During a call with members of his Security Council, Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Western intelligence agencies of helping Ukraine carry out acts of “terror and sabotage.” Putin failed to provide any evidence for his claim that third parties were involved in the preparation of acts of sabotage and terror attacks. The call focused on efforts to shore up control of the four Ukrainian provinces that Russia claimed as part of its territory in September 2022 — a move that was rejected by most nations as an illegal annexation. Putin claimed that the provinces have experienced Ukrainian shelling and acts of sabotage aimed at scaring the local population.
UN nuclear chief Rafael Grossi met with Russian officials in Kaliningrad for negotiations on the safety of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, currently held by Russian forces. Grossi’s visit follows a trip to the plant, which is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe. He stated on Twitter that he continues his efforts to protect the plant, emphasising that this was “in everyone’s interest.” The Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky and his wife were welcomed with military honours to Poland, where he discussed finding a solution to ease anger among Polish farmers linked to Ukrainian grain imports.
Polish President Andrzej Duda said during a visit to Warsaw by his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky that Russia has committed war crimes in Ukraine which must be punished. Meanwhile, Putin welcomed Belarus counterpart Alexander Lukashenko to Moscow for two days of talks, but the two leaders steered clear of the war in Ukraine during their opening public remarks. Russia is Belarus’ closest political and financial backer. Lukashenko allowed Putin to use Belarus as a launch pad for the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Russia and Belarus are formally part of a Union State, a borderless union and alliance between the two former Soviet republics.