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Ihor Kolomoisky, one of the richest individuals in the nation, is among the high-profile targets of a new wave of anti-corruption operations by the Ukrainian government. As part of the sweep, the residence of the former interior minister Arsen Avakov was also searched.

Officials in Ukraine announced that the heads of the customs agency had been sacked as part of an anti-corruption campaign. Ukraine would change during the war, according to the leader of President Volodymyr Zelensky’s party in parliament.

Ukraine is under increased pressure to fight corruption from its Western allies, particularly the EU. In 2019, Mr. Zelensky declared the battle against corruption to be one of his top goals.

This week, Kyiv will host a conference with top EU officials. Ukraine views this meeting as crucial to its efforts to join the 27-member union. Four months after Russia’s invasion, Kyiv was given EU candidate status; nonetheless, it was pushed to do more to combat corruption.

As part of the purge last week, ten prominent Ukrainian leaders, including Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy head of office for Mr. Zelensky, resigned.

Regional governors and a number of deputy ministers were also forced out. Mr Zelensky said at the time that any internal problems that hindered the state would be cleaned up to help Ukraine’s “rapprochement with European institutions”.

In 2014, the businessman assumed control of the larger Dnipropetrovsk area and was instrumental in providing funds for volunteer battalions in response to Russia’s initial annexation of eastern Ukraine.

However, the US imposed sanctions on him because to allegations of “serious corruption” committed while he was governor. He has said he did nothing wrong.

Mr. Kolomoisky is a successful businessman who works in the banking, energy, and media industries in Ukraine. Before endorsing the former actor’s presidential campaign, his TV network gave Mr. Zelensky his big break with the comedy series Servant of the People.

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A day after the US and Germany promised to provide tanks to support Kyiv in its fight against the invasion, Russia unleashed a barrage of missiles at Ukraine on Thursday.

According to the state’s emergency agency, 35 structures were hit across multiple locations, resulting in 11 fatalities and 11 injuries. It was noted that the Kyiv region had sustained the worst damage to residential buildings.

Additionally, two energy facilities in the Odesa region were struck, according to officials. Following the UK’s promise to send Challenger 2 battle tanks, the barrage occurred as Russia claimed it perceived the new military support as “direct” Western involvement in the conflict.

According to the commander of the Ukrainian army, Moscow launched 55 air and sea-based missiles in what was a protracted and extensive attack.

Following weeks of international pressure, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz committed to give Ukraine 14 Leopard 2 tanks the day before. They are frequently regarded as some of the best battle tanks on the market.

It’s anticipated that the heavy weapons will show up in late March or early April. Following this announcement, President Joe Biden overturned long-standing Pentagon claims that the US would not send 31 M1 Abrams battle tanks to the Ukrainian battlefield.

Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, welcomed the action but urged for the tanks to arrive quickly. He also urged the West to send fighter jets and long-range missiles.

But for tanks to be “game-changer”, 300 to 400 of them would be needed, an adviser to Ukraine’s defence minister told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

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According to Anna Baerbock, the foreign minister of Germany, if Poland decided to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, she “would not stand in their way.” Ukraine has requested German-made tanks from the West, claiming that doing so will help them beat Russia.

However, Germany has not yet sent the armoured vehicles, and other nations are unable to send their own due to its export regulations. On Sunday, Ms. Baerbock stated that Poland had not yet requested authorization for exports.

She said on Sunday to France’s LCI TV, “For the time being, the question has not been raised, but if we were asked, we would not stand in the way. Mateusz Morawiecki, the prime minister of Poland, announced on Monday that Berlin would be asked for permission. But he said Poland would send the tanks to Ukraine, even if it was not granted.

“Even if, ultimately we did not get this consent, within the framework of a small coalition….we will still hand over our tanks, together with others, to Ukraine,” Mr Morawiecki said.

