Ukraine war live: Russian bomber pilot shot in city of Engels, Ukraine military intelligence says | Russia

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Key events

The US House of Representatives is expected to vote later this week on a standalone $17.6bn aid package for Israel, excluding proposed military funding for Ukraine.

Republicans have refused to support a $61bn military aid package for Ukraine unless aid was tied to domestic border reforms.

On a trip to Washington in December, Volodymyr Zelenskiy failed to persuade the US government on the issue. Key Republicans repeated that they wanted to see a crackdown on immigration between the US and Mexico in return for supporting the package.

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Oleg Kononenko boarding the Soyuz MS-24 spacecraft at the Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, on 15 September 2023 Photograph: Reuters

Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko has today set a world record for the total amount of time spent in space.

As of 8.30GMT on Sunday, Kononenko overtook his compatriot Gennady Padalka who logged more than 878 days in orbit, according to Russia’s space corporation, Roscosmos.

He is expected to reach a total of 1,000 days in space on June 5 and by late September will have clocked 1,110 days, according to Reuters.

“I fly into space to do my favourite thing, not to set records,” Kononenko, 59, told TASS in an interview from the International Space Station where he is orbiting about 263 miles from the earth.

“I am proud of all my achievements, but I am more proud that the record for the total duration of human stay in space is still held by a Russian cosmonaut.”

Military training of Ukrainian soldiers in Donetsk Oblast on Saturday 3 February Photograph: Anadolu/Getty Images

More than 800 Russian soldiers died in the conflict yesterday, according to the overnight update of the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces.

The figures, which have not been independently verified, put the total Russian losses from the war at 388,750 troops.

According to the report, Russia also lost 13 armoured vehicles, two tanks, 31 artillery systems and 41 vehicles and fuel tanks in Saturday’s fighting

Volodymyr Zelenskiy has been visiting Ukraine’s National Cancer Institute in Kyiv to thank staff on World Cancer Day. His pictures inside the hospital give an insight into all the ordinary medical work still taking place.

Today is World Cancer Day. I visited Ukraine’s National Cancer Institute to support our young patients, their parents, and everyone fighting this terrible disease. They are all very strong, with a strong belief in our defenders and Ukraine.

I am grateful to all doctors, nurses,…

— Volodymyr Zelenskyy / Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) February 4, 2024

Russia’s envoy in Seoul was summoned by the South Korean foreign ministry on Saturday to lodge a complaint over Moscow’s criticism of comments by South Korea President Yoon Suk-yeol on North Korea’s pursuit of a nuclear arsenal.

According to Reuters, Chung Byung-won, South Korea’s deputy foreign minister for political affairs, summoned Russian Ambassador Georgy Zinoviev on Saturday afternoon to stress that Moscow lashing out at Yoon’s remarks would only have a negative impact on the relationship between the two countries.

The summons came after Yoon’s comments on 31 January, when he condemned Pyongyang’s development of nuclear weapons to maintain the current regime. Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova then called this “biased” and “odious” in a statement released days after.

“Deputy Minister Chung said that it was very regrettable that Russia ignored the truth and unconditionally protected North Korea while criticising the leader’s remarks in extremely rude language, and emphasised that this would only worsen Korea-Russia relations,” the ministry said in a statement.

Ukrainian shelling killed at least 28 people Saturday at a bakery in the Russian-occupied city of Lysychansk, according to officials installed by Moscow.

AP reports:

At least one child was among the dead, local leader Leonid Pasechnik wrote in a statement on Telegram. A further 10 people were rescued from under the rubble by emergency services, he said.

Ukrainian officials in Kyiv did not comment on the incident. Both Moscow and Kyiv have increasingly relied on longer-range attacks this winter amid largely unchanged positions on the 1,500-kilometer (930-mile) front line in the nearly 2-year-old war.

The military administration for Ukraine’s Sumy region said Sunday that Russian forces had shelled the region in 16 separate attacks the previous day, firing on the border communities of Yunakivka, Bilopillia, Krasnopillia, Velyka Pysarivka, and Esman.

Opening summary

Welcome back to our continuing live coverage of the war in Ukraine.

A Tu-95 bomber pilot has been shot in the Russian city of Engels, according to Ukraine’s military intelligence directorate, the GUR.

“The commander of the crew of the Tu-95 strategic bomber, Maj Oleg Sergeevich Stegachyov, was shot … he is directly involved in launching missile strikes on civilian objects in Ukraine and killing our people.”

The GUR said it was clarifying whether he survived.

More details soon, in other developments:

  • More than two dozen people, mostly journalists, were detained on Saturday at a protest in central Moscow where wives and other relatives of Russian servicemen mobilised to fight in Ukraine called for their return, according to a Reuters witness and independent Russian news reports.

  • Belgium is asking G7 countries to consider using €260n in seized Russian assets held by the west as collateral for loans to Ukraine, according to a report in the Financial Times. This would avoid questions around the legality of seizing the assets outright, as has also been considered by Ukraine’s allies, according to the paper.

  • Russia said 28 people died after shelling of the eastern Ukrainian city of Lysychansk, which is under Russian occupation. Ukrainian officials have not made any statement on the incident, but Ukraine has previously stated that it deliberately attacks only military sites, in contrast with Russia’s indiscriminate bombing of civilians.

  • In the US, Republicans in the House of Representatives have put forward a bill funding military aid to Israel, but pointedly excluding Ukraine. The US Senate has already put together a bipartisan compromise bill that covers Israel, Ukraine and US-Mexico border security.

  • Ukraine is close to signing security agreements with France and Germany, with texts being finalised, according to the Ukrainian government.

  • The actor Milos Bikovic has been dropped from the cast of popular TV series The White Lotus, according to the HBO network, after the Serbian’s ties to Russia drew rebukes from Ukraine.

  • Poland’s president, Andrzej Duda, has rowed back from a statement he made on Saturday in which he cast doubt over Ukraine’s ability to retake Crimea.

  • Two Ukrainian drones struck the largest oil refinery in southern Russia on Saturday. Local authorities in Russia said a fire broke out at the Volgograd refinery of the Lukoil company.

  • Ukraine’s air defences downed nine of 14 Russian drones in an attack on Saturday morning that hit energy infrastructure in the city of Kryvyi Rih, the air force and regional officials said.

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