Russia-Ukraine war live: Drone attack in southern Ukraine damages gas pipeline

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Hello and welcome to the Ukraine live blog. It’s just after 10am in Kyiv.

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Russia launched drone attacks overnight on Kyiv and southern Ukraine, injuring at least one civilian and damaging a gas pipeline and residential buildings in the river and sea port of Mykolaiv, Ukraine’s military said on Sunday.

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Ukraine’s southern military command said on Telegram that its air defence systems were engaged for more than five hours and destroyed 26 Russia-launched Shahed drones over several southern regions, chiefly over the Mykolaiv region near the Black Sea.

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At least one civilian was injured in the southern Ukraine attack, the military said.

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In Kyiv all the drones were downed on their approach and there were no casualties nor destruction in or near the capital.

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In other news:

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  • A Russian drone strike on Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, killed seven people, including three children, Kharkiv regional governor Oleh Syniehubov reported Saturday. A Ukrainian prosecutor, her husband, and their three small children were among the seven killed after the strike hit an oil depot, triggering blazes that burned half a street to the ground, officials said. An elderly couple living in the same street were also killed in the attack that mayor Ihor Terekhov said injured 57 people and razed 15 homes.

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  • Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address on Saturday that “Russian terrorists” would be held accountable for the Kharkiv attack: “It should be noted that in history, the perpetrators of such murders did not go unpunished,” he said.

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  • Zelenskiy also announced five senior military appointments, filling out a rebooted team after he named Col Gen Oleksandr Syrskyi as the new armed forces chief. Zelenskiy said he spent the day meeting his military leadership and government and that experienced “combat commanders of this war” would be taking on new duties. The country is closing in on two years of war since Russia’s full-scale invasion.

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  • Nato’s secretary general called on Europe to increase its arms production to support Ukraine and prevent “potentially decades of confrontation” with Moscow, in an interview published by German media Saturday. Ahead of a key meeting of Nato defence ministers in Brussels, Jens Stoltenberg insisted that “we need to reconstitute and expand our industrial base faster, to increase deliveries to Ukraine and refill our own stocks”.

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  • The White House on Saturday rejected comments made by former US president Donald Trump about not protecting Nato allies from a potential Russian invasion as “appalling and unhinged”. Trump made the statement on Saturday during a campaign rally in Conway, South Carolina, ahead of the state’s Republican presidential preference primary on 24 February.

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  • Russia said on Saturday it had repelled an attempted Ukrainian drone attack on Russian “civilian transport ships” on Friday evening in the south-western part of the Black Sea, a key artery for grain and oil exports from both countries. Civilian vessels on the Black Sea have not generally been targeted since Moscow ordered its troops into Ukraine in February 2022, but last July both sides said they would start treating ships headed to the other’s ports as potential carriers of military cargo.

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  • Russia’s registration of candidates for the March presidential election has closed, TASS reported on Sunday, with a list including president Vladimir Putin and three politicians who all support Moscow’s war in Ukraine. The list did not include the Russian anti-war candidate Boris Nadezhdin after the Central Election Commission barred him on Thursday from running. Nadezhdin said on Thursday he would challenge the CEC’s decision in Russia’s supreme court.

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  • Centre-right Alexander Stubb of the National Coalition Party is the frontrunner in Finland’s presidential run-off on Sunday, according to opinion polls. Stubb, a former prime minister, won the election’s first round ahead of liberal Green Party member Pekka Haavisto. Both candidates are pro-European and strong supporters of Ukraine who have taken a tough stance towards Russia in their campaigns, after Finland joined Nato in April last year.

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Key events

In case you missed our story earlier, the White House has rejected comments made by Donald Trump about not protecting NATO allies from a potential Russian invasion as “appalling and unhinged”.

On Saturday, Trump claimed that during an unspecified Nato meeting he told a fellow head of state that the US under his leadership would not defend any countries who were “delinquent”.

“One of the presidents of a big country stood up and said, ‘Well, sir, if we don’t pay, and we’re attacked by Russia, will you protect us?’” Trump said, adding “I said, ‘You didn’t pay, you’re delinquent?’”

“No, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want. You got to pay. You got to pay your bills.”

Read our full story here:

More now on those overnight drone attacks overnight on Kyiv and southern Ukraine, where Ukrainian officials say falling debris from a downed drone and the blast wave damaged a gas pipeline and residential buildings in the river and sea port of Mykolaiv.

