Russia struck Ukraine with an advanced hypersonic Zircon missile for the first time, a preliminary analysis by a Kyiv research institute claims.

Oleksandr Ruvin, director of the Kyiv Scientific-Research Institute for Forensic Examinations, said on his Telegram channel that his institute completed an analysis of missile fragments from a Russian attack on 7 February,

He included a video of alleged missile wreckage showing specific markings. “In this case, we see elements that are characteristic of the 3M22 Zircon missile. Parts and fragments of the engine and steering mechanisms have specific markings,” he wrote.

The Russian defence ministry did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

The Zircon has a range of 1,000 km (625 miles) and travels at nine times the speed of sound, according to Russia. Military analysts have said its hypersonic speed could mean greatly reduced reaction time for air defences and a capability to attack large, deep and hardened targets.

It comes as Ukrainian troops have captured up to 25 Russian soldiers in the past week as the Kremlin builds a 19-mile metal defensive line behind occupied territory.

General Oleksandr Tarnavskyi said around half of the troops were captured on Sunday, with the majority taken in the Zaporizhzhia region.

Key Points

  • Ukraine to produce thousands of long-range drones in 2024, minister says

  • Ukraine captures ‘25 Russian soldiers’

US Senate heads toward final passage of Ukraine aid bill

09:15 , Lydia Patrick

The Democratic-led U.S. Senate was expected to vote early on Tuesday for final passage of a $95.34 billion aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, amid growing doubts about the legislation’s fate in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

Soon after lawmakers swept aside the last procedural hurdle facing the legislation late on Monday, Republican opponents of the bill took to the Senate floor for an overnight marathon of speeches. Aides predicted that a vote on passage could begin before 7 a.m. EST (1200 GMT) on Tuesday.

Senate passage appears certain. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has been able to deliver the support of least 17 members of his party conference, more than enough to exceed the 100-seat chamber’s 60-vote threshold for passage.

But both houses of Congress must approve the legislation before Democratic President Joe Biden can sign it into law. And the bill faces long odds in the House, where Republican Speaker Mike Johnson faulted the measure for lacking conservative provisions to stem a record flow of migrants across the U.S.-Mexico border.

“In the absence of having received any single border policy change from the Senate, the House will have to continue to work its own will on these important matters,” Johnson said in a statement issued late on Monday.

“America deserves better than the Senate’s status quo,” said Johnson, who has suggested in the past that the House could split the legislation into separate bills.

The legislation includes $61 billion for Ukraine, $14 billion for Israel in its war against Hamas and $4.83 billion to support partners in the Indo-Pacific, including Taiwan, and deter aggression by China.

It would also provide $9.15 billion in humanitarian assistance to civilians in Gaza and the West Bank, Ukraine and other conflict zones around the globe.

Republicans have demanded for months that the foreign aid bill include border restrictions.

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA) leaves a House Republican caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol on February 06, 2024 (Getty Images)

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA) leaves a House Republican caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol on February 06, 2024 (Getty Images)

Trump’s ‘outrageous’ Nato comments make allies ‘wonder whether they can rely on America’, warns Romney

08:45 , Lydia Patrick

Mitt Romney has told The Independent that former President Donald Trump’s comments about how he would urge Russia to attack Nato countries who don’t spend enough on defence makes US allies wonder if they can “rely on America”.

Mr Romney’s comments come after Mr Trump’s rally in Conway, South Carolina on Sunday, where he said: “If we don’t pay and we’re attacked by Russia, will you protect us?” Mr Trump said, claiming to remember a Nato member state leader asking him during his presidency. He then claimed to have responded: “No, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want.”

Mr Romney, now a Utah Senator after being the 2012 Republican presidential nominee and serving as the governor of Massachusetts, told The Independent on Monday: “He says outrageous things to get people riled up. It works at the rallies. Unfortunately, it also has an impact around the world where our friends wonder whether they can rely on America.”

This comes after reports regarding Mr Trump telling top European Union officials that the US would never help Europe if it was attacked.

