Zelenskyy makes surprise visit to front lines, while Putin says 'new threats' emerging
Ken Browne

Russian President Vladimir Putin has called on security services to step up surveillance on new threats both external and internal, while Moldova says it fears being dragged into the war. 

Putin used Russia's National Security Services Day to express concern over the recently annexed areas of Ukraine. He said that Russian security services needed to secure its borders.

"The situation in the (self-proclaimed) Donetsk and Luhansk people's republics and in the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions is extremely difficult," the President said.

"For our part, we will continue to strengthen new forces with military vehicles, weapons and experienced personnel."

Threats and 'traitors'

Putin also spoke of the "emergence of new threats" from abroad and "traitors" at home, while ordering the Federal Security Services (FSB) to step up surveillance.

On Monday, Putin visited Belarus for the first time since 2019, fueling Ukrainian fears he would pressure Minsk to open a new front.

However, Moscow and Minsk denied that they wanted an active Belarusian role in Ukraine.


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Zelenskyy visits front lines

On Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also made an unannounced visit to his troops in the contested city of Bakhmut, which has been pummeled by Russian shelling in recent days, awarding soldiers for their bravery on the frontline.

"Bakhmut remains the hottest spot on the entire frontline, more than 1,300 kilometers of active hostilities," said Zelenskyy. "Since May, they have been trying to break our Bakhmut. As time passes, Bakhmut breaks not only the Russian army but also its mercenaries."

Ukrainian authorities also said 30 Iranian drones were shot down in Ukraine on Monday, while other 'kamikaze drones' hit key infrastructure in and around Kyiv. 

Ukraine's atomic energy agency accused Russia of sending a drone over part of the South Ukraine nuclear power plant in the Mykolaiv region overnight.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy gives awards to his troops in Bakhmut./ Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Reuters
Volodymyr Zelenskyy gives awards to his troops in Bakhmut./ Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Reuters

Volodymyr Zelenskyy gives awards to his troops in Bakhmut./ Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Reuters

Zelenskyy wants more weapons

Zelenskyy asked Western leaders meeting in Latvia to supply a wide range of weapons systems, renewing his call for more military support.

"We need more guns, shells, modern tanks that have not yet been delivered to Ukraine, longer-range rocket systems, and modern and truly effective air defense systems," he said.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Monday it had approved a four-month program for Ukraine aimed at maintaining economic stability.

While Washington and its allies need do more to help Kyiv keep the power on, a senior U.S. diplomat said, as Ukraine's energy grid operator described the situation as "difficult."

Elsewhere fears are growing in Moldova that a Russian military incursion into the breakaway region of Transnistria is imminent.

Moldova's spy chief Alexandru Musteata said it was only a matter of time before a Russian offensive in the East of the country.

"The question is not whether the Russian Federation will undertake a new advance towards Moldova's territory, but when it will do so," Musteata told the TVR-Moldova television channel.

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