Russia-Ukraine war live: Ukrainian air defence systems destroy Russian drones and cruise missile overnight

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Polish prime minister Donald Tusk said on Monday that France and Poland are on the same page as regards the geopolitical situation and support for Ukraine, Reuters reported.

“We want us to send a common signal that we are ready for solidarity in all the most difficult situations ... we are rebuilding the Weimar Triangle,” Tusk said during a joined press conference in Paris with president Emmanuel Macron.

The “Weimar Triangle” platform of political cooperation between Germany, France and Poland created in 1991.

Russia on Monday imposed sanctions on 18 British citizens for what Moscow said was demonising Russia and escalating the war in Ukraine.

Russia imposed what it called personal sanctions against deputy defence minister James Cartlidge, and a number of other officials and academics including historians Orlando Figes and Norman Davies and Russia specialist James Sherr.

Russian forces are obtaining Starlink terminals illicitly from third countries and they are increasing their use on the front line, the Ukrainian military spy agency’s spokesperson told Reuters on Monday, without explaining how he knew.

Andriy Yusov, the military official, also said that work was underway to counter Russia’s use of the terminals in occupied parts of Ukraine as the full-scale war with Russia nears the two-year mark.

The US Senate on Monday will attempt to steer a $95.34 billion package containing aid for Ukraine and Israel to passage this week following months of delays, even as it lacked any guarantee that the House of Representatives will support the measure.

On Sunday, the bill got a boost when the Senate voted 67-27 to move it past an important procedural hurdle. Also over the weekend, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer set a course for passage by Wednesday.

On Monday, the Senate is expected to cast a procedural vote that, if successful, would keep the bill moving forward.

Ukrainian border guards practice firing a 120 mm mortar near the border with Belarus in Chernihiv, Ukraine, on February 10, 2024.
Ukrainian border guards practice firing a 120 mm mortar near the border with Belarus in Chernihiv, Ukraine, on February 10, 2024. Photograph: Anadolu/Getty Images

Kremlin denies its troops use Elon Musk's Starlink

The Kremlin has said that Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite internet system was neither certified for use in, nor officially supplied to, Russia, and therefore could not be used.

Ukraine, which has used Starlink for military communications throughout its conflict with Russia, said on Sunday that Russian troops were using Starlink in parts of Ukraine they control, Reuters reported.

In a call with reporters, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said:

This is not a certified system with us; accordingly, it cannot be officially supplied here and is not officially supplied. Accordingly, it cannot be used officially in any way.

“That is why here, perhaps, we should not intrude into the discussion between the Kyiv regime and the entrepreneur Musk”, he said, referring to the Ukrainian government.

The Ukrainian defence ministry’s Main Directorate of Intelligence said in a statement on Sunday that Starlink terminals were being used by units such as Russia’s 83rd Air Assault Brigade, which is fighting near the towns of Klishchiivka and Andriivka in the eastern region of Donetsk.

In a post on X on Sunday, Musk said: “To the best of our knowledge, no Starlinks have been sold directly or indirectly to Russia.”

“A number of false news reports claim that SpaceX is selling Starlink terminals to Russia,” Musk said in the post on X, which he also owns. “This is categorically false.”

Russian forces in occupied Ukraine are using Starlink terminals produced by Elon Musk’s SpaceX for satellite internet in what is beginning to look like a “systemic” problem, Kyiv’s main military intelligence agency has claimed.

Starlink terminals were rushed in to help Ukraine after Russia’s February 2022 invasion and have been vital to Kyiv’s battlefield communications. Starlink says it does not do business of any kind with Russia’s government or military.

“Cases of the Russian occupiers’ use of the given devices have been registered. It is beginning to take on a systemic nature,” said Ukrainian defence intelligence (GUR) spokesperson Andriy Yusov.

The GUR said terminals were being used by units like Russia’s 83rd air assault brigade, which is fighting near Klishchiivka and Andriivka in the partially occupied eastern region of Donetsk.

Opening summary

Good morning and welcome to the Ukraine live blog. We start today with news that Ukraine’s air defence systems destroyed 14 out of 17 drones that Russia launched overnight and one Kh-59 cruise missile, Ukraine’s Air Force said.

The air force said on the Telegram messaging app that Russia also launched missiles from S-300 long-range surface-to-air missile systems, but it did not say how many or whether they hit any targets, Reuters reported.

Oleh Synehubov, governor of the Kharkiv region in Ukraine’s northeast, said late on Sunday that Russia attacked his region with missiles launched from the S-300 systems in Russia’s Belgorod region that borders Ukraine.

He said that according to preliminary information, there were no casualties, but the facades of some non-residential buildings were damaged.

Serhiy Lisak, governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region, said late on Sunday that Russia attacked the region’s city of Pavlohrad with drones. There were no casualties, but some parts of the city lost electricity. Reuters was not able to independently verify the reports.

In other news:

Ukraine has said Russian forces are using terminals of Elon Musk’s satellite internet service Starlink in occupied areas. The Ukrainian military released what it said was an intercept of an exchange between two Russian soldiers as proof of “systemic” use. Starlink systems have been vital for Ukraine’s battlefield communications throughout Russia’s nearly two-year-old invasion.

Starlink said it did not sell terminals to Russia, it was not aware of others doing so, and its network did not operate in Russia. However statements by the company and Elon Musk avoided addressing concerns that Russian troops might be obtaining and using them regardless, including on illegally Russian-occupied Ukrainian soil.

Democrats and some Republicans in the US Senate have moved closer to passing a $95bn aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, showing bipartisanship despite opposition from Republican hardliners and Donald Trump. The Senate voted 67-27 in a rare Sunday session to clear the latest procedural hurdle and moved the bill towards an ultimate vote on passage. It would then have to go to the House of Representatives where there is the prospect of further Republican obstruction but also support on both sides for Ukraine.

A Russian drone strike on Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, killed seven people, including three children, the Kharkiv regional governor Oleh Syniehubov reported on Saturday. A Ukrainian prosecutor, her husband, and their three small children were among the seven killed after the strike hit an oil depot, triggering blazes that burned half a street to the ground, officials said. An elderly couple living in the same street were also killed in the attack, which the mayor, Ihor Terekhov, said injured 57 people and burned 15 homes. Ukraine said it destroyed most of the 45 attack drones launched by Russia over Saturday night, with little damage reported on Sunday morning.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy has appointed Oleksandr Pavliuk, former first deputy defence minister, as the new commander of Ukraine’s ground forces. Pavliuk, a lieutenant-general who served in the ministry role for a year, replaces Col Gen Oleksandr Syrskyi as commander of Ukraine’s armed forces.

The UK’s Ministry of Defence said there were indications Russia’s war was contributing to a shortage of healthcare professionals across Russia. In an intelligence update, the MoD added the heavy resource and financial burden of the war was negatively affecting a range of civilian sectors.

Russia’s registration of candidates for the March presidential election has closed, Tass reported on Sunday, with a list including Vladimir Putin and three politicians who all support Moscow’s war in Ukraine. The list did not include the Russian anti-war candidate Boris Nadezhdin after the Russian election commission barred him on a technicality from running. Nadezhdin said he would challenge the decision in Russia’s supreme court.

Japan will pledge 15.8bn yen ($106m) in aid to Ukraine at a conference to be held in Tokyo on 19 February, Kyodo News reported on Sunday, citing unidentified sources. The funding will be used for reconstruction in seven areas, including agriculture and the disposal of rubble, Kyodo said.

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