Russia-Ukraine war live: Russia launches fresh drone attack on Ukraine | World news

The Crocus City Hall attackers attempted to flee to Belarus, according to Alexander Lukashenko.

The Belarus president’s comments, reported by Belarus news agency Belta, undermine Moscow’s narrative that Ukraine was involved in the attack and the terrorists tried to flee there.

Islamic State has said several times that it was responsible for Friday’s terror attack on the venue in Moscow, and IS-affiliated media channels have published graphic videos of the gunmen. While Vladimir Putin has acknowledged that radical Islamists carried out the attack, he has continued to suggest Ukraine played a role.

“They could not enter Belarus. Their handlers… knew that it would be a very bad idea to try to enter Belarus, because Belarus immediately reinforced security measures,” Lukashenko said. He said Russia informed him of the attack minutes after it started and that he beefed up the country’s security in response.

“That’s why there was no chance they could enter Belarus. They realised it. So they took a turn and headed to the Ukraine-Russia border.”


Updated at 

Good morning and welcome to the blog. It has just passed 10am in Kyiv and 11am in Moscow.

Ukraine’s air force chief said on Wednesday that Russia launched 13 Shahed drones at Ukraine overnight, 10 of which were downed in Kharkiv, Sumy and Kyiv regions.

“Anti-aircraft missile units, mobile fire groups, electronic warfare equipment … were involved in repelling the air attack,” Mykola Oleshchuk said.

In other developments:

  • Ukraine’s navy claims it has sunk or disabled a third of all Russian warships in the Black Sea in just over two years of war. Dmytro Pletenchuk from the navy said the latest strike on Saturday night hit the Russian amphibious landing ship Kostiantyn Olshansky, which was resting in dock in Sevastopol in Russia-occupied Crimea. The ship was Ukrainian before being captured by Russia in 2014.

  • Pletenchuk previously announced that two other landing ships of the same type, Azov and Yamal, also were damaged in Saturday’s strike along with the Ivan Khurs intelligence ship. He said the weekend attack, using Ukraine-built Neptune missiles, also hit Sevastopol port facilities and an oil depot. “Our ultimate goal is complete absence of military ships of the so-called Russian Federation in the Azov and Black Sea regions,” Pletenchuk said.

  • Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has replaced the secretary of Ukraine’s national security council, Oleksiy Danilov, with Oleksandr Lytvynenko, 51, head of the foreign intelligence service. Danilov had been secretary of the council since October 2019. Zelenskiy said Danilov was being transferred to new duties, with details to be made public later. “The strengthening of Ukraine and the renewal of our state system in all sectors will continue.”

  • Ukraine has staged further air attacks on Belgorod, just over the border inside Russia. The regional governor, Vyacheslav Gladkov, reported damage on the ground and claimed air defence engaged 18 incoming targets.

  • Nato is considering shooting down Russian missiles that stray too close to its borders, Poland’s deputy foreign minister, Andrzej Szejna, has told Polish media outlet RMF24. “[Russia] knew that if the missile moved further into Poland, it would be shot down. There would be a counterattack.” Poland’s armed forces said Russia violated Poland’s airspace on Sunday morning with a cruise missile launched at targets in western Ukraine.

  • And away from the war there was some good news for Ukraine on the football pitch with their team qualifying for Euro 2024 following a 2-1 defeat of Iceland at a match played at Poland’s Wroclaw stadium on Tuesday night. As Jonathan Liew writes in our match report, for the thousands of Ukrainian fans who witnessed them qualifying for their first major tournament since the start of the conflict:

In times like these even to shout the name of Ukraine is to partake in a kind of resistance.

You can read his full report here.

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