Ukraine news – live: Russia blames deaths of 89 troops on unauthorised use of phones

The deaths of 89 Russian servicemen in the Ukrainian attack on Makiivka were down to the unauthorised use of mobile phones by troops, Russia’s defence ministry has said.

“It is already obvious that the main reason for what happened was the switching on and massive use - contrary to the prohibition - by personnel of mobile phones in a reach zone of enemy weapons,” the ministry said in a statement.

It comes as military leaders faced calls for punishment after one of the deadliest attacks yet launched by Ukraine.

Commanders were accused of having ignored clear danger after the Kremlin took the rare step on Monday of admitting to losses in a strike on a makeshift barracks.

A popular Russian nationalist military blogger earlier said the deaths were a result of storing ammunition in the same building as a barracks despite commanders knowing it was within range of a Ukrainian military bolstered by munitions from Western nations.

The anger was also felt by politicians. Sergei Mironov, a legislator and former chair of Russia’s upper house demanded criminal liability for the officials who had “allowed the concentration of military personnel in an unprotected building”.

Key Points

  • Russian politicians line up to call for punishment over troop deaths

  • Ukraine charges Russian commanders over civilian attacks

  • Ice hockey arena destroyed in Donetsk attack

  • Ukraine air force claims to have shot down 500 drones

Sunak among four leaders to speak with Zelensky today

22:12 , Andy Gregory

Rishi Sunak is among four national leaders Volodomyr Zelensky has spoken with today, alongside the prime ministers of Canada, Norway and the Netherlands.

“Now is the moment when together with our partners we must strengthen our defence,” Ukraine’s president said in his nightly address. “We have no doubt that the current masters of Russia will throw everything they have left and everyone they can muster to try to turn the tide of the war and at least postpone their defeat.”

“We have to disrupt this Russian scenario. We are preparing for this. The terrorists must lose. Any attempt at their new offensive must fail. This will be the final defeat of the terrorist state. I thank all partners who understand this.”

Thanking the UK governmnet for “the fully concrete agreements reached, first of all in the defence sphere”, Mr Zelensky said that in his conversation with Mr Sunak he “felt that we equally perceive the importance of this year, the prospects of this year” and “the fact that it is possible to achieve a pivotal advantage right now, not allowing Russia to win back on this or that front direction”.

Nato may revise 2% target, says Stoltenberg

21:00 , Liam James

Nato countries will discuss defence spending in the coming months amid calls to encouarge members to go beyond the 2 per cent target, secretary general Jens Stoltenberg told the German news agency DPA.

“Some allies are strongly in favour of turning the current 2 per cent target into a minimum,” DPA quoted Mr Stoltenberg as saying in an interview published on Tuesday.

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

He did not say which Nato countries were calling for a more ambitious target, according to DPA.

The Nato chief said he aimed to reach an agreement no later than Nato’s next regular summit, which will be in Lithuania’s capital, Vilnius, on 11-12 July.

Zelensky says Russia planning intense drone attacks

20:15 , Liam James

Russia is preparing to step up its campaign of attacks on Ukraine with kamikaze drones, according to Volodymyr Zelensky.

“We have information that Russia is planning a prolonged attack by Shaheds [Iranian-made kamikaze drones],” the Ukrainian president said in his nightly video address yesterday.

He said the goal is to break Ukraine’s resistance by “exhausting our people, [our] air defence, our energy”, more than 10 months after the invasion. Ukraine yesterday said it had shot down dozens of drones sent to attack Kyiv and central regions of Ukraine.

Russian president Vladimir Putin is exploring how to shore up confidence in Moscow’s flawed war effort, which in recent months has been dented by a Ukrainian counteroffensive backed by western-supplied weapons.

That has brought criticism in some Russian circles of the military’s performance.

First tanker carrying LNG from US arrives in Germany

19:30 , Liam James

The first regular shipment of liquefied natural gas from the United States arrived in Germany on Tuesday, part of a wide-reaching effort to help the country replace energy supplies it previously received from Russia.

