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Russia Ukraine war latest: Fire breaks out at Russian oil refinery after Kyiv drone attack

RAF chief praises first Ukrainian pilots to complete training in UK

A fire has reportedly broken out at a Russian oil refinery following a Ukrainian drone attack amid fears of an escalation of the war.

Russian Telegram channels reported a blaze ripped through the Kuibyshev oil refinery in the country’s Samara Oblast region after local residents said they heard an explosion, according to local reports, with regional authorities saying the cause was a drone.

It comes as Moscow launched what Kyiv has called the biggest attack of the war on Ukraine’s power grid in retaliation for recent strikes targeting oil refineries and other energy facilities inside Russia, signalling a potential escalation of the war just days after Putin cemented his grip on power in a preordained election.

Russia pounded Ukraine’s power facilities on Friday, striking a vast dam over the Dnipro river, killing at least five people, leaving more than a million others across seven regions without electricity, and briefly cutting off power to a nuclear plant in Zaporizhzhia that has been a safety risk throughout the war.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Telegram that the “technical possibility for electricity supply” had been restored in most affected regions, but that the situation in the eastern Kharkiv region remained difficult.

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Russia launches sweeping attack on Ukraine’s power sector in sign of possible escalation

Russia unleashed one of its most devastating attacks against Ukraine’s electric sector on Friday, an aerial assault it said was retaliation for recent strikes inside Russia and which could signal an escalation of the war just days after President Vladimir Putin cemented his grip on power in a preordained election.

Many Ukrainians were plunged into darkness across several cities, at least five people were killed, and damage to the country’s largest hydroelectric plant briefly cut off power to a nuclear plant that has been a safety risk throughout the war.

Russia fired off more than 60 exploding drones and 90 missiles in what Ukrainian officials described as the most brutal attack against its energy infrastructure since the full-scale war began in early 2022.

Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, sustained the most damage, officials said, and the attack came a day after Russia had fired 31 missiles into the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.

Russia’s defense ministry called Friday attacks “strikes of retribution”, signalling a potential escalation of the war just days after Putin cemented his grip on power in a preordained election.

Ukraine has increased shelling of Russia’s Belgorod region along its northeast border and has launched drone strikes targeting Russian oil refineries and other energy facilities. Its latest strike inside Russia on Friday killed one and injured at least three, according to local officials.

Smoke and fire are seen around high-voltage lines at a site of a Russian missile strike outside Kharkiv on Friday

(REUTERS)

Tara Cobham23 March 2024 12:00

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Oil refinery in Russia reportedly attacked by drone

A fire has reportedly broken out at a Russian oil refinery after an attack by a drone.

Russian Telegram channels reported a blaze ripped through the Kuibyshev oil refinery in the country’s Samara Oblast region after local residents said they heard an explosion, according to Ukrainska Pravda.

Regional authorities said there had been no casualites.

Tara Cobham23 March 2024 12:02

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Ukraine trying to restore power after attack

Energy workers in Ukraine were still restoring electricity supplies to some consumers a day after what Kyiv said was Moscow’s biggest attack of the war on the country’s power grid, authorities said on Saturday.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Telegram that the “technical possibility for electricity supply” had been restored in most affected regions, but that the situation in the eastern Kharkiv region remained difficult.

National grid operator Ukrenergo said in a statement that consumers in Kharkiv city and the western Khmelnytskyi region were still without power, while planned outages were in force in the southern Odesa region.

Russia pounded Ukrainian power facilities on Friday, striking a vast dam over the Dnipro river, killing at least five people and leaving more than a million others across seven regions without electricity.

Sam Rkaina23 March 2024 12:40

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Ukraine shoots down dozens of drones overnight

Ukrainian forces shot down 31 of 34 attack drones launched overnight by Russia, Kyiv’s air force said on Saturday.

The Iranian-made drones were downed over parts of central, southern and southeastern Ukraine, the military added.

