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Ukraine-Russia war live: Moscow unleashes fierce assault on eastern city of Avdiivka

Moment Russian plane carrying Ukrainian prisoners of war appears to crash

Moscow forces have unleashed a fierce attack on Ukrainian forces on the front line of the eastern city of Adviika, says Ukraine’s General Staff.

Fighting has been particularly intense in the eastern city of Avdiivka, where Moscow is attempting to encircle Kyiv’s troops, while Ukrainian forces have also been on the defensive in Kupiansk, Lyman, Bakhmut and Zaporizhzhia, officials said.

One civilian was killed and two injured in a Russian artillery strike in the frontline town of Toretsk, less than 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) from Bakhmut, said Donetsk regional governor Vadym Filashkin.

It comes as at least 28 people were killed in the Russian-occupied city of Lysychansk following a Ukrainian attack on a bakery in the city, Moscow said on Sunday.

Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said “dozens of civilians” were in the building at the time of the attack and that Western weapons were used.

At least one child was among those killed in the attack, according to local leader Leonid Pasechnik.

The Russian-controlled Luhansk Information Centre said Ukraine shelled the bakery using the US-supplied High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS).

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Zelensky visits front line amid speculation about the fate of top general

President Volodymyr Zelensky visited Ukrainian troops on the southeastern front and handed out medals, his office said on Sunday, and his spokesperson said he came very close to exchanges of fire on the front line.

Zelensky undertook the journey to Zaporizhzhia region amid speculation that his popular army chief could soon be sacked.

The president, who has frequently toured areas close to the front, met soldiers in the village of Robotyne, his office said, almost on the battle line.

“This is Robotyne and there is intense fighting going on,”

Serhiy Nikiforov, the president’s spokesman, told reporters. “So it was quite close to explosions, but I wouldn’t dramatise the situation.”

Ukrainian soldiers quoted on social media said the area Zelenskiy visited carried risks because of intense drone and artillery activity.

Zelenskiy said in a statement that he had come to the area to support and bestow honours on Ukrainian soldiers.

“They face a difficult and critical mission to repel the enemy and defend Ukraine,” he said.

The southeastern settlement of Robotyne was liberated in late August last year in the counteroffensive launched against Russian forces. In overall terms, the counteroffensive has had only limited success in recapturing territory against heavily dug enemy troops.

The visit to the battle lines was taking place at a time of uncertainty over the fate of army chief Valeriy Zaluzhnyi.

Two sources said on Friday that the Ukrainian government had informed the White House that it plans to fire the country’s top military commander overseeing the war against Russian occupation forces.

The alleged move to oust Zaluzhnyi, who has clashed with Zelenskiy over a range of issues, follows the uncertain results of the Ukrainian counteroffensive.

Known as “the Iron General”, Zaluzhnyi is extremely popular. His removal could hurt morale among Ukrainian troops battling to hold positions along more than 600 miles (1,000 km) of frontlines against a vast Russian force armed with large munitions stockpiles.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses Ukrainian students during a meeting along with Polish Prime minister in Kyiv

(AFP via Getty Images)

Lydia Patrick5 February 2024 07:00

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Twenty journalists detained in Moscow crackdown on protests held by wives of Russian soldiers in Ukraine

Russian police have detained 20 journalists reporting on a rally in central Moscow, in which the wives of soldiers sent to the frontline in Ukraine urged Vladimir Putin to bring their loved ones home.

The relatives of military reservists have been gathering weekly to publicly voice their demands, in a rare but mounting display of dissent which threatens Mr Putin’s claim to have the full backing of the Russian people in his war against Ukraine, as he seeks a near-certain victory in next month’s presidential elections.

Lydia Patrick5 February 2024 06:00

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The UN’s top court is set to decide if it can hear Ukraine’s genocide case against Russia

In the highly-charged case, Kyiv claims that Russia breached the landmark 1948 convention by using trumped-up claims of genocide in the eastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk as a pretext for attacking Ukraine nearly two years ago. Ukraine also accuses Moscow of “planning acts of genocide.”

Moscow rejects the allegations and argued last year that the court should throw out the case before even considering the merits of Kyiv’s claims.

At hearings in September, the leader of Moscow’s legal team, Gennady Kuzmin, called Ukraine’s case “hopelessly flawed and at odds with the longstanding jurisprudence of this court.”

In order for the court to have jurisdiction, Ukraine has to establish that it has a dispute with Russia over the genocide convention.

Lydia Patrick5 February 2024 05:00

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A Russian cosmonaut sets a new record for the most time in space

Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko has broken the world record for the most cumulative time spent in space, Russia’s space agency Roscosmos reported Sunday.

The 59-year-old has now spent more than 878 days and 12 hours in space, surpassing fellow Russian Gennady Padalka, who set the previous record of 878 days, 11 hours, 29 minutes, and 48 seconds in 2015.

Speaking with Russian state news agency TASS, the engineer said that each trip to the ISS required careful preparation due to the station’s constant upgrades — but that life as a cosmonaut was a childhood dream come true.

“I fly into space to do what I love, not to set records. I’ve dreamt of and aspired to become a cosmonaut since I was a child. That interest — the opportunity to fly into space, to live and work in orbit — motivates me to continue flying,” he told TASS.

