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Russia Attacks Ukraine with 35 Drones

Written by on January 30, 2024

Ukraine said Tuesday that Russia’s military attacked overnight with 35 drones and two guided missiles targeting multiple regions of the country.

Ukraine’s air force said air defenses destroyed 15 of the drones, including intercepts over the Mykolaiv, Sumy, Cherkasy, Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv, Kherson and Kyiv regions.

The air force said part of Russia’s attack was focused on hitting fuel and energy sector infrastructure.

Russia said Monday its air defenses thwarted attacks by 21 Ukrainian drones.

Russian news agencies reported the military intercepted or destroyed Ukrainian drones over the Russia-annexed Crimean Peninsula, as well as the Russian regions of Belgorod, Bryansk, Kaluga and Tula.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned Monday that Ukraine’s defensive war against Russia was at risk without a new round of aid approved by Congress.

“Without it, simply put, everything that Ukrainians achieved and that we’ve helped them achieve will be in jeopardy,” Blinken said at a joint news conference with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in Washington.

Firefighters work at a site where production facilities were damaged during a Russian drone strike, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, near Bila Tserkva city, in Kyiv region, Ukraine, in this handout picture released Jan. 30, 2024.
Firefighters work at a site where production facilities were damaged during a Russian drone strike, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, near Bila Tserkva city, in Kyiv region, Ukraine, in this handout picture released Jan. 30, 2024.

The NATO chief expressed confidence that the U.S. will continue to support Ukraine, saying it is in the interest of the U.S. to ensure that Russia does not win in Ukraine.

Stoltenberg also said that aiding Ukraine is a joint effort with NATO allies and that it is not viewed as charity but as “an investment in our own security.”

Russian-Belarus alliance

Russian President Vladimir Putin met Monday with his Belarusian counterpart, Alexander Lukashenko, to discuss expanding their alliance, which has already seen the deployment of some of Russia’s nuclear weapons on the territory of its neighbor.

Putin emphasized the two countries’ “strategic partnership” as part of their 25-year union agreement involving political, economic and military ties between the two nations.

“It’s important that amid an unprecedented foreign pressure, Russia and Belarus have closely cooperated on the international arena and have offered unfailing support to each other as true allies,” Putin said at the start of the talks in St. Petersburg that involved senior officials from both countries.

Lukashenko has relied on Russian subsidies and political support to rule the ex-Soviet nation with an iron hand for nearly three decades. Moscow’s backing helped Lukashenko survive months of major protests of his reelection in a 2020 vote that the opposition and the West saw as rigged.

Lukashenko allowed Russia to use Belarusian territory to send troops into Ukraine in February 2022.

Hungary-Ukraine talks

Hungary indicated Monday that it is ready for a compromise allowing a proposed European Union aid package of $54 billion for Ukraine to be financed from the bloc’s budget ahead of an emergency summit on Thursday.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban has been a vocal critic of the EU’s financial and military support for Kyiv and maintained close ties with the Kremlin since Russia invaded neighboring Ukraine in February 2022.

If Hungary does not agree on the package, EU leaders have proposed an alternative plan involving a deal between 26 members and Ukraine, which would also deny Budapest access to linked EU funds.

Hungarian Foreign Affairs Minister Peter Szijjarto met with his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, in Kyiv to discuss the aid and to address restrictions on the rights of the ethnic Hungarian community in the western Ukrainian region of Zakarpattia to study in their native language.

Hungary has an “expectation that the members of the Hungarian national community will regain their rights that already existed in 2015,” the Hungarian official said, adding, “We still have a long way to go, but we on the Hungarian side are ready to do this work.”

Kuleba said he considered the question of the Hungarian minority “fundamentally resolved,” but that a joint committee will be established to examine how Kyiv can address Budapest’s further demands concerning Ukraine’s Hungarian community and present those findings to the respective governments in 10 days.

This was Szijjarto’s first visit to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion and the only official bilateral meeting between the two officials in the last two years.

Some material for this report came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

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