Ukraine war briefing: ‘Russian terror’ as guided bombs hit Kharkiv | Ukraine

  • Ukraine downed 26 Russian drones over Wednesday night, Mykola Oleshchuk, the head of Ukraine’s air force, said on Thursday morning. “The enemy launched a missile air strike against Ukraine using three Kh-22 cruise missiles and an Kh-31P anti-radar missile (from the Black Sea), an S-300 anti-aircraft guided missile (Donetsk) and 28 attack UAVs of the Shahed-136/131 type. Twenty-six attack UAVs of the Shahed-136/131 type were destroyed within Odesa, Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk and Zaporizhzhia regions,” he said on Telegram, without providing details on the missile strikes.

  • Russia has bombed the north-eastern city of Kharkiv, killing at least one civilian and wounding 16 others, according to authorities. The airstrikes caused widespread damage, hitting several residential buildings and damaging the city’s institute for emergency surgery.

  • Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Ukraine’s president, condemned the attack as “Russian terror” and Volodymyr Tymoshko, head of the Kharkiv regional police, said Moscow might have used a new type of guided bomb, which he described as the UMPB D-30. “This is something between a guided aerial bomb which they [the Russians] have used recently, and a missile. It’s a flying bomb so to say.” The regional governor, Oleh Synehubov, said: “It seems that the Russians decided to test their modified bombs on the residents of the houses.”

  • After the attack on Kharkiv, Zelenskiy urged Ukraine’s allies to speed up deliveries of warplanes and air defence systems. “There are no rational explanations for why Patriots, which are plentiful around the world, are still not covering the skies of Kharkiv and other cities.”

  • Russian has formed a “Dnipro River flotilla” in occupied Kherson that is likely to be susceptible to attacks by Ukraine’s uncrewed surface vehicles (USVs), or drone boats, according to an intelligence update from the UK Ministry of Defence.

  • Vladimir Putin has reportedly told Russian military pilots that the supply of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine will not alter the situation on the battlefield. But they can carry nuclear weapons and Moscow would have to take account of that in its military planning, the Russian president was quoted as saying. Earlier on Wednesday, the Ukrainian foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, said the jets should arrive in Ukraine in the coming months.

  • A Ukrainian spy chief has hinted at a secretive assassination campaign “possibly” run by Ukraine’s SBU spy agency to take out Ukrainian citizens collaborating with Russia. In a televised interview with Ukraine’s national broadcaster ICTV, the head of the SBU, Vasyl Malyuk, said Ukrainian spies had targeted “very many” people responsible for war crimes and attacks against Ukrainian citizens. “Officially, we will not admit to this. But at the same time I can offer some details.”

  • Once intelligence had been confirmed, the SBU was sanctioned to carry out the assassinations by civilian authorities, Malyuk said. One high-profile target was Ukraine-born, pro-Russia propagandist Vladlen Tatarsky. He was killed in 2023 when he was handed an explosive-rigged statuette in a St Petersburg cafe. Malyuk said he was targeted for his military service fighting against Ukraine and his calls for the elimination of Ukrainians.

  • The SBU has detained two alleged agents of Russia’s intelligence agency accused of passing the location of sensitive military targets to enemy forces. “As a result of a special operation, two [Russian] FSB agents were detained in Kyiv and Odesa,” the SBU said in a statement. “Both criminals were detained red-handed while spying on potential targets for the occupiers.” One of the suspects photographed a thermal power station, ostensibly to help Russia with its bombardment of Ukrainian energy infrastructure. Both were charged with collaboration and face life in prison.

  • A Russian court has sentenced Lucy Shtein, a member of feminist group Pussy Riot and a former municipal deputy in Moscow, to six years in prison in absentia for anti-war social media posts, Reuters reported the court’s press service as saying on Wednesday. Shtein, 27, in March 2022 posted on Twitter accusing Russian soldiers of “bombing foreign cities and killing people”. Shtein fled house arrest in Moscow to live in Iceland soon after the invasion, and reportedly has Icelandic citizenship. At least 19,855 people have been detained in Russia for expressing anti-war views since the full-scale invasion, according to OVD-Info, a monitoring group.

  • Samsung has said it will stop supporting the Russian payment card Mir on its mobile payment service from 3 April – a result of anti-war sanctions. The US treasury has announced sanctions on Russia’s national payment card system, the central bank-owned entity that operates Mir.

  • The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, will discuss support for Ukraine during talks in Paris next week with the French president, Emmanuel Macron, the US state department has announced. After Paris, Blinken will head to Brussels for talks of Nato foreign ministers ahead of the alliance’s 75th anniversary summit in Washington in July. Blinken will also hold a three-way meeting in Brussels with EU leaders and the Armenian prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan, who wants to branch out from Armenia’s alliance with Russia.

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