The tanker vessel Maria Energy arrived at the North Sea port of Wilhelmshaven, where its shipment of LNG will be converted back into gas at a special floating terminal that was inaugurated last month by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Germany has rushed to find a replacement for Russian gas supplies following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The facility in Wilhelmshaven is one of several such terminals being put in place to help avert an energy supply shortage.

1st tanker carrying LNG from US arrives in Germany

Sunak tells Zelensky UK with Ukraine 'for the long term’

18:45 , Liam James

Rishi Sunak told Volodymyr Zelensky that Ukraine could “count on the UK to continue to support it for the long term”, in a call earlier.

A Downing Street spokesperson said: “The leaders discussed the abhorrent drone attacks on Ukraine in recent days, and the prime minister said the thoughts of the UK were with the Ukrainian people as they continued to live under such bombardment.

“The prime minister said Ukraine could count on the UK to continue to support it for the long term, as demonstrated by the recent delivery of more than 1000 anti-air missiles ... The leaders agreed to stay in close touch in the coming weeks.”

The spokesperson added that the UK and its allies in Northern Europe’s Joint Expeditionary Force were working closely to provide the equipment requested by Ukraine at a meeting last month.

Mr Zelensky earlier said he hoped UK support would “bring victory closer this year”.

The UK is the second largest donor of military aid to Ukraine and committed £2.3bn so far with a pledge to match that amount in 2023, according to a British parliamentary report published last month.

Sunak meets Zelensky on a trip to Kyiv in November (Getty)
Sunak meets Zelensky on a trip to Kyiv in November (Getty)

Odesa customs officials arrested in corruption bust

18:00 , Liam James

Customs officers at the Port of Odesa have been arrested in a corruption bust, Ukraine’s security service (SBU) said.

More than 10 high-ranking officials were involved in a scheme that allowed exporters of grain to avoid paying millions of pounds worth of taxes to the Ukrainian government, the SBU announced in a statement.

Arrestees included the deputy head of one of the departments of the State Customs Service and the management of the Odesa Customs Office, who the SBU said was involved in the organisation of the scheme which saw more than 370 fake companies established to cheat the system.

The SBU did not say how long the scheme had been operating for, nor whether it began before the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February.

Drone advances in Ukraine could bring dawn of killer robots, say experts

17:15 , Liam James

Drone advances in Ukraine have accelerated a long-anticipated technology trend that could soon bring the world’s first fully autonomous fighting robots to the battlefield, inaugurating a new age of warfare (Frank Bajak writes).

The longer the war lasts, the more likely it becomes that drones will be used to identify, select and attack targets without help from humans, according to military analysts, combatants and artificial intelligence researchers.

That would mark a revolution in military technology as profound as the introduction of the machine gun. Ukraine already has semi-autonomous attack drones and counter-drone weapons endowed with AI. Russia also claims to possess AI weaponry, though the claims are unproven. But there are no confirmed instances of a nation putting into combat robots that have killed entirely on their own.

Experts say it may be only a matter of time before either Russia or Ukraine, or both, deploy them. The sense of inevitability extends to activists, who have tried for years to ban killer drones but now believe they must settle for trying to restrict the weapons’ offensive use.

Drone advances in Ukraine could bring dawn of killer robots

Makiivka: Before and after pictures show destruction of site

16:45 , Liam James

Satellite images show Makiivka from above before and after the Ukrainian strike on New Year’s Eve which Russia admitted killed 63 troops at once.

The strike site, as seen in video footage that could not be verified, appeared to be what was listed online as a technical college in the Donetsk town.

Photographs from the scene today showed workers removing the rubble with officials from the Ukrainian emergency service agency present.

Satellite images show the vocational college (boxed) in Makiivka before and after shelling which killed dozens of Russian soldiers (Planet Labs/Reuters)
Satellite images show the vocational college (boxed) in Makiivka before and after shelling which killed dozens of Russian soldiers (Planet Labs/Reuters)

Zelensky and Sunak agree to ‘intensify’ military cooperation

16:15 , Liam James

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has spoken of hopes to “bring victory closer” in 2023, with the support of the UK.

He tweeted that he and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak discussed further defence cooperation this year.

