Overview:

  • Three killed in Donetsk region by relentless Russian strikes
  • Norway sends more NATO fighter jets for Ukrainian pilot training
  • Zelensky congratulates staff on massive prisoner exchange
  • Moscow’s forces make gains near Bakhmut
  • After Russian strikes, NATO to explore better air defenses

Three killed in continued Russian air strikes

Air strikes in southern and eastern Ukraine on Wednesday killed three civilians, AFP reported, citing local officials.

“Today, at around 11 am [local time], Russians struck the city of Avdiivka with four missiles,” the regional head of Donetsk, Vadym Filashkin, posted on Telegram. “A 51-year-old man died on the spot,” he said, adding that a 50-year-old woman was wounded in the attacks.

Updated death tolls on Wednesday showed that 53 people, including 30 in Kyiv, have been killed in Russian air strikes since Friday when Moscow announced retaliation for the Ukrainian bombardment of the border city of Belgorod.

More F-16s ready for Ukrainian training

Norway is sending two of its F-16 fighter jets to Denmark to train Ukrainian war pilots, Norway’s Defense Minister Bjørn Arild Gram said, Reuters reported.

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Norway announced last year that it would join Denmark, the Netherlands and other NATO countries in providing the planes for Ukraine, and has already deployed 10 instructors in Denmark to train the pilots, Arild Gram said.

Oslo already has replaced these last-generation jets with American-made F-35s. State news agency Ukrinform reported that the first group of six Ukrainian pilots completed training on F-16s in the UK and are now undergoing flight training in Denmark.

 

Ukraine celebrates return of 230 prisoners of war

PUBLIC OPINION: Will Russia’s War Against Ukraine Spread Into the EU?
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PUBLIC OPINION: Will Russia’s War Against Ukraine Spread Into the EU?

Kyiv Post asked passerby in London, Warsaw, and Vilnius how likely is it that Russia’s war on Ukraine will spread into the EU.

“Despite all of the challenges, we have good news today. 230 freed people. Initially, there was no information about some of them being held captive. They were considered missing in action. It is critical to keep hope alive,” President Volodymyr Zelensky posted on social media Wednesday after the outcomes of negotiations with Moscow.

“We will keep working to bring back all of our people. I am grateful to all of our team, Budanov, Yermak, Malyuk, and Klymenko, for continuing to work to ensure that swaps continue,” he said.

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Kuleba announces emergency NATO-group meeting after Russian onslaught

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba announced on Wednesday that the NATO-Ukraine Council (NUC) will hold an emergency meeting in response to Russia’s recent mass air strikes against Ukraine, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported.

Kuleba noted that boosting Ukraine’s air defenses will be one of the meeting’s key priorities. For about a month now, the newly formed NUC has been focused on the “full Ukrainian interoperability with NATO and steps to increase weapons and ammunition production,” the ISW reported.

Operations: Donetsk region

Moscow’s forces advanced northeast of the liberated city of Bakhmut on Tuesday and Wednesday, the ISW reported, citing Russian bloggers.

One such blogger posted a map on Wednesday claiming that Russian forces advanced on the northeastern and eastern flanks of Vesele (about 18 km northeast of Bakhmut), assertions unconfirmed by the ISW.

What has been confirmed however, by geolocated footage posted on Tuesday, is that Russian forces, “likely elements of the 98th Airborne (VDV) Division” have moved north of the ‘O0506’ Bakhmut-Khromove road between Bohdanivka and Khromove.

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