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Ukraine-Russia war – live: Three children among seven killed as Russian drone strikes petrol station

At least seven people, including three children, have been killed overnight after a Russian drone hit a petrol station in the north-eastern city of Kharkiv.

The strike caused a massive fire that burned down 15 private houses, while 50 people were evacuated as emergency workers tackled the blaze.

It comes as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky sacked army chief Valeriy Zaluzhny and replaced him with Oleksandr Syrsky.

It follows days of speculation that Zelensky was considering dismissing Zaluzhny, who is seen by many Ukrainians as a national hero for overseeing the war effort since February 2022.

“We discussed what renewal the Armed Forces of Ukraine need. We also discussed who could be in the renewed leadership of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The time for this renewal is now,” Zelensky’s statement said on Telegram.

In other developments, Ukrainian troops have shot down a Russian attack helicopter in eastern Ukraine near the city of Avdiivka as soldiers step up street fighting, Kyiv claimed.

Meanwhile, Russian forces launched the second largest combined drone and missile strike on Ukraine this year with around 64 munitions hitting the country, according to a US think tank.

Key Points

  • Three children killed in Russian drone strike in Kharkiv

  • Army chief Zaluzhny sacked by Zelensky in major military shake-up

  • Ukrainian troops shoot down Russian attack helicopter, Kyiv claims

  • Huge explosion rocks Russian missile plant

  • Explosions rock Kyiv as Russia launches huge wave of strikes against Ukraine

12:12 , Holly Evans

We are pausing our coverage for now. Thanks for reading.

Russian drones targeted Odesa and Kharkiv overnight

11:16 , Holly Evans

The Ukrainian air force said air defence systems destroyed 23 out of 31 drones launched by Russia overnight.

The drones primarily targeted the north-eastern Kharkiv region and the southern province of Odesa, the statement said.

Odesa regional governor Oleh Kiper said four people were injured there by the overnight drone attacks.

The attacks came in three waves, he said. The first targeted the regional capital - the port city of Odesa. All nine drones were shot down, but the debris damaged port infrastructure and injured one person.

The second and the third waves targeted port infrastructure in the Danube river area, Mr Kiper said. A total of 12 drones were shot down and three people were injured.

Zelenksy appoints a new commander-in-chief – but will it help the war against Russia?

10:50 , Holly Evans

Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine is rapidly approaching its second anniversary – and the war is not going according to plan for either side.

In a major reset that Volodymyr Zelensky believes can change the trajectory of the conflict, he has sacked his commander-in-chief, General Valery Zaluzhny. After a series of disagreements, the president has called for a “united approach across the whole front line and a new vision for the war, mobilisation and recruitment”.

It is a herculean task for his new chief, Colonel General Oleksandr Syrsky, previously commander of ground forces, given the reality of the current phase of the war.

Read the full article from Orysia Lutsevych here

Zelenksy appoints a new commander-in-chief – but will it help the war against Russia?

Three children killed in Russian drone strike in Kharkiv

10:36 , Holly Evans

A Russian drone strike on Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, killed at least seven people overnight, including three children, their region governor Oleh Syniehubov has said.

A Iranian-made Shahed drone hit civilian infrastructure in the Nemyshlyan district on the city, causing a massive fire that burned down 15 private houses.

Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko said more than 50 people had been evacuated and that emergency workers had contained the blaze by Saturday morning.

Rescue services work at the scene of a drone strike in the Eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv (EPA)
Rescue services work at the scene of a drone strike in the Eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv (EPA)

Friday 9 February 2024 13:36 , Chris Stevenson

We are pausing our coverage for now. Thanks for reading.For the latest on the reaction to Tucker Carlson’s interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin, please click here.

