Ukraine war latest: Missile 'hits apartment building in Kharkiv'; Russian athletes in Olympics would show terror is acceptable, says Zelenskyy (2023)

Key points
  • Russia 'preparing for new wave of attacks by the end of February'
  • Three killed in Russian strikes on eastern neighbourhood
  • Total of 321 tanks promised to Ukraine
  • Could Russian reporting of war in Ukraine be restricted?
  • Dominic Waghorn:'No hesitation' - Germany hits back at time-wasting accusations by putting on military show
  • Live reporting by Faith Ridler. Updates also from Alex Rossi in Ukraine and Diana Magnay in Moscow


One dead after missile hits Kharkiv apartment block

The governor of Kharkiv Oblast has said that one person has died following a missile strike on an apartment building in Ukraine's second city.

Oleh Synehubov added that there was no immediate indication of how many people had been injured in the hit, having earlier put the number at three. Pictures showed emergency workers at the scene.


Missile 'hits apartment building in Kharkiv'

A missile has hit an apartment building in Kharkiv, regional governor Oleh Synehubov has said.

Three people were injured, while rescue teams have been dispatched to the scene in northeastern Ukraine, he added.

"An enemy rocket has struck an apartment building in thecity centre," Mr Synehubov said on Telegram.

"First indications are a C-300 missile.

"Emergency services areon site.

"Information on casualties and damage is beingclarified."


Russian athletes in Olympics would show 'terror is somehow acceptable'

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said allowing Russia to compete at the 2024 Paris Olympics would be tantamount to showing that "terror is somehow acceptable".

"Attempts by the International Olympic Committee to bring Russian athletes back into the Olympic Games are attempts to tell the whole world that terror is somehow acceptable," he said in his nightly address.

He said Russia must not be allowed to "use (the Games) or any other sport event as propaganda for its aggression or its state chauvinism".

The IOC said on Wednesday the Olympic Council of Asia had offered Russian and Belarusian athletes the chance to compete in Asia, giving them a qualification pathway for the 2024 Games.

Ukraine said it could boycott the event if Russian and Belarusian athletes take part.


Ukraine hopes to secure 24 fighter jets from Western allies

The Ukrainian air force has today asked its Western allies to consider donating 24 fighter jets to its cause - in what would be the first military package of its kind.

Last week, numerous nations confirmed donations of battle tanks, including the US and Germany after several days of back and forth.

Now, spokesman Yurii Ihnat has said Ukraine is aiming to secure two fighter squadrons of 12 combat aircraft each.

Mr Ihnat added in an interview with El Pais that it hopes to be given American F-16s, but are also considering French Rafale and Swedish Gripen.

The US has so far refused to supply F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, or allow their transfer by third-party countries.

However, a senior defence source in the RAF told the Telegraph "never say never" when pressed on provisions - but insisted jets are "not the priority now".

It is understood that a total of 321 heavy tanks have been promised to Ukraine so far, by a number of Western allies.

Vadym Omelchenko, Ukraine's ambassador to France, said on Friday: "As of today, numerous countries have officially confirmed their agreement to deliver 321 heavy tanks to Ukraine.

"Delivery terms vary for each case and we need this help as soon as possible."

Mr Omelchenko did not provide a breakdown of the number of tanks per country.


Mariupol neighbourhood will be dismantled and replaced with 'luxury apartments' - Ukraine

Petro Andryshchenko, an adviser to the mayor of Mariupol, has claimed Russian occupiers will shortly begin dismantling a neighbourhood in the southern city to make way for "luxury apartments".

Mariupol was under fire for months, with Ukrainian defenders holding out at the Azov steelworks while the rest of the city was largely destroyed in shelling.

They eventually fell, leaving the city in the hands of Russian occupiers.

Mariupol, in the Donetsk region, was once home to 450,000 people.

It has now been claimed that Russians will soon begin dismantling the Azov neighbourhood, and put "elite" or "luxury" homes in its place.

