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Ukraine war: Kyiv ramps up war budget, Putin visits Rostov-on-Don military HQ, Black Sea strike

FILE: A self-propelled artillery vehicle fires on the frontline, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023.
FILE: A self-propelled artillery vehicle fires on the frontline, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023. Copyright Jon Gambrell/Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Copyright Jon Gambrell/Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
By Euronews with AP
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The latest developments from the war in Ukraine.

MoD: Russian forces launch 11 strikes against military facilities

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The Russian forces launched 11 group strikes with precision weapons and unmanned aerial vehicles against Ukrainian military infrastructure facilities from 4 November to 10 November, Defence Ministry Spokesman Lieutenant-General Igor Konashenkov reported on Friday.

Defence Ministry Spokesman Lieutenant-General Igor Konashenkov said the strikes were conducted with precision weapons and unmanned aerial vehicles on military airfield infrastructure, arsenals, storage sites for artillery ammunition, weapons and military equipment.

"In addition, the deployment points of units of Ukrainian military personnel, nationalists and foreign mercenaries were defeated," he said.

"All designated targets are hit.”

Putin makes surprise visit to military HQ in Ukraine

Russia's president made an unexpected visit overnight from Thursday to Friday to Rostov-on-Don, the headquarters of the Russian army in Ukraine, the Kremlin announced.

This is Vladimir Putin's second trip to the southern Russian city in less than a month.

The Russian leader -  accompanied by Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and the commander of military operations in Ukraine Valéri Gerassimov - was shown new military equipment and heard reports on the military's progress in Ukraine, according to the Kremlin. 

Close to Ukraine, Rostov-on-Don is the operational centre for Russia's war effort in Ukraine. 

It was the scene of Wagner's spectacular mutiny in June, with the mercenary force briefly seizing the army HQ before a deal was put to stop their rebellion.

Ukraine passes new wartime budget

The Ukrainian parliament has passed a new state budget for 2024, aiming to bolster its counteroffensive against the Russian invasion that started some 20 months ago. 

More than half of the budget of 3.35 trillion hryvnias (€87 billion) is set to be spent on the war effort. 

"Practically 50% of our spending is for the defence and security of Ukraine," Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said after the decision became official. "There will be more weapons and vehicles, more drones, ammunition and missiles. Every hryvnia from the taxpayer will go to the army."

The revenue for 2024, however, is expected to be €45.4 billion, almost half of the expenditure. 

Ukraine is banking on its Western allies to plug the gap, though funds could be difficult to obtain because of donor "fatigue", Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko said. 

The country has already received €32.4 billion in financial aid this year, around €3 billion more than the year the invasion started. 

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Ukrainian economy shrank by nearly a third as a result of the war, as people fled the country and infrastructures suffered heavy damages. 

The government expects the economy to grow next year, noting businesses and people have adjusted to the new reality. 

A woman speaks on a mobile phone while standing on the street in Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022.
A woman speaks on a mobile phone while standing on the street in Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022.Jon Gambrell/Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Russian missile hits ship in Black Sea port

A Russian missile strike on the Ukrainian port of Odesa hit a Liberian-flagged freighter, Ukraine's armed forces said on Thursday.

A port worker was killed and another wounded, as well as three citizens of the Philippines,

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The report did not give the name of the ship or the country of its owners, but Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said the ship was to carry iron ore to China.

The extent of the damage was not immediately reported.

The Odesa port and others in the region are economically vital to Ukraine as its outlets to the Black Sea, from which ships can head for world markets.

Odesa port facilities have come under Russian attack 21 times since Russia in August declined to renew a deal allowing Ukraine to safely export grain via the Black Sea, Kubrakov said.

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President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in October that a new Black Sea export corridor had allowed some 50 ships to set sail.

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