A representative for the German government stated that no requests to authorise the delivery of the Leopard 2 tanks on Monday had yet been received. Mr. Morawiecki declared last week that his nation was prepared to send 14 Leopard 2 tanks to Kiev.

Marcin Przydacz, the foreign policy adviser to the Polish president, stated on Monday that while he welcomed Ms. Baerbock’s remarks, he would prefer to hear Chancellor Olaf Scholz reaffirm Germany’s position. Warsaw, however, ultimately desires that Berlin and NATO partners also send their own Leopard tanks, as government officials acknowledge that 14 tanks will only make a minor effect on Ukraine’s ability to fight.

The Russian T-90 tanks that are being utilised in the invasion were targeted for competition by the Leopard 2 tanks. There are believed to be more than 2,000 of them worldwide and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said about 300 of them would help ensure a Russian defeat.

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The three key members of Ukraine’s interior ministry perished in a helicopter accident next to a nursery in an eastern Kyiv suburb. Along with his first deputy minister and state secretary, 42-year-old interior minister Denys Monastyrsky also passed away.

Around 08:30 local time (06:30 GMT), the helicopter crashed in Brovary, killing 14 people, including one kid, according to officials. No evidence exists that the collision was anything other than an accident.

However, the SBU state security service claimed that it was investigating a number of crash-related scenarios, including sabotage, a technical issue, or a violation of the flight regulations.

The State Emergency Service first reported that up to 18 persons may have died in the disaster, but later changed its estimate to 14 fatalities. The most prominent Ukrainian victim since the war began is Mr. Monastyrsky, who served as one of President Volodymyr Zelensky’s political aides for the longest period of time.

The minister was en route to a “hot spot” for conflict when his chopper crashed, according to Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential office. The ministerial delegation was its route to meet him in Kharkiv, according to Volodymyr Tymoshko, the city’s police chief, who said he had only spoken to them yesterday.

The minister’s death cuts to the heart of the government in Kyiv as the interior ministry has the vital task of maintaining security and running the police during the war.

The interior minister, 42, was a well-known official in President Volodymy Zelensky’s government.

Throughout the conflict, he served as a recognisable face for Ukrainians, keeping them informed of the deaths brought on by Russian missile strikes when the country was invaded in February 2022.

Six ministry employees and three crew members, according to Ukrainian officials, were on board the chopper.

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Oleksiy Arestovych, a presidential adviser for Ukraine, has submitted his resignation after alleging that Kiev shot down a Russian missile that struck a building in Dnipro and killed 44 people.

Mr. Arestovych expressed regret and admitted to having made a “basic error.” The original comment incited intense resentment throughout the nation, and Russian officials used it as an excuse to accuse Ukraine.

The adviser is well-known due to his regular YouTube updates, which are viewed by millions of people. Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, has yet to respond to Mr. Arestovych’s resignation.

Mr. Arestovych initially stated that it looked that the Russian missile had fallen on the structure after being shot down by Ukrainian air defences hours after Saturday’s missile strike on an apartment building in Dnipro. The structure was allegedly struck by a Russian Kh-22 missile, which Ukraine claimed was exceedingly inaccurate and beyond its ability to shoot down.

When Mr. Arestovych made his original remarks, the Ukrainian public responded strongly, with some claiming he had strengthened the position of Russian propagandists. A petition advocating for Mr. Arestovych’s dismissal as a government official was signed by certain Ukrainian lawmakers. Later, he published a statement announcing his retirement and admitting that he had committed a “fundamental error.”

“I offer my sincere apologies to the victims and their relatives, the residents of Dnipro and everyone who was deeply hurt by my prematurely erroneous version of the reason for the Russian missile striking a residential building,” he wrote in a longer post on Telegram.

One of the war’s most well-known Ukrainian faces is Mr. Arestovych, who regularly holds debates on the conflict on his YouTube channel. His videos frequently receive more than 200,000 views, and the channel has more than 1.6 million subscribers. He speaks in Russian instead of Ukrainian, which is unusual for Ukrainian officials.

