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VLAD'S ILL FOLKS

Ukraine-Russia war updates: Evil Vladimir Putin seriously ill with blood cancer, Kremlin oligarch recorded as saying

- Why is Russia invading Ukraine?
- Will there be World War 3? 
- Will the UK go to war?
- Help support Ukraine by donating your clothes

VLADIMIR Putin is "very ill" with blood cancer" an oligarch close to the Kremlin is reported to have said.

In a recording obtained by New Lines magazine, the unnamed source was recorded discussing Putin's health with a Western venture capitalist in mid-March.

The audio appears to capture the Russian source saying Putin had surgery on his back linked to blood cancer shortly before ordering the invasion of Ukraine.

The recording also shows the source complaining that the president has gone "crazy" and has destroyed the economy.

The oligarch says: "He absolutely ruined Russia's economy, Ukraine's economy and many other economies —ruined [them] absolutely."

He added: "The problem is with his head. One crazy guy can turn the world upside down."

Follow our Russia-Ukraine live blog below for up-to-the-minute updates...

  • Louis Allwood

    Swedish PM says that she does not want nuclear weapons on her soil

    Magdalena Andersson has said that Europe and Sweden "are living now in a new and dangerous reality".

    She has recently announced that Sweden will be applying to join NATO.

    However, she says Sweden does not want permanent NATO military bases or nuclear weapons on its territory.

  • Louis Allwood

    Russia has lost a THIRD of its ground forces in Ukraine invasion says UK intelligence

    Russia has lost a third of its ground forces in Ukraine, an assessment by UK intelligence claims as a huge tank graveyard is revealed.

    British military intelligence claimed that Russia's offensive in Donbas had fallen "significantly behind schedule" and was unlikely to make any rapid gains in the coming 30 days.

    "Russia has now likely suffered losses of one third of the ground combat force it committed in February," the May 15 assessment by UK Defence Intelligence read.

    "Russia's Donbas offensive has lost momentum and fallen significantly behind schedule.

    "Despite small-scale initial advances, Russia has failed to achieve substantial territorial gains over the past month whilst sustaining consistently high level of attrition."

    The briefing explained that Mad Vlad's forces have lost vital military kit like bridging equipment and reconnaissance drones, leaving them extremely vulnerable to attack.

  • Louis Allwood

    Eurovision winner Oleg Psiuk celebrates birthday as he boards plane to join fight

    Eurovision champ Oleg Psiuk is celebrating his birthday today after heading back to Ukraine to join the fight against Russian forces.

    The frontman of Ukrainian folk rap group Kalush Orchestra has double the reasons to raise a toast after turning 28 following their incredible landslide victory.

    But instead of being able to savour their success, the six-piece band has had to head straight back to their war-torn country.

    The brave singer previously told how the band were "doing everything possible to help our country".

    They were given special permission to leave Ukraine to attend the competition, but were under strict orders to return home by Monday.

    Under Ukrainian law, all men aged 18-60 are banned from leaving the country and urged to join the army or support the war effort.

  • Louis Allwood

    No date set for NATO application

    The Swedish PM has said that there is no date set for when they will send their application as they will apply at the same time as Finland.

    She adds that she does not see any direct military threat against Sweden yet.

    Leader of the opposition Moderate party, Ulf Kristersson, has backed the decision to join NATO.

    He said: "This is a historic decision."

  • Louis Allwood

    Sweden will apply for NATO membership

    Magdalena Andersson, the Swedish PM, is giving a press conference in Stockholm.

    She begins by confirming that Sweden will apply for NATO membership.

    The PM adds that she is confident that there is support for this among the Swedish people.

  • Louis Allwood

    Russia ‘deploys nuke missiles’ to border with Finland

    Russia has started deploying nuclear missiles toward its border with Finland in wake of the nation's bold NATO bid.

    Menacing mobile Iskander missiles were spotted being transported towards the dividing line as desperate Putin throws a troubling tantrum.

    The Russian despot had warned Finland and Sweden that joining the Western alliance would be a "mistake" - but they have so far snubbed his grumbles.

    After being given the cold shoulder by the two notoriously neutral nations, he seems to be resorting to desperate measures to save face. 

  • Louis Allwood

    Belarusian President urges members of Russian alliance to 'stand united'

    Alexander Lukashenko, Belarusian President, has urged other members of a Russian-dominated military alliance to stand united.

    The Belarusian also accused the West of trying to prolong the conflict in Ukraine in an effort to weaken Russian forces.

    Speaking at a summit of the leaders of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation in Moscow, he said "hellish sanctions" against his country and Russia could have been avoided if the group had spoken with a united voice.