Read the full story here…

Romney says Trump Nato comments make ‘friends wonder if they can rely on America’

Ukraine’s military intelligence says Russia buying Starlink terminals in ‘Arab countries’

08:15 , Lydia Patrick

Russian forces are buying Starlink satellite internet terminals in “Arab countries” for use on the battlefield, Ukraine‘s military spy agency said on Tuesday.

The Elon Musk-owned service has been vital to Kyiv’s battlefield communications, but Ukrainian officials have said Russian forces are also increasingly relying on it during their nearly two-year-old invasion.

The defence ministry’s Main Directorate of Intelligence (GUR) released what it said was an audio intercept of two Russian soldiers discussing buying units from Arab providers for around 200,000 roubles ($2,200) each.

“The aggressor state Russia is purchasing communications equipment, including Starlink satellite Internet terminals, for use in the war in Arab countries,” the ministry said on Telegram.

On Monday, GUR spokesman Andriy Yusov told Reuters that Russian forces were purchasing the terminals through unspecified third countries.

Starlink has said it does not do business with Russia or operate on Russian territory. The Kremlin said the terminals were neither certified for use in, nor officially supplied to, Russia, and therefore could not be used.

Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla and owner of X, denies selling Starlink terminals to Russia (REUTERS)Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla and owner of X, denies selling Starlink terminals to Russia (REUTERS)

Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla and owner of X, denies selling Starlink terminals to Russia (REUTERS)

Russia fires new Zircon hypersonic missile on Ukraine ‘for first time’, says Kyiv researcher

08:06 , Lydia Patrick

Russia allegedly targeted Ukraine with the powerful hypersonic Zircon missile, believed to be for the first time in the nearly two-year-long war, the head of a Kyiv research institute said on Monday.

Oleksandr Ruvin, director of the Kyiv Scientific-Research Institute for Forensic Examinations, confirmed the use of the missiles after his institute completed a preliminary analysis of the weapon fragments from the Russian attack on 7 February.

Russia unleashed a barrage of missiles on Ukrainian cities last week, killing five and injuring 50 others.

The Zircon missile is a thermonuclear-capable projectile with a range of 1,000km (625 miles) and travels at nine times the speed of sound, details from its developer state Russia show.

Read the full story here…

Russia fired new Zircon hypersonic missile on Ukraine, says Kyiv researcher

Russian air attack damages Dnipro power plant, Ukraine says

07:34 , Lydia Patrick

Russia attacked the central Ukrainian city of Dnipro with missiles and drones on Tuesday, damaging a power plant and cutting off water supplies to some residents, Ukrainian officials and media said.

The city of just under one million people came under attack from a missile and four groups of drones approaching from the south, east and north, Ukraine‘s Air Force said on the Telegram messaging app.

It reported shooting down 16 out of 23 drones launched by Russia.

Ukraine‘s largest private energy provider, DTEK, said a thermal power plant was significantly damaged. There were no casualties, it added.

The company did not say where the power plant was located, but Dnipro’s water utility company said on Telegram that “due to power outages” water supply had been partially suspended and Ukrainian media outlets said a power plant in Dnipro was hit.

Regional governor Serhiy Lysak said on Tuesday morning that energy infrastructure had been hit, but gave no further details. He said 10 drones were destroyed over the city and that workers had restored power to all affected homes.

Reuters was not able to independently verify the reports. There was no immediate response from Russia’s defence ministry to a request for comment.

Both Russia and Ukraine have increased their air attacks away from the frontline in recent months, targeting each other’s critical energy, military and transport infrastructure.

