Russia-Ukraine war at a glance: what we know on day 397 of the invasion
Volodymyr Zelenskiy has visited the partially occupied region of Zaporizhzhia, where he meet with UN nuclear chief Rafael Grossi. The head of the UN’s nuclear agency said they had “a rich exchange on the protection of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant”. In a message on Telegram, Ukraine’s president said “I visited the command post of the “Zaporizhzhia” operational group of troops. I presented orders and medals to employees of the security service of Ukraine, the national guard, the national police, the state border guard service, and the state emergency service of Ukraine.”
Ukraine’s ground forces commander said on Monday his troops were continuing to repel heavy Russian attacks on the eastern city of Bakhmut and that defending it was a “military necessity”. Ukraine’s military said Col Gen Oleksandr Syrskyi had acted during a visit to the eastern frontline to solve “problematic issues that prevent effective execution of combat tasks” and taken “operational decisions aimed at strengthening our capabilities to deter and inflict damage on the enemy”. It gave no details, and did not say when the visit took place, but Syrskyi’s comments signalled again Ukraine’s intention to keep fighting in Bakhmut despite the heavy death toll there.
Ukraine has accused Russia of destabilising Belarus and making its smaller neighbour into “a nuclear hostage”, after Vladimir Putin’s announcement that Moscow has made a deal to station tactical nuclear weapons on Belarusian territory. The country’s opposition leader in exile, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, said the move “grossly contradicts the will of the Belarusian people” and reflected the further subjugation of Belarus under Russian control.
At least two people have been killed in a Russian missile strike in the eastern city of Sloviansk on Monday, according to the regional governor. The attack left 29 others wounded, Pavlo Kyrylenko, head of the Donetsk regional military administration, said. Zelenskiy posted to his official Telegram that“Another day that began with terrorism by the Russian Federation. The aggressor state shelled our Slovyansk. Unfortunately, there is a dead person and victims of various degrees of severity. All services are working on the ground. Help is being provided.”
Russian forces launched two missile strikes, 23 airstrikes and 38 attacks from rock salvo systems against Ukrainian troops and infrastructure in popular areas, according to the latest update from the general staff of the armed forces of Ukraine.
The secretary of Russia’s Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, has said Nato countries are party to the conflict in Ukraine, according to excerpts from an interview with the Russian government newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta on Monday.
Russian state-owned news agency Tass is carrying reports that an attempt was made this morning to assassinate the police chief in occupied Mariupol. It quotes a Russian-installed official in the occupied territory saying “In the morning they blew up the car of police chief Mikhail Moskvin. He is alive, everything is in order.”
RIA reported that Ukrainian forces have shelled the Kalininsky district in the occupied city of Donetsk. “There are victims,” it reported, without specifying further.
There have also been explosions reported in occupied Melitopol, which Vladimir Rogov, a local Russian-installed leader, ascribed to the work of air defence.
Poland has detained a foreign citizen on charges of spying for Russia, prosecutors said on Monday.
A Russian diplomat has said Moscow may seek compensation for the damage to the Nord Stream gas pipelines caused by two explosions last September, according to state media. The pipelines are multibillion-dollar infrastructure projects designed to carry Russian gas to Germany under the Baltic Sea. The Kremlin has said it is for all shareholders to decide whether the two pipelines should be mothballed.
A Ukrainian court has sentenced a Russian-appointed social worker in the liberated eastern city of Lyman to five years in prison after finding her guilty of collaborating with Russian authorities, Ukraine’s prosecutor general’s office said.
Russian and Belarusian athletes should be banned from the 2024 Olympics in Paris unless Moscow pulls its forces out of Ukraine, Poland said on Monday.
Belarus is accusing Poland of heightening tensions between the country and the EU by deliberately slowing the movement of trucks and cars at its border. Belarus says Poland is failing to implement bilateral agreements.
Zelenskiy on Sunday urged all Ukrainians to remain engaged with developments in the war, even though fighting has largely been concentrated in the east. “Now, just as it was a year ago, one cannot be mentally far from the war, although thanks to our soldiers, real hostilities are taking place geographically far from many,” said the Ukrainian president in his nightly address.
Heavy Russian shelling is turning the Ukrainian town of Avdiivka into a “place from post-apocalyptic movies”, according to the city’s military administration head, Vitaliy Barabash. Reuters reported about 2,000 civilians were left in the city that Ukrainian forces said last week could become a “second Bakhmut”.
The number of Russian troops in Belarus has decreased to about 4,000, according to Ukraine. Andriy Demchenko, spokesperson for the State Border Guard Service, said there had been 10,000 in January. The majority of those remaining were training, with the rest transferred back to Russia.
Russia and China are not creating a military alliance, Putin said Sunday in a televised interview broadcast. Putin said the two countries’ military cooperation was transparent, news agencies reported.