Zelensky says he is preparing reset of senior Ukrainian leadership

Friday 9 February 2024 00:01 , Alexander Butler

Zelensky says he is preparing reset of senior Ukrainian leadership

Norway must brace for conflict with Russia amid Sweden and Finland’s Nato bids, warns defence minister

Thursday 8 February 2024 22:30 , Alexander Butler

Norway must brace for conflict with Russia amid Nato bids, warns defence minister

Turkish war drone factory to open in Ukraine with plans to supply to 30 countries

Thursday 8 February 2024 21:30 , Alexander Butler

Turkish war drone factory to open in Ukraine with plans to supply to 30 countries

Wagner commander who fled from Russia to Norway begs for asylum

Thursday 8 February 2024 20:30 , Alexander Butler

Wagner commander who fled from Russia to Norway begs for asylum

Patients travelling to Ukraine and pulling own teeth out amid NHS shortages, shadow health minister says

Thursday 8 February 2024 19:30 , Alexander Butler

Patients going to Ukraine and pulling own teeth out amid NHS shortage, minister says

Ukraine launches new branch of armed forces dedicated exclusively to drones

Thursday 8 February 2024 18:30 , Alexander Butler

Ukraine launches new branch of armed forces dedicated exclusively to drones

How IKEA is trying to stop Russian copycats during Putin’s war

Thursday 8 February 2024 17:30 , Alexander Butler

How IKEA is trying to stop Russian copycats during Putin’s war

Army chief Zaluzhny sacked by Zelensky in major military shake-up

Thursday 8 February 2024 17:06 , Joe Middleton

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has sacked army chief Valeriy Zaluzhny and replaced him with Oleksandr Syrsky.

It follows days of speculation that Zelensky was considering dismissing Zaluzhnyf, who is seen by many Ukrainians as a national hero for overseeing the war effort since February 2022.

“We discussed what renewal the Armed Forces of Ukraine need. We also discussed who could be in the renewed leadership of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The time for this renewal is now,” Zelensky’s statement said on Telegram.

In a separate statement, Zaluzhny said he had an “important and serious conversation” with Zelensky and that a decision had been made to change battlefield tactics and strategy.

“The tasks of 2022 are different from the tasks of 2024. Therefore, everyone must change and adapt to new realities as well. To win together too,” his statement said on Telegram messenger.

Colonel-General Oleksandr Syrskyi, who has led Ukraine’s ground forces since 2019, was promoted to commander of the armed forces on Thursday as the war with Russia nears its third year.

Britain extends tariff-free trade with Ukraine for another five years

Thursday 8 February 2024 16:30 , Alexander Butler

Britain extends tariff-free trade with Ukraine for five years

Who is Boris Nadezhdin? The Russian presidential challenger banned from running against Putin

Thursday 8 February 2024 15:30 , Alexander Butler

Who is Boris Nadezhdin? The Russian challenger banned from running against Putin

Russian anti-war Putin critic says he has been banned from presidential election

Thursday 8 February 2024 14:30 , Alexander Butler

Russian anti-war Putin critic says he has been banned from presidential election

Belarusian special forces looking for Ukrainian informants

Thursday 8 February 2024 13:30 , Alexander Butler

Belarus has been increasingly targeting Ukrainians living in the country over the last month and is actively “looking for informants”, Ukraine’s National Resistance Centre claimed.

The organisation, which is part of Kyiv’s Special Operations Forces, said cases of Ukrainians being summoned for questioning in Belarus had “become more frequent”.

“The Belarusian special services are looking for informants among Ukrainians and plan, on the contrary, to involve them in cooperation,” it said.

Ukrainian troops shoot down Russian attack helicopter, Kyiv claims

Thursday 8 February 2024 13:06 , Alexander Butler

Ukrainian troops have shot down a Russian attack helicopter in eastern Ukraine near the city of Avdiivka as soldiers step up street fighting, Kyiv claimed.

Troops used a portable anti-aircraft missile to take down the Ka-52 Alligator aircraft, according to commander Oleksandr Tarnavskyi.

It comes after the UK ministry of defence said Avdiivka remained the primary focus of Russian operations with offensive pressure highly likely to continue over the next few weeks.

“Over the past four weeks, approximately 600 guided munitions have been launched against Ukrainian positions in Avdiivka from tactical aircraft,” the MoD said.