FILE PHOTO A general view shows a shopping mall heavily damaged by a Russian missile strike, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Dnipro, Ukraine December 29, 2023 (via REUTERS)FILE PHOTO A general view shows a shopping mall heavily damaged by a Russian missile strike, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Dnipro, Ukraine December 29, 2023 (via REUTERS)

FILE PHOTO A general view shows a shopping mall heavily damaged by a Russian missile strike, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Dnipro, Ukraine December 29, 2023 (via REUTERS)

HMS Prince of Wales finally sets sail for historic Nato drills after week of setbacks for UK warships

06:00 , Alexander Butler

HMS Prince of Wales finally sets sail for historic Nato drills after week of setbacks

Russia uses Zircon hypersonic missile in Ukraine for first time, researchers say

04:00 , Alexander Butler

A preliminary analysis concluded that Russia hit Kyiv last week with the hypersonic Zircon missile, its first use in the nearly two-year-old war, the head of a Kyiv research institute said on Monday, presenting a new challenge to Ukraine’s air defences.

Oleksandr Ruvin, director of the Kyiv Scientific-Research Institute for Forensic Examinations, said on his Telegram channel that his institute completed a preliminary analysis of missile fragments from a Russian attack on Feb. 7.

He included a video of alleged missile wreckage showing specific markings. “In this case, we see elements that are characteristic of the 3M22 Zircon missile. Parts and fragments of the engine and steering mechanisms have specific markings,” he wrote.

EU takes first step to use Russia’s frozen assets for Ukraine

03:00 , Alexander Butler

The EU adopted a law to set aside windfall profits made on frozen Russian central bank assets, it said on Monday, in a first concrete step towards the bloc’s aim of using the money to finance the reconstruction of Ukraine.

The EU and the Group of Seven nations (G7) froze some 300 billion euros ($323 billion) of Russian central bank assets following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. The EU and G7 have been debating if and how these funds can be used for over a year.

The United States has floated the idea of confiscating the assets outright but EU officials view this as legally too risky.

Two thirds of these funds are in the EU with the majority of that held by Belgium’s clearing house Euroclear. So far, only taxes on the assets in Belgium have been earmarked to a dedicated fund for Ukraine handled by the Belgian government.

The law passed on Monday means central securities depositaries (CSDs), such as Euroclear, will be prohibited from using net profits and must keep revenues from the Russian assets separate.

Zelensky planning western European tour to lobby for aid

02:00 , Alexander Butler

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky is planning a tour of Western European capitals to lobby for aid for Ukraine around this week, according to reports.

Trump’s ‘outrageous’ Nato comments make allies ‘wonder whether they can rely on America’, warns Romney

01:00 , Alexander Butler

Romney says Trump Nato comments make ‘friends wonder if they can rely on America’

The world takes Trump’s Nato comments literally, while Maga takes them seriously

00:01 , Alexander Butler

The world takes Trump’s Nato comments literally, while Maga takes them seriously

German, Danish leaders launch construction of new ammunition plant

Monday 12 February 2024 23:00 , Alexander Butler

German, Danish leaders launch construction of new ammunition plant as Europe ramps up production

Ukraine aims to build an army of one million drones as Moscow becomes the target

Monday 12 February 2024 22:00 , Alexander Butler

Ukraine aims to build an army of one million drones as Moscow becomes the target

Russia launches 45 drones in mass barrage of Ukraine as Kyiv continues war cabinet reshuffle

Monday 12 February 2024 21:00 , Alexander Butler

Russia launches 45 drones in mass barrage of Ukraine as Kyiv continues war cabinet reshuffle

European powers warn of spike in Russian propaganda before EU elections

Monday 12 February 2024 20:00 , Alexander Butler

France, Poland and Germany accused Russia on Monday of putting together an elaborate network of websites to spread pro-Russian propaganda to undermine their governments, warning of a mass spread of such content ahead of EU elections in June.

Western nations have repeatedly accused Russian operatives of using social media and the internet to spread false or misleading information to undermine them, promote Russia or attempt to sway public opinion in their countries against backing Ukraine in its fight against Russia’s invasion.

“We are in a period of vulnerability with the European elections and, regarding France, the Olympics,” French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne told a joint news conference with his Polish and German counterparts at a French chateau near Paris.