“We agreed to intensify our efforts to bring victory closer this year already. We already have concrete decisions for this,” he wrote.

The UK is the second largest donor of military aid to Ukraine and committed £2.3bn so far with a pledge to match that amount in 2023, according to a British parliamentary report published last month.

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UPDATE: Ukraine calls for Russian sports ban after ice arena destroyed in strike

15:45 , Liam James

Ukrainian officials have repeated calls for Russia to be banned from international sporting events after a missile strike destroyed an ice arena in Donetsk region.

Officials from the Ukraine’s ice hockey federation said: “So it is that since the start of the war, the Russian occupiers have destroyed five ice stadiums.”

They identified the five ice stadiums at the Druzhba venue in Donetsk, arenas in Mariupol and Melitopol, the Ice Palace in Sievierodonetsk and now the Altair arena in Druzhkivka.

Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba reacted to Monday’s attack with a scathing post on Twitter in which he raged at resistance to Ukraine’s calls to exclude Russian athletes from international sporting events.

“I invite all sports officials who want to allow Russian athletes to compete in international events because, as they say, ‘politics should be kept out of sports’, to visit the Altair ice arena in Druzhkivka ruined by Russia’s ‘politically neutral’ shelling,” he wrote.

The Donbas ice hockey club, which started using Altair in 2014, the year pro-Russia separatists proclaimed the creation of the “Donetsk People’s Republic” in the region, said the arena was destroyed “as a result of rocket fire.”

The venues were “more than just a building”, the club’s general manager Fedor Ilyyenko said in a Facebook post, adding that these stadiums hosted “hundreds of children’s competitions, dozens of international tournaments, children’s smiles”.

Firefighters at the Altair arena as it burns after a rocket strike (AFP/Getty)
Firefighters at the Altair arena as it burns after a rocket strike (AFP/Getty)
Altair arena in 2013 (Artemko)
Altair arena in 2013 (Artemko)
HC Donbas, a professional Ukrainian ice hockey team, play at Altair in 2018 (DRSA)
HC Donbas, a professional Ukrainian ice hockey team, play at Altair in 2018 (DRSA)

Journalist thrown to ground as rocket lands behind him during live report in Ukraine

15:15 , Liam James

A French reporter was thrown to the floor as a rocket landed close behind him in Kramatorsk, eastern Ukraine.

Paul Gasnier was preparing to broadcast live from the area when a massive explosion interrupted him.

TMC later aired the footage during the Quotidien news programme.

“We had dust in our eyes and our mouths, part of the hotel entrance collapsed on us, the windows were shattered,” Mr Gasnier said of the incident.

“It was very confusing, we didn’t know exactly what happened. We were very scared, but we are all safe.”

Kramatorsk strike causes widespread damage, say officials

14:45 , Liam James

An overnight Russian attack on the city of Kramatorsk in eastern Ukraine injured one and damaged dozens of homes, according to local officials.

The city council for Kramatorsk, a settlement of some 150,000 people in Donetsk region, said 34 private houses and 8 apartment buildings were damaged.

Sharing news of the damage caused on Telegram, Oleksandr Honcharenko, the mayor, said: “Russia is a stinking country.”

A dog near the site of a rocket attack local officials said was fired by Russia (Kramatorsk City Council)
A dog near the site of a rocket attack local officials said was fired by Russia (Kramatorsk City Council)
Officials posted this picture of a crater as they shared news of the strike (Kramatorsk City Council)
Officials posted this picture of a crater as they shared news of the strike (Kramatorsk City Council)

Third Russian found dead in India in mysterious circumstances within two weeks

14:15 , Liam James

A shipping engineer from Murmansk was found dead in his berth at a port in eastern India on Tuesday – the third mysterious death of a Russian in the country in a fortnight.

Sergey Milyakov was the chief engineer on a vessel anchored at Paradip Port in Jagatsinghpur, Odisha.

The 51-year-old Russian was found dead inside his chamber around 4.30am, officials said.

He was working on the vessel M B Aldnah, which was heading to Mumbai from Chittagong Port in Bangladesh via Odisha.