Before he offered to leave, Russian authorities had used his words to attribute the strike to Kiev.

Russian attacks “do not damage residential buildings,” according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, who also claimed that “certain officials of the Ukrainian side” had come to the same conclusion.

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Nika Selivanova, 13, formed a heart shape with her hands as she waved goodbye to her closest friend Inna, who was leaning against the glass wall separating the waiting room from the entry hall of Kherson’s train station.

They had just hugged while their eyes were filling with tears. Asia, a tan dachshund puppy carried by Nika in her arms and covered in a warm blanket, had received a kiss from Inna. When they might meet one another again was unknown to the females.

The family of Nika was evacuating Kherson while unsure of their ultimate destination. For the time being, they were travelling to Khmelnytskyi in western Ukraine in the hopes that they would find assistance there. The past few days in Kherson had simply been too much for Nika’s mother Elena.

“Before, they [Russian forces] shelled us seven to 10 times a day, now it’s 70-80 times, all day long. It’s too scary.” Elena said. “I love Ukraine and my dear city. But we have to go.”

More than 400 people, including Elena and her three daughters, have evacuated Kherson since Christmas Day as a result of a substantial escalation in the Russian military’s bombardment of the city.

A hospital’s maternity ward was shelled on Tuesday. Although nobody was wounded, the situation has increased people’s concern. In an evacuation made possible by the Ukrainian authorities, Elena departed via train. A line of automobiles containing horrified bystanders is forming at the checkpoint leading out of Kherson while hundreds of individuals leave on their own.

We approached Iryna Antonenko’s car to speak with her, but she was in tears. We are at our breaking point. The shelling is really heavy. We believed it would last the entire time we were here.

The gateway to Crimea, or Kherson, is a strategically significant area. Many commentators claim that Russia has now been compelled to take a defensive stance in this situation.

It’s difficult to understand what it wants to achieve by pummeling Kherson. In addition to mortar shells, we have also witnessed the employment of incendiary weapons, which shower down burning sparks on the city in an effort to ignite objectives.

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According to the local leader established by Russia, tens of thousands of citizens and Russian-appointed officials are being evacuated from the southern Ukrainian region of Kherson ahead of an invasion by Ukraine. All Russian-appointed agencies and ministries, according to Vladimir Saldo, would cross the Dnieper River.

He had stated that between 50 and 60,000 civilians would also depart in a “organised, progressive relocation.” Residents are being urged by Ukraine to disregard the Russian action. The regional administrator of Kherson claimed that Russia wants to kidnap residents and use them as human shields. A war crime is regarded to be the transfer or deportation of civilians from an occupied territory by an occupying power.

Vladimir Putin of Russia announced in a separate development that he had signed an order imposing martial law on four regions of Ukraine, including Kherson, which Moscow annexed last month in a move that was deemed unlawful by the international community.

He explained to Russia’s Security Council that it would allow local officials more authority to uphold social order and protect crucial infrastructure.

Text messages advising Kherson residents to leave right away in order to avoid Ukrainian military shelling residential areas began to arrive on Tuesday night.

Transport across the Dnipro River would be accessible beginning at 7:00 on Wednesday, according to the texts.

One resident told the BBC, requesting anonymity, “They are told to flee because the nasty Ukrainians are going to shell the city.”

“People are panicking because of propaganda.”

Russian TV footage on Wednesday showed a number of people gathering near the west bank of the Dnieper. As they queued for boats, it was not clear how many were leaving.

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According to the president of the nation, Ukrainian forces are continuing their counteroffensive and have taken additional Russian land. According to Volodymyr Zelensky, forces have now liberated more than 6,000 sq km (2,317 sq miles) of territory in the east and south from Russian rule in September.

