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Russia-Ukraine War At A Glance: What We Know On Day 708

Ukraine has reportedly carried out heavy missile strikes on military targets in Crimea including the Balbek airfield used by occupying Russian forces, with possible losses of Russian aircraft and personnel. Ukrainian news outlets citing military sources said Scalp and Storm Shadow missiles were used in the attacks on Wednesday.

Ukraine’s air force commander, General Mykola Oleshchuk, acknowledged the Balbek attack, sharing online a video of an explosion and calling it a “cleansing of Crimea from the Russian presence”. A Russian military radar was hit earlier in apparent preparation for the Crimea attacks.

A Russian bomb struck a hospital in Velykyi Burluk, north-east of Kharkiv, on Wednesday, smashing windows and equipment and prompting the evacuation of dozens of patients, regional officials said.

Russia and Ukraine have conducted a major prisoner of war exchange, one week after a previous swap was shelved when a Russian Il-76 transport plane was shot down. Russia and Ukraine both said that about 200 prisoners were exchanged on Wednesday, although their exact figures differed. Russia has produced no proof for its claim that the plane shot down last week contained Ukrainian PoW.

The EU expects to reach 52% of its target to send 1m rounds of shells to Ukraine by March this year and plans to train another 20,000 soldiers, said the EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell.

Olaf Scholz and four other European leaders admitted that the EU had “fallen short” of its goals to supply Ukraine with artillery ammunition on the eve of an emergency EU summit of EU leaders designed to break the deadlock between member states and Hungary’s Putin-allied Viktor Orbán over a €50bn aid package.

The international court of justice (ICJ) has found Russia violated some parts of a UN anti-terrorism treaty by not investigating financial support for separatist groups in eastern Ukraine in 2014. The top UN court declined to rule specifically on alleged Russian responsibility for shooting down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine on 17 July 2014. The ICJ ruled that Russia violated the UN anti-discrimination treaty by failing to protect education in the Ukrainian language in Crimea.

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, said Russian troops were holding ground on the outskirts of the east Ukrainian industrial town of Avdiivka. Russian troops have failed to take the town in repeated and extremely bloody attempts that have cost Russia thousands of casualties and hundreds of tanks and armoured vehicles.

Ukraine claimed to have carried out another drone attack on an oil facility deep inside Russian territory, according to a military intelligence source.

Russia’s defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, told military manufacturers to “stop fooling around” and further increase the production of self-propelled artillery systems during a visit to arms-producing factories in the Urals.

Putin will visit Nato member Turkey to meet its president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, on 12 February, a Turkish official has said. Because of an international criminal court (ICC) warrant for war crimes, Putin can’t travel to many places abroad, but Turkey does not recognise the ICC.

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