    Lukashenko said: "Without a united front, the collective West will build up pressure on the post-Soviet space."

  • Joseph Gamp

    Putin plays down Nato bids as 'no threat' to Russia

    Vladimir Putin has claimed that while Russia does not see Finland and Sweden's decision to join NATO as a threat, deployment of military infrastructure there may trigger a response from Moscow.

    "The expansion of NATO to Sweden and Finland poses no direct threat for us... but the expansion of military infrastructure to these territories will certainly provoke our response," Putin said.

    His comments came during a televised summit meeting of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, a Moscow-led military alliance.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Sweden's ruling party back Nato membership

    Sweden’s ruling party have backed the country joining Nato.

    A statement says: “The Social Democrats’ party board has decided that the party will work for Sweden to apply for membership in Nato.”

    But it does not want nuclear weapons or Nato bases in Sweden.

    “The Social Democrats will thus work to ensure that Sweden, if the application is approved by Nato, expresses unilateral reservations against the deployment of nuclear weapons and permanent bases on Swedish territory,” the statement continues.

  • Joseph Gamp

    McDonald's to sell ALL of its restaurants in Russia

    McDonald's Corp said on Monday it would sell all its restaurants in Russia after more than 30 years, making it one of the biggest global brands to exit since the country's invasion of Ukraine.

    The company expects to record a non-cash charge of $1.2 billion to $1.4 billion following the sale. Last year it generated about 9%, or $2 billion, of its revenue from Russia and Ukraine.

    The world's largest burger chain had in March decided to close its 847 restaurants in the country, including the iconic Pushkin Square location in central Moscow.

    Opened in 1990, the store was a symbol of flourishing American capitalism in the dying embers of the Soviet Union. More than 5,000 people had attended the opening.

    Ever since McDonald's shut its stores in Russia, it has been losing roughly $55 million a month to pay staff, landlords and suppliers for its restaurants in Ukraine and Russia, company executives had said.

    "It is impossible to ignore the humanitarian crisis caused by the war in Ukraine. And it is impossible to imagine the Golden Arches representing the same hope and promise that led us to enter the Russian market 32 years ago," Chief Executive Officer Chris Kempczinski said in a letter to employees.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Russia’s US ambassador hints at Kremlin split over war

    Russia’s US ambassador has dropped hints about splits in the Kremlin hierarchy over the war in Ukraine amid coup rumours.

    Envoy Anatoly Antonov said America is secretly giving Vladimir Putin – who an ex-Brit spy has claimed is “seriously ill” – the terms of negotiations to halt the fighting.

    As Putin’s invasion continues to falter in the face of stiff Ukrainian resistance, Antonov, 67, has implied that some of the tyrant’s inner circle are ready to give up the fight.

    He hinted that some inside the Kremlin’s power structure want to move back invading troops and even “repent” – while stressing he was not among those willing to capitulate.

    It comes amid claims from Ukraine’s spy chief Major General Kyrylo Budanov that a coup to remove Putin from power is “already underway”.

    Senior diplomat Antonov – seen as a hardliner – said: “The Americans are pushing us into negotiations, but with certain conditions.

    “I would specify three of them. First, to stop military action as part of the special military operation.

    “Second, to move our troops back to where they were before 24 February.

    “The third is ‘to repent for everything we have done’.”

  • Joseph Gamp

    Eurovision winner kisses girlfriend as he leaves to head home to join Ukrainian army 

    A EUROVISION winner was spotted smooching his girlfriend before bravely heading back to the frontline to fight Putin’s butchers.

    Oleg Psiuk, the frontman of Ukrainian folk rap group Kalush Orchestra, gave his squeeze Oleksandra a big kiss outside his hotel before leaving in a taxi.

    His six-piece band won the contest in Turin on Saturday with belting number Stefania.

    But the all male group – who were given special permission to leave the country to attend the competition – were ordered to return home to their war-torn nation by Monday.

    Under Ukrainian law, all men aged 18-60 are banned from leaving the country and urged to join the army or support the war effort.

    In an interview back in March with Associated Press, rapper Psiuk said he had established a volunteer organisation that uses social media to help find transportation and shelter Ukrainians in need.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Canada supports Finland & Sweden's Nato bids

     Canada says it supports plans from Finland and Sweden to join NATO amid Russia's war in Ukraine.

    Melanie Joly, Canadas minister of foreign affairs, spoke Monday in Brussels ahead of meeting with the European Unions top diplomat Josep Borrell.

