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Live blog: Russian strikes on key energy facilities of Kiev cause blackout

Saturday, February 11, 2023

Russia has carried out a “massive strike” on critically important energy facilities of Ukraine’s military-industrial complex on Friday, the Russian defence ministry said.

In a daily update the ministry did not identify the energy facilities it claimed to have hit. It said the strike had also blocked the transport of foreign weapons and ammunition by rail to battlegrounds in Ukraine.

Ukraine’s armed forces said late on Friday that Russian forces had fired more than 100 missiles and mounted 12 air and 20 shelling attacks. It said 61 Russian cruise missiles were destroyed.

Ukraine’s Energy Minister German Galushchenko said Russia had hit power facilities in six regions with missiles and drones, causing blackouts across most of the country.

Here are some other developments:

1139 GMT – Moscow says calls to ban Russians from Olympics ‘unacceptable’

The Russian sports minister has said that Ukraine’s call to ban Russian athletes from the 2024 Paris Olympics, which gathered support from several countries, was “unacceptable”.

“The attempt to dictate the conditions of athletes’ participation in international competitions is absolutely unacceptable,” sports minister Oleg Matytsin was cited as saying by Russian state-run news agencies.

“We see a blatant desire to destroy the unity of international sport and the international Olympic movement.”

Ukraine has reacted furiously to the International Olympic Committee’s announcement last month that it was exploring a “pathway” to allow Russian and Belarusian competitors to take part in the Paris Games, under a neutral flag.

1051GMT – War in Ukraine will drag on for years: Wagner Group

Russian private contractor Wagner Group’s owner has said that it could take 18 months to two years for Russia to fully secure control of Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartland of Donbass. 

He added that the war could go on for three years if Moscow decides to capture broader territories east of the Dnieper River.

The statement from Yevgeny Prigozhin marked a recognition of the difficulties that the Kremlin has faced in the campaign, which it initially expected to wrap up within weeks when Russian troops attacked Ukraine on February 24.

Russia suffered a series of setbacks in the fall when the Ukrainian military launched counteroffensives to reclaim broad swaths of territory in the east and the south.

The Kremlin has avoided making forecasts on how long the fighting could continue, saying that what it called the “special military operation” will continue until its goals are fulfilled.

0330 GMT – We still have to work to get arms we need — Zelenskyy

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said Ukraine had secured important understandings and “good signals” during his tour of European capitals but more work was needed to get the weapons his country needed.

“London, Paris, Brussels — everywhere I spoke these past few days about how to strengthen our soldiers. There are very important understandings and we received good signals,” Zelenskyy said in his fresh video address.

“This concerns long-range missiles and tanks and the next level of our cooperation — fighter aircraft. But we have to continue to work on this.”

It was the joint task of Ukrainians, he said, to “take everything that was said and agreed and transform it into concrete supplies, concrete documents, concrete new lines of cooperation”.

For live updates from Friday (February 10), click here

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