UK News

Russia-Ukraine war at a glance: what we know on day 397 of the invasion

  • Volodymyr Zelenskiy has urged all Ukrainians to remain engaged with developments in the war, even though fighting has largely been concentrated in the east. “Now, just as it was a year ago, one cannot be mentally far from the war, although thanks to our soldiers, real hostilities are taking place geographically far from many,” said the Ukrainian president in his nightly address.

  • Zelenskiy said he had been holding high-level meetings with the security sector, intelligence and defence discussing reinforcements and “preparing respective steps”. Meanwhile, “we received €1.5bn in macro-financial assistance from the European Union – the funds are already in the national bank’s accounts”.

  • Zelenskiy said the Croatian government had adopted a programme to treat wounded Ukrainian soldiers.

  • Heavy Russian shelling is turning the Ukrainian town of Avdiivka into a “place from post-apocalyptic movies”, according to the city’s military administration head, Vitaliy Barabash. Reuters reported about 2,000 civilians were left in the city that Ukrainian forces said last week could become a “second Bakhmut”.

  • The number of Russian troops in Belarus has decreased to about 4,000, according to Ukraine. Andriy Demchenko, spokesperson for the State Border Guard Service, said there had been 10,000 in January. The majority of those remaining were training, with the rest transferred back to Russia.

  • Nato has criticised Russia for its “dangerous and irresponsible” nuclear rhetoric after Vladimir Putin said Russia would station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus.

  • Ukraine has reacted to Russia’s plans for Belarus by calling for an emergency meeting of the UN security council. Kyiv’s foreign ministry said it was “another provocative step” by Moscow that undermined “the international security system as a whole”. Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s national security and defence council, said the Kremlin had taken Belarus as a “nuclear hostage”. Ukrainian presidential aide Mykhaylo Podolyak accused Putin of violating the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and resorting to scare tactics.

  • Josep Borrell, the EU foreign policy chief, has cautioned Belarus against hosting Russian nuclear weapons. “Belarus hosting Russian nuclear weapons would mean an irresponsible escalation and threat to European security. Belarus can still stop it, it is their choice. The EU stands ready to respond with further sanctions.”

  • The US national security council spokesperson, John Kirby, said on Sunday: “We have not seen any indication that he [Putin] has made good on this pledge or moved any nuclear weapons around.”

  • Three people were reported injured and three residential buildings were damaged after an explosion in the town of Kireyevsk in Russia’s Tula region. Local law enforcement attributed the blast to a Ukrainian Tu-141 Strizh UAV drone “packed with explosives”. None of the people hurt in the blast were believed to have suffered life-threatening injuries, Reuters reported, citing Russian news agencies.

  • Russia and China are not creating a military alliance, Putin has said in a televised interview broadcast. Putin said the two countries’ military cooperation was transparent, news agencies reported.

  • The UK Ministry of Defence says that since the start of March 2023, Russia is likely to have launched at least 71 Iranian-designed Shahed series one-way attack uncrewed aerial vehicle (OWA-UAVS) against targets across Ukraine. It says Russia is likely launching Shaheds from two axes: Krasnodar Krai in the east and Bryansk oblast in the north-east, both inside Russia.

  • Ukraine will no longer resort to “dangerous” monetary financing to fund the war against Russia, its central bank governor, Andriy Pyshnyi, has told the Financial Times.

  • Ukrainian refugees are increasingly being targeted for sexual exploitation with an increase in interest in pornography claiming to feature them, according to research by Thomson Reuters.

  • Ukraine’s deputy minister of defence, Hanna Maliar, went on Facebook to urge Ukrainians not to openly discuss details about the upcoming offensive. “On live broadcasts, don’t ask experts questions [in the vein of] ‘how is the counter-offensive going?’, don’t write blogs or posts on this topic, and don’t discuss military plans of our army publicly at all. We have one strategic plan – to liberate all our territories. And as for the details – that’s simply a military secret.”

  • The head of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency will visit Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant next week to assess the serious security situation there, the IAEA has said. Rafael Grossi said the nuclear safety and security dangers at the Russian-held plant were “all too obvious”.


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