| 23 February 2024, Friday |

Russia and Ukraine Exchange Drone Attacks after EU Funding Stalled

Russia and Ukraine each reported dozens of attempted drone attacks in the past day, just hours after Hungary vetoed 50 billion euros ($54.5 billion) of EU funding to Ukraine.

Ukraine’s air force said Saturday that Ukrainian air defense had shot down 30 out of 31 drones launched overnight against 11 regions of the country.

Russia also said Friday evening that it had thwarted a series of Ukrainian drone attacks.

Russian anti-aircraft units destroyed 32 Ukrainian drones over the Crimean peninsula, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Telegram. Russia annexed the peninsula from Ukraine in 2014, a move that most of the world considered illegal, and has used it as a staging and supply point during the war.

Earlier, Russia’s Defense Ministry said that six drones had been shot down in the Kursk region, which borders Ukraine.

In Ukraine’s partially occupied southern Kherson region, Russian-installed governor Vladimir Saldo reported on Telegram that Russian anti-aircraft units had downed at least 15 aerial targets near the town of Henichesk.

Meanwhile, shelling wounded two people in Ukrainian-held parts of the Kherson region, regional Gov. Oleksandr Prokudin said Saturday.

Stepped-up drone attacks over the past month come as both sides are keen to show they are not deadlocked as the war approaches two years’ duration. Neither side has gained much ground despite a Ukrainian counteroffensive that began in June, and analysts predict the war will be a long one.

On Friday, EU leaders sought to paper over their inability to boost Ukraine’s coffers with a promised 50 billion euros ($54.5 billion) over the next four years, saying the check will likely arrive next month after some more haggling between the other 26 leaders and the longtime holdout, Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary.

Instead, they wanted Ukraine to revel in getting the nod to start membership talks that could mark a sea change in its fortunes — although the process could last well over a decade and be strewn with obstacles placed by any single member state.


  • Asharq Al-Awsat