. The diplomats were accused of directing the former employee, Robert Shonov — a Russian citizen who worked at the U.S. Consulate in Vladivostok — to gather information about the war in Ukraine.

A Moscow court sentenced two Russian independent military analysts in absentia to 11 years prison for their online posts about the Russian military. The two, who reside outside Russia, are Ruslan Leviev of the Conflict Intelligence Team, which investigates military activity based on open data, and Michael Nacke, a former radio host who runs a YouTube channel with 1.4 million subscribers. Russia’s Prosecutor General’s Office labeled the Conflict Intelligence Team an “undesirable organization,” banning its work in Russia and making it a criminal offense to repost its content.

The Vatican said Pope Francis had no intention to glorify imperialism but to urge young Russian Catholics not to forget history, after the pontiff faced criticism from Ukrainian officials for comments about Russian czars in a video that circulated in recent days. Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said Tuesday that in off-the-cuff remarks, the pope “intended to encourage young people to preserve and promote all that is positive in the great cultural and Russian spirituality, and certainly not to exalt imperialist logic and government personalities, cited to indicate some historical periods of reference.”

Putin will not attend a Group of 20 summit in New Delhi next month, Russia’s Interfax news agency said, citing a readout from a call with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Nearly 1,400 people, including 343 children, have been evacuated from Kupyansk, a city in Ukraine’s northeastern Kharkiv region, in the past three weeks, according to the Kharkiv regional governor. Authorities have ordered thousands of Kupyansk residents to flee a surge in shelling and fighting in recent weeks.

A helicopter belonging to Russia’s FSB aviation detachment crashed in Chelyabinsk, southern Russia, killing three people, the governor of the region said Tuesday. He said there was no damage to residential buildings around the crash. The cause of the crash was not immediately clear.

Air defenses destroyed a drone over Russia’s Tula region, south of Moscow, the Russian Defense Ministry said Tuesday. Earlier, it said another drone was downed over Belgorod, near the border with Ukraine — part of a spate of attempted drone attacks that the Kremlin has blamed on Ukraine. There were no reports of casualties or damage.

Russia said it spotted two U.S. drones over the Black Sea, near Crimea, on Monday. The Russian Defense Ministry said that the two unmanned aerial vehicles belonged to the U.S. Air Force and that it put two fighter jets on alert before the drones changed direction. Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency said earlier that a U.S. drone was detected flying over the Black Sea on Sunday. The Post could not independently verify the reports.

Putin, stained by Prigozhin’s death, faces calls for military funeral: The Kremlin has said funerals for the Wagner members rest largely with their families after patriotic hard-liners called for Prigozhin to be buried with full military honors, Robyn Dixon reports.

“The swirling questions highlighted continuing divisions within Russia’s elite over the war, and the risks posed by hard-line pro-war ‘turbo-patriots’ who have demanded a harsher approach against Ukraine,” she writes.


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