As the war enters its 704th day, here are the main developments.
Here is the situation as of Monday January 29, 2024.
- Ukraine’s air force said Russia launched drone and missile attacks across the country, hitting both civilian and critical infrastructure. The Air Force said Moscow attacked the central Poltava region with two Iskander missiles. It also launched three S-300 surface-to-air missiles over the Donetsk region in the east. Air defense systems destroyed four of eight drones launched by Russia overnight, the air force said. Three civilians were injured in the attacks.
- Ukraine said Russia must provide proof that a Ilyushin-76 military transport aircraft which crashed in the Belgorod region last week was carrying dozens of Ukrainian prisoners of war, Moscow claims. Kyrylo Budanov, head of Ukraine’s GUR military intelligence, said kyiv had no verifiable information about who was on board the plane. Ukrainian coordination staff for the treatment of prisoners of war said that relatives of prisoners of war on a list of names provided by Moscow were unable to identify their relatives in photos of the crash site provided by the Russian authorities.
Politics and diplomacy
- The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) said it had indicted five people for corruption in the acquisition of weapons. The SBU accuses the five men of conspiring with Defense Ministry officials to embezzle nearly $40 million intended to purchase 100,000 mortar rounds for the war. If convicted, the group faces up to 12 years in prison.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has publicly declared his income for the first time, as part of his drive to promote transparency and root out corruption. Zelenskyy said that in 2021, the year before the full-scale invasion of Russia began, he and his family had an income of 10.8 million hryvnias ($286,168). In 2022, the family’s income fell to 3.7 million hryvnias ($98,535) as the war reduced the family’s rental income from property.
- Russian officials in Ukrainian regions occupied by Moscow’s forces said the Ukrainian language had been stripped of any official status, banning its public use.
- The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Chief Rafael Grossi would visit Ukraine, including its capital and the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, next week.
- Zelensky warned that a cut in US military aid to Ukraine would send a “bad signal” as right-wing Republicans in the US block further support unless it is linked to changes in U.S. border policy. “US passivity or lack of support would be a bad signal,” Zelensky told German national broadcaster ARD.
- NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg, who began a visit to the United States on Sunday, said continued U.S. military funding for Ukraine was a key deterrent message to China. US President Joe Biden has asked Congress to approve $61 billion in new aid to Ukraine. Stoltenberg said it was a “good deal,” noting that although the aid was only a fraction of the Pentagon’s overall budget, it had enabled Ukrainian forces to “destroy and degrade” the Russian army. Stoltenberg is scheduled to meet with members of Congress on Tuesday.