Ukrainian commander says he learnt about sacking from news reports

Monday 12 February 2024 19:00 , Alexander Butler

Ukrainian commander says learnt about his sacking from news headlines

Moldova will destroy explosives found in a Shahed drone that strayed from the war in Ukraine

Monday 12 February 2024 18:30 , Alexander Butler

Moldova will destroy explosives found in a Shahed drone that strayed from the war in Ukraine

NATO leader says Trump puts allies at risks by saying Russia can ‘do whatever the hell they want’

Monday 12 February 2024 17:59 , Alexander Butler

NATO leader says Trump puts allies at risks by saying Russia can ‘do whatever the hell they want’

Trump is dangerously wrong about Nato – and if he wins he’ll hang us out to dry

Monday 12 February 2024 16:15 , Alexander Butler

Trump is dangerously wrong about Nato – and if he wins he’ll hang us out to dry

Ukraine captures ‘25 Russian soldiers’

Monday 12 February 2024 15:36 , Alexander Butler

Ukrainian troops have captured up to 25 Russian soldiers in the past week as the Kremlin builds a 19-mile metal defensive line behind occupied territory.

General Oleksandr Tarnavskyi said around half of the troops were captured on Sunday, with the majority taken in the Zaporizhzhia region.

‘No alternative’ to Nato, Poland and France say

Monday 12 February 2024 14:45 , Alexander Butler

There is “no alternative” to the EU, Nato and transatlantic cooperation, Poland’s prime minister and the French president said.

Polish prime minister Donald Tusk said France and Poland must “become strong” and ready to defend their own borders and allies outside the EU.

It comes after US presidential candidate Donald Trump sparked outrage after suggesting he would encourage Putin to invade Nato allies who do not meet their 2 per cent of GDP spending commitment to the organisation.

“There is no alternative to the EU, NATO, transatlantic cooperation. Europe must become a safe continent, and this means that the European Union, France and Poland must become strong and ready to defend their own borders and to defend and support our allies and friends from outside the Union,” Tusk said in a joint statement with French President Emmanuel Macron.

There is ‘no alternative’ to Nato, the EU and transatlantic cooperation, Polish prime minister Donald Tusk said (EPA)There is ‘no alternative’ to Nato, the EU and transatlantic cooperation, Polish prime minister Donald Tusk said (EPA)

There is ‘no alternative’ to Nato, the EU and transatlantic cooperation, Polish prime minister Donald Tusk said (EPA)

UK foreign secretary slams Trump’s ‘unsensible’ Nato comment

Monday 12 February 2024 14:15 , Alexander Butler

Donald Trump’s suggestion that he would not defend Nato allies who do not meet defence spending commitments was “not a sensible approach”, Lord David Cameron has said.

Speaking to reporters as he visited East Kilbride, Scotland, the Foreign Secretary said: “I am a very strong supporter of Nato.

“It is what helps to keep us safe and that is so essential in this world where we have seen Putin’s terrible illegal invasion of Ukraine.

“And actually Nato this year has got stronger, with Sweden and Finland joining. Of course we want all countries like us to spend 2 per cent (of GDP), but I think what was said was not a sensible approach.”

Lord Cameron said Donald Trump’s Nato comment was ‘not a sensible approach’ (PA Wire)Lord Cameron said Donald Trump’s Nato comment was ‘not a sensible approach’ (PA Wire)

Lord Cameron said Donald Trump’s Nato comment was ‘not a sensible approach’ (PA Wire)

Historian Tom Holland debunks Putin’s claims after Tucker Carlson interview

Monday 12 February 2024 13:45 , Tom Watling

Historian Tom Holland has debunked Vladimir Putin’s claims he made during his much-anticipated interview with Tucker Carlson.

The former Fox News host interviewed the Russian President, who started with a long diatribe on Russian history and its relationship with Ukraine, during the two-hour interview, which aired on Thursday (8 February).

Speaking on The Rest Is History podcast, released on Friday (9 February), historian Tom Holland debunked the claims Putin made, saying he came up with “facts” that were “so clearly wrong, that everyone knows they are wrong”.

