Russia attacks Ukraine with 48 drones
Russia launched a major drone attack on southern, central and eastern Ukrainian regions, damaging privately-owned and commercial buildings as well as infrastructure, Kyiv officials said yesterday.
Air defences shot down 41 of 48 Russian drones launched from Russia's western Kursk region and the occupied peninsula of Crimea seized by Moscow in 2014, the air force said. Only Iranian-made "Shahed" drones were used for the attack, it said.
Drone attacks have happened almost nightly for weeks and the latest strike was the largest one so far this month.
The Ukrainian President's office said people's homes and commercial buildings were damaged by drone debris in various regions.
Unspecified infrastructure facilities in several regions and a natural gas pipe in the northeast Kharkiv region were damaged, it said in a statement.
There were no immediate reports of casualties.
DTEK, Ukraine's largest private energy producer, said one of its thermal power stations located in a frontline region in the east was shelled for the sixth time this month.
It said on Telegram messenger that heating to residents was disrupted but did not give a specific number of people affected. Temperatures in Ukraine are well below zero Celsius.
As a second winter of war sets in, Ukrainians fear that Russia plans to target its energy system.
Meanwhile, the United States imposed fresh Russia-related sanctions on Tuesday, targeting a defense procurement network consisting of people and entities in Belgium, Sweden and Hong Kong, among other places, as Washington cracks down on Moscow's evasion of Western sanctions imposed over the war in Ukraine.
The US Treasury Department said in a statement the network, led by Belgium-based Hans De Geetere, is involved in procuring electronics with military applications for Russian end users. It said the network consists of nine entities and five people based in Russia, Belgium, Cyprus, Sweden, Hong Kong and the Netherlands.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was due to join a video summit later yesterday with the leaders of the G7, chair Japan said, hours after unexpectedly skipping a virtual meeting with US senators.
Almost two years after Russia's invasion, signs are growing that Western support for Ukraine is fraying just as a counteroffensive struggles and as President Vladimir Putin's oil revenues rebound.
The meeting hosted by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will see Zelensky "join the first part", government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters.
Besides Ukraine, the talks will cover the Middle East, support for developing countries, and artificial intelligence, a White House official said.
Zelensky unexpectedly cancelled a planned videolink appearance with US senators on Tuesday in which he was to have appealed for continued funding.
He had been expected to press them to support a procedural vote on an emergency aid package that includes more than $60 billion for Kyiv.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced that Zelensky had been prevented from taking part by a "last minute" hiccup, but he pressed ahead with the briefing anyway -- only for the proceedings to turn into a war of words.