British defense ministry: Skepticism growing in Russia

Skepticism about the invasion of Ukraine appears to be on the rise in Russia, prompting elite businesspeople and oligarchs to leave the country. This is likely to exacerbate the war's long-term damage to the nation's economy.

According to an intelligence update from the British defense ministry, the war has accelerated Russia's long-term trajectory towards authoritarianism. Efforts are underway to criminalize speaking out against the invasion and the state.

The report says migration applications suggest 15,000 Russian millionaires are already trying to leave the country. They are likely motivated by personal opposition to the invasion and a wish to escape the financial impact of sanctions.

In Ukraine, Russian forces are focusing their efforts on Severodonetsk, the Ukrainian military's last stronghold in the eastern region of Luhansk. The region's governor says more than 500 people, including a few dozen children, remain in shelters at a chemical plant, where constant shelling and fighting makes it impossible for them to escape.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is digging in his heels, saying Ukraine will continue to fight until its safety and territorial integrity are fully guaranteed.