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An explosion at a significant gas export terminal near St Petersburg in Russia has reportedly been orchestrated by Ukrainian drones, as informed by sources to BBC News. The incident, which caused a large fire at the Ust-Luga terminal, resulted in no injuries according to Russian officials. Ukrainian sources from Kyiv claim that the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) conducted a “special operation” using targeted drones. Both Russia and Ukraine have utilized drones in the ongoing conflict.

The full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russia began nearly two years ago, with limited progress reported in recent months. The explosion near St Petersburg occurred at the Ust-Luga terminal of gas producer Novatek, prompting a “high alert regime” in the region. Novatek suspended operations at the terminal, attributing the fire to “external influence” without providing specific details.

According to Ukrainian sources, the fuel processed at the attacked plant supplied Russian troops in the ongoing conflict, and this strike is said to significantly complicate military logistics. The attack is also characterized as an economic blow to Russia, a major fuel exporter from the terminal.

Reports from Russia’s include video footage of tankers near the fire, revealing that two drones were observed heading towards St Petersburg before altering their course towards the Ust-Luga port. Witnesses reported feeling the ground shake with explosions, and about 150 staff were evacuated from the terminal.

The Russian defence ministry stated it shot down three Ukrainian drones in the Smolensk Region near the Ukrainian border on Saturday night, following earlier reports of downed drones in Tula and Oryol in western Russia. No casualties were reported.

Additionally, on the same day, a shelling incident in the Russian-controlled city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine resulted in at least 25 deaths and 20 injuries at a busy market. Russia and Ukraine have been targeting each other’s energy infrastructure, with a recent fire at an oil depot in Bryansk, southwest Russia, blamed on a Ukrainian drone strike. This follows an attack on a major oil loading terminal in St Petersburg and Russia’s claim of capturing a village near Bakhmut, which Kyiv has not confirmed. Ukraine, facing ammunition shortages, has expressed intentions to domestically produce a million drones this year.

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Dozens of people were injured in a series of missile strikes on the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, overnight, with 53 people, including six children, harmed, according to Mayor Vitali Klitschko. The attacks occurred after President Volodymyr Zelensky’s plea for increased military aid in the US yielded little progress. Ten Russian ballistic missiles were reportedly shot down, damaging kindergarten and hospital buildings. Zelensky, who left the US prior to the strikes, vowed a response and criticized Russia for targeting residential areas. The EU is set to discuss further aid for Ukraine, and Zelensky arrived in Norway for additional support talks.

The attack on Kyiv followed the use of cruise missiles by Russia, ending a 79-day hiatus in missile attacks. Ukraine’s air force claimed to have intercepted all 10 incoming missiles. The projectiles were identified as Iskander-M ballistic missiles and S-400s, designed for air defense but also used against ground targets. A major cyberattack on Ukraine’s largest mobile network operator, Kyivstar, disrupted operations, impacting millions of people relying on air raid alerts. Additionally, the port city of Odesa faced drone attacks, causing injuries and damage.

Zelensky’s efforts to secure more military aid in the US faced challenges, with President Joe Biden warning Republicans about giving Russia a “Christmas gift” if aid was not increased. Zelensky and Biden agreed to enhance air defense systems for Ukraine. Meanwhile, a summit of European leaders discussed Ukraine’s potential accession to the EU, but Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban opposed opening accession talks, emphasizing the need for support without full membership.

Hungary has previously clashed with EU partners over its stance on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stressed Ukraine’s fight as crucial for Europe and urged support for its inclusion in the European family.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has emphasized the urgent need to strengthen defenses along the front line following meetings with commanders in key areas of tension in the south and east. Russian forces are attempting to encircle the eastern town of Avdiivka, targeting southern regions like Kherson and Zaporizhzhia. President Zelensky, in his nightly address, highlighted the importance of accelerating the construction of structures in sectors requiring reinforcement. Despite Ukraine’s air force claiming success in downing 18 out of 25 Russian drones and one cruise missile, the situation remains challenging, especially with temperatures dropping below freezing.

Zelensky acknowledged that winter introduces a new phase of the war, and he pledged “maximum attention” to eastern towns under fire, the Donetsk region, and the defensive line in the north-east. Concerns are rising about the possibility of a “frozen” conflict despite ongoing fierce fighting. The failure of Ukraine’s counter-offensive since the summer to achieve desired gains has raised questions about frontline morale. The military reported repelling 20 attacks near Avdiivka, which is almost encircled by Russian forces. The town’s industrial hub faces threats, with Russian forces aiming to seize a nearby coke plant.

In the south-east, Russian forces are attempting to regain lost areas around Robotyne, but Ukrainian officials claim to maintain positions on the east bank of the River Dnipro. Zelensky expressed dissatisfaction with casualties and the insufficient supply of weapons. Despite facing challenges, Ukrainian forces managed to regain control of the village of Krynky after crossing the Dnipro, facing relentless Russian attacks. Russia’s defense ministry reported repelling a Ukrainian naval attack on occupied Crimea via the Black Sea, while parts of the peninsula were placed under a state of emergency due to storm-related deaths.

