Ukraine’s latest war: Moscow claims control of nine villages – as Putin’s surprise reshuffle suggests ‘serious instability’ in Kremlin | World News

We begin a new week immediately after the announcement that Vladimir Putin will replace Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu after almost twelve years in office.

The Russian president’s longtime ally is set to be replaced by Andrei Belousov, a 65-year-old former deputy prime minister with a background in economics.

Meanwhile, Mr. Shoigu will become secretary of Russia’s powerful Security Council, replacing close Putin confidant Nikolai Patrushev, whose new position has yet to be announced.

A former MI6 intelligence officer told us the move points to “serious instability” at the heart of the Russian leadership – and possibly something deeper going on behind the scenes.

Thousands are fleeing the Russian offensive

The reshuffle comes after Russia renewed its offensive in northeastern Ukraine on Friday. Fighting raged over the weekend, forcing thousands of civilians to flee.

Ukrainian military chief Oleksandr Syrskyi insisted his forces would do everything in their power to contain the Russian threat but acknowledged it posed a challenge. Heavy fighting forced at least one Ukrainian unit to withdraw.

Voloydmyr Zelensky described heavy fighting in the Kharkiv region and the east on Sunday, with fighting extending to the edge of Vovchansk, which has become a war zone since Russia launched the surprise new offensive.

Delays in the delivery of weapons

The reopening of a major front in the northeast will overwhelm Kiev’s already undermanned and outgunned forces waiting for Western weapons, our security and defense editor Deborah Haynes reported.

Ukraine says the U.S. Congress’s serious delays in passing a massive aid package, including military support for Kiev, have cost its forces dearly on the battlefield.

There are hopes that the new aid will quickly reach the front lines to counter Russia, which has exploited Ukraine’s shortage of manpower and shells to capitalize on the conflict’s momentum.

“Extremely dangerous” moment

Lord Cameron said Russia’s surprise offensive in Kharkiv was an “extremely dangerous” moment in the conflict and reiterated that Britain must do “everything we can” to help Kiev.

Appearing on Sky News’ Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips, he lamented the time it has taken the US to approve its multi-billion dollar aid package but said it would make a difference.

And the foreign minister said morale among Ukrainians was strong despite suffering from ammunition shortages.

“They are still inflicting appalling casualty numbers on the Russians. If only the Russian people could see how many people they are losing,” he said.

Russia claims that Ukraine continues to attack its territory

As Russia stepped up its attacks on Ukraine, there were also a series of other cross-border attacks in the Belgorod region last week that Moscow attributed to Kiev.

Last Monday, Vyacheslav Gladkov, governor of the Belgorod region, claimed six people were killed and 35 others, including two children, were injured when Ukrainian drones hit the region.

Another attack on Thursday injured eight people and damaged numerous homes and cars, he said.

Mr Gladkov claimed cross-border shelling by Ukraine’s armed forces killed one woman and injured 29 others on Saturday. At least 13 people were reported dead yesterday after an apartment block collapsed in a Ukrainian rocket attack, Russia reported.