Firefighters battle blaze in Ukraine’s Odessa after Russian airstrike on residential building
Vladimir Putin’s foreign ministry claimed without evidence that Western-supplied weapons had been used in the attack on the Donbas city, which is currently held by Russia. Kyiv is yet to comment, but has appeared so far to avoid targeting civilians since Russia’s invasion in February 2022.
Images taken at the scene by Reuters photojournalists showed crying people, some who said they had lost their relatives, and bodies lying on blood-soaked snow near one of the city’s markets.
It came as Ukraine said Russia had indeed captured its first frontline village in weeks, but insisted the loss of Krokhmalne – a Kharkiv settlement with a pre-war population of 45, which was liberated by Kyiv in autumn 2022 – was a “temporary phenomenon.
Meanwhile, Russia’s deputy foreign minister Alexander Grushko claimed the scale of Nato’s Steadfast Defender 2024 exercises – due to start next month – mark a “final and irrevocable return” to Cold War schemes.
Drone attack forces suspension of Russian fuel exports
Russian energy company Novatek said on Sunday it had been forced to suspend some operations at a huge Baltic Sea fuel export terminal due to a fire started by what Ukrainian media said was a drone attack.
The giant Ust-Luga complex, located on the Gulf of Finland about 170 km (110 miles) west of St. Petersburg, is used to ship oil and gas products to international markets. It processes stable gas condensate – a type of light oil – into light and heavy naphtha, kerosene and diesel to be shipped by sea.
It was not clear how long the disruption would last, how many tankers would have to idle outside the port, and what the knock-on effect would be on international energy markets.
Critical infrastructure facilities in the surrounding Leningrad region were placed on high alert, with security units and law enforcement agencies ordered to destroy any drones detected, the regional administration said on Telegram.
The Interfax-Ukraine news agency, citing unnamed sources, said the fire was the result of a special operation carried out by Ukraine‘s security services.
Alex Ross21 January 2024 21:27
Russian Foreign Ministry comments on attack
The Russian Foreign Ministry called the attack on Donetsk as “a barbaric act of terrorism” by Ukraine that was carried out “with the use of weapons supplied by the West”.
Twenty-five people were killed and 20 injured when Ukrainian forces shelled the Russian-controlled city in eastern Ukraine,
According to Alexei Kulemzin, the city’s Russian-installed mayor, Ukrainian forces bombarded a busy area where shops and a market are located. Pushilin said the city was shelled by Ukrainian artillery. There was no immediate Ukrainian comment.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said: “The Russian side categorically condemns this treacherous strike against the civilian population.”
Alex Ross21 January 2024 19:34
Watch: Firefighters battle flames at Russian chemical plant
Firefighters continued to battle flames at a Russian chemical transport terminal on Sunday 21 January following two explosions, regional officials reported. Local media reported that the Ust-Luga port had been attacked by drones, causing a gas tank to explode. The blaze was at a site run by Russia’s second-largest natural gas producer, Novatek, around 100 miles southwest of St Petersburg. In a press statement to Russian media outlet RBC, the company said that the fire was the result of an “external influence.” Ukraine has not claimed responsibility for the drone attack, which caused a paused in operations at the port. News outlet Fontanka wrote that two drones had been detected flying towards St Petersburg on Sunday morning.
Alex Ross21 January 2024 19:31
Watch: Firefighters battle flames at Russian chemicals terminal
Firefighters battle flames at Russian chemicals terminal after reported Ukrainian drone strikes
Andy Gregory21 January 2024 17:21
‘Not a single piece of evidence’ Prigozhin is dead, says Ukraine military chief
There is “not a single piece of evidence” that Wagner mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin is dead, the head of Ukraine’s military intelligence has said.
Speaking of the former Putin ally who staged an armed mutiny against Russia’s military leadership before being presumed dead in a private plane crash months later, Ukraine’s spy chief Kyrylo Budanov told the Financial Times: “I’m not saying he’s not dead or that he’s dead.
“I’m saying that there’s not a single piece of evidence that he’s dead.”
Mr Budanov also told the outlet that North Korea is currently Russia’s largest arms supplier, with the “significant amount” of artillery ammunition provided by Pyongyang allowing “Russia to breathe a little”. He added: “Without [North Korea’s] help, the situation would have been catastrophic.”
Andy Gregory21 January 2024 16:53
Russian private jet crashes in rural Afghanistan
A Russian private jet carrying six people crashed in a remote area of rural Afghanistan but the pilot and some of the others on board survived, the Taliban has said.
The Taliban’s Transportation and Civil Aviation Ministry issued a statement online saying the plane was found in the province’s Kuf Ab district, near the Aruz Koh mountain.
“The pilot was found by the search team of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,” the statement said. “According to the pilot, four people including the pilot are alive … The search and assistance of the Islamic Emirate investigation team for the remaining survivors is ongoing.”
In Moscow, Russian civil aviation authorities said a Dassault Falcon 10 went missing with four crew members and two passengers. The Russian-registered aircraft “stopped communicating and disappeared from radar screens,” authorities said. It described the flight as starting from Thailand’s U-Tapao-Rayong-Pattaya International Airport.
The plane had been operating as a charter ambulance flight on a route from Gaya, India, to Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and onward to Zhukovsky International Airport in Moscow.
Russia’s Investigative Committee later said it had opened a criminal case on charges related to potential violations of air safety rules or negligence. Procedures call for such investigations to be opened over crashes.
Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova also said that the Russian Embassy in Afghanistan was working with local officials on the incident.
Blast at Russian gas facility ‘caused by Ukrainian drones’
The blast which caused a vast fire at a major gas export facility near St Petersburg was caused by Ukrainian drones, a source in Kyiv has told the BBC.
An official source in Kyiv said the “special operation” of the SBU security service masterminded the attack, with drones that worked “on target”, the broadcaster reports.
Andy Gregory21 January 2024 15:49
Watch: Ukraine’s ‘rightful place’ is in Nato, says Rishi Sunak
Ukraine’s ‘rightful place’ is in Nato, says Rishi Sunak
Andy Gregory21 January 2024 14:36
Russia claims Western weapons used in Donetsk attack
Russia’s foreign ministry has claimed that a shelling attack reported by Russian officials to have killed 25 people in the city of Donetsk was carried out “with the use of weapons supplied by the West”.
Calling the attack “a barbaric act of terrorism”, the ministry added: ““The Russian side categorically condemns this treacherous strike against the civilian population.”
It was not possible to verify the claims. Kyiv has not publicly commented on the attack, but has not appeared to target civilians since Russia’s invasion in February 2022.
Andy Gregory21 January 2024 13:42
Death toll in Donetsk rises to 25, officials say
The death toll from shelling in Donetsk has risen to 25, Russian authorities have said, accusing Ukraine of hitting a busy area home to shops and a market – in claims to which Kyiv has not yet responded.
Reuters photographs and video taken at the scene showed crying people, some who said they had lost their relatives, and bodies lying on blood-soaked snow near one of the city’s markets.
Denis Pushilin, the Russian-appointed head of the Donetsk region, said emergency services were working at the scene and that forensic specialists were trying to collect fragments of the weapons used in the attack.
Andy Gregory21 January 2024 13:05