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Elon Musk slapped down after calling for Ukraine and Russia to agree a truce over Putin’s war

Elon Musk slapped down after calling for Ukraine and Russia to agree a truce over Putin’s war

Elon Musk was slapped down on Friday after calling for Ukraine and Russia to agree a truce over Vladimir Putin’s war.

The X (Twitter) and Tesla boss was criticised by Alica Kearns, chair of the influential Commons foreign affairs committee.

With tens of thousands of Ukrainian and Russian soldiers having died in the conflict, he messaged: “Both sides should agree to a truce.

“Every day that passes, more Ukrainian and Russian youth die to gain and lose small pieces of land, with borders barely changing. This is not worth their lives.”

But Conservative MP Ms Kearns responded: “Wrong.

“Your home was not illegaly invaded.

“It is not your people being massacred, raped, tortured and castrated.

“It is not your children being kidnapped in what increasingly appears to meet the definition of genocide.”

Britain’s security minister Tom Tugendhat added: “When you withdraw help from the victims you don’t make peace, you’re siding with the oppressor.”

Musk’s intervention came amid concerns in Ukraine that key political figures in America could pile pressure on Kyiv to try to negotiate an end to the conflict with Putin ahead of the US presidential election next year, which would almost certainly involve surrendering swathes of its territory.

Ukraine has bristled at what critics in the US media have described as its summer counter-offensive’s slow pace and questionable tactics.

Amid the tensions, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken hailed “very, very encouraging progress” on the military campaign during talks in Kyiv on Wednesday.

Amid widespread fighting on the frontline, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky singled out military units in the east and south for their actions against Russian troops and other officials reported some breakthroughs.

The general staff of Ukraine’s armed forces described a “partial success” near the eastern town of Bakhmut, long a focal point of fighting. And it said Ukrainian troops were making gradual progress in their southward advance to the Sea of Azov.

Russian accounts of the fighting said their troops had beaten back Ukrainian attacks near Bakhmut.

Mr Zelensky, in his nightly video address on Thursday, provided few details of operations.

“Thank you soldiers for very, very effective results in destroying the occupiers,” he said. “And results are precisely what Ukraine needs now from everyone.”

One national guard unit fighting in the east and two in the south he mentioned included the 12th brigade, which has soldiers of the Azov brigade who last year defended the Azovstal steel works in the besieged city of Mariupol. Military analysts said they had been holding Ukrainian positions in the northeast.

The general staff report said: “As a result of its assault operations, the defence forces have achieved a partial success south of Bakhmut, pushing the enemy out of and reinforcing their own positions.”

Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar told national television that Ukrainian forces were pressing their drive southward from the village of Robotyne, captured last week.

She claimed that on the southern front, where Ukrainian forces are trying to sever a land bridge established by Russia between the Crimean peninsula Russia annexed in 2014, and the occupied east, “events are developing rapidly”.

Russia’s Defence Ministry, in its reports on the fighting, said Moscow’s forces had repelled nine attempted Ukrainian advances near the village of Klishchiivka, a village on heights south of Bakhmut seen as critical to securing control of the town.

A Russian missile slammed into a police building in the central Ukrainian city of Kryvyi Rih on Friday, killing a policeman and injuring many more people, Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko said.

The police administrative building was destroyed and rescue workers pulled several people out of the rubble after the attack on Mr Zelensky’s hometown, Mr Klymenko added.

He put the number of wounded at 25. In a later update, Regional governor Serhiy Lysak said about 40 had been wounded.

Ukraine’s emergency services said three people had been hurt in the Sumy region and posted a video showing rescuers pulling out an injured woman from a hole caused by the explosion.

It said in a statement that the 65-year-old woman and a 70-year-old man were rescued after a two-storey residential building was damaged.

Russia also carried out its fifth drone attack this week on the southern Odesa region, home to Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea and Danube River that are used to export grain and other agricultural products.

Russia has intensified air attacks on Ukrainian grain export infrastructure on the Danube River and in the port of Odesa since mid-July, when Moscow quit the UN and Turkey-brokered deal that allowed safe Ukrainian grain exports via the Black Sea.

“During the night the Russian terrorists attacked the Odesa region for the fifth time this week,” Oleh Kiper, the Odesa regional governor, said on the Telegram messaging app.

Officials said air defences shot down 16 of the 20 drones fired by Russia overnight - the Southern military command said 14 drones had been brought down over Odesa region and two more over the southern region of Mykolaiv.