Historian Tom Holland debunks Putin’s claims after Tucker Carlson interview

Tucker Carlson says anyone who thinks Putin will relinquish Crimea is a ‘lunatic’

Monday 12 February 2024 13:15 , Tom Watling

Tucker Carlson called anyone who thinks President Vladimir Putin should give up Crimea as a condition of achieving peace with Ukraine a “lunatic” following his interview with the Russian leader.

Carlson spoke with Mr Putin in a widely-criticised interview on his X/Twitter show.

Following the interview, Carlson noted that Crimea was in Russian possession prior to the current war in Ukraine — Russia annexed Crime in 2014 — and said the prospect of Mr Putin returning the region was out of the question.

Tucker Carlson says anyone who thinks Russia will relinquish Crimea is a ‘lunatic’

Russia using Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites in war against Ukraine, claims Kyiv

Monday 12 February 2024 12:45 , Tom Watling

Russian soldiers are using Elon Musk’s Starlink terminals to connect to satellite internet service on the frontlines in Ukraine, Kyiv’s intelligence service has claimed.

Ukraine’s GUR unit said on Telegram on Sunday that they had evidence that Russian forces were using the terminals in Donetsk Oblast, eastern Ukraine.

The report came days after a US military publication published a photo provided by a Ukrainian source purporting to show a Starlink terminal on the frontline. It was captured in a video by a Ukrainian drone participating in a strike on a Russian position on the frontline.

Russia using Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites in war against Ukraine, claims Kyiv

Poland to make quality checks on all grain shipments from Ukraine, minister says

Monday 12 February 2024 12:10 , Tom Watling

Poland plans to start quality checks on all grain shipments from Ukraine, Deputy Agriculture Minister Michal Kolodziejczak said on Monday as Polish farmers continued nationwide protests against EU policies, including allowing cheap grain imports from Ukraine.

Farmers started blocking roads and border crossings with Ukraine on Friday, kicking off a month-long general strike to protest against EU policies and a lack of government action to protect their livelihoods.

Representatives of Poland’s new pro-European government have said they understand the challenges farmers are facing and that help for Ukraine in its fight against Russia’s invasion could not come at the expense of Polish farmers.

“Today … I will request that all grain transports that are exported and have an embargo imposed on them be examined in Poland,” Kolodziejczak told state news agency PAP.

When such grain reaches Germany and, after examination, turns out to be of poor quality, he said, “99 per cent of the time it returns to Poland as European grain” and not to Ukraine.

Farmers in France, Belgium, Portugal, Greece, Spain and Germany have been protesting against constraints placed on them by EU measures to tackle climate change, as well as rising costs and what they say is unfair competition from abroad.

Polish farmers have been particularly vocal about the impact of cheap food imports from neighbouring Ukraine.

Polish Deputy Minister of Agriculture Michal Kolodziejczak (C) meets farmers blocking a national road in Borki, Lublin Voivodeship, Poland, 09 February 2024. (EPA)Polish Deputy Minister of Agriculture Michal Kolodziejczak (C) meets farmers blocking a national road in Borki, Lublin Voivodeship, Poland, 09 February 2024. (EPA)

Polish Deputy Minister of Agriculture Michal Kolodziejczak (C) meets farmers blocking a national road in Borki, Lublin Voivodeship, Poland, 09 February 2024. (EPA)

Ukraine says Russian forces obtaining Starlink terminals via third countries

Monday 12 February 2024 11:39 , Tom Watling

Russian forces are obtaining Starlink terminals illicitly from third countries and they are increasing their use on the front line, the Ukrainian military spy agency’s spokesperson told Reuters on Monday, without explaining how he knew.

Andriy Yusov, the military official, also said that work was underway to counter Russia’s use of the terminals in occupied parts of Ukraine as the full-scale war with Russia nears the two-year mark.