    Joly said Canada is in favor of a quick accession for both countries. Our goal is to be among the first countries to be able to ratify the accession of Sweden and Finland, she said.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Ukraine says strikes on hospital in Luhasnk region kills two

    A Ukrainian military commander in the eastern Luhansk region says strikes overnight hit a hospital in Severodonetsk, killing two and injuring nine, including a child. Overnight strikes also hit other towns.

    Regional military governor Serhiy Haidai said on Monday that Ukrainian special forces blew up Russian-held railway bridges between Rubizhne and Severodonetsk as part of efforts to slow the Russian offensive, and posted a video on Telegram purportedly showing such a blast. The information could not immediately be independently verified.

    Russian forces have been trying for weeks to seize Severodonetsk, a key site in the Donbas thats outside the territory that separatists held for the past several years.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Russia warns Sweden & Finald Nato bids are 'grave mistakes'

    Russia has warned Finland and Sweden that joining the NATO military alliance would be a "mistake" - and Moscow would take measures.

    "This is another grave mistake with far-reaching consequences," Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters on Monday.

    "The general level of military tensions will increase," he was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.

    "It is a pity that common sense is being sacrificed for some phantom ideas about what should be done in the current situation."

    Ryabkov said the two countries' security would not strengthen as a result of the move and that Moscow would take measures.

    "They should have no illusions that we will just put up with this," he said.

  • Joseph Gamp

    EU 'needs more time' to impose sixth round of sanctions on Russia

    The European Union will impose a sixth sanctions package on Russia, but the bloc will need more time to find agreement, Luxembourg's Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said on Monday.

    "There really is no excuse not to get the package done," Asselborn told reporters as he arrived for a meeting with his EU counterparts in Brussels.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Help those fleeing conflict with The Sun’s Ukraine Fund

    PICTURES of women and children fleeing the horror of Ukraine’s devastated towns and cities have moved Sun readers to tears.

    Many of you want to help the five million caught in the chaos — and now you can, by donating to The Sun’s Ukraine Fund.

    Give as little as £3 or as much as you can afford and every penny will be donated to the Red Cross on the ground helping women, children, the old, the infirm and the wounded.

    Donate here to help The Sun’s fund

    Or text to 70141 from UK mobiles

    £3 — text SUN£3
    £5 — text SUN£5
    £10 — text SUN£10

    Texts cost your chosen donation amount (e.g. £5) +1 standard message (we receive 100%). For full T&Cs visit redcross.org.uk/mobile

  • Joseph Gamp

    MoD says Russia may have lost a third of its invading forces

    Russia may have lost a third of the invasion force it sent into Ukraine as its offensive continues to struggle in the face of stiff resistance, British military intelligence has said.

    In its latest assessment, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said the Russian campaign in the east of Ukraine had "lost momentum" and was now "significantly behind schedule".

    At a meeting of Nato foreign ministers in Berlin, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said it was essential to maintain support for the government in Kyiv to help it "push Russia out".

    She said in a statement: "(President) Putin must face a sustained defeat in Ukraine, Russia must be contained and such aggression must never happen again.

    "Ukraine's security must come from it being able to defend itself. Allies must support Ukraine's move to Nato-standard equipment, immediately providing artillery, training and the required expertise."

  • Louis Allwood

    Sweden wants to join Nato but not have bases in the country

    Sweden's ruling party have backed the country joining Nato.

    A statement says: "The Social Democrats' party board has decided that the party will work for Sweden to apply for membership in Nato."

    But it does not want nuclear weapons or Nato bases in Sweden.

    "The Social Democrats will thus work to ensure that Sweden, if the application is approved by Nato, expresses unilateral reservations against the deployment of nuclear weapons and permanent bases on Swedish territory," the statement continues.

  • Louis Allwood

    Russia’s US ambassador hints at Kremlin split over war

    Russia's US ambassador has dropped hints about splits in the Kremlin hierarchy over the war in Ukraine amid coup rumours.

    Envoy Anatoly Antonov said America is secretly giving Vladimir Putin - who an ex-Brit spy has claimed is "seriously ill" - the terms of negotiations to halt the fighting.

    As Putin's invasion continues to falter in the face of stiff Ukrainian resistance, Antonov, 67, has implied that some of the tyrant's inner circle are ready to give up the fight.

    He hinted that some inside the Kremlin’s power structure want to move back invading troops and even “repent” - while stressing he was not among those willing to capitulate.

    It comes amid claims from Ukraine's spy chief Major General Kyrylo Budanov that a coup to remove Putin from power is "already underway".

    Senior diplomat Antonov - seen as a hardliner - said: "The Americans are pushing us into negotiations, but with certain conditions.