Some military experts believe that Russia’s admission that it lost important cities in the Kharkiv region of eastern Ukraine could be a turning point in the war. Moscow refers to its recent troop pullout from the area as a “regrouping” with the intention of concentrating on the Luhansk and Donetsk areas in eastern Ukraine. Even in Russia, where many social media users have mocked the idea, the purported pullout has been called “shameful.”

Later on Monday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that the counter-offensive by Ukrainian forces had made “substantial progress,” but cautioned that it was still too early to determine the outcome.

According to Mr. Blinken, “The Russians continue to utilise extremely considerable forces, as well as equipment, ammunition, and munitions, against not just the Ukrainian armed forces, but also against civilians and civilian infrastructure.

On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin gave the order to invade Ukraine completely. About a fifth of the country is still under Russian control. In his late-night video message on Monday, President Zelensky stated: “Our fighters have already liberated more than 6,000 sq km of the territory of Ukraine from the beginning of September till today.

The counteroffensive seems to have started quickly. President Zelensky claimed on Thursday that Ukrainian forces had retaken 1,000 square kilometres, but by Sunday, that claim had increased to 3,000 square kilometres.

Several Ukrainian brigades that participated in the counteroffensive were thanked by Mr. Zelensky, who called their soldiers “real heroes.” He withheld the names of the liberated Ukrainian towns and villages.

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According to Russia’s top occupation official there, Ukrainian forces outnumbered Russian ones eight to one during the counterattack last week in the Kharkiv region.  According to Vitaly Ganchev, who appeared on Russian television, the Ukrainian army had taken settlements in the north and reached the Russian border.

In a potential turning point in the six-month war, Ukraine claims to have reclaimed control over 3,000 sq km (1,158 sq miles) of land. The Ukrainian army claims that during its ongoing counteroffensive in the country’s northeast, 20 villages have been retaken in the last 24 hours alone.

Additionally, it said that its troops had taken control of almost 500 square kilometres in the southern Kherson region of the nation.

The success of the Ukrainian army, according to UK defence sources, will have “major ramifications” for Russia’s broader military strategy.

However, Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Kremlin, remained unfazed and declared that operations in Ukraine will continue “until all the tasks that were initially established” had been accomplished. He continued that President Vladimir Putin was regularly informed of the most recent events.

Russia said that its soldiers were conducting strikes in the recent retaken Ukrainian territory. This included the Izyum and Kupiansk targets that Ukraine captured on Saturday. Russia declared that its troops had left both towns and that this would give them time to “regroup.”

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After the Russian embassy in the UK tweeted that Ukrainian soldiers from the Azov battalion deserved to die a “humiliating death” by hanging, Ukraine branded Russia a “terrorist state.” The post from the embassy occurred after more than 50 Ukrainian prisoners of war (POWs) detained by Russia died, purportedly including Azov soldiers.

They perished in an assault on the Russian-controlled Olenivka prison in eastern Ukraine. Russia and Ukraine each lay blame for the attack that killed the detainees. The message from the Russian Embassy in the UK was left up by Twitter since it violated their anti-hate standards, but it was not taken down. Along with the Ukrainian government, a sizable number of Twitter users condemned the remark. According to Twitter, keeping the post accessible might be in the public interest.

The self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic, which has Russian support, is in charge of the Olenivka prison camp (DNR). Unknown is what occurred there on Friday. Unconfirmed Russian video footage from the scene depicts a jumble of demolished bunk beds and severely burned victims.

The Russian embassy in the UK tweeted during the incident that Azov “Since militants aren’t actual troops, they should be hanged rather than put to death by firing squad. They should be executed in humiliation “. The tweet includes a video clip of a couple in a destroyed structure claiming that Azov forces shelled their house. The individual in the video repeats what is stated in the embassy’s call for execution.

The attack, according to Russia’s defence ministry, was carried out with US-produced Himars artillery, and Ukraine was charged with having “deliberately perpetrated” the provocation. The ministry displayed pieces of what it claimed to be Himars system rockets.

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