What you need to know
The US said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un expects to hold arms talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The White House had warned last week that Russia was in active talks with North Korea to obtain weapons for its war in Ukraine.
The New York Times, citing US and allied sources, reported that Kim would travel from Pyongyang, probably by armored train, to Vladivostok.
Elswhere, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says he has visited troops in the country's eastern Donetsk region.
The Kremlin on Tuesday declined to confirm whether a summit would be taking place between the leaders.
"No, we cannot" confirm this, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, when he was asked if Kim would be meeting Putin soon. "We have nothing to say on this."
Here are more headlines concerning Russia's war in Ukraine on Tuesday, September 5:
More Russian disinformation in Germany since Ukraine invasion: spy agency
Russia has been conducting disinformation campaigns in Germany to an increasing extent since its full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year, the German domestic intelligence agency (the Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz) said on Tuesday.
Moscow's activities in information spaces such as social media had changed radically since February last year, Bodo Becker, a counterespionage expert for the agency said. "Its approach has become evidently more confrontational and more aggressive as a whole," he said.
The content and tone of the disinformation was being adapted flexibly to the Russian military campaign and to the German and global debates, according to Becker. Russian disinformation was aimed internally at maintaining President Vladimir Putin in power, and externally at influencing public opinion abroad.
"In Germany, the aim is to undermine the population's confidence in politics, administration and in the free media," he said. "In the same way, our alliances and common values with the EU and with NATO are to be discredited and weakened," Becker said.
Ukraine's parliament approves dismissal of defense minister
The dismissal of Ukraine's Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov has been approved by the country's Parliament.
"The Parliament of Ukraine has accepted the resignation of the Minister of Defense of Ukraine, Oleksii Reznikov," the Defense Ministry said on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.
It went on to say he had "made the impossible possible by ensuring large-scale arms supplies" for Ukraine's armed forces, listing the various weapons systems he helped wrangle.
On Sunday President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he was replacing Reznikov as the head of defense and nominated Rustem Umerov, who heads up the main privatization agency, as his replacement. Zelenskyy said at the time that "new approaches" were needed to beat back Russia.
Ukraine's parliament needed to approve their removal from their current positions and back Umerov's appointment as defense minister.
On Wednesday, Parliament is expected to back Umerov's appointment in a vote.
German arms maker looking to ramp up production of IRIS-T
German arms manufacturer, Diehl Defence, said it was aiming to increase the production of its IRIS-T air defense system amid growing demand due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
The company's chief program officer Harald Buschek said the company planned on building eight weapons systems in 2025, which is up from the three to four expected to be built this year.
Buschek told reporters in Todendorf in northern Germany, that missile production was being tripled this year and would be increased next year with the production of 400 to 500 missiles from 2024.
Germany has already supplied two IRIS-T units to Ukraine, where they are being used to protect Kyiv from Russian missile attacks.
Berlin has pledged to supply another six IRIS-T weapons systems to Kyiv Ukraine, with expected delivery of the first of six systems for its own air force in October 2024.
Over 900 cluster munition casualties in Ukraine in 2022 — watchdog
An international monitoring group said there have been more than 900 cluster munition casualties in Ukraine last year.
The Cluster Munition Coalition said in an annual report that Russia has "extensively" used old and new cluster munitions.
The group said that Ukrainian forces were also using the munitions but "to a lesser extent."
In total, there were more than 916 deaths and injuries caused by cluster charges in Ukraine last year.
According to the report, Ukraine has now surpassed Syria as the country with the highest number of casualties from the controversial weapons.
Cluster munitions open in the air and once deployed release scores of smaller bomblets or submunitions.
Loren Persi, a co-author of the report, told AFP news agency that "the vast majority of cluster munition casualties in Ukraine were civilians."
The 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions prohibits the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions. It was signed by 107 states, but not Russia or Ukraine.
Cuba uncovers human trafficking for Russia's war in Ukraine
Cuba's Foreign Ministry said it has uncovered a human trafficking ring that coerced its citizens to fight for Russia in its war in Ukraine.