    "I would specify three of them. First, to stop military action as part of the special military operation.

    "Second, to move our troops back to where they were before 24 February.

    "The third is ‘to repent for everything we have done’.”

  • Louis Allwood

    Frantic crewman on sinking Russian warship Moskva calls for help as sirens blare

    A FRANTIC crew member on a Russian warship an be heard calling for help is it sinks as sirens blare after being hit by Ukrainian missiles.

    The Ukrainian military has released part of what it says is the intercepted radio message from the stricken Moskva, as it lay crippled and ablaze in the Black Sea.

    The 12,490 ton missile cruiser, Russia’s Black Sea fleet flagship was hit by a barrage of Neptune missiles launched from the shore with reports saying 40 sailors were killed and 200 wounded.

    The ship had played a deadly role in the war by bombarding Ukrainian towns from positions at sea before it was sunk, near Snake Island.

    Video footage surfaced appearing to show the 611ft ship Moskva with smoke pouring from it and a rescue tug boat nearby.

    Now new audio released by Ukraine reveals the panic on board as the crewman speaks to the tug boat seeking help.

    He says the ship has two holes and “it's tilting to its side, I repeat, its tilting to one side…it is damaged, I confirmed shell holes below the waterline”.

    The sailor then continues “captain’s bridge is cut off, there is no connection. The tilt is 30 degrees, it’ll tilt to one side.

    “No way to get closer. We are carrying out a feasible rescue of the crew.”

  • Louis Allwood

    Eurovision winner kisses girlfriend as he leaves to head home to join Ukrainian army 

    A EUROVISION winner was spotted smooching his girlfriend before bravely heading back to the frontline to fight Putin's butchers.

    Oleg Psiuk, the frontman of Ukrainian folk rap group Kalush Orchestra, gave his squeeze Oleksandra a big kiss outside his hotel before leaving in a taxi.

    His six-piece band won the contest in Turin, Italy, on Saturday with its song Stefania.

    But the all male group - who were given special permission to leave the country to attend the competition - have been ordered to return home to their war-torn nation by Monday.

    Under Ukrainian law, all men aged 18-60 are banned from leaving the country and urged to join the army or support the war effort.

    In an interview back in March with Associated Press, rapper Psiuk said he had established a volunteer organisation that uses social media to help find transportation and shelter Ukrainians in need.

  • Louis Allwood

    Finnish parliament to convene Monday to debate decision

    The Finnish parliament will convene on Monday to debate the decision, with current projections showing a large majority of the country's 200 member parliament supporting the bid.

    Marin added: "We have reached today an important decision in good cooperation with the government and the president of the republic.

    "We hope the parliament will confirm the decision to apply for the NATO membership during the coming days. It will be based on a strong mandate."

    Finland has remained militarily non-aligned for 75 years, but Russia invaded Ukraine in February, political and public opinion swung dramatically in favour of membership, with the Finnish president and prime minister on Thursday calling for the country to join NATO "without delay".

  • Louis Allwood

    Spain offers to host Eurovision in 2023 

    Eurovision champs Ukraine could be hosted by Spain after the country’s national broadcaster RTVE made an offer to accommodate their 2023 contest.

    Last night saw the troubled country’s act Kalush Orchestra score top points, scooping more than 400 votes from the public to add to the judges tally.

    Bookmakers had tipped Ukraine, which is currently under invasion from Russia, to win from the outset.

    After they were crowned victorious in the Eurovision 2022 final, the band’s frontman, Oleh Psiuk, told the 7,500-strong audience: “I ask all of you, please help Ukraine, Mariupol. Help Avostal, right now,”

    Many of them gave the band a standing ovation in front of a global television audience of millions.

    Yet because of Ukraine’s current political climate, where Russian President Vladimir Putin is believed to want to reclaim many territories lost at the fall of the Soviet Union, the country’s position as host nation is surrounded by uncertainty.

    Spain clocked up third place with contestant Chanel’s track, SloMo, and website Eurovoix reports that María Eizaguirre, a spokesperson for the Spanish public broadcaster, has given the contest the thumbs up.

    It added: “RTVE is ready to support Ukraine in everything it needs to organise the contest.”

  • Louis Allwood

    'Very strong support' for Finland

    Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State says he heard "almost across-the-board very strong support" for Finland and Sweden joining Nato.

    Anthony was among other members countries' foreign ministers during a meeting in Berlin.

    Blinken said: "The United States would strongly support the Nato application by either Sweden or Finland should they choose to formally apply to the alliance."

    He added: "I'm very confident that we will reach consensus."

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