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Ukraine war: Fresh corruption allegations hit Kyiv, Muscovites adapt to drones, Russia foils strikes

FILE - In this photo taken on Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019, the Moscow City skyscrapers are seen during sunset in Moscow, Russia.
FILE - In this photo taken on Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019, the Moscow City skyscrapers are seen during sunset in Moscow, Russia. Copyright Dmitry Serebryakov/Copyright 2019 The AP. All rights reserved
Copyright Dmitry Serebryakov/Copyright 2019 The AP. All rights reserved
By Euronews with AFP
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All the latest developments from the war in Ukraine.

Moscovites adapt to drone attacks

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Residents of Moscow have told reporters they are facing almost daily Ukrainian drone strikes with "calm and security", with some showing a detachment from the war. 

In recent weeks the Russian capital has been targeted more than ever by drones. So far, these have caused no casualties and only limited damage, but an escalation is underway with attacks now becoming a nightly occurrence. 

For Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, it is "absolutely right" that the conflict has reached Russian territory. 

"I'm not afraid," said Tigran, a 40-year-old architect told an AFP reporter in front of a cafe. "I feel very calm and generally safe." 

Other Muscovites share his sentiment, feeling their lives continue in complete normalcy. 

"There are enough troops and equipment" to thwart the attacks, Judge Konstantin, a 70-year-old pensioner said.

The scale of strikes is far too low to make an impact and "worry the population", explained pro-Kremlin military expert Alexandre Khramchikhine.

Yet, some details leave Muscovites taken aback: How can drones taking off in Ukraine evade anti-aircraft defences for hundreds of kilometres? Could they be launched from Russian territory?

"There are people who betray their homeland," insisted 50-year-old Venera, advancing a theory that Russian "compatriots" are helping Ukraine attack Moscow. 

"It's sabotage," she says.

But Venera confesses feelings that deep down other Moscovites may share: "I think everyone is afraid and... wants peace, for the war to end."

New Ukrainian drone attacks foiled - Russian MoD

Russian forces thwarted new nighttime attacks by Ukrainian drones in the western Tula and Belgorod regions, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Telegram.

The ministry did not detail possible injuries or damage.

Against the backdrop of Ukraine's counteroffensive, drone attacks against Russian territory and the annexed Crimean peninsula have become almost daily in recent weeks, targeting the Russian capital in particular. 

Zelenskyy warned in July that "war is coming to Russian territory".

Kyiv faces new corruption charges

Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov on Monday dismissed fresh accusations of corruption surrounding army supplies, as media outlets denounced army uniforms purchased at inflated prices. 

Several Ukrainian outlets report the Ministry of Defence in late 2022 signed a contract with a Turkish company to supply winter uniforms, which then tripled in price. 

Ukrainian journalists have determined this gear can be purchased in Turkey at prices well below those paid by the ministry. 

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One owner of the Turkish company is allegedly Oleksandr Kassai, the nephew of Gennadi Kassai, a member of Zelenskyy's political party.

Defence Minister Reznikov on Monday hit back at these supposedly false accusations, claiming the prices corresponded to what was offered by manufacturers in Turkey.

"I urge everyone to treat information more critically and responsibly because it misleads society," he said at a news conference. "Even worse, it misleads our partners because from the outside it looks like it's a disaster."

"Everything was done in accordance with the law," Reznikov maintained.

This is the second alleged corruption scandal over army supplies to rock Kyiv since the Russian invasion began in February 2022.

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At the end of January, a series of senior Ukrainian officials were dismissed after journalists they had signed off on contracts for food for frontline troops at grossly inflated prices. 

Since the beginning of 2022, other high-profile cases have come to light in Ukraine, a country where corruption has long been an endemic evil. 

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