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Kyiv experienced its most significant drone attack since the onset of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, according to the city’s mayor. The assault, consisting of over 75 Iranian-made Shahed drones, targeted the capital from the north and east. Despite the city’s air defenses successfully intercepting 74 drones, explosions and the sound of air defenses echoed through Kyiv for more than six hours. The Shahed drones, viewed as a cost-effective alternative to Russia’s diminishing missile stocks, are slower but distinctive due to their wingspan.

The attack caused damage to buildings, including a kindergarten, and left at least five people injured, including an 11-year-old child. Fortunately, there were no reported fatalities. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky denounced the strikes as an intentional act of terror, vowing to continue uniting the world against Russian aggression. The assault coincided with Ukraine’s commemoration of the 1932-1933 Holodomor famine, adding symbolic weight to the event.

The possibility of Russia targeting Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, a tactic used in the past, materialized as 16,000 homes in central Kyiv lost power. While Moscow’s previous attempts to deprive Ukrainians of essential resources failed, causing authorities to rapidly repair damaged infrastructure, the impact of such strikes remains significant. Despite ongoing improvements in Ukraine’s air defenses, attacks like these continue to cause destruction, instill fear, and disrupt the lives of its residents.

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Following a drone attack on the Belgorod region of Russia, three people have lost their lives. This incident occurred shortly after another drone struck central Moscow. Russian authorities have attributed the attack on Belgorod to Kyiv and Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov implicated Ukrainian forces, alleging that they deployed an explosive device via a drone while people were present on the streets. However, Kyiv has not taken responsibility for either of the incidents, which is in line with its usual practice of refraining from commenting on attacks within Russia.

In response to the initial drone strike in Belgorod that resulted in three fatalities, the Russian Defence Ministry reported the destruction of a second drone in the region. Drones were also noted in Moscow, with one hitting a building under construction, according to Mayor Sergei Sobyanin. The Russian defence ministry stated that air defenses successfully downed two drones in the Mozhaisk and Khimki districts of the Moscow region, with no reported casualties.

In the wake of the drone attack in the capital, all flights to and from Moscow’s airports were temporarily suspended on Wednesday, although they were later resumed. This suspension marked a recurrent response to a series of recent drone attacks targeting the capital. Notably, this event represented the sixth consecutive night of aerial assaults on the Moscow region.

The drone responsible for striking the under-construction building in the Moscow city complex was reportedly neutralized by electronic warfare systems. Subsequently, it lost control and collided with the building, leading to damage. Emergency services were dispatched to assess the situation and address the damages caused.

The US State Department responded to reports of the downed drones, asserting that the US does not endorse drone attacks in Russia. American officials emphasized that it is Ukraine’s prerogative to determine its defense strategy and urged Russia to conclude the conflict by withdrawing its forces from Ukraine. Incidences of alleged drone strikes inside Russian territory have grown increasingly frequent in recent months.

The Russian defence ministry indicated that it had intercepted two drones over the Moscow region on Tuesday, and two additional drones were reportedly thwarted over the Bryansk region near the Ukrainian border. Furthermore, Russian authorities claimed that a Ukrainian reconnaissance boat in the Black Sea was destroyed by a Russian warplane after approaching Russian gas production facilities. Although Ukraine did not claim responsibility for the drone incursions on Tuesday, President Volodymyr Zelensky has previously characterized attacks on Russian territory as an “inevitable, natural, and entirely justifiable process.”

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Moscow’s Mayor Sergei Sobyanin has reported a second drone attack on a skyscraper in the city’s Moskva City complex within two days. Multiple drones were shot down during the overnight incident, but one managed to hit the same tower that was targeted on Sunday. The attack caused damage to the building’s glass facade, but fortunately, no injuries have been reported.

Russia’s defense ministry has attributed the latest attack to Ukraine, although Kyiv has not made any official comments on the matter. The tensions have escalated further, as Russia also claimed that three Ukrainian unmanned boats were destroyed while attempting to attack Russian naval ships in the Black Sea.

The IQ-Quarter Tower 1 building suffered over 150 sq m of destroyed glazing during the drone attack. Additionally, two more Ukrainian drones were reportedly shot down by anti-aircraft systems in other parts of the Moscow region, with Russia’s defense ministry claiming to have thwarted a “terrorist attack” from Ukraine.

This incident adds to the growing accusations by Moscow, alleging that Ukraine has been conducting drone strikes on Russian territory in recent months. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has not claimed responsibility for specific attacks but has expressed that such actions on Russian territory are seen as an “inevitable, natural, and absolutely fair process.”

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has been ongoing since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. In the wake of these recent incidents, there have been casualties and damages on both sides, further escalating the tensions in the region.

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The Russian defense ministry claims to have successfully thwarted a major Ukrainian offensive in the Donetsk region. According to Russia, they have killed 250 Ukrainian troops and destroyed armored vehicles.

However, these claims have not been verified, and Ukraine’s military has accused Russia of spreading disinformation. While a Ukrainian counter-offensive has been anticipated, Ukraine has stated that it will not provide advance notice of its commencement. Reports of increased military activity suggest that the expected Ukrainian offensive might be underway.