Kremlin officials have not released any statement on the death.

Mystery over third Russian death in India in two weeks

Ukraine needs our support more than ever, says Macron

13:45 , Liam James

French president Emmanuel Macron said Ukraine “needs our support more than ever”, as he hosted Sweden’s prime minister Ulf Kristersson in Paris, with Sweden having taken over the rotating presidency of the European Union.

While France has been less vocal about its military support for Ukraine than the United States and Britain, the country has sent a steady supply of weapons to Ukraine since Russia invaded in February.

French defence minister Sebastien Lecornu travelled to Kyiv last Wednesday to discuss further military support for Ukraine, insisting the French government’s backing is unflagging while efforts are made to reach an eventual negotiated end to Russia‘s invasion.

Earlier in the war Mr Macron sought to revive France’s role as a mediator between the fighting countries, as it had been in negotiations over the Donbas conflict in 2015. He spoke several times on the phone with Vladimir Putin but has not publicly noted any communication with the Russian leader since August.

Macron greets Sweden’s Kristersson at the Elysee Palace this morning (Reuters)
Macron greets Sweden’s Kristersson at the Elysee Palace this morning (Reuters)

Russians demand Putin’s commanders be punished over losses in New Year’s Eve attack

13:15 , Liam James

Russian nationalists and politicians are calling for the punishment of military commanders in charge of the scores of troops killed in a Ukrainian attack on New Year’s Eve.

The commanders were accused of having ignored clear danger after the Kremlin on Monday took the rare step of admitting to losses in a strike on a makeshift barracks in occupied eastern Ukraine which killed at least 63 soldiers – among the deadliest strikes against Vladimir Putin’s forces in 10 months of war.

Russian military bloggers who closely follow the war said the extent of the destruction at Makiivka in the Donetsk region was a result of storing ammunition in the same building where troops stayed, despite commanders knowing it was within range of Ukrainian rockets.

The anger was also felt by politicians. Sergei Mironov, a legislator and former chair of the Senate, Russia’s upper house, demanded criminal liability for the officials who had “allowed the concentration of military personnel in an unprotected building” and “all the higher authorities who did not provide the proper level of security”.

Russians demand Putin’s commanders be punished over losses in New Year’s Eve attack

Ukraine has shot down 500 Iranian drones since September, says air force

12:45 , Liam James

Ukraine’s air force claims to have shot down 500 Iranian-made drones used in the Russian offensive since September.

Yuriy Ignat, air force spokesman, said 84 drones were shot down on New Year’s Eve and Day alone, claiming every single drone sent by Russia in this period was knocked out of the sky before meeting its target.

Mr Ignat’s comments follow a warning from Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky last night that Russia was preparing to step up its attacks with the Iranian Shahed-136 drones, which authorities think it has been using in heavy strikes on Ukrainian infrastructure in recent months.

Iran denies supplying drones to Russia for the Ukraine invasion, and Russia denies buying them.

A drone ahead of a Russian strike, which local authorities consider to be Iranian-made Shahed-136 (Reuters)
A drone ahead of a Russian strike, which local authorities consider to be Iranian-made Shahed-136 (Reuters)

Makiivka strike site clear-up under way

12:13 , Liam James

A clean-up job has commenced at the site of a strike which killed at least 63 Russian soldiers on New Year’s Eve.

Members of the Ukrainian State Emergency Services were present as cranes shifted rubble left after missiles hit a temporary barracks set up by the Russians in a vocational college in Makiivka, Donetsk region.

The admission of the troops’ deaths has sparked backlash in Russia, as popular nationalist bloggers and politicians accuse military commanders of negligence.

Workers remove debris from the site (Reuters)
Workers remove debris from the site (Reuters)
Members of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine took part in the rescue (Reuters)
Members of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine took part in the rescue (Reuters)
Men watch the clean-up in Makiivka (Reuters)
Men watch the clean-up in Makiivka (Reuters)

Russians hold ceremony for troops killed in Makiivka

11:31 , Liam James

Residents gathered in Glory Square, Samara after the regional governor said that some of the 63 troops the Kremlin yesterday admitted to losing in a Ukrainian strike were locals of the southwestern Russian city.

