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Ukraine updates: Moscow 'ready to offer' weapons to allies

August 15, 2022

At military expo, Russia's Vladimir Putin showed off Russian weapons. Meanwhile, the UK said the Kremlin was likely planning a "referendum" vote for the Donetsk region to join Russia. DW rounds up the latest.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin makes remarks at the opening of the Army 2022 International Military and Technical Forum
Speaking at the Army 2022 expo, Putin said Russia was ready to provide its partners with the latest weaponsImage: Sergei Bobylev/TASS/dpa/picture alliance

Russia opened its "Army 2022" military exhibition on Monday with displays of military hardware and demonstration flights in the skies near Moscow.

Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed the summit, saying Moscow was ready to share its weapons with its allies in Latin America, Asia and Africa. 

"[We] are ready to offer our allies the most modern types of weapons, from small arms to armored vehicles and artillery to combat aviation and unmanned aerial vehicles," Putin said at the opening ceremony of the forum.

"Almost all of them have been used more than once in real combat operations," he added. 

According to Russian state media, delegations from 72 countries were taking part in the forum. 

Putin's comments came nearly six months after he launched an invasion of Ukraine, where Russia has suffered several military setbacks

Western Analysts have said that Russian losses in the war could affect the country's weapons exports.

The Chinese team takes part in the tank biathlon of the International Army Games 2022
A Chinese team was taking part in a tank biathlon at the Army 2022 expoImage: Alexander Zemlianichenko Jr/Xinhua/picture alliance

Here are the other main headlines from the war in Ukraine on August 15

Zelenskyy says world loses if no action on Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

The world will lose to terrorism and give in to nuclear blackmail if it takes no action to prevent an accident at the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly video message on Monday.

"If now the world does not show strength and decisiveness to defend one nuclear power station, it will mean that the world has lost," Zelenskyy said. "It will lose to terrorism. And give in to nuclear blackmail."

Ukraine and Russia have accused each other of being behind shelling incidents at the station in the last week.

Five Europeans go on trial in separatist-controlled Donetsk

Five Europeans captured in eastern Ukraine went on trial Monday in a court administered by Kremlin-backed separatists in the city of Donetsk, Russian media reported.

Mathias Gustafsson of Sweden, Vjekoslav Prebeg of Croatia, and Britons John Harding, Andrew Hill and Dylan Healy all pleaded not guilty to charges of being mercenaries.

They could face the death penalty under the laws of the self-proclaimed, unrecognized Donetsk People's Republic.

The next court hearing in their case is scheduled for October, Russian media reported.

UN denies Russian claims it is blocking access to nuclear site

The United Nations has denied suggestions by officials in Moscow that is preventing International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors from entering Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia power plant.

"First, the IAEA is a specialized agency that acts in full independence in deciding how to implement its specific mandate," said Stephane Dujarric, the spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, in a statement. "Second, the UN Secretariat has no authority to block or cancel any IAEA activities."

Indeed, the UN would seek to support the IAEA in such an inspection, Dujarric said.

The plant, which is Europe’s largest nuclear power station, was captured by Russian forces at the start of the invasion and is still on the front lines of the conflict.

After coming under increased shelling in recent days, Kyiv and Moscow have been trading accusations of risking a nuclear catastrophe.

Donetsk separatists seek referendum after 'complete liberation'

The British Defense Ministry's regular intelligence update said that Moscow is likely "in the advanced planning stages to hold a referendum" on a separatist region in eastern Ukraine joining Russia.

The report cited the so-called Donetsk People's Republic's head, Denis Pushilin, who reportedly said the date on such referendum would be announced after the "complete liberation" of Donetsk.

Still, "it is unclear if the final decision to go ahead with a vote has yet been taken," the update added. 

Moscow suggests Zaporizhzhia cease-fire instead of 'demilitarization'

A representative of Russian occupation authorities criticized the UN's approach toward the embattled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine.

"The leadership of the United Nations and the chief diplomat of the EU should not be talking about demilitarization, but about introducing a cease-fire," Vladimir Rogov told Russia's state news agency Ria Novosti on Monday.

Russia had repeatedly blamed Kyiv for attacks on Europe's largest nuclear power plant, while Ukraine blamed Moscow. 

Novosti's remarks came a day after 42 countries demanded that the Russian-occupied plant be handed over to Ukraine. 

"The stationing of Russian military personnel and weapons at the nuclear facility is unacceptable," said the joint statement on behalf of the EU, the US, Britain, Norway, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and several other countries.

'Any attack to a nuclear plant is suicidal'

More on the war in Ukraine

Ten airplanes owned or controlled by Russia are reportedly stuck in Germany because of sanctions. Read this story and more from Sunday here.

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis has called for more weapons in Ukraine and explained why his country supports the idea of an EU visa ban for Russian tourists, with an exception to "humanitarian" cases. Read DW's exclusive interview here.

fb/wmr (Reuters, dpa, Interfax)