Friday’s Coverage: Air Defenses Down 30+ Russian Missiles and Drones

Map: Institute for Study of War


In his daily blast at Russia’s “monstrous bureaucracy”, Wagner Group mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin said factions — “Kremlin towers” — are destroying the State by sowing discord between Wagner and the fighters of Chechen warlord Ramzan Kadyrov.

On Friday, the dispute erupted with verbal assaults between senior figures in Wagner and the Chechen camp, leading to speculation that State agencies are trying to use Kadyrov’s men to curb Prigozhin’s role in the Ukraine invasion.

Prigozhin said on Saturday that the dispute had been resolved. He claimed that the “Kremlin towers” had been scolded by Vladimir Putin at a State Security Council meeting.


The governor of Russia’s Belgorod region says two people have been killed and two injured on Saturday by shelling.

Vyacheslav Gladkov said the attack was the town of Shebekino, the stated objective of the anti-Kremlin Freedom of Russia Legion.

On Friday, Gladkov said that more than 2,500 people were being evacuated from the area.


Ukraine has dismissed an intervention by Indonesia proposing a ceasefire.

Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto told the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore that there should be a demilitarized zone, with both Russian invaders and Ukrainian defenders withdrawing 15 km (9.3 miles) from forward positions. The zone would be monitored by a UN peacekeeping force.

Subianto said a UN referendum would “ascertain objectively the wishes of the majority of the inhabitants of the various disputed areas”.

Ukraine Foreign Ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko noted that Russia had committed the act of aggression. Any ceasefire would allow it to regroup and reinforce its occupation of Ukrainian territory.

There are no disputed territories between Ukraine and the Russian Federation to hold referendums there.

In the occupied territories, the Russian army commits war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Russia is now trying in every possible way to disrupt the Ukrainian counteroffensive.


A car bombing has killed a café owner, Sergei Didovoduk, in the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia region in southern Ukraine.

“Four supporters of the Kremlin” were in a vehicle in the town of Mykhailivka, said Ivan Fedorov, the exiled Mayor of the Russian-occupied city of Melitopol, about 30 miles south.

Russian proxy official Vladimir Rogov said two other people were injured.

Ukrainian officials said Didovoduk’s cafe was frequented by Russian soldiers and occupation officials. Rogov said the businessman was registered to compete for Russia’s governing party in upcoming local elections in the occupied area.


Carrying out the instruction of Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy — following the killing of three civilians outside a locked shelter by debris from a downed Russian drone in Kyiv on Thursday — the Internal Affairs Ministry has announced the result of a full review.


Continuing his quest for influence in Moscow, Wagner Group head Yevgeny Prigozhin accused Russian Defense Ministry “representatives” of mining the withdrawal routes of Wagner mercenaries from Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine.

Only days after claiming control of Bakhmut in May, following six months of “human wave” assaults, Prigozhin said his men would withdraw and leave positions to Russian conventional forces. Meanwhile, Ukrainian forces were advancing to the north and south of the city, threatening to cut it off.

See also Ukraine War, Day 456: Russia’s Bakhmut “Victory” Collapses Within 4 Days

The mercenary leader said on Friday that there were the “surprises” of “hundreds of anti-tank mines and tons of plastic explosives” as his men tried to pull out of Bakhmut.

Now there are ongoing investigations and inquiries. Those who laid those explosives were representatives of the Ministry of Defense. When asked what you were doing it for, they are pointing their fingers upwards. There is no answer to questions yet.

Prigozhin also jabbed at the Defense Ministry over the incursions into Russia’s Belgorod region by anti-Kremlin militias:

If the Defense ministry, in the near future, does not stop what is happening in the Belgorod region…then of course we will come to defend Russian land.


The independent Russian outlet Mediazona and BBC Russia have confirmed the identities of 24,470 Russian soldiers killed during Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

The list includes about 4,500 former convicts and more than 1,700 mercenaries.

The Ukraine military says Russia has lost about 210,000 men during the 15-month invasion. Moscow has not given an update since last September, acknowledging only 5,937 slain troops.

The Soviet Union officially recognized about 15,000 troop deaths during its war in Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989.


Kyiv Mayor Vitaly Klitschko has ordered air raid shelters in the capital to be operational on a 24-hour basis.

Klitschko and other Kyiv officials are under pressure after three civilians — including a mother and her 9-year-old daughter — were killed by debris from downed a Russian drone early Thursday. The victims were standing outside a locked shelter.

On Friday, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy ordered a full review of shelters in Kyiv and across the country.

He followed up in his nightly address to the nation:

Unfortunately, even today – after everything has happened – Kyiv residents repeatedly post information about the lack of access to shelters. Not just about closed shelters but about brewed entrances to shelters, about the absence of shelters at all in some parts of the city. This level of negligence in the city cannot be covered with any excuses.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: The anti-Kremlin militia Freedom of Russia Legion has carried out a third incursion inside a Russian border region since May 22, in its largest attack so far.

The Legion posted videos of combat in Novaya Tavolzhanka in the Belgorod region. The village is between the Ukraine border and the town of Shebekino, which the militia says it wants to overrun.

For the first time, the Legion acknowledged casualties:

We have active fighting on the outskirts of the village of Novaya Tavolzhanka. Unfortunately, there are wounded legionnaires, but freedom is won through blood. All the wounded have already been taken to hospital.


Russian officials acknowledged the Legion’s incursion, declaring without evidence that 50 militiamen had been slain.

Belgorod Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov again avoided any reference to the fighting, saying that Ukrainian shelling had killed two civilians and injured two on Friday.

The Legion said the two women were killed by Russian forces who opened fire on their vehicle, “mistaking it for a car with our sabotage group”: “At least two civilians were killed, and this is a direct consequence of the lack of professionalism of Putin’s army.”

“We’re Trying Different Approaches”

Ilya Ponomarev, a Russian defector now with the Legion’s political branch, said the current incursion is larger than the attack on the border town of Grayvoron on May 22.

The place this time is way larger and its more protected, so the tactics were different from the beginning, what kind of force was used and whatever. So we are learning as well and we’re trying different approaches.

As part of its plan on Friday, the militia carried out a diversionary raid to the east of its main advance, with fighting around the village of Verigovka and the town of Urazovo.

Trying to shift attention away from Friday’s incursion, the Russian Defense Ministry proclaimed that it had defeated the raid on Thursday with air, artillery, and flamethrower strikes against more than 135 militiamen and 35 vehicles.

The effort was not enough to ease the concerns of Russian military bloggers. One blogger associated with the Wagner Group mercenaries, whose leader Yevgeny Prigozhin is in a running feud with the Defense Ministry, said the Ministry is not treating the Belgorod region like Russian territory. Another told the Ministry not to lie in its situation reports, and called on Russian forces to destroy well-equipped Ukrainian forces at deployment points along the border.

Others tried to downplay the incursions as mere “terrorist attacks”.