Participants lay flowers in Glory Square in Samara the day after the Kremlin announced 63 Russian troops were lost in one attack (Reuters)
Participants lay flowers in Glory Square in Samara the day after the Kremlin announced 63 Russian troops were lost in one attack (Reuters)
Samara’s governor urged relatives concerned by the deaths to contact local recruitment centres (Reuters)
Samara’s governor urged relatives concerned by the deaths to contact local recruitment centres (Reuters)
Honour guards fire a farewell salute during a ceremony in Glory Square in memory of lost Russian troops (Reuters)
Honour guards fire a farewell salute during a ceremony in Glory Square in memory of lost Russian troops (Reuters)

Zelensky says Russia planning intense drone attacks

10:50 , Liam James

Russia is preparing to step up its campaign of attacks on Ukraine with kamikaze drones, according to Volodymyr Zelensky.

“We have information that Russia is planning a prolonged attack by Shaheds [Iranian-made kamikaze drones],” the Ukrainian president said in his nightly video address yesterday.

He said the goal is to break Ukraine’s resistance by “exhausting our people, [our] air defence, our energy”, more than 10 months after the invasion. Ukraine yesterday said it had shot down dozens of drones sent to attack Kyiv and central regions of Ukraine.

Russian president Vladimir Putin is exploring how to shore up confidence in Moscow’s flawed war effort, which in recent months has been dented by a Ukrainian counteroffensive backed by western-supplied weapons.

That has brought criticism in some Russian circles of the military’s performance.

Two killed in shelling of Kherson, says governor

10:20 , Liam James

Two people were killed and nine were injured by Russian shelling in Kherson yesterday, according to local officials.

Governor Yaroslav Yanushevych said Russia fired 79 missiles, hitting a car market, a utility company, private and apartment buildings.

Yesterday he said shells hit the town of Beryslav on the Dnipro river, some 30 miles east of the regional capital abandoned by Russian forces in November.

He said the shots were presumed to have come from a tank in Kakhovka across the river, where Russian forces remain.

Medics evacuate to Kherson a local resident after he was wounded during a Russian military strike in Berislav yesterday (Reuters)
Medics evacuate to Kherson a local resident after he was wounded during a Russian military strike in Berislav yesterday (Reuters)
A local woman is taken to hospital after being wounded in Berislav (Reuters)
A local woman is taken to hospital after being wounded in Berislav (Reuters)

Ukraine brings first charges against Russians over attacks on civil infrastructure

09:50 , Liam James

Ukraine has for the first time brought charges against Russian commanders over attacks on civilian infrastructure.

In a statement, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) said Colonel-General Serhii Kobylash, commander of long-range aviation for Russian Aerospace Forces, and Admiral Igor Osipov, former commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, would face charges for their roles in devastating Ukraine’s cities.

“Investigators of the Security Service have collected a high-quality evidence base on two representatives of the high command of the Russian Federation, who are responsible for the shelling of civilian objects of Ukraine,” the SBU said.

Gen Kobylash, the statement said, ordered “massive rocket attacks on residential buildings, hospitals and critical infrastructure facilities in various regions of Ukraine”,

Admiral Osipov was said to have ordered “systematic missile strikes from the Black Sea on Ukrainian densely populated areas” between 24 February and 10 August last year.

Ukraine’s prosecutor general’s office said within weeks of the Russian invasion that it was investigating potential war crimes by Russian military personnel.

No peace for Russian and Japan due to anti-war stance, says Moscow

09:20 , Liam James

Japan’s “anti-Russian course” makes peace treaty talks impossible, Russian deputy foreign minister Andrei Rudenko said in comments published by the state Tass news agency on Tuesday.

Russia and Japan have not formally ended World War Two hostilities because of their standoff over islands, seized by the Soviet Union at the end of the war, just off Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido.

The islands are known in Russia as the Kurils and in Japan as the Northern Territories.

