A Ukrainian soldiers prepares to fire a 120mm mortar towards Russian positions on a frontline in the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine, April 5, 2023 (Genya Savilov, AFP)
Map: Institute for the Study of War
UPDATE 1717 GMT:
More than 100 Russian doctors have called on Vladimir Putin to release artist Alexandra Skochilenko, sentenced this week to seven years in prison for replacing supermarket price tags with anti-war slogans.
Skochilenko, 33, suffers from coeliac disease and a congenital heart defect. Her mother says a long prison term will be a “catastrophe”.
In an open letter to Putin, the doctors write, “As the medical community, we have serious concerns about Sasha’s health.”
UPDATE 1450 GMT:
In another “double tap” strike, Russia has killed two first responders and wounded three in the Zaporizhzhia region in southern Ukraine.
Russia forces fired rockets at the village of Komyshuvakha, close to the frontline, injuring four residents and setting a fire in a residential building. When police and rescuers arrived, the Russians struck again.
Russia has frequently used the “double tap” tactic, both in Syria and in Ukraine, to target emergency services.
UPDATE 1219 GMT:
Finland is erecting barriers at four of nine crossings on its border with Russia, claiming that Russian officials are orchestrating a surge in migration.
Helsinki says Russian authorities are retaliating for Finnish accession to NATO and increased defense cooperation with the US.
Finnish officials said the border stations at Vaalimaa, Nuijamaa, Imatra, and Niirala in its southeast will remain closed to all traffic until February 18.
From Saturday, asylum seekers coming from Russia will only be allowed to hand in their applications at two border crossings, Salla and Vartius, in northern Finland.
Finland shares a 1,340-km (833-mile) border with Russia.
UPDATE 1137 GMT:
Russian attacks on the Kherson region in southern Ukraine have killed another person and injured three.
Governor Oleksandr Prukudin said more than 500 shells were fired on Ukrainian areas of the region on Friday. Kherson city was attacked 26 times.
On Thursday, the Russians killed nine people, including at least three women. Another 10, including a child, were injured.
UPDATE 1131 GMT:
Former Deputy Finance Minister Sergey Aleksashenko has been placed on a “most wanted” list by Russia’s Interior Ministry.
Aleksahshenko, who was also a deputy governor of Russia’s Central Bank, was already designated a “foreign agent” because of his criticism of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
Aleksashenko has been living in exile in the US.
UPDATE 1123 GMT:
The Ukraine Air Force says it downed 29 of 38 drones fired by Russia in attacks from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m.
An energy infrastructure facility was hit and an administrative building damaged in the Odesa region in southern Ukraine. One civilian was wounded.
In the Chernihiv region in northern Ukraine, two infrastructure buildings were damaged.
Almost a dozen drones targeted Kyiv in the second assault in nine days (see 0726 GMT). All were intercepted, and no casualties or damage were reported.
UPDATE 0743 GMT:
The Russian Justice Ministry has labelled The Moscow Times, a leading source for news on Russia, a “foreign agent”.
The Ministry declared, “The online publication The Moscow Times disseminated inaccurate information about the decisions taken and policies pursued by the authorities.” Officials accused the publication of having “carried out actions aimed at forming a negative public image” and of featuring material written by other “foreign agents”.
Some of the outlet’s staff left Russia after the start of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
UPDATE 0726 GMT:
Russia has carried out its second drone attack on Kyiv in nine days.
Air defenses intercepted and destroyed almost a dozen Iranian-made Shahed “kamikaze” drones on Friday night, said Serhiy Popko, head of the Kyiv military Administration.
No casualties or damage to civilian infrastructure have been reported.
ORIGINAL ENTRY: Ukraine and the US are pursuing joint arms production to maintain the fightback against the 21-month Russian invasion.
In his nightly address to the nation, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy explained that he and US counterpart Joe Biden “agreed on specific steps we can take together”. Presidential Chief of Staff Andriy Yermak followed up with negotiations in the US, and in December, “a special conference involving Ukrainian and American industries, government officials, and other state actors” will be convened.
The American manufacturer Northrop Grumman said this week that it is exploring the production of 120mm tank ammunition in Poland. Ukraine has already set up an initiative with Rheinmetall of Germany to service and repair western weapons.
Zelenskiy said on Thursday, “I want to especially acknowledge US defense companies and partners in Europe – all those who genuinely fill the concept of defending freedom with substance.”
The President highlighted the urgency of the situation by noting that Israel’s war in Gaza has slowed deliveries of artillery munitions to Ukraine, notably 155mm shells.
Zelesnkiy concluded, “During these times, we all need to be as effective as possible so that the lifetime of our children and grandchildren is not stolen by war.”