Sam Rkaina23 March 2024 13:00

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Putin suggests Ukraine is linked to Moscow terror attack despite ISIS claiming it

Russian President Vladimir Putin has suggested that Ukraine was linked to the attack on a concert hall on the outskirts of Moscow that killed 115 people.

The so-called Islamic State group’s (IS) Afghanistan branch claimed responsibility for Friday’s attack on the Crocus City Hall in a statement posted on social media.

A US intelligence official told the Associated Press that American agencies had confirmed that the group was responsible for the attack.

However, some Russian politicians pointed the finger at Ukraine shortly after the attack – accusations that Ukraine has strongly denied.

Mr Putin said all four people directly involved in the attack had been detained and suggested they were trying to cross the border into Ukraine while escaping.

He said additional security measures have been imposed throughout the country and declared that Sunday will be a nationwide day of mourning.

The attack was the deadliest in Russia in years and left the concert hall a smouldering ruin.

The venue had a capacity of more than 6,000 people in Krasnogorsk, on Moscow’s western edge.

(via REUTERS)

Sam Rkaina23 March 2024 13:30

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Lions from war-torn Ukraine arrive at Yorkshire Wildlife Park to start new life

Mother Aysa and her cubs Emi, Santa and Teddi spent nine months in a holding facility in Poland having escaped Russian bombs.

Aysa, from a private collection in the Donetsk region, was abandoned as Vladimir Putin’s invaders occupied Ukraine.

The park said Aysa was alone, malnourished and traumatised by bombings when she was rescued and taken to an interim sanctuary in Kyiv – where she gave birth to the cubs before they were all moved to a temporary facility at Poznan Zoo.

On Tuesday, they were driven the 1,000 miles to Yorkshire, arriving at the wildlife park before being unloaded at their new home on Thursday.

Lions from war-torn Ukraine arrive at Yorkshire Wildlife Park to start new life

Sam Rkaina23 March 2024 14:20

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Ukraine pilots finish training with the Royal Air Force

The Ministry of Defence has released new images of Ukrainian pilots undergoing training with the RAF.

The pilots have now graduated and will carry out further training in France.

It comes after Ukraine’s president Zelensky made an international plea last year for more air support in the war with Russia.

Sam Rkaina23 March 2024 15:00

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Russia says it takes control of Krasnoye in Ukraine’s Donetsk region

Russia’s defence ministry on Saturday said its forces had taken control of the village of Krasnoye in Ukraine‘s Donetsk region and improved its tactical position on the front line there.

Reuters could not immediately verify the battlefield report.

Lydia Patrick23 March 2024 16:00

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With an eye on Russia’s war in neighboring Ukraine, Poland readies a new self-defense law

Poland’s government has prepared new legislation to boost the nation’s capacity for self-defense, including more funding for first aid courses, better public warning systems, and more emergency shelters, officials said Friday.

Ministers of defense and of the interior said the bill was prompted by the war that neighboring Ukraine is fighting against Russia’s aggression. Russia has recently captured territory in the east, while Ukraine is running critically low on ammunition.

The legislation will be put before Parliament probably in May, after consultations with the public and with local authorities, ministers said

Read the full story here…

Lydia Patrick23 March 2024 17:00

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Virtual event series- Soldier relives time as a prisoner tortured by Russia in our exclusive event

A Briton, tortured by Russia while a prisoner of war (POW), called for immediate help from the US to save Ukraine during the latest virtual event from The Independent.

Shaun Pinner, a veteran of numerous tours with the British army, pointed out the impossible situation facing Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy and the country’s military leadership. “They’re talking about calling up half a million more [conscripts]. But what’s the point without any ammunition? They need help now.”

Answering questions from viewers during our exclusive event on 21 March, hosted by Tim White, the soldier also recounted his time being held in occupied Donetsk after being forced to surrender in Mariupol in 2022.

Read the full story here…

Lydia Patrick23 March 2024 18:00


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