“It is absolutely obvious that it is impossible to discuss the signing of such a document [a peace treaty] with a state that takes openly unfriendly positions and allows itself direct threats against our country,” Mr Rudenko told Tass in an interview.

“We are not seeing signs of Tokyo moving away from the anti-Russian course and any attempt to rectify the situation.”

Russia withdrew from its talks with Japan in March last year, following Japanese sanctions over Russia‘s invasion of Ukraine. Japan reacted angrily, calling Moscow’s move “unfair” and “completely unacceptable”.

Nato may revise 2% target, says Stoltenberg

08:50 , Liam James

Nato countries will discuss defence spending in the coming months amid calls to encouarge members to go beyond the 2 per cent target, secretary general Jens Stoltenberg told the German news agency DPA.

“Some allies are strongly in favour of turning the current 2 per cent target into a minimum,” DPA quoted Mr Stoltenberg as saying in an interview published on Tuesday.

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

He did not say which Nato countries were calling for a more ambitious target, according to DPA.

The Nato chief said he aimed to reach an agreement no later than Nato’s next regular summit, which will be in Lithuania’s capital, Vilnius, on 11-12 July.

Ice arena destroyed in missile attack in Donetsk

08:20 , Liam James

A Russian attack has destroyed an ice arena in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, officials said after a missile hit the town and injured two people.

Officials from the Ukraine’s ice hockey federation said: "So it is that since the start of the war, the Russian occupiers have destroyed five ice stadiums.”

They identified the five ice stadiums at the Druzhba venue in Donetsk, arenas in Mariupol and Melitopol, the Ice Palace in Sievierodonetsk and now the Altair arena in Druzhkivka.

The venues were “more than just a building”, the club’s general manager Fedor Ilyyenko said in a Facebook post, adding that these stadiums hosted “hundreds of children’s competitions, dozens of international tournaments, children’s smiles ”.

Altair arena in 2013 (Artemko)
Altair arena in 2013 (Artemko)
HC Donbass, a professional Ukrainian ice hockey team, play at Altair in 2018 (DRSA)
HC Donbass, a professional Ukrainian ice hockey team, play at Altair in 2018 (DRSA)
Figure skaters perform ahead of an ice hockey match at Altair (DRSA)
Figure skaters perform ahead of an ice hockey match at Altair (DRSA)

Russian politicians line up to call for punishment over troop deaths

08:00 , Liam James

Russian politicians have called for the commanders in charge of the troops killed in Makiivka to face puishment.

The Kremlin admitted to losing 63 soldiers in an attack by Ukrainian forces on New Year’s Eve. Some military bloggers said the deaths were a result of storing ammunition in the same building as a barracks despite being in range of Ukraine’s army.

Grigory Karasin, a member of the Russian Senate and former deputy foreign minister, not only demanded vengeance against Ukraine and its Nato supporters but also “an exacting internal analysis”.

Sergei Mironov, a legislator and former chairman of the Senate, Russia’s upper house, demanded criminal liability for the officials who had “allowed the concentration of military personnel in an unprotected building” and “all the higher authorities who did not provide the proper level of security”.

Andrey Medvedev, deputy speaker of the Moscow City Duma and a pro-Kremlin journalist, said authorities must value Russian lives.

“Either a person is of the highest value and then punish for stupid losses of personnel, as for treason to the fatherland or the country is over,” Mr Medvedev said.

Shelling near Bakhmut sparks fire

07:42 , Liam James

Russian shelling in the Ivanivka village near Bakhmut sparked a fire in a private building.

Heavy fighting is taking place in the area of eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region.

Bakhmut is still without heating, electricity, and gas due to repeated shelling.

A local woman collects things near a burning building (EPA)
A local woman collects things near a burning building (EPA)
A firefighter tackles the blaze (EPA)
A firefighter tackles the blaze (EPA)

Critical Russian bloggers slam military strategy in Makiivka: ‘Horrible’

06:20 , Arpan Rai

The Russian bloggers tracking the war in Ukraine came down heavily on the failures of Moscow’s military strategy in the aftermath of the blast in Makiivka which killed at least 63 Russian soldiers in one attack.