“Russian sorties increased guided aerial munitions strikes from 30 to 50 per day on 5 February 2024, an increase of 66 per cent over the last two weeks.”

Ten Ukrainian attacks ‘repelled’ and up to 290 troops killed or wounded, Russia claims

Thursday 8 February 2024 13:00 , Alexander Butler

Putin’s troops have repelled 10 Ukrainian attacks over Russian-occupied Donetsk, according to Moscow’s defence ministry.

The ministry said units had also killed or wounded up to 290 members of Ukraine’s military.

It said Russian forces had taken “more advantageous lines and positions” and “hit clusters of manpower and hardware” along defence brigades in the region.

Italy to help repair roof of Ukraine's Odesa cathedral

Thursday 8 February 2024 12:30 , Alexander Butler

Italy will help with the rebuilding of a cathedral in the Ukrainian city of Odesa that was badly damaged by a missile strike last year, the Italian foreign ministry said.

Italy and UNESCO signed an agreement in Kyiv to provide 500 million euros ($539 million) towards the restoration of the roof of Odesa’s Spaso-Preobrazhenskyi Cathedral, or Transfiguration Cathedral.

“Italy is very committed, through its institutions and its industrial capacity, to the reconstruction of Ukraine,” ambassador Pier Francesco Zazo said.

Italy will help rebuild Ukraine’s Transfiguration Cathedral which has been damaged by Russian attacks (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
Italy will help rebuild Ukraine’s Transfiguration Cathedral which has been damaged by Russian attacks (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Fears for Ukrainian town as Russian soldiers attack ‘from all directions’

Thursday 8 February 2024 12:00 , Alexander Butler

Fears for Ukrainian town as Russian soldiers attack ‘from all directions’

Russian anti-war Putin critic says he has been banned from presidential election

Thursday 8 February 2024 11:30 , Alexander Butler

Russian anti-war Putin critic says he has been banned from presidential election

Two officers injured in overnight 'mass attack', says Ukraine's national police

Thursday 8 February 2024 11:00 , Alexander Butler

Two officers have been injured in an overnight Russian drone attack, Ukraine’s national police has said.

The force said Russia launched a “mass attack” on the city of Odesa overnight, damaging a six-storey building and an “educational institution”, according to a post on Telegram.

It said the two policeman were patrolling and on their way to help residents when they were hit. They have both suffered mine-explosive injuries but they are in a stable condition, it added.

Germany’s Scholz praises Biden for united Russia response ahead of visit

Thursday 8 February 2024 10:30 , Alexander Butler

US president Joe Biden’s leadership is critical in ensuring a united response to Russian aggression, German chancellor Olaf Scholz said.

“Our message is clear: We have to do our utmost to prevent Russia from winning” in Ukraine, Mr Scholz wrote in the Wall Street Journal.

“The long-term consequences and costs of failing to stop Mr. Putin’s aggression would dwarf any of the investments that we are making now.”

German chancellor Olaf Scholz said Biden’s leadership was critical in ensuring a united response to Russian aggression. File photo. (Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
German chancellor Olaf Scholz said Biden’s leadership was critical in ensuring a united response to Russian aggression. File photo. (Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Huge explosion rocks Russian missile plant

Thursday 8 February 2024 10:09 , Alexander Butler

A huge explosion has rocked a Russian missile plant in what state media claimed was a “planned rocket engine test”, footage appears to show.

The blast was recorded near the Votkinsk Machine Building Plant, which manufactures missile engines and strategic ballistic missiles in Izhevsk, Russia.

“We received a notification from the Votkinsk Machine Building Plant. It was a rocket engine test. A planned event, not an emergency,” Zavyalovsky District united dispatch service said.

Russia launches 600 guided munitions at Avdiivka in last month, MoD says

Thursday 8 February 2024 10:00 , Alexander Butler

Vladimir Putin’s troops have launched around 600 guided munitions at the besieged town of Avdiivka, Ukraine, over the last month, the UK’s ministry of defence said.

The MoD said the town remained the primary focus of Russian operations with offensive pressure highly likely to continue over the next few weeks.

