Russia faces a “major challenge” from sanctions denying access to foreign technology, President Vladimir Putin said Monday.
But Putin told his Council for Strategic Development that his country will not “lose heart” or see decades of progress reversed. Putin called for expansion of the technological capacities, research and innovation of Russian companies.
Russia has struggled to keep commercial airplanes maintained, and defense experts say Russia’s military has been forced to use legacy military hardware while trying to replenish its more modern weapons systems.
“Obviously, we cannot develop in isolation from the rest of the world. And we won’t,” Putin said in a report posted in state-run Tass. “It is impossible in the present-day world to merely issue a decree and erect a huge fence. It is simply impossible.”
►The Swiss Army says it will offer demining training to Ukrainian experts. Ukrainian authorities already have removed tens of thousands mines and explosive devices, said the Geneva demining center.
►Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet Monday with Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska in Washington as Zelenska presses her husband’s campaign for more military support from the West.
►Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to travel to Iran on Tuesday to shore up support in meetings with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Turkeish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
►Sri Lanka’s interim President Ranil Wickremesinghe, citing food shortages and spiraling prices, warned that sanctions could do more damage to the developing world than to Russia.
►Odesa and Alexandria have joined a growing list of Ukrainian cities removing monuments paying homage to the country’s links to Russia. Ukraine declared its independence from the Soviet Union in August 1991.
USA TODAY ON TELEGRAM: Join our Russia-Ukraine war channel to receive updates straight to your phone.
Zelenskyy suspends 2 top advisers pending treason probe
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has suspended two top advisers amid widespread treason claims involving government workers accused of collaborating with Russian forces in occupied cities and towns.
Zelenskyy signed decrees Sunday removing from their positions Iryna Venediktova, the prosecutor general who has led Ukraine’s investigation into Russian war crimes, and Security Service chief and longtime Zelenskyy friend Ivan Bakanov. On Monday, Andrei Smirnov, deputy head of the president’s office, said the decrees were not dismissals, but suspensions so the advisers could not influence an investigation.
Zelenskyy on Monday signed a decree naming Bakanov’s first deputy, Vasyl Maliuk, as the acting head of the agency. Maluik has a reputation for fighting corruption. More than 60 employees of the prosecutor’s office and the Security Service in the occupied territory are working “against our state,” Zelneskyy said. More than 650 criminal proceedings have been started regarding treason and collaboration activities.
“Such an array of crimes … pose very serious questions to the relevant leadership,” Zelenskyy said in a statement. “Each of these questions will receive a proper answer.”
Russian state TV ran a report on the unexpected benefits of having your son killed in Ukraine, says Francis Scarr, who translates Russian TV for BBC Monitoring. Scarr posted video of the report on Twitter, showing a family with the new, Russian-made Lada car they apparently bought with “coffin money” paid by the state to the families of war victims. The father of the fallen soldier, identified as Alexei, says his son always wanted a white car.
“In memory of our son we bought a nice, new car,” the father says. The clip ends with the what is described as the vehicle’s first trip – to the cemetery.
Russian defense minister: Target Western missile systems
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu visited the Vostok Battalion in Ukraine’s Donbas, instructing the commander to prioritize destruction of Ukraine’s long-range missiles and artillery, the defense ministry said on telegram. Western weapons systems, including the U.S.-made HIMARS, have allowed Ukraine to target Russian military positions far beyond the frontlines, drawing increasing concern from the Kremlin. Russia has been working to strengthen its hold on areas of the Donbas it now controls.
Shoigu instructed units across all operational fronts to “eliminate the possibility for the Kyiv regime to inflict massive missile and artillery strikes” on Russian-held territories, according to the The Moscow Times.
European Union foreign ministers were meeting Monday via video teleconference to tighten sanctions on Russia and consider ways to ban gold exports “in hopes that the measures might finally start to have a decisive impact on the war in Ukraine.” The group was exchanging views on the Russian aggression with Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba – and pledged another $500 million in military aid to Ukraine’s coffers.
EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said that “the most important thing is a ban on Russian gold” which is Moscow’s second-largest export industry after energy.
Contributing: The Associated Press