At least 3 cities under attack
The Associated Press are now reporting, citing Ukrainian authorities, that there are said to be explosions in at least three cities in Ukraine on Friday morning – Kyiv, Kryvyi Rih in the south and the northeastern city of Kharkiv.
“Explosions in Kharkiv for the second day in a row. An infrastructure facility was previously under missile attack. There may be electrical problems … Be careful and stay in cover,” Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov said via Telegram, according to a Google translate.
Explosions in Kyiv, mayor says
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said Friday morning explosions had hit the capital after air raid sirens had been been heard across the country.
“Explosions in Desnyan district of the capital. All services go to the place … Stay in shelters!” Klitschko said, according to a Google translation of his Telegram post.
“Another explosion in Kyiv, in the Dnipro district.”
Kyiv’s mayor Vitali Klitschko stands in front of a damaged building following Russian strikes in Kyiv on April 29, 2022, amid Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Genya Savilov | AFP | Getty Images
Air raid sirens sound across Ukraine
A volley of fresh Russian attacks were expected early Friday as Reuters reported that air raid sirens were sounding in places like capital Kyiv.
Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy head of the president’s office, said via the Telegram messaging app: “Do not ignore air raid alerts, remain in shelters.”
U.S. to expand combat training for Ukrainian troops
The Pentagon will expand military combat training for Ukrainian forces, using the slower winter months to instruct larger units in more complex battle skills, U.S. officials said.
The U.S. has already trained about 3,100 Ukrainian troops on how to use and maintain certain weapons and other equipment, including howitzers, armored vehicles and the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, known as HIMARS. But senior military leaders for months have discussed expanding that training, touting the need to improve the ability of Ukraine’s company- and battalion-sized units to move and coordinate attacks across the battlefield.
A battalion can include as many as 800 troops; a company is much smaller, with a couple hundred forces.
According to officials, the training will take place at the Grafenwoehr training area in Germany. And the aim is to use the winter months to hone the skills of the Ukrainian forces so they will be better prepared to counter any spike in Russian attacks or efforts to expand Russia’s territorial gains.
— Associated Press
EU approves new sanctions against Russia, diplomats say
European Council President Charles Michel and Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal attend a news briefing, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in Odesa, Ukraine May 9, 2022.
Ukrainian Governmental Press Service | Reuters
The European Union said it approved a new package of sanctions aimed at ramping up pressure on Russia for its war in Ukraine.
The package, whose details have not been revealed, was approved after days of deliberations during a meeting of the 27-nation bloc’s ambassadors.
The Czech Republic, which holds the rotating presidency of the EU Council, said the package will be confirmed by written procedure on Friday. Details will then be published in the bloc’s legal records.
The European Commission, the EU’s executive branch, last week proposed travel bans and asset freezes on almost 200 more Russian officials and military officers as part of the new round of measures.
The targets of the latest recommended sanctions included government ministers, lawmakers, regional governors and political parties.
— Associated Press
Four vessels depart Ukraine’s ports under Black Sea Grain Initiative
The Malta flagged bulk carrier Zante en-route to Belgium transits the Bosphorus carrying 47,270 metric tons of rapeseed from Ukraine after being held at the entrance of the Bosphorus due to Russia pulling out of the Black Sea Grain agreement on November 02, 2022 in Istanbul, Turkey.
Chris Mcgrath | Getty Images
Four ships carrying wheat and vegetable oil have left ports in Ukraine, the organization managing agricultural exports from the country said.
The ships are destined for India and Turkey.
The Black Sea Grain Initiative, a deal brokered in July among Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the United Nations, saw three key Ukrainian ports reopen after a Russian naval blockade stopped exports for months. More than 13.9 million tons of grain and other products have left Ukraine since the agreement took effect.
The deal among the signatories is set to expire in about three months.
— Amanda Macias