“Over the past four weeks, approximately 600 guided munitions have been launched against Ukrainian positions in Avdiivka from tactical aircraft,” the MoD said.

“Russian sorties increased guided aerial munitions strikes from 30 to 50 per day on 5 February 2024, an increase of 66 per cent over the last two weeks.”

Biden blames trump for sinking US deal to fund Ukraine war effort

Thursday 8 February 2024 09:30 , Alexander Butler

President Joe Biden has blamed Donald Trump for sinking a bill set to deliver billions of dollars of aid to Ukraine after Republicans ditched their support over pressure from the former president.

The $118bn deal would also include aid to Israel and Taiwan, as well as securing immigration along the US’s southern border with Mexico.

“He’d rather weaponise this issue than actually solve it. For the last 24 hours, he’s done nothing at all but reach out to Republicans in the House and the Senate and threaten them and try to intimidate them to vote against this proposal. And it looks like they’re caving,” Mr Biden said.

President Joe Biden blamed Donald Trump for sinking a $118bn bipartisan deal (AP)
President Joe Biden blamed Donald Trump for sinking a $118bn bipartisan deal (AP)

The soldiers who swapped fighting drug cartels with a bloody war against Putin

Thursday 8 February 2024 08:49 , Alexander Butler

The sound of Colombian Spanish fills a hospital treating soldiers wounded fighting Russian forces.

Ukraine‘s ranks are depleted by two years of war. As it battles Putin’s war machine, Ukraine is welcoming hardened fighters from one of the world’s longest-running conflicts.

Professional soldiers from Colombia bolster the ranks of volunteers from around the world who have answered Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s call for foreign fighters to join his nation’s war with Russia.

The soldiers who swapped fighting drug cartels with a bloody war against Putin

11 out of 17 Russian drones downed over Ukraine, air force says

Thursday 8 February 2024 08:24 , Alexander Butler

Ukrainian air defence and mobile drone hunter groups shot down 11 out of 17 Russia-launched drones over four regions of the country, the air force said.

It said in a statement the Iranian-made Shahed drones were downed over the Odesa and Mykolayiv regions in the south, the Dnipropetrovsk region in the southeast, and the central Vinnytsia region.

Regional officials said the drone attack damaged more than 20 residential houses and commercial buildings in the city of Mykolayiv and hit civilian infrastructure facilities in Odesa on the Black Sea in the south.

There were no casualties reported. Details of damage in other regions were not immediately clear.

Ukraine launches new branch of armed forces dedicated exclusively to drones

Thursday 8 February 2024 07:00 , Tom Watling

Volodymyr Zelensky has ordered officials to create a separate branch of the army dedicated to drones as they have been instrumental in Ukraine’s fight against Russian forces.

“I have just signed a decree initiating the establishment of a separate branch of our defence forces – the unmanned systems forces. This is not a matter of the future, but something that should yield a very concrete result shortly,” Mr Zelensky said in his nightly address.

Ukraine launches new branch of armed forces dedicated exclusively to drones

Norway must brace for conflict with Russia amid Sweden and Finland’s Nato bids, warns defence minister

Thursday 8 February 2024 06:00 , Tom Watling

Norway’s defence minister urged his country to be ready for a possible conflict with Russia even after the end of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

He said Russia might retaliate in response to Finland and Sweden‘s new Nato membership. Other Nato nations have also explicitly warned of Russia’s aggression and plans to disrupt peace in the region in the past few months.

Norway must brace for conflict with Russia amid Nato bids, warns defence minister

A bestselling novelist was duped by pro-Putin prank callers. He now faces jail

Thursday 8 February 2024 05:00 , Tom Watling

A Moscow court has ordered the arrest of a bestselling novelist living in London on charges of “justifying terrorism” – the latest incident in a Kremlin crackdown on Russians opposing the war in Ukraine.

Grigory Chkhartishvili, known under the pen name Boris Akunin, was charged in absentia by Moscow’s Basmanny District Court on Tuesday. He is now under an arrest warrant and will be detained if he returns to Russia.

