Russia planning to bring workers from North Korea to Ukraine, says Kyiv

The Kremlin is planning to bring workers from North Korea to temporarily occupied areas of Ukraine, Kyiv’s National Resistance Centre has said. 

The report comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last week.

The National Resistance Center, which was created by Ukraine’s Special Operations Forces, said Russia intends to use the workers for construction work in Donetsk and Luhansk. 

“Attempts to recruit labour migrants to the occupation army have already been recorded this year,” it said. 

“Therefore, it is not excluded that working squads of citizens of the Republic of Korea may be used in the interests of the support of the occupation troops.” 

Russia reinforces with airborne units – but they are ‘highly likely dramatically under strength’

Russia has reinforced its army with extra airborne units over the last two weeks, but they are “highly likely dramatically under strength”, the UK’s defence ministry has said. 

The “hard-pressed” 58th Combined Arms Army was strengthened by at least five airborne regiments on the Orikhiv axis in Zaporizhzhia, near the frontline village of Robotyne, it said. 

“At full strength, such a force should constitute around 10,000 elite paratroopers. However, almost all units are highly likely dramatically under strength,” it added. 

“Throughout the war Russian commanders have attempted to regenerate the airborne forces as a highly mobile, striking force for offensive operations. Once again, they are being used as line infantry to augment over-stretched ground forces.” 

Russia and Ukraine to square off before International Court of Justice

Ukraine’s legal battle against Russia over allegations of genocide used by Moscow to justify its invasion is resuming at the United Nations’ highest court today. 

Hearings at the International Court of Justice, also known as the Word Court, will see Ukraine supported by a record 32 other nations in a major show of support.

Kyiv launched the case shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine last year, arguing the attack was based on false allegations of acts of genocide in Luhansk and Donetsk. 

It wants the court to order Russia to halt its invasion and pay reparations.

Ukraine brought the case to the Hague-based court based on the 1948 Genocide Convention, which both Moscow and Kyiv have ratified.

In an interim ruling in March 2022, the court ordered Russia to halt hostilities – a binding legal ruling that Moscow has flouted. 

Hearings this week are expected to see lawyers for Russia argue the court does not have jurisdiction to hear the case, while Ukraine will call on judges to press ahead. 

A total of 32 of Ukraine’s allies including Canada, Australia and every European Union member nation except Hungary will also make statements in support of its legal arguments. 

The US asked to participate on Ukraine’s side, but the court’s judges rejected the request on a technicality. 

Ukrainian troops ‘take more territory’ along eastern front

Ukrainian troops have retaken more territory along the eastern front and advanced in the south, according to the country’s deputy defence minister.

Forces have recaptured two square km (0.77 square miles) of land in the past week around the shattered eastern city of Bakhmut, Hanna Maliar said. 

Her latest update comes after Ukraine took control of Andriivka and Klishchiivka – two villages on the southern flank of the city – at the end of last week. 

Since troops launched their long-awaited counteroffensive three months ago, they have liberated 51 square km (19 square miles) near Bakhmut, she added. 

Further south in the Donetsk region, Ukrainian troops continued to hold back a Russian offensive towards the towns of Avdiivka and Maryinka, Ms Maliar said.

Ukrainian forces are trying to advance toward the Sea of Azov in a southern drive intended to split Russian forces retook 5.2 square km (two square miles) in the past week, she added.

During its counteroffensive, Ukraine has reported slow, steady progress against entrenched Russian positions, retaking a string of villages and advancing on the flanks of Bakhmut, but taking no major settlements.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and other officials have dismissed Western critics who say the offensive is too slow and hampered by strategic errors.