Ukraine’s southern military command said on Telegram that its air defence systems were engaged for more than five hours and destroyed 26 Russia-launched Shahed drones over several southern regions, chiefly over the Mykolaiv region near the Black Sea, according to Reuters.

At least one civilian was injured, the military said.

“The priority for the enemy was again the coastal strip of infrastructure and agro-industrial facilities,” the military said.

In Kyiv, Ukraine’s Air Force said on the Telegram messaging app that its air defence systems destroyed 40 out of 45 Russia-launched Shahed attack drones overnight.

“The air alert in the capital lasted almost two hours,” Serhiy Popko, the head of Kyiv’s military administration, said on Telegram.

He added that over Kyiv all the drones were downed on their approach, with no casualties.

Skies over Kyiv were declared clear shortly before 4am (0200 GMT).

Reuters was not able to independently verify the reports.

Both Russia and Ukraine have increased their air attacks away from the frontline in recent months, targeting each other’s critical energy, military and transport infrastructure.

Updated at 09.00 GMT

Opening summary

Hello and welcome to the Ukraine live blog. It’s just after 10am in Kyiv.

Russia launched drone attacks overnight on Kyiv and southern Ukraine, injuring at least one civilian and damaging a gas pipeline and residential buildings in the river and sea port of Mykolaiv, Ukraine’s military said on Sunday.

Ukraine’s southern military command said on Telegram that its air defence systems were engaged for more than five hours and destroyed 26 Russia-launched Shahed drones over several southern regions, chiefly over the Mykolaiv region near the Black Sea.

At least one civilian was injured in the southern Ukraine attack, the military said.

In Kyiv all the drones were downed on their approach and there were no casualties nor destruction in or near the capital.

In other news:

  • A Russian drone strike on Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, killed seven people, including three children, Kharkiv regional governor Oleh Syniehubov reported Saturday. A Ukrainian prosecutor, her husband, and their three small children were among the seven killed after the strike hit an oil depot, triggering blazes that burned half a street to the ground, officials said. An elderly couple living in the same street were also killed in the attack that mayor Ihor Terekhov said injured 57 people and razed 15 homes.

  • Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address on Saturday that “Russian terrorists” would be held accountable for the Kharkiv attack: “It should be noted that in history, the perpetrators of such murders did not go unpunished,” he said.

  • Zelenskiy also announced five senior military appointments, filling out a rebooted team after he named Col Gen Oleksandr Syrskyi as the new armed forces chief. Zelenskiy said he spent the day meeting his military leadership and government and that experienced “combat commanders of this war” would be taking on new duties. The country is closing in on two years of war since Russia’s full-scale invasion.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy attends a meeting with newly appointed top military commanders. Photograph: Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Reuters
  • Nato’s secretary general called on Europe to increase its arms production to support Ukraine and prevent “potentially decades of confrontation” with Moscow, in an interview published by German media Saturday. Ahead of a key meeting of Nato defence ministers in Brussels, Jens Stoltenberg insisted that “we need to reconstitute and expand our industrial base faster, to increase deliveries to Ukraine and refill our own stocks”.

  • The White House on Saturday rejected comments made by former US president Donald Trump about not protecting Nato allies from a potential Russian invasion as “appalling and unhinged”. Trump made the statement on Saturday during a campaign rally in Conway, South Carolina, ahead of the state’s Republican presidential preference primary on 24 February.

  • Russia said on Saturday it had repelled an attempted Ukrainian drone attack on Russian “civilian transport ships” on Friday evening in the south-western part of the Black Sea, a key artery for grain and oil exports from both countries. Civilian vessels on the Black Sea have not generally been targeted since Moscow ordered its troops into Ukraine in February 2022, but last July both sides said they would start treating ships headed to the other’s ports as potential carriers of military cargo.

  • Russia’s registration of candidates for the March presidential election has closed, TASS reported on Sunday, with a list including president Vladimir Putin and three politicians who all support Moscow’s war in Ukraine. The list did not include the Russian anti-war candidate Boris Nadezhdin after the Central Election Commission barred him on Thursday from running. Nadezhdin said on Thursday he would challenge the CEC’s decision in Russia’s supreme court.

  • Centre-right Alexander Stubb of the National Coalition Party is the frontrunner in Finland’s presidential run-off on Sunday, according to opinion polls. Stubb, a former prime minister, won the election’s first round ahead of liberal Green Party member Pekka Haavisto. Both candidates are pro-European and strong supporters of Ukraine who have taken a tough stance towards Russia in their campaigns, after Finland joined Nato in April last year.

The Guardian

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