A bestselling novelist was duped by pro-Putin prank callers. He now faces jail

Russia attacks targets across Ukraine with missiles and drones as EU’s top diplomat visits Kyiv

Thursday 8 February 2024 04:00 , Tom Watling

Russia fired cruise and ballistic missiles and Shahed-type drones at targets across Ukraine on Wednesday morning, authorities reported, killing at least three civilians and injuring 10 others, including a pregnant woman.

The attacks targeted at least three major cities, including the capital Kyiv, where the European Union’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, was discussing military aid and financial support for Ukraine.

Russia attacks targets across Ukraine with missiles and drones as EU’s top diplomat visits Kyiv

NATO allies warn Hungary not to hold up Sweden's membership as US patience wears thin

Thursday 8 February 2024 03:00 , Tom Watling

U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan said that he and his NATO counterparts cautioned Hungary on Wednesday against further delaying Sweden’s membership in the military alliance, and he warned that patience in Washington has its limits.

Lawmakers from the party of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán boycotted an emergency session of parliament on Monday where a vote was scheduled to place Sweden’s bid to join NATO on the legislative agenda, adding to 18 months of delays that have angered Hungary’s allies.

NATO allies warn Hungary not to hold up Sweden's membership as US patience wears thin

Wagner commander who fled from Russia to Norway begs for asylum after police arrest him outside Oslo bar

Thursday 8 February 2024 02:00 , Tom Watling

A former commander of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group who fled to Norway last year has been denied asylum but will not be deported as it is too dangerous to send him back, his lawyer has said.

Andrei Medvedev, who escaped Russia in January 2023 across its Arctic border with Norway, has described running as Russian guards shot at him. He has spoken about his time fighting in Ukraine as part of Wagner.

Wagner commander who fled from Russia to Norway begs for asylum

Kremlin corrects Tucker Carlson’s false claim that no Western journalists tried to interview Putin

Thursday 8 February 2024 01:00 , Tom Watling

The Kremlin has slapped down a claim by far-right influencer Tucker Carlson that no Western journalists have tried to interview Russian president Vladimir Putin about his invasion of Ukraine.

Mr Carlson accused the Western media of engaging in “fawning pep sessions” with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, whom he has previously called a “dictator” and likened to a rat, while confidently asserting that “not a single Western journalist has bothered to interview the president of the other country involved in this conflict: Vladimir Putin”.

Kremlin corrects Tucker Carlson claim that no Western media tried to interview Putin

Russian upper house approves bill to confiscate assets of those convicted of discrediting the army

Thursday 8 February 2024 00:00 , Tom Watling

After a brief discussion, the upper house of Russia’s parliament on Wednesday endorsed a bill that would allow authorities to confiscate money, valuables and other assets from people convicted of spreading “deliberately false information” about the country’s military.

The bill, which was approved equally quickly by the lower house last week, is expected to receive Russian President Vladimir Putin’s signature and become law soon.

Russian upper house approves bill to confiscate assets of those convicted of discrediting the army

Refugees going back to Ukraine and people pulling own teeth out amid NHS shortages, minister says

Wednesday 7 February 2024 23:00 , Tom Watling

Patients are pulling their teeth out and Ukrainian refugees are flying back to the war-torn country for appointments amid a lack of NHS dentistry services, Wes Streeting has said.

It comes after a seven-year-old Ukrainian girl and her mother flew to Poland and took a 15-hour bus across Ukraine for dental treatment because the NHS waiting list was so long.

A British Dental Association survey of 500 UK dentists found that “DIY” dentistry is “rampant” - 82 per cent of respondents said they have treated patients who have taken matters into their own hands since lockdown.

The BDA said “DIY dentistry” could be any form of DIY dental care, from a simple filling kit to an attempt at extraction.