Lydia Patrick5 February 2024 04:00

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ICYMI – The White Lotus drops Miloš Biković after Ukraine backlash

“We have decided to part ways with Miloš Biković and the role will be recast,” a HBO spokesperson told The Independent on Friday (2 February). Details of his role in the series were not disclosed.

In a statement of his own, Biković said he was the victim of a “targeted campaign”. You can read his statement in full below.

On 24 January, Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs shared a montage of clips appearing to show Biković receiving an award from Putin. In 2018, the actor received the Pushkin Medal for his contributions to Russian culture and in 2021 received Russian citizenship by presidential decree.

Read the full story here…

Lydia Patrick5 February 2024 03:00

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Zelensky visits front line amid speculation about the fate of top general

President Volodymyr Zelensky visited Ukrainian troops on the southeastern front and handed out medals, his office said on Sunday amid intense speculation that his popular army chief could soon be sacked.

“It’s an honour to be here today. To support the warriors and award them. They face a difficult and critical mission to repel the enemy and defend Ukraine,” Zelensky said in a statement after visiting Zaporizhzhia region.

The presidential office said in the statement that Zelensky visited the Ukrainian military’s forward positions near the village of Robotyne, which is located almost on the battle line.

The southeastern settlement of Robotyne had been liberated in late August in the counteroffensive against Russian forces.

The president’s visit to the battle lines came at a time of uncertainty over the fate of army chief Valeriy Zaluzhnyi.

Two sources said on Friday that the Ukrainian government had informed the White House that it plans to fire the country’s top military commander overseeing the war against Russian occupation forces.

The alleged move to oust Zaluzhnyi, who has clashed with Zelensky over a range of issues, follows a Ukrainian counteroffensive last year that failed to recover significant amounts of Russian-held territory.

Known as “the Iron General”, Zaluzhnyi is extremely popular. His removal could hurt morale among Ukrainian troops battling to hold positions along more than 620 miles (1,000 kms) of frontlines against a vast Russian force armed with large munitions stockpiles.

This handout photograph taken and released on January 31, 2024 by the Ukrainian presidential press service, shows Ukrainian former prisoners of war wrapped in a Ukrainian flag

(UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SER)

Lydia Patrick5 February 2024 02:00

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ICYMI – Why Putin could be to blame for North Korea’s latest provocative weapons tests

The alarming frequency with which North Korea has been testing missiles since the start of the year, with Kim Jong-un making a particular point of showing off the country’s naval firepower, has led observers to wonder if the launches signify the dawn of a new and sinister partnership involving Pyongyang and its ally Russia.

After the latest launches conducted on Tuesday, North Korea has now tested three waves of cruise missiles in the space of just one week. Mr Kim himself oversaw tests of the brand-new submarine-fired, long-range “Hwasal-2”, according to state news agency KCNA. Hwasal-2 was described as a “strategic” or nuclear-capable weapon that can deliver a nuclear warhead up to 1,242 miles (1,998km) – covering the distance between Pyongyang and US military bases in Japan.

Read the full premium piece by Shweta Sharma here…

Lydia Patrick5 February 2024 01:00

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ICYMI – Putin censors soldiers’ wives protest

Vladimir Putin has censored a protest by the wives of Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine who marked 500 days since partial mobilisation in the country.

Members of the Russian “Way Home” movement laid flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Moscow before holding a protest at the nearby Manezhnaya Square, according to a US think tank.

But Russian state media outlets did not cover the protest and only reported that the Moscow Prosecutor’s Office warned against attending an unspecified protest.

Protesters were pictured surrounded by police officers during the gathering in central Moscow

(REUTERS)

Lydia Patrick5 February 2024 00:00

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ICYMI – Ukrainian forces come under intense Russian attack

However, Ukrainian forces have come under intense Russian attack over the past 24 hours, with continuous assaults along the front line, Ukraine‘s General Staff said in a statement Sunday.

Fighting has been particularly fierce in the eastern city of Avdiivka, where Moscow is attempting to encircle Kyiv’s troops, while Ukrainian forces have also been on the defensive in Kupiansk, Lyman, Bakhmut and Zaporizhzhia, officials said.

One civilian was killed and two injured in a Russian artillery strike in the frontline town of Toretsk, less than 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) from Bakhmut, said Donetsk regional governor Vadym Filashkin.

The military administration for Ukraine‘s northern Sumy region said Sunday that Russian forces had shelled the region in 16 separate attacks the previous day, firing on the border communities of Yunakivka, Bilopillia, Krasnopillia, Velyka Pysarivka, and Esman.

Gen. Serhii Naiev, commander of the Ukrainian Joint Forces, also said that Kyiv’s troops had pushed back Russian sabotage and reconnaissance units attempting to cross the border in the Sumy region.

With Ukraine‘s soldiers concentrated in the eastern regions of Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kharkiv, the reported incursion suggests that Moscow could be probing vulnerabilities on a new front to further stretch Ukrainian resources.

A crane lifts a destroyed vehicle from under the rubble as a damaged building is seen in the background, in Lysychansk

(via REUTERS)

Lydia Patrick4 February 2024 23:00

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Tucker Carlson spotted in Moscow

Ex-news anchor, Tucker Carlson, was spotted in Moscow on 1 February watching a ballet.

The spotting has fuelled speculation he is in the city to interview Putin, claims Anton Gerashchenko.

Lydia Patrick4 February 2024 22:03


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