"In spring, Moscow developers close to the federal government of Russia will begin construction of ‘elite economy'-class apartments under the Mariupol real estate mortgage program," Mr Andryshchenko said.

He claimed that many people will lose their homes as a result of this.

"What about people?" he said. "And people [left] to the streets to search for a new life without a chance for a future."


'British Army takes on 'lion's share' of Ukraine aid - and thinks RAF and Royal Navy should do more'

There's an interesting report in the Telegraph this afternoon.

The newspaper claims that the British Army is worried it has taken on a "lion's share" of equipping Ukraine with the war against Russia.

It alleges that senior defence sources believe other parts of the British military - such as the RAF and Royal Navy - should be doing more.

Reports state that the Army thinks its latest donation of 14 British Challenger II tanks is another example of it taking on a greater share.

The British Army is also poised to train Ukrainians in how to operate them.

Sources reportedly think other parts of the military need to help "shoulder the burden".

An insider said: "If we are serious about ensuring Ukraine wins, then we should follow through."

However, another source defended this apparent lack of support.

They said "tanks are how you break through lines" - while others claimed jets are simply "not the priority now".


Russian strikes devastate town of Vuhledar

As we reported earlier, fighting has intensified in the eastern town of Vuhledar in the last few days, as Russian troops launched shells relentlessly.

The photographs below are the latest to emerge from the town - once home to 15,000 people - and the scale of the destruction is clear.


'All my friends died there': Young Ukrainian girl shares her experience living in Mariupol at war

A young Ukrainian girl has shared the harrowing story of her time in the southern city of Mariupol when it was under fierce Russian attack.

In a video, shared online by Visegrad 24, the unnamed girl said "all my friends died" in the city - and described how she first thought the blasts were holiday celebrations.

She said: "My classmate, he was walking in the yard and he saw something shining. He didn't know it was a mine. He just took it in his hands and it exploded in his hands.

"When I heard something explode, I thought it was firecrackers. That it was some kind of holiday. I heard some firecrackers. I say: 'Grandfather, some firecrackers.'

"He looked, and there the house was already on fire. Far, far away – and something is flying in the sky. He immediately says: 'Everyone go quickly under the table – into the corridor!'"

The girl then tells the stories of two of her friends - Polina and Anya - both of whom died in Mariupol when missiles hit their homes.

"The war changed me a lot," she said. "I'm very tired.

"I started smiling less. If someone tries to make me laugh, it almost never works out."


'Fierce combat' around the eastern town of Vuhledar

Last night, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said major battles were taking place in Vuhledar and Bakhmut, to the northeast.

He said: "The situation at the front, and in particular in Donetsk region - near Bakhmut and Vuhledar - remains extremely acute."

Meanwhile, Ukrainian military spokesman Sergiy Cherevaty said "fierce combat" is still ongoing for Vuhledar, which had a pre-war population of 15,000.

The video below, shared on social media by Ukrainian adviser Anton Gerashchenko, captures the scene in the embattled town.

He said attacks on Vuhledar have "intensified".

"In WWII, defence of Stalingrad lasted 125 days. Defence of Sevastopol - 250 days. Vuhledar stands for over 300 days."


'Ukrainian woman killed' in Jerusalem attacks

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has confirmed a Ukrainian woman was among those killed in an attack in Jerusalem on Friday night.

A Palestiniangunmanshot seven people dead near a synagogue on the outskirts of the city.

Three others were injured in that shooting, including a 15-year-old boy who was recovering from surgery, hospital officials said.

Hours later, another two people were wounded after a 13-year-old boy allegedly opened fire elsewhere in Jerusalem.

Mr Zelenskyy said: "We share pain after the terrorist attacks in Jerusalem. Among the victims is a Ukrainian woman.

"Sincere condolences to the victims' families. The crimes were cynically committed on the Intl Holocaust Remembrance Day.

"Terror must have no place in today's world."

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