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Russia-Ukraine War At A Glance: What We Know On Day 353 Of The Invasion

Russia launched a large-scale missile attack on Ukraine on Friday, striking several cities including Kyiv, the capital. Ukraine’s armed forces said in a Friday evening update that Russian forces fired more than 100 missiles throughout the country and staged 12 air and 20 shelling attacks. The Facebook post said 61 cruise missiles were destroyed.

Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko said 10 Russian missiles had been shot down over the capital after sirens blared during the morning rush hour and weary civilians took shelter. It was the first attack on Kyiv in two weeks.

Energy minister German Galushchenko said Russia had hit power facilities in six regions with missiles and drones, causing blackouts across most of Ukraine, Reuters reported. Ukrainian prime minister Denys Shmyhal said Ukraine was without 44% of nuclear generation and 75% of thermal power capacity, according to Reuters.

The attacks came a day after Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy ended a tour of European allies to lobby leaders for long-range weapons and fighter jets. “London, Paris, Brussels – everywhere I spoke these past few days about how to strengthen our soldiers. There are very important understandings and we received good signals,” he said in his nightly video address. “This concerns long-range missiles and tanks and the next level of our cooperation – fighter aircraft.”

Ukraine has officially asked the Netherlands for F-16 fighter jets, its air force has said. The Dutch defence minister, Kajsa Ollongren, confirmed the request, saying: “We need to discuss the availability of the F-16 with the Americans and other allies.”

Any decision to supply fighter jets to Ukraine must come from Nato, Poland’s prime minister said. Mateusz Morawiecki said “some countries” at an EU summit in Brussels did not agree with his proposals about deliveries of ammunition to Kyiv. He added that Poland was “not excluding” closing further border crossings with Belarus, citing “growing tensions with Belarus – and they are being instrumentalised by the Russians and the Kremlin”.

Two Russian cruise missiles entered the airspace of Moldova and Romania, Ukraine said. Gen Valerii Zaluzhnyi, commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s armed forces, said the Kalibr rockets crossed into Moldova at 10.18am local time on Friday. They then flew into Romania at 10.33am at the intersection of the state border before recrossing into western Ukraine, he said.

Moldova confirmed at least one missile had overflown its airspace and summoned the Russian ambassador over the incident. It is not the first time Russia has sent its missiles into Moldova, with the conflict in danger of spilling out across the region. On Friday, Moldova’s pro-EU government resigned, adding to the sense of crisis.

Romania’s foreign ministry categorically denied an incursion occurred. It said the Russian cruise missiles came to within 35km (22 miles) of the country’s north-eastern border but did not violate its territory. Two MiG-21 aircraft on a training flight were diverted to monitor the area, it said.

The US has “no indication” of a direct military threat by Russia to Moldova or Romania at this time, US state department spokesperson Vedant Patel said. “We maintain close contact and communication with our Moldovan partners and Romanian allies,” he added.

US president Joe Biden announced he would mark one year since Russia’s invasion by visiting Poland, Ukraine’s neighbour and Nato ally. The White House said the US president would visit on 20-22 February and make a speech to mark “Russia’s brutal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, addressing how the United States has rallied the world to support the people of Ukraine as they defend their freedom and democracy”.

Reports say a new Russian offensive is under way in the Luhansk region Russia has launched a major offensive in eastern Ukraine and is trying to break through defences near the town of Kreminna, the governor for the Luhansk region said on Thursday. Serhiy Haidai said Russian troops had gone on the attack and were trying to advance westwards across a winter landscape of snow and forests. There had been “maximum escalation” and a big increase in shooting and shelling, he said.

A group of 35 countries will demand that Russian and Belarusian athletes are banned from the 2024 Paris Olympics, according to Lithuania’s sports minister, Jurgita Šiugždinienė. The International Olympic Committee recently moved away from having an outright ban on athletes from Russia and Belarus and is investigating ways they can qualify for the Olympics under a neutral flag.

Marina Ovsyannikova, the former Russian state TV editor who interrupted a live news broadcast to protest against the start of the Ukraine war, has described her “chaotic” escape from house arrest in Moscow and how she fled across Europe to seek asylum in France.

Reuters and Agence France-Presse contributed to this report

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