Patients going to Ukraine and pulling own teeth out amid NHS shortage, minister says

Ukraine launches new branch of armed forces dedicated exclusively to drones

Wednesday 7 February 2024 22:00 , Tom Watling

Volodymyr Zelensky has ordered his officials to create a separate branch of the army specially dedicated to drones as they have been instrumental in Ukraine’s fight against Russian forces in the continuing invasion.

“I have just signed a decree initiating the establishment of a separate branch of our Defence Forces – the Unmanned Systems Forces. This is not a matter of the future, but something that should yield a very concrete result shortly,” Mr Zelensky said in his nightly address on Tuesday.

Ukraine launches new branch of armed forces dedicated exclusively to drones

North Korean missiles used in Kharkiv attack, claims local police official

Wednesday 7 February 2024 21:00 , Tom Watling

Two of the five missiles fired at Ukraine’s second largest city on Wednesday morning were provided by North Korea, a local official has said.

Serhiy Bolvinov, head of the investigative department of the Kharkiv region police, said they had found the remnants of two North Korean HWASON 11GA (KN-23) missiles.

"Metal fragments of ballistic missiles were collected by explosives on the territory of the industrial zone,” he said. “The preliminary conclusions of specialists are that they are North Korean HWASON 11GA (KN-23) missiles.”

The United States, Ukraine and six allies have previously accused Russia of using North Korean ballistic missiles and launchers supplied by Pyongyang in aerial attacks against Ukraine, in violation of United Nations sanctions.

A Ukrainian police officer in Kharkiv takes pictures allegedly showing the debris of a North Korean missile (Serhiy Bolvinov / Facebook)
A Ukrainian police officer in Kharkiv takes pictures allegedly showing the debris of a North Korean missile (Serhiy Bolvinov / Facebook)

How IKEA is trying to stop Russian copycats during Putin’s war

Wednesday 7 February 2024 20:02 , Tom Watling

IKEA has extended its trademark in Russia in a bid to stop copycat stores that are opening up across the country amid Putin’s war on Ukraine.

The country has officially extended the validity of trademarks for the Swedish furniture giant until August 2033, a move brand owner Inter IKEA said was driven by the need to protect the company’s intellectual property rights.

Like many large Western firms, IKEA halted its Russian operations shortly after Moscow sent troops into Ukraine in 2022 and completed the sale of its factories the following year.

How IKEA is trying to stop Russian copycats during Putin’s war

Labour peer claims peace deal with Moscow would be ‘cheaper for all'

Wednesday 7 February 2024 18:48 , Andy Gregory

Seeking to strike a peace deal with Moscow and end the war in Ukraine would be “cheaper for all”, a Labour peer has told the House of Lords.

Former MP Lord Campbell-Savours made the call as the two-year anniversary of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine approaches.

Foreign minister Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon responded to the Labour peer by noting that it was the Kremlin which was the aggressor and that Mr Putin had it in his power to end the war now.

The Labour frontbench also made clear it backed the UK government’s stance.

Russia claims to shoot down seven rockets over Belgorod

Wednesday 7 February 2024 18:26 , Andy Gregory

Russia’s air defence systems destroyed seven Ukraine-launched rockets and two drones over the southwestern region of Belgorod, the Russian defence ministry has claimed.

The Ukrainian strike was carried out with Czech-made Vampire rockets, the ministry said – the same type which, according to Moscow, was used in deadly strikes on the city of Belgorod in late December.

Belgorod governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said two people had been injured.

‘No plan B’ to getting Ukraine aid package through US Congress, White House says

Wednesday 7 February 2024 16:47 , Andy Gregory

The White House is focused on getting a Ukraine aid package through the US Congress, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan has said – warning there was no “plan B”.

“We believe we still can and will deliver aid for Ukraine,” Mr Sullivan told reporters during a joint press conference with Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg.

The latter said it was vital the US Congress agreed on continued support for Ukraine in the near future, adding that Nato did not see “any imminent threat against any Nato ally”.

“We must sustain our support and that is a responsibility for all allies,” Mr Stoltenberg said.

Watch: Tucker Carlson reveals he's interviewing Putin in Moscow

Wednesday 7 February 2024 15:54 , Andy Gregory