“Hundreds had been killed or wounded in the blast. Ammunition had been stored at the site and military equipment there was uncamouflaged,” said Igor Girkin, former commander of pro-Russian soldiers in eastern Ukraine and now the top most Russian nationalist military blogger.

Another Russian military blogger Archangel Spetznaz Zi with more than 700,000 followers on the Telegram termed the attack on barracks in Makiivka “horrible”.

"Who came up with the idea to place personnel in large numbers in one building, where even a fool understands that even if they hit with artillery, there will be many wounded or dead?" he wrote. Commanders "couldn’t care less" about ammunition stored in disarray on the battlefield, he said.

Ukrainian refugee’s fears for mother stuck in Kyiv as he struggles to find UK home

06:03 , Arpan Rai

A Ukrainian refugee fears for the safety of his elderly mother, stuck in Ukraine without regular heat or light, as he struggles to find help for her in the UK.

Serhii Zhelieznov fled the city of Bucha with his wife, Iryna, and his youngest daughter, Yeva, and their dog, at the start of the war.

They found their way to Aberdeen, Scotland in September, having travelled through Germany, Austria and Poland.

Refugee fears for mother, 78, stuck in Ukraine as he struggles to find her help in Uk

More than 80 drones shot down in 48 hours, say Zelensky

04:49 , Arpan Rai

Ukrainian forces have shot down more than 80 drones since Sunday, Volodymyr Zelensky said, alerting people of more drone strikes.

"Only two days have passed since the beginning of the year, and the number of Iranian drones shot down over Ukraine is already more than eighty," Mr Zelensky said.

He added: "This number may increase in the near future. Because these weeks the nights can be quite restless."

Putin accused of using same woman in multiple photo-ops

04:44 , Arpan Rai

Vladimir Putin has been accused of using the same people to pose in different roles during presidential photo opportunities.

A series of keen-eyed critics recognised the faces of several people who appeared to feature in a number of official photographs with the Russian leader – posing as military personnel, sailors, and solemn worshippers.

The matter was first raised on social media by Belarussian journalist Tadeusz Giczan, who posted three photographs of the president standing with groups of people at three separate events.

Putin accused of using same woman in multiple photo-ops

Zelensky warns of prolonged attack by ‘Shaheds’

04:30 , Arpan Rai

Volodymyr Zelensky has warned of a looming drone attack from Russian forces, accusing Moscow of counting on exhaustion of Ukrainian defences along with the people trapped in the 11-month-long war.

“We have information that Russia is planning a prolonged attack with “Shaheds”. Its bet may be on exhaustion. On exhaustion of our people, our air defence, our energy sector,” he said in his nightly address.

He added: “But we must ensure - and we will do everything for this - that this goal of terrorists fails like all the others.”

Scores of Russian troops killed in Ukraine missile strike

04:09 , Arpan Rai

Dozens of Russian troops have been killed in an attack on a complex in the Donetsk region, officials have said.

This is one of the deadliest strikes against Vladimir Putin’s forces since the start of the invasion of Ukraine.

In a rare acknowledgement of the scale of the attack on New Year’s eve, Russia‘s defence ministry claimed it lost 63 troops when Ukraine hit “a temporary deployment facility” in the Russian-controlled Ukrainian city of Makiivka with four US-supplied Himars missiles. The message appeared to counter claims from Kyiv that hundreds of soldiers had been killed in the assault.

Scores of Russian troops killed in one of deadliest strikes against Putin’s forces

03:40 , Arpan Rai

Good morning, welcome to our coverage of the Ukraine war on 3 January, Tuesday.

Russia blames troops for using mobile phones in attack which ‘killed 89'

22:29 , Adam Forrest

Eighty-nine Russian servicemen were killed in the Ukrainian attack on Makiivka over the weekend, Moscow’s defence ministry has admitted – blaming the troops for their alleged unauthorised use of mobile phones.

“It is already obvious that the main reason for what happened was the switching on and massive use - contrary to the prohibition – by personnel of mobile phones in a reach zone of enemy weapons,” the ministry said in a statement unlikely to dampen anger in Russia over the attack.