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Key events

Julian Borger

In the clear sky over the winter-yellowed marsh grasses on the outskirts of the town of Huliaipole, the bang and crump of artillery picked up pace like the thunderclaps of a distant but approaching storm.

The Russian armed forces declared on Sunday that they had launched a new offensive in Zaporizhzhia region, but the Ukrainian soldiers seemed unperturbed.

The frontline here has not moved for 10 months, and the Russians are hunkered in their trenches, which run across the rolling hills of black-soil farmland. They are not going anywhere soon, the soldiers said.

Read more: ‘The big battle is coming’: Ukrainian forces prepare for the war’s most intense phase

Makiivka attack death toll far higher than Moscow acknowledged, says UK

A missile strike on Russian forces at Makiivka that Moscow claimed had killed 89 people was “highly likely” to have in fact had more than 300 casualties, the UK Ministry of Defence has said.

The case highlighted “the pervasive presence of disinformation in Russian public announcements”, the ministry said in its latest intelligence update.

This typically comes about through a combination of deliberate lying authorised by senior leaders, and the communication of inaccurate reports by more junior officials, keen to downplay their failings in Russia’s ‘blame and sack’ culture.

The ministry said that after the strike on Russian troop accommodation near Donetsk city on 1 January, Russia’s defence ministry took the “rare step” of publicly acknowledging it had suffered casualties, claiming 89 had been killed.

Debris at the Russian troop accommodation at Makiivka, Ukraine, a fortnight after the artillery attacks
Debris at the Russian troop accommodation at Makiivka, Ukraine, a fortnight after the artillery attacks. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

“Russian officials likely assessed that it was not viable to avoid comment in the face of widespread criticism of Russian commanders over the incident,” the UK ministry said.

Of the casualties, the ministry said it believed the majority were likely killed or missing, rather than wounded.

Japan has tightened sanctions against Russia following its latest missile attacks in Ukraine, adding goods to an export ban list and freezing the assets of Russian officials and entities.

Moscow said Tokyo’s sanctions were nothing to worry about and that it was adapting to life under such restrictions, Reuters reported.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy marked Holocaust Remembrance Day on Friday by urging the world to unite against “indifference” and “hatred”.

The Ukrainian president said:

Today, as always, Ukraine honours the memory of millions of victims of the Holocaust. We know and remember that indifference kills along with hatred.

Agence France-Presse also reported that Vladimir Putin used the remembrance day to lash out at Ukraine, calling those in the country “neo-Nazis” to justify his 11-month-old invasion.

The Russian president said:

Forgetting the lessons of history leads to the repetition of terrible tragedies. It is against that evil that our soldiers are bravely fighting.

But in Poland, where about 3 million Jews were slaughtered during the second world war, officials pointed their fingers at Russia as perpetuating Nazi thinking.

People at a memorial to Jewish victims of the Nazis in Kyiv on Friday
People at a memorial to Jewish victims of the Nazis in Kyiv on Friday. Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The Polish prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, said on Facebook:

On the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi German death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, let us remember that to the east Putin is building new camps

Solidarity and consistent support for Ukraine are effective ways to ensure that history does not come full circle.


Hello and welcome back to the Guardian’s continuing live coverage of the war in Ukraine. I’m Adam Fulton and here’s a rundown on the latest developments at it approaches 9am in Kyiv.

  • A new barrage of Russian shelling killed at least 10 Ukrainian civilians and wounded 20 others in a day, the Ukrainian president’s office has said. Towns and villages in the east and in the south that were within reach of the Russian artillery suffered most, regional officials said. Six people died in the Donetsk region, two in Kherson and two in the Kharkiv region, Associated Press quoted the officials as saying on Friday.

  • A day earlier, Russian-fired missiles and self-propelled drones were reported to have hit deeper into Ukrainian territory, killing at least 11 people.

  • Volodymyr Zelenskiy has described the situation on the frontline as “extremely acute”, particularly in the eastern Donetsk region, where Russia is stepping up its offensive. “The occupiers are not just storming our positions – they are deliberately and methodically destroying these towns and villages around them,” the Ukrainian president said, reporting major battles for Vuhledar and Bakhmut. Local Ukrainian officials reported heavy shelling in the north, north-east and east.

  • Ukrainian troops were locked in “fierce” fighting with Russian forces for control of Vuhledar, a town south-west of Donetsk, on Friday. Both sides claimed success in the small administrative centre, a short distance from the strategic prize of the village of Pavlivka, Agence France-Presse reported. The Donetsk region’s Moscow-appointed leader, Denis Pushilin, was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying Vuhledar may soon become a “very important success for us”, while Kyiv said the town remained contested.

  • Ukraine’s army claims to have killed 109 Russian soldiers and wounded another 188 in one day during fighting around Vuhledar. Serhii Cherevatyi, a spokesperson in the Ukrainian armed forces, said the death toll was recorded on Thursday, adding that “fierce fighting is ongoing”.

Ukrainian troops fire mortars from a position near Bakhmut on Friday
Ukrainian troops fire mortars from a position near Bakhmut on Friday. Photograph: Anatolii Stepanov/AFP/Getty Images
  • Poland will send an additional 60 tanks to Ukraine on top of the 14 German-made Leopard 2 tanks it has already pledged, the Polish prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, has told CTV News.

  • A total of 321 heavy tanks have been promised to Ukraine by several countries, Ukraine’s ambassador to France said on Friday. Vadym Omelchenko told French TV station BFM that “delivery terms vary for each case and we need this help as soon as possible”, while not specifying the number of tanks per country.

  • Belgium announced an additional €94m ($102m/£82.5m) package in military aid for Ukraine in what the Belgian prime minister, Alexander De Croo, said was – including previous spending – the largest of its kind Belgium had ever given another country.

  • Ukraine says it is setting up drone assault companies within its armed forces that will be equipped with Starlink satellite communications, as it presses ahead with an idea to build up an “army of drones”, Reuters reported. Commander-in-chief Valeriy Zaluzhnyi signed off on the creation of the units in a project that would involve several ministries and agencies, the general staff said.

  • Ten regions of Ukraine are instituting emergency power outages due to a power shortage in the network after Thursday’s Russian attacks, Ukraine’s state broadcaster has reported. Repairs to damaged facilities are continuing.

  • The European Union wants swift accountability for “horrific” crimes in Ukraine, EU justice ministers have said while meeting in Stockholm. But the member states differ over how to bring prosecutions, seek evidence or fund war damage repairs.

#RussiaUkraine #war #Zelenskiy #frontline #fighting #east #extremely #acute #live

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