Ukrainian commander says he learnt about sacking from news reports as Zelensky’s reshuffle continues

Monday 12 February 2024 10:53 , Tom Watling

A Ukrainian commander leading his country’s northern forces against the Russian invasion says he only found out he had been fired by Volodymyr Zelensky from reading news reports.

General Serhiy Nayev lost his job as part of a major reshuffle in Ukraine’s military.

“I learnt about my dismissal from the post of commander of the Joint Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which I’d held since 2020, from the mass media,” General Nayev said on his official Telegram channel on Sunday.

“Those were difficult times. One of the most difficult periods in the history of Ukraine. And together with you, we walked this path with dignity,” the Lieutenant General said, as he expressed gratitude to Ukrainian soldiers for their service.

Ukrainian commander says learnt about his sacking from news headlines

Ukraine to produce thousands of long-range drones in 2024, minister says

Monday 12 February 2024 10:19 , Tom Watling

Ukraine will produce thousands of long-range drones capable of deep strikes into Russia in 2024 and already has up to 10 companies making drones that can reach Moscow and St Petersburg, Ukraine‘s digital minister said.

Mykhailo Fedorov spoke about the wartime drone industry he has championed in a interview in Kyiv in which he revealed new details about the sector, after a spate of Ukrainian drone attacks on Russian oil facilities in recent weeks.

“The category of long-range kamikaze drones is growing, with a range of 300, 500, 700, and 1,000 kilometres. Two years ago, this category did not exist … at all,” he told Reuters.

Fedorov, 33, has been at the heart of Ukraine‘s effort to nurture private military startups to innovate and build up the drone industry as the war goes into its third year and Ukraine seeks new ways to fight back against well dug-in Russian forces.

Mykhailo Fedorov, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine walks next to Magura unmanned marine vehicles during an interview with Reuters (REUTERS)Mykhailo Fedorov, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine walks next to Magura unmanned marine vehicles during an interview with Reuters (REUTERS)

Mykhailo Fedorov, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine walks next to Magura unmanned marine vehicles during an interview with Reuters (REUTERS)

Kremlin denies Ukrainian allegation that its troops use Elon Musk’s Starlink

Monday 12 February 2024 09:45 , Tom Watling

The Kremlin has said that Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite internet system is neither certified for use in, nor officially supplied to, Russia, and therefore could not be used.

Ukraine, which has used Starlink for military communications throughout its conflict with Russia, said on Sunday that Russian troops were using Starlink in parts of Ukraine they control.

Elon Musk also denied selling Starlink to Russia.

Ukraine destroys 14 of 17 Russia-launched drones – Ukraine air force

Monday 12 February 2024 09:22 , Tom Watling

Ukraine‘s air defence systems destroyed 14 out of 17 drones that Russia launched overnight and one Kh-59 cruise missile, Ukraine‘s Air Force have said.

The Air Force said on the Telegram messaging app that Russia also launched missiles from S-300 long-range surface-to-air missile systems, but it did not say how many or whether they hit any targets.

Oleh Synehubov, governor of the Kharkiv region in Ukraine‘s northeast, said late on Sunday that Russia attacked his region with missiles launched from the S-300 systems in Russia’s Belgorod region that borders Ukraine.

He said that according to preliminary information, there were no casualties, but the facades of some non-residential buildings were damaged.

Serhiy Lisak, governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region, said late on Sunday that Russia attacked the region’s city of Pavlohrad with drones. There were no casualties, but some parts of the city lost electricity.

A Ukrainian investigator inspects the aftermath of an overnight Russian strike on Selidovo on Donetsk Oblast (Telegram)A Ukrainian investigator inspects the aftermath of an overnight Russian strike on Selidovo on Donetsk Oblast (Telegram)

A Ukrainian investigator inspects the aftermath of an overnight Russian strike on Selidovo on Donetsk Oblast (Telegram)

Good morning

Monday 12 February 2024 09:21 , Tom Watling

Hello and welcome to our live blog of the war in Ukraine.

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