Russia alleges that Ukraine launched a large-scale offensive using mechanized and tank battalions but failed to achieve its objectives. The authenticity of the video showing military vehicles under fire remains unverified. Ukraine has been preparing for a counter-offensive for months, seeking training and military equipment from Western allies. The start of the offensive will not be publicly announced to maintain secrecy.

However, it will take time for Ukraine to achieve its goal of regaining territory taken by Russia years ago. Ukraine’s ground forces commander has reported progress in their advance, while anti-government fighters claim to have captured Russian soldiers near the Ukrainian border. Russia has blamed Ukraine for recent attacks in its border areas, but Kyiv denies direct involvement. Drone attacks have been reported in Russia’s Belgorod region and the Kaluga region, near Moscow.

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A tragic incident occurred in Dnipro, Ukraine, where a two-year-old girl was killed and 22 people were injured in an alleged Russian air strike. The governor of the region, Serhiy Lysak, confirmed that among the injured were five children, three of whom were in serious condition. President Volodymyr Zelensky blamed Russia for the attack, although the Kremlin had not yet commented on the events.

Explosions were also reported in the capital city of Kyiv, where air defense systems were deployed. The entire country had been under air raid alerts. Fires broke out in a northern district of Dnipro following the alleged strike, and 17 of the injured were taken to the hospital. Reports of explosions were received from various parts of the country, including Kyiv, Sumy, Berdyansk, Melitopol, and Kropyvnitsky.

In Russia, officials claimed that two more people were killed in fresh attacks in the border region of Belgorod and blamed Ukraine for the incidents. However, Ukraine maintained that the deaths were a result of Russia’s attempt to target anti-government fighters. There have been recent incidents in the region, including a cross-border incursion, which Russia claimed resulted in the deaths of 70 attackers. Kyiv denied direct involvement and stated that Russian paramilitaries were responsible.

Regarding a potential counter-offensive against occupying Russian soldiers, a close aide of President Zelensky, Dr. Ihor Zhovkva, stated that Ukraine was not yet ready due to a lack of weaponry and ammunition. This statement appeared contradictory to President Zelensky’s previous comment indicating Ukraine’s readiness to initiate the maneuver. The inconsistent comments from Ukrainian officials may have been an intentional tactic to confuse Moscow.

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In a recent nighttime missile attack on Kyiv, three individuals, including an 11-year-old girl, lost their lives, according to regional police. The ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia has resulted in frequent missile and drone strikes targeting the Ukrainian capital.

The latest attack occurred in the Desnyanskyi and Dniprovskyi districts, leaving 11 others injured. The victims also included a 33-year-old woman and the girl’s 34-year-old mother. Initial reports suggested two children had died, but the information was later updated.

This marks the fourth attack this week, following a series of 17 strikes on Kyiv throughout May, mostly during nighttime. Photos shared by military authorities revealed rescue teams tending to the wounded and damaged buildings. In the occupied Luhansk region, Russian-backed officials claimed five deaths and 19 injuries from Ukrainian shelling at a poultry farm.

Additionally, the governor of the Russian region of Belgorod, bordering Ukraine, stated that two individuals were injured in an attack on Shebekino, which he attributed to Ukrainian troops.

Russia has been employing kamikaze drones, cruise missiles, and ballistic missiles in recent weeks to target Ukraine, with Kyiv being a primary focus. Analysts believe that Moscow aims to weaken Ukraine’s air defenses ahead of an anticipated counter-offensive planned by the Ukrainian government.

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Russia has conducted a large-scale drone attack on the capital of Ukraine, Kyiv. According to reports, 54 kamikaze drones were launched by Russia, out of which 52 were shot down by Ukraine’s Air Force. The attack resulted in the death of one person and injury to a woman when drone wreckage fell near a petrol station. Several high-rise buildings in different districts of Kyiv caught fire due to falling drone fragments, and warehouses in the Holosiyivsky district were also set ablaze.

Kyiv residents described their experiences during the attack, with one person mentioning being woken up by a drone flying close to her window and witnessing a series of bright flashes followed by loud explosions. Despite the terrifying situation, many residents expressed gratitude for the air defense and rescue services and emphasized the importance of cherishing every moment of life.

Some officials accused Russia of intentionally targeting Kyiv, particularly as the city was preparing to celebrate Kyiv Day. The attacks by Russia have been escalating, using kamikaze drones, cruise missiles, and ballistic missiles. Ukraine has been preparing for a counter-offensive, and one of its senior security officials stated that the country was ready to launch such an operation.

Both Russia and Ukraine have been engaging in drone attacks, with Russia targeting critical infrastructure and military targets. Ukraine has been retaliating by targeting key locations in the occupied regions of southeastern Ukraine. The frequency of military exchanges between both sides has been increasing as Ukraine prepares for its counter-offensive.

Russia’s ambassador to the UK warned about the escalation of the war, emphasizing that the supply of weapons to Ukraine could further escalate the conflict beyond the current levels. He expressed Russia’s desire to avoid such a scenario.

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