It comes as the White House’s Tiger Team is primed and ready to strike back against Vladimir Putin if Russia launches a nuclear attack on Nato allies.
The team of national security advisors plans out different scenarios and how the United States and its allies should respond in secret meetings held three times a week.
They are looking at the possibility of a chemical, biological or nuclear attack as the Russian president becomes frustrated by the country’s lack of progress in Ukraine.
Yet a Western official has said it is “highly unlikely” that Nato would intervene militarily in Ukraine if Vladimir Putin uses chemical weapons in the country, after a summit of Alliance leaders in Brussels.
Navy ship ‘destroyed’
In Ukraine, a Russian Navy landing ship has reportedly been destroyed by Ukrainian forces after its location appeared in a Kremlin propaganda video.
Ukraine’s navy said it had achieved a direct hit on the Orsk, a Russian Alligator-class tank carrier, while it was anchored in the captured port of Berdyansk in the south of the country.
The reported success came just three days after Russian state media filmed the 370ft vessel having armored vehicles unloaded from it, which were set to reinforce troops in nearby Mariupol.
Watch video showing thick black smoke surging above the port.
Ukraine is using facial recognition software to identify dead Russian soldiers by matching photos of their faces to social media accounts.
It is one of Ukraine’s new tactics for letting Russians, who have limited access to non-state-controlled media, know of the deaths of their family members and the brutal toll of war.
In Britain, Sergei Lavrov’s “stepdaughter” has been added to the sanctions list as the Government turns its attention to the relatives of Vladimir Putin’s cronies.
Polina Kovaleva, the 26-year-old daughter of the Russian foreign minister’s mistress, was added to the list alongside the paramilitary Wagner Group, which is seen as Putin’s private army.
Taking action against Kovaleva, who bought a £4.4million Kensington flat with cash at the age of 21, “sends a strong signal that those benefiting from association of those responsible for Russian aggression are in scope of our sanctions”, the Foreign Office said.
Read more on the sanctions and details on the Wagner Group, the assassins which Ukrainian intelligence said has been ordered to kill Volodymyr Zelensky.
Comment and analysis
Around the world: North Korea’s ‘largest’ missile test
North Korea conducted what is thought to be its largest intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test ever today, in what would be the first full-capability launch of the nuclear-armed state’s biggest missiles since 2017. South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said it had detected the launch of an “unidentified projectile” from North Korea, revealing that the launch was assumed to be a long-range missile, possibly an ICBM fired on a “lofted” trajectory high into space, Yonhap news agency reported. The Pentagon and South Korean military have warned for weeks that Pyongyang could be preparing to launch an intercontinental-range missile capable of carrying warheads to anywhere in the United States.
Bridgerton’s Claudia Jessie on playing a teen at 32
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.