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Russian anger over deadly Ukrainian strike; Zelenskyy says Moscow aims to ‘exhaust’ Ukraine with attacks

NATO to discuss increasing military spending requirements: Stoltenberg

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during the plenary session of the third day of the 68th Annual Session of the Parliamentary Assembly in the Auditorium Ground Floor Room at the Hotel Melia Castilla, Nov. 21, 2022, in Madrid, Spain.

Alberta Ortego | Europa Press | Getty Images

NATO members plan to discuss military spending requirements in the coming months as some countries call for the current 2% target for each country to become the minimum contribution level, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg was quoted as saying by German media.

“Some allies are strongly in favour of turning the current 2% target into a minimum,” German outlet DPA reported Stoltenberg as saying in an interview.

“We will meet, we will have ministerial meetings, we will have talks in capitals,” Stoltenberg said, adding that he would lead the negotiations.

The next NATO general meeting will take place on July 11-12 in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, by which time Stoltenberg said he aims to reach an agreement.

— Natasha Turak

Russia aims to ‘exhaust’ Ukraine with continued attacks, Zelenskyy says

“The morning is difficult. We are dealing with terrorists. Dozens of missiles, Iranian ‘Shahids’,” Zelenskyy wrote on his Telegram official account, referencing the Iranian-made Shahid drones increasingly used by Russian forces.

Ukrinform | Future Publishing | Getty Images

Russia aims to “exhaust” Ukraine with a prolonged stream of attacks across the country, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly address.

“We must ensure – and we will do everything for this – that this goal of terrorists fails like all the others,” he said. “Now is the time when everyone involved in the protection of the sky should be especially attentive.”

Russian strikes on Ukrainian cities and infrastructure have ramped up of late, marking three consecutive nights of bombardment in the latest stream of attacks that began on New Year’s Eve. The strikes target Ukraine’s energy facilities in particular, leaving millions of people without heating and power amid the bitter winter cold.

Russian forces are increasingly leaning on deadly Iranian-made Shahed drones, which have wrought havoc on Ukraine’s cities. Zelenskyy said that Ukrainian air defenses shot down more than 80 of such drones in the first days of January.

— Natasha Turak

Russian anger at its commanders over troop deaths from Ukraine attack

Russia made a rare public acknowledgment of human loss after dozens of soldiers were killed in a Ukrainian strike on a temporary barracks in Russian-occupied Donetsk on New Year’s Eve.

Its admission that 63 soldiers were killed — a figure that CNBC has not been able to independently confirm, but that Kyiv officials claim is much higher — signifies one of the most brazen Ukrainian moves in the war to date. It has stoked public anger in Russia, with calls that commanders who allegedly put their troops in danger be punished.

Russian military bloggers said the barracks, situated in the city of Makiivka, were in the same building as a large ammunition storage dump, and that commanders knew it was in the range of Ukraine’s rockets, Reuters reported. The amount of stored ammunition is believed to have caused the high level of destruction.

Russia’s defense ministry said the attack was carried out with four rockets fired by HIMARS launchers, which are made and provided to Ukraine by the U.S. Ukraine has not officially claimed responsibility for the attack, as is typical when the attack is on Russian-controlled land.

Ukraine’s Armed Forces described the Makiivka attack as “a strike on Russian manpower and military equipment.”

— Natasha Turak

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