Two teenagers were killed in a Russian air strike on a village in the Mykolaiv region on Monday, the region’s governor posted on social media, on a day that saw aerial attacks across southern Ukraine.

“Three people were killed and six injured in the Russian attack on Snigurivka. Two of the victims are a 17-year-old girl and boy,” regional governor Vitaliy Kim announced.

On the same day, in the Nikopol area, other civilians were wounded and Russian drones and artillery destroyed infrastructure.

“There were almost twenty strikes on the Nikopol district today, mostly with kamikaze drones,” Serhiy Lysak, the head of the Dnipropetrovsk Regional Military Administration, posted to social media on Monday. “However, there were also several artillery attacks. The aggressor targeted Nikopol, the Myrove, Chervonohryhorivka, Pokrovsk, and Marhanets communities,” he wrote.

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 According to Lysak, a 56-year-old man with a shrapnel wound was hospitalized and in serious condition.

The regional official recounted the destruction: In total, four private houses, a two-story apartment block, a garage, a car, an infrastructure facility, a hotel, and another private business, plus damages to the local power grid.

Zelensky to leave Spain for next stop in Belgium

On his continuing fundraising tour around Western Europe (with his schedule announced at the last minute presumably for security reasons) President Volodymyr Zelensky will depart Spain and next visit Belgium on Tuesday. He is slated to sign another bilateral security accord with the country, much as he did in Spain in a $1 billion agreement, the Belgian prime minister’s office said Monday. 

Presumed Ukrainian Air Base Targeted by Russian Combined Missile and Drone Attack
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Presumed Ukrainian Air Base Targeted by Russian Combined Missile and Drone Attack

The primary target of the strike was Starokonstyantyniv in the Khmelnytsky region, which is widely thought to be home to a vast Ukrainian air base.

After a visit with Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, Zelensky is also slated to visit a military airbase in the Belgian capital, where he will meet instructors helping to train Ukrainian pilots to fly F-16s. “Belgium has pledged to supply F-16 fighter aircraft to Kyiv as part of a broader initiative by European allies and hopes to begin deliveries this year,” AFP reported. 

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Poland orders long-range missiles from the US, boosts defense budget

On Tuesday, the Polish Defense Ministry said Warsaw will sign a contract to buy €677 million ($735 million) of stealthy long-range air-to-surface missiles from the United States to boost its defenses.

Agence France Presse (AFP) reported that Poland has increased its defense budget to about four percent of GDP, now the highest figure in all of NATO. By contrast, the US budget for defense was most recently estimated at 2.9 percent of GDP for 2024.

“The war in Ukraine has demonstrated the importance of being able to fire missiles at targets even far from the front line, and the range of the missiles to be purchased is around 1,000 kilometers (620 miles),” the Polish Defense Ministry said on Monday.

“The Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles (JASSM) will be delivered between 2026 and 2030,” AFP reported the ministry saying. Poland already has similar missiles with only a third of that range, launched by its US-made F-16 aircraft. 

Drone shuts down Moscow airports

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Russia said Monday it had downed a drone over a village just east of Moscow, causing disruptions at the capital’s two major airports for about an hour.

“Today around 9:00 p.m. in the district of Kuchino in Balashikha, air defenses downed a drone, and debris fell on a private house,” the governor of the Moscow region, Andrei Vorobyov, posted to Telegram.

“People of [the suburb] Balashikha… heard loud bangs. I call for calm, all services are working on the ground,” he added. 

France reportedly ready to send soldiers to Ukraine for training, despite opposition

The Commander-in-Chief of Ukraine’s Armed Forces (AFU), Oleksandr Syrsky, on Monday, said that France was ready to send its training instructors to Ukraine to get a sense of their soldiers’ capabilities, although French public opinion on the matter is hardly solidified.

“As with all other matters discussed on this occasion, we continue to work on this issue with Ukrainians, in particular, to understand their exact needs,” the French Defense Ministry said when asked about the topic.

The French ministry said that military training in Ukraine was “one of the topics discussed” after a conference supporting Ukraine convened by French President Emmanuel Macron in late February.

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France is not without its opposition to such a policy, as many French politicians continue to voice the sorts of concerns about escalation with Russia shared by the Italian, German, and American partners in NATO.

Over the weekend, Italy’s right-wing government expressed concern about sending any NATO troops to Ukraine for training maneuvers, in response to the Alliance’s members discussing such a measure individually, and took issue with the proposal to allow Ukraine to use NATO-provided weapons on targets within Russia.

“Italy is not at war with anyone, and if it was right to help Ukraine militarily, then at the same time, it is out of the question to lift the ban on Kyiv to strike military targets in Russia,” said Matteo Salvini, Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the populist Lega party, an anti-immigration and traditionally anti-EU party which once advocated for the North separating from Italy entirely.

“Just as I repeat, the Lega is against sending even one soldier to fight in Ukraine. We want peace, not the antechamber of World War III,” Salvini said.

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