Cuban authorities were working to "neutralize and dismantle" the network, the ministry added.
The government "is working on the neutralization and dismantling of a human trafficking network that operates from Russia to incorporate Cuban citizens living there, and even some from Cuba, into the military forces participating in war operations in Ukraine," it said.
The Russian government has not commented on the allegations.
Russia says it downed drones over Moscow region
Russia's air defenses have shot down drones in the Istra district of the Moscow region and in the Kaluga region, officials said early Tuesday.
Russia's Defense Ministry said the drones were launched by Ukrainian forces, but gave no other details.
Moscow's Mayor Sergei Sobyanin wrote on Telegram that the drones "were trying to carry out an attack on Moscow."
The Istra district of the Moscow region is located some 65 kilometers (40 miles) northwest of the Kremlin.
Russian officials said last week that six regions had been hit by Ukrainian drone attacks and that damaged military planes.
Ukraine rarely ever claims responsibility for the attacks.
Ukrainian forces claim gains on eastern front
Ukraine said its troops had regained more territory on the eastern front and were advancing south in their counteroffensive, as President Zelenskyy visited two front-line positions.
Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said Kyiv's forces had liberated about 3 square kilometers (1.16 square miles) of land in the past week around the eastern city of Bakhmut, which was captured by Russian troops in May after months of heavy fighting.
She reported unspecified "success" in the direction of the villages Novodanylivka and Novoprokopivka in the southern region of Zaporizhzhia, but gave no details.
Ukraine has now taken back about 47 square kilometers of territory around Bakhmut since launching its counteroffensive in early June, Maliar wrote on Telegram.
Washington said last week Ukrainian forces were making "notable progress" in their fight to take back territories, as Kyiv reported a major breakthrough after decisively breaching Russia's first defensive line in Zaporizhzhia.
Russia 'thwarts' operation by Ukrainian sabotage group
Russian authorities in the southwestern Bryansk region said they foiled a sabotage operation by Ukrainian forces.
Bryansk Governor Alexander Bogomaz wrote on Telegram that Russian forces had "thwarted an attempt to penetrate the territory of the Russian Federation by a Ukrainian sabotage and reconnaissance group."
The region lies near the Ukrainian border. Russia has this year repeatedly reported several attempts by Ukrainian groups to carry outs acts of sabotage against Russian targets.
Ukraine refugees stuck in limbo in The Netherlands
When Russia invaded Ukraine, the Netherlands granted refugee status to everyone fleeing — regardless of nationality. But that policy is now being argued in court.
Thousands of so-called "third-country nationals" were living in Ukraine but were not allowed to reside there permanently. Now, those who fled the war in Ukraine for safety in The Netherlands are left unsure about their future.
Zelenskyy visits Ukraine's front-line Donetsk region
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says he has visited troops in the country's eastern Donetsk region.
He posted a video of himself on Telegram late on Monday meeting commanders and soldiers.
"Donetsk region. We are visiting the combat brigades that are defending Ukraine as part of the Donetsk operational and tactical group," Zelenskyy said in the video.
"Important reports, problematic issues, supplies that need to be increased, creation of an auxiliary management system to ensure the brigades' supply, increasing the motivation of our warriors," he added.
The visit came a day after Zelenskyy announced plans to replace Ukraine's defense minister, Oleksiy Reznikov.
It also came as Kyiv reported territorial gains around the city of Bakhmut in Donetsk.
Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar wrote on Telegram on Monday that Ukrainian forces had liberated another 3 square kilometers in the area over the past week.
In response to the reported gains, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Ukraine's counteroffensive had "failed."
US says Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin to meet for arms talks
The White House on Monday said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un expects to hold a "leader-level diplomatic engagement" with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said Washington has previously warned that arms talks between Russia and North Korea are "actively advancing."
In July, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that North Korea's partnership is an "important one for Moscow" during a meeting with his counterpart in Pyongyang.
The New York Times, citing US and allied sources, reported that Kim would travel from Pyongyang, probably by armored train, to Vladivostok, on the Pacific Coast of Russia.
nm/rt (AFP, Reuters, AP)