Crimea shipyard in flames after Ukrainian cruise missile attack
Russia’s defence ministry said Ukraine launched 10 cruise missiles and three sea drones at a shipyard in Sevastopol, home of Russia's Black Sea fleet.
A large fire broke out and 24 people were injured in Wednesday morning's attack on the Russian-annexed Crimean peninsula in the Black Sea.
The strike appeared to be one of the biggest in recent weeks, even though Crimea - seized by Moscow in 2014 - has been frequently targeted in the war.
There was no immediate comment from Ukrainian officials, who rarely acknowledge Kyiv’s responsibility for attacks on Crimea or Russian regions.
The Sevastopol Shipyard is of strategic importance to Russia as a repair facility for its Black Sea fleet.
Kyiv has stepped up attacks on Russian territory in recent months, against the backdrop of its counter-offensive.
Experts told Euronews in September this strategy had psychological and military objectives, but warned it could "backfire" in significant ways for Ukraine.
Moscow debating mobilisation
The Kremlin’s inner circle is arguing about whether a second wave of reserve mobilisation is needed, the Insitute of the Study of War reported Wednesday morning.
A Russian Telegram channel with alleged connections to Russian security sources claimed certain Russian officials are “seriously” preparing for another call-up of around 175,000 troops.
This would be ahead of its bi-annual conscription cycle, which starts on 1 October.
The channel alleged an influential group of Russian hawks wants stricter conscription measures, such as restricting certain individuals from getting exemptions - something that has sparked major disagreements within the Kremlin.
It also pointed to fears of potential kickbacks from other Russian officials and wider society.
Russia announced a partial mobilisation of around 300,000 men in September 2022, though authorities had rejected the possibility of one at least 15 times prior.
The move triggered mass protests across Russia, especially in poorer areas or those populated by ethnic minorities. Thousands more fled the country.
Ukrainian pilots could be flying F-16s in three months, US claims
The first Ukrainian pilots could be trained on F-16 fighter jets before the end of the year, though it will be longer before they are combat-ready, the director of the US Air National Guard said on Tuesday.
Ukrainian pilots are expected to arrive in the US by October. Right now they are being evaluated for their English language skills and - depending on their ability and previous fighter jet experience - they could complete training within three months.
After completing the US training, the Ukrainians would need to return to Europe for additional NATO training.
NATO allies are also training Ukrainians on how to maintain the aircraft, which will again need to be completed before the jets can fly combat missions.
It was not clear how much time this additional training would take.
Ukraine’s leaders requested F-16s since the start of the war.
Western allies initially focused on providing other weapons systems, citing the jets' cost, concerns provoking Moscow, Russian air defences and maintenance difficulties.
Yet, as the war has grown more gruesome and attritional with trench warfare reminiscent of World War I, the ability of fighter jets to suppress enemy air defences and conduct strikes could help Ukraine.
Some observers suggest they could be a game changer.
Ukrainian counteroffensive has failed claims Putin
Putin has framed the Ukrainian counteroffensive as a failed endeavour and accused Kyiv of being unwilling to negotiate during his address at the Eastern Economic Forum, the ISW said in its daily briefing on Wednesday.
He alleged Kyiv's big military push had failed to produce concrete results and presented "very likely" inflated numbers of Ukrainian losses, the US-based think tank wrote.
Ukraine launched its counteroffensive in June, equipped with billions in Western arms and support.
Its progress has been slow with Russia having many months to dig trenches, lay mines and anti-tank barriers.
At a press briefing last week, Estonia's defence minister Hanno Pevkur warned the clock was ticking for Ukraine, with looming winter weather conditions likely preventing big movements on the frontline.
Putin also accused Ukraine of being unwilling to negotiate and claimed that Russia cannot pursue an end to hostilities as long as Ukraine is pursuing a counteroffensive, echoing the Kremlin's line that Kyiv is uninterested in negotiations.