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Russia Attacks With Drones Across Ukraine Ahead of Invasion Anniversary


Ukrainian soldiers prepare a self-propelled artillery vehicle to fire at Russian positions on the front line in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, Feb. 16, 2024.
Ukrainian soldiers prepare a self-propelled artillery vehicle to fire at Russian positions on the front line in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, Feb. 16, 2024.

Ukraine’s military said Thursday that Russian forces attacked overnight with 10 drones and a missile.

The Ukrainian air force said the country’s air defenses destroyed eight of the drones, with the intercepts taking place over the Poltava, Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kharkiv regions.

Late Thursday night, a Russian drone attack triggered a fire at Ukraine's Black Sea port of Odesa, regional Governor Oleh Kiper said on Telegram. The number of people injured was still being determined, Kiper added.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began February 24, 2022, and as the two-year anniversary arrives, leaders from the Group of Seven leading industrial nations are to hold a virtual meeting Saturday to discuss their support for Ukraine.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Wednesday that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will also participate in the talks, and that the group will address "steps we can take together to continue holding Russia accountable."

The United States is also preparing to unveil Friday a new round of sanctions against Russia for both its invasion of Ukraine and the death in custody of Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny.

The new sanctions will be against more than 500 targets, Deputy U.S. Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo told Reuters.

"Tomorrow we'll release hundreds of sanctions just here in the United States, but it's important to step back and remember that it's not just America taking these actions," Adeyemo said.

"We are always looking at additional ways that we can choke off the Russian war machine, that we can deny the Russian military industrial complex components that it needs to use to fund its war effort, as well as to hold accountable those involved in it," State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller told reporters Wednesday.

The European Union agreed Wednesday to enact its own new sanctions against Russia.

The sanctions include about 200 people and entities being banned from doing business with companies in the EU or traveling there.

"With this package, we are taking more action against entities involved in circumvention [of sanctions], the defense and military sectors," EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said.

At the G20 summit in Rio de Janeiro, Borrell said there was no indication that Moscow would accept a cease-fire. "[Russian President Vladimir] Putin wants to continue this war," he said.

In addition to Russian firms, the EU's sanctions target Chinese companies providing military technology to Russia.

"We must keep degrading Putin's war machine," EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said. "With 2,000 listings in total, we keep the pressure high on the Kremlin. We are also further cutting Russia’s access to drones."

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

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