Latest news from the war in Ukraine.
Russia claims to have hit Ukrainian air defences
The Russian army claimed today that it bombed and "hit" anti-aircraft defence systems in Ukraine last night in a new missile and drone attack that Kyiv said caused no casualties.
"Last night," the Russian defence ministry said in a statement, "Russian aerospace forces carried out a group strike using high-precision, long-range weapons from the air, on enemy air defence systems covering key military infrastructure". The ministry insisted that the strike had hit "all" its targets.
Kyiv continues to thwart drones as attacks continue
Ukrainian air defences shot down more than 30 Russian cruise missiles and drones in Moscow's sixth air attack in six days on Kyiv, local officials said on Friday.
"Tonight, the enemy used 15 cruise missiles and 18 Iranian Shahed drones – all of which were destroyed by our defenders", the Ukrainian army claimed in a statement issued via Facebook.
A 68-year-old man and an 11-year-old child were wounded in the attack, with private houses, outbuildings and cars sustaining damage from falling debris, according to the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office.
Following a reported 17 drone and missile attacks on the Ukrainian capital in May, Russian forces hit Kyiv on Thursday, killing at least three people and wounding others.
Russian officials in border regions describe Ukrainian drone attacks
Russian officials have said they repelled multiple drone attacks in the border regions of Belgorod and Kursk early on Friday morning.
"Tonight, several Ukrainian drones were shot down by an air defence system near Kursk," Roman Starovoyt, the governor of Kursk, said on Telegram.
His counterpart in Belgorod, Vyacheslav Gladkov, said that drone attacks had left his city without electricity.
According to Gladkov, shrapnel from one of the attacks killed two women and wounding two other civilians.
The Russian authorities have previously claimed that Ukrainian forces had carried out a series of attacks on Belgorod, leaving ten people injured.
Belgorod was the scene last week of a spectacular incursion by armed Ukrainian fighters, which raised questions about the solidity of the Russian border defence.
The Russian authorities said three attacks by Ukrainian terrorist groups targeting civilian infrastructure were repelled by the Russian soldiers.
The Kremlin denounced the lack of international condemnation in response to these attacks.
Russia's latest claims could not be independently verified.
Blinken calls Russian invasion 'strategic error' and announces nuclear weapons inspections freeze
The war in Ukraine is a "strategic failure" for Russia, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in Helsinki on Friday.
According to Blinken, the decision to go to war "was a strategic failure, considerably diminishing Russia's military, economic and diplomatic power and influence for years to come."
Blinken also said that since the war began, the US has become more attentive to the threat posed by China.
On a visit to Ukraine, Chinese envoy Li Hui appealed to other governments to “stop sending weapons to the battlefield” and hold peace talks – but gave no indication that his trip to the region implied any progress toward a settlement.
Blinken said this morning that a "strong Ukraine" was a prerequisite for any "true peace", as opposed to a ceasefire freezing the conflict on its current front lines.
Pentagon buys Starlink satellites for Ukraine
The US Department of Defence has signed a contract with SpaceX to provide Ukraine with Starlink satellites for communication, the Pentagon announced on Thursday.
“We continue to work with a range of global partners to ensure Ukraine has the resilient satellite and communication capabilities they need," the statement said.
Starlink has already been used by the Ukrainian military to communicate on the battlefield, among other purposes.
SpaceX's CEO Elon Musk had previously claimed that Starlink's operations in Ukraine were as costly as €19 million per month. SpaceX had been relying on private donations and US foreign aid agency to operate in Ukraine.
The Pentagon contract will ensure Ukraine's access to Starlink, yet the terms were not disclosed "for operational security reasons"