Live: Several killed, more than 20 wounded in Russian strike in central Ukraine

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A Russian strike on a flight school killed five people and wounded 25 in the Ukrainian city of Kropyvnytskyi on Thursday, the regional governor said. Ukraine’s counteroffensive is gathering momentum in the Russian-controlled southern city of Kherson, Britain’s defence ministry said. Follow our live blog for the latest developments. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).


3:23pm: Russian strike kills five in central Ukraine, governor says

Five people were killed and 25 wounded in a Russian missile strike on a flight school in the central Ukrainian city of Kropyvnytskyi on Thursday, the regional governor said.

Andriy Raikovych, governor of the Kirovohrad region, told a news briefing that two missiles had struck hangars at the National Aviation University Flight Academy around 12:20 p.m. (0920 GMT).

“There are victims, dead and wounded. Twenty-five have already been taken to medical institutions – they were wounded.

Five were killed, one of them from the military,” he said. “There are material losses – two civilian aircraft and one AN-26 aircraft.”

3:07pm: Russian court fines former state TV journalist for anti-war posts

A Russian court fined former state TV journalist Marina Ovsyannikova 50,000 roubles ($822) for “discrediting Russia’s armed forces” in social media posts in which she publicly opposed Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

Ukraine-born Ovsyannikova rose to prominence in March after holding up an anti-war placard on the Vremya nightly news programme, where she worked as an editor.

At the time she was fined for flouting protest laws.

She was tried on Thursday over subsequent social media posts in which she wrote that those responsible for Russia’s actions in Ukraine would find themselves in the dock before an international tribunal.

>> Russian journalist Marina Ovsyannikova calls for end to ‘fratricidal’ war in Ukraine

2:14pm: More than 100,000 Ukrainians have arrived in UK since war began, government says

More than 100,000 Ukrainians have arrived in Britain under two schemes set up to help those fleeing the country following Russia’s invasion on February 24, the British government said on Thursday.

Nearly 6.2 million refugees from Ukraine have been recorded across Europe as of July 26, according to United Nations data, with more than half applying for temporary residence schemes.

Britain’s schemes, one for those with family already in the UK and another allowing Britons to offer accommodation to those fleeing the war, initially faced criticism for being overly bureaucratic and leaving some refugees in limbo for weeks.

The government said the process was now fully digital and it aimed to process applications within 48 hours. It will also now allow children under the age of 18 to apply to come to Britain without a parent or guardian if they have proof of parental consent.

12:55pm: Russian strikes hit military base outside Kyiv, says Ukraine army

Ukraine said Thursday that Moscow’s forces had struck a military base north of the capital Kyiv, in a rare admission of a successful Russian attack on Ukrainian military infrastructure.

Senior Ukraine military official Oleksiy Gromov told reporters that Russian forces had fired “six Kalibr cruise missiles on a military base in Lyutizh” at around 0200 GMT.

One building was destroyed and two were damaged, he said, in the attack on the town some 30 kilometres (19 miles) north of the capital. 

The missiles — one of which was shot down by Ukrainian air defences — were fired from the Crimea peninsula, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014, he added.

11:07am: Russia says prisoner exchange talks with US ongoing, no concrete results 

Russia said on Thursday that negotiations with the United States on exchanging prisoners are ongoing but there is no deal to swap detained US basketball star Brittney Griner for jailed Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that “so far there are no agreements in this area”.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova indicated that talks on prisoner exchanges had been going on for some time but without producing results.

They were responding to comments by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that Washington had made Moscow a “serious offer” to secure the release of Griner and former US marine Paul Whelan, also detained in Russia.

10:12am: Japan urges Russia not to hold military drills around disputed islands

Japan urged Russia to exclude areas around disputed northern islands from military drills Moscow is planning to conduct in the country’s Far East from late August, a Japanese government spokesperson said on Thursday.

Japan lays claim to the Russian-held southern Kuril islands that Tokyo calls the Northern Territories, a territorial row that dates back to the end of World War Two when Soviet troops seized them from Japan.

“We lodged a firm representation that the Northern Territories should be excluded from the areas for the drills,” Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihiko Isozaki told a regular news conference.

9:42am: Russia fines Snapchat owner for data law violation

A Russian court on Thursday fined Snapchat owner 1 million roubles ($16,667) for an alleged refusal to localise Russian user data on the country’s territory, the Interfax news agency reported.

Moscow has clashed with Big Tech over content, censorship, data and local representation in a simmering dispute that has erupted into a full-on battle since Russia sent its armed forces into Ukraine on February 24.

8:04am: Britain says Ukraine’s counterattack in Kherson gains momentum

Ukraine’s counteroffensive is gathering momentum in the Russian-controlled southern Ukrainian city of Kherson, Britain’s defence ministry said on Thursday.

“Ukrainian forces have highly likely established a bridgehead south of the lngulets River, which forms the northern boundary of Russian-occupied Kherson,” it said in a regular intelligence bulletin on Twitter.

Russia’s 49th Army, stationed on the west bank of the Dnipro River, now looks highly vulnerable, British military intelligence said, adding that Kherson was virtually cut off from the other territories occupied by Russia.

6:54am: Ukraine moves closer to grain exports, strikes Russian-held bridge

Ukraine on Wednesday said it had restarted operations at its blockaded Black Sea ports as it moved closer to resuming grain exports with the opening of a coordination centre to oversee a UN-backed deal. 

Progress towards fulfilling the landmark agreement came as Kyiv’s artillery struck a key bridge in Moscow-controlled territory in south Ukraine, damaging an important supply route as Ukrainian forces look to wrest back the Kherson region.

And as German authorities said Russia drastically reduced gas deliveries to Europe in a move seen as revenge for Western sanctions over the invasion, Ukraine announced plans to increase its electricity imports to Europe.

© France Médias Monde graphic studio

(FRANCE 24 with Reuters, AP and AFP)