Russia blasts Sen. Lindsey Graham’s comments

Sen. Lindsey Graham’s comments about the death of Russians soldiers in Ukraine drew a sharp rebuke Sunday from Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, who said Graham brought “shame” to the United States.

Graham, at a meeting with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Friday, noted that “Russians are dying” in the war, adding that the U.S. support for Ukraine is the “best money we’ve ever spent.”

“It is difficult to imagine a greater shame for the country than to have such senators,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Sunday.

Graham, a South Carolina Republican, drew outrage from the Kremlin earlier this year when he suggested on Twitter that Russian citizens should attempt to assassinate President Vladimir Putin. After Friday’s meeting with Zelenskyy, Graham said he expected the Ukrainian counteroffensive will yield results in coming days and weeks.

“The Russian military is about to have holy hell released on them,” Graham said.


∙ Local officials in Russia’s southern Krasnodar region said air defense systems destroyed several drones as they approached the Ilsky oil refinery. And in Russia’s southern Belgorod region, two teenagers were wounded in an attack from Ukrainian forces, local officials said.

∙ The death toll from Friday’s missile attack on the central Ukrainian city of Dnipro rose to four when three people listed as missing were confirmed dead. The attack, which injured more than 30 people, struck a building containing psychology and veterinary clinics.

Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk booed at French Open after refusing to shake hands with Belarusian opponent

Ukrainian tennis star Marta Kostyuk was booed at the French Open Sunday upon refusing to shake hands with her opponent, Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus. Kostyuk had earlier in the day heard the news that Kyiv had been subjected to the largest drone attack by Russia since the start of its war in Ukraine. Belarus is a close ally of Russia. 

Kostyuk, 20, lost the match but had decided not to exchange the usual pleasantries with opponents from Russia or Belarus out of principle. She didn’t even make eye contact.

“It’s something I cannot describe, probably. I try to put my emotions aside any time I go out on court. I think I’m better than before, and I don’t think it affects me as much on a daily basis, but yeah, it’s just — I don’t know,” Kostyuk said, shaking her head. “There is not much to say, really. It’s just part of my life.”

Kostyuk was surprised by the boos and derisive whistling that came after she walked directly over to acknowledge the chair umpire instead of congratulating Sabalenka. “People should be, honestly, embarrassed,” she said. 

Asked about her message to the world with regard to Ukraine, Sabalenka, the Australian Open champion, said: “Nobody in this world, Russian athletes or Belarusian athletes, support the war. Nobody. How can we support the war? Nobody — normal people — will never support it. … But unfortunately, it’s not in our hands.”

Russia reportedly considering mandatory 6-day workweek

The Russian media machine has moved beyond punishing those who criticize the country’s “special military operation” in Ukraine and is now rallying Russians to make sacrifices for the war effort, the British Defense Ministry says in it’s latest assessment of the war. State-backed media and business groups have petitioned Russia’s Economic Ministry to authorize a six-day week to combat economic demands of the war, apparently without additional pay, the assessment says. Last week, Russian media darling Margarita Simonyan, a fierce supporter of the war, suggested that Russians should work for two extra hours in munitions factories each day after their regular jobs.

“The evolving tone of the conversations clearly echoes a Soviet-style sense of societal compulsion,” according to the assessment. “It also highlights how the leadership highly likely identifies economic performance as a decisive factor in winning the war.”

Kyiv absorbs ‘most massive’ drone attack of war

Kyiv was subjected to the “most massive” drone attack since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began 15 months ago, a five-hour bombardment as the ancient city prepared to celebrate the anniversary of its founding Sunday. Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko  said preliminary information indicated Kyiv’s air defenses shot down more than 40 drones. Debris from one drone fell onto a gas station in Kyiv’s Holosiivskyi district, killing one person and injuring at least one, he said. Debris from another drone fell onto a seven-story building in the district, partly destroying one of its sides and causing a fire, Klitschko said.

Kyiv Day marks the anniversary of Kyiv’s official founding, although scaled-back festivities were planned for this year, the city’s 1,541st anniversary. The assault was part of a wide-ranging bombardment that saw more than a dozen other drones shot down across the country. In the northeastern Kharkiv province, regional Gov. Oleh Syniehubov said a 61-year-old woman and a 60-year-old man were killed in two separate shelling attacks.

“The history of Ukraine is a long-standing irritant for the insecure Russians,” Ukraine’s chief presidential aide, Andriy Yermak, said on Twitter. “The invaders will definitely be held responsible. They will be defeated, and Ukraine will prevail.”

West’s decision to send F-16s to Ukraine ‘an unacceptable escalation’

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov slammed plans by Western countries to send F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, one week after President Joe Biden approved plans to train Ukrainian pilots on the planes.

“Certainly, this is an unacceptable escalation. I hope there are sensible people in the West who understand that,” Lavrov said in an interview on Russian TV. “It’s playing with fire.”

Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said last week he’s never seen “more motivated individuals” than the Ukrainian pilots and that they could learn to fly the planes in a few months. But he said it will take at least several months to transfer the jets to Ukraine, and he tried to tamp down expectations.

“It will give Ukrainians an increment of capabilities that they don’t have right now. But it’s not going to be a dramatic game-changer, as far as I’m concerned, for their total military capabilities.”

Contributing: The Associated Press

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