Russia-Ukraine war news: Drones shot down near Moscow and Crimea, Russia says

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Russian officials said early Thursday that air defenses shot down two drones flying over Moscow, the latest in a spate of drone attacks apparently targeting the Russian capital. The Russian defense ministry said 11 drones were also intercepted near the city of Sevastopol on the Crimean peninsula, which Moscow illegally annexed in 2014.

An unidentified buyer has purchased dozens of German-made Leopard 1 tanks from a private Belgian dealer, to be refurbished and sent to Ukraine as its fights to recapture territory in the southeast, The Washington Post reported.

Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.

Nine drones targeting Crimea crashed into the Black Sea after being downed by electronic warfare systems, while air defenses shot down two others, Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Telegram. There were no reports of deaths or casualties, it added. The Post could not independently verify the claims. The Kremlin has accused Kyiv of mounting drone attacks targeting the Russian capital. Kyiv has not claimed responsibility for a recent wave of attacks, although Ukrainian officials have been vocal in saying that targets in Russia are part of the war.

“I am glad they will finally join the fight for freedom,” the private Belgian dealer, Freddy Versluys, said of the Leopard 1 tanks. Versluys, chief executive of the defense company OIP Land Systems, bought the tanks years ago when the Belgian army sold them as part of cost-cutting measures, The Post reported. He did not disclose the price paid for the tanks, and it is not immediately clear when the tanks would be sent to Ukraine.

Ukraine will require at least $42 billion in international assistance in 2024, Finance Minister Sergii Marchenko said in an interview with Radio Liberty. The European Union has committed nearly $55 billion over four years, he said, adding that Ukraine must also demonstrate its ability to fulfill its budget through internal resources.

A Russian strike in Zaporizhzhia killed at least three people, the governor of the region in southeast Ukraine, Yuriy Malashko, said Thursday. Three others were seriously injured, he added. The strikes destroyed a church and some shops, he said earlier.

Russian forces are conducting offensive operations in Kupyansk in eastern Ukraine, according to Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar. She added that Ukraine was pressing its offensive in the direction of Melitopol and Berdyan in the south.

Germany will provide Ukraine with two additional Patriot air defense launchers, the country announced as part of a fresh military package for Kyiv. The aid includes dozens of reconnaissance drones, 100 machine guns and ammunition.

Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom announced sanctions on Belarus over internal politics and support for Russia’s war in Ukraine. Canada imposed sanctions against nine people, including the head of Belarus’s state television network; the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned eight individuals and some state-owned enterprises; and Britain imposed sanctions on Belarusian defense organizations and other foreign military suppliers.

They also are trying to erase the influence of Russian-language music and artists: Russian music is now banned on local radio and singers who performed in Russian are rereleasing their songs in Ukrainian, they write.

“During the Soviet Union, Ukrainian music was depreciated. They made it seem uncool and ugly,” folk singer Maria Kvitka said. “I want to see its rebirth.”

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