Ukrainian troops are advancing in Donbass, said Volodymyr Zelensky

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Friday that his troops were holding their ground and advancing in the Donbass region. Earlier in the day, Ukraine said it had repelled a nighttime drone strike, launched by Russia less than 24 hours after the massive bombing of energy infrastructure, which left millions of Ukrainians without power.

This live is no longer being updated. All information about the war in Ukraine can be found here.

  • 9:07 pm.: update the situation with our special correspondent

Ukraine said early Friday that it had repelled a nighttime drone strike launched by Russia less than 24 hours after a massive bombardment of energy infrastructure, which left millions of Ukrainians without power.

Mélina Huet, special correspondent for France 24 in Kyiv, is concerned about the situation.

  • 8:14 p.m.: The United States is “closely monitoring” Sino-Russian relations

The United States is concerned about China’s alignment with Russia, more than a decade after Moscow’s forces began invading Ukraine, the US State Department said Friday after an interview via videoconference between Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping.

“Beijing claims to be neutral but its behavior clearly shows that it is still committed to closing ties with Russia,” a State Department spokesperson said, adding that Washington was “closely monitoring” China’s activities. .

  • 8:05 p.m.: The Kremlin awards tax gifts to Russian soldiers and officials stationed in Ukraine

Russian soldiers and civil servants deployed in Ukraine will no longer be required to disclose their earnings, the Kremlin has announced, under exemptions from anti-corruption laws at a time when Moscow is increasing incentives to go to war.

“This concerns those working in (four) regions,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, referring to the four Ukrainian regions (Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson, Zaporizhia) that Moscow claims was responsible for annexing – without somehow fully controlling them – and where most of the fighting is currently taking place.

  • 19:23: Ukraine makes progress in the Donbass “section”, says Zelensky

Ukrainian troops maintained their positions against Russian forces in the Donbass region and made minor advances in several areas, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Friday.

“Overall, we held out,” Volodymyr Zelensky said in his evening video address. “There are also certain areas ahead where we are advancing a bit.”

The Ukrainian president also said that Ukraine, which was subjected to a wave of Russian airstrikes, had strengthened its anti-aircraft capabilities and would further strengthen them over the next year to secure itself and the entire European continent.

  • 18:46: Sports sanctions against Russia, Belarus must be maintained in 2023, says IOC President

The sports sanctions imposed on Russia and Belarus due to the invasion of Ukraine must remain in place in 2023, International Olympic Committee (IOC) chief Thomas Bach insisted in his traditional closing speech, stating that Ukrainian athletes have the full support of the IOC and the entire Olympic Movement.

  • 16:17: Ukraine wants to “cause regional conflict”, says Belarusian official

The head of the Belarusian Security Council Alexander Volfovich accused Kyiv of “provoking a regional conflict”, saying it was “impossible” that a Ukrainian anti-aircraft missile shot down on Thursday accidentally enter Belarusian airspace.

“kyiv is trying to provoke a regional conflict by all means,” Alexander Volfovich told Russian state media Sputnik Belarus. “An example is the recent incident with the downing of a Ukrainian S-300 missile,” he added. “There is little reason to believe it entered our airspace by mistake.”

  • 12:50pm: According to Beijing, the road to peace will not be easy

Chinese President Xi Jinping has told his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, that the path to peace talks with Ukraine will not be easy, according to Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.

During the video conference interview, the strongman from Beijing also told Vladimir Putin that China would maintain an “objective and fair position” in the Ukraine conflict, according to CCTV.

  • 10:43 a.m.: Putin tells Xi to strengthen Russian-China military cooperation

Russian President Vladimir Putin said he wanted to strengthen military cooperation with China during a videoconference meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, praising Moscow and Beijing’s resistance in the face of Western “pressure”.

“In the context of unprecedented Western pressure and provocations, we defend our principled position,” said Vladimir Putin.

  • 8:23 am: Jens Stoltenberg asks Ukraine for more weapons

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has called on NATO member states to supply Ukraine with more weapons, according to an interview published Friday by German news agency DPA.

“I’m calling on our allies to do more. For our security, we have to make sure Ukraine wins and (Russian President Vladimir) Putin doesn’t win,” Stoltenberg said.

  • 07:51: Gazprom resumes gas deliveries to Europe via Ukraine

The Russian giant will ship 42.4 million cubic meters of gas to Europe via Ukraine.

  • 07:41 a.m.: Kyiv claims to have shot down 16 Russian drones overnight

The Ukrainian air force said Russia launched 16 “kamikaze” drones overnight from Thursday to Friday, all of which were destroyed by the air defenses. These drones are coming from the southeast and north.

  • 2:56 a.m.: Air alert in Kyiv, residents called to take shelter in shelters

Warning sirens sounded at the start of Kyiv and residents were called to take shelter in shelters, a day after the massive assault carried out by the Russian army against the Ukrainian capital.

The Municipality of Kyiv issued a warning via Telegram message shortly after 2 a.m., calling on residents of the capital to take shelter in shelters.

The governor of the Kyiv region Oleskiy Kuleba said on Telegram that a “drone strike” was underway.

Air warning in kyiv: Kherson and Odessa region without power
Air warning in kyiv: Kherson and Odessa region without power © AFP

  • 01:27: Joe Biden signs into law covering new aid to Kyiv

The US President has signed a $1.7 trillion federal services budget bill. This law provides 45 billion dollars of economic and military support to Ukraine, to fight against the Russian invasion. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky went to Washington in December to ask for more aid.

  • 12:00: Thursday’s Russian fire

With AFP, AP and Reuters

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