Widespread Russian attacks have continued in Ukraine following the International Criminal Court’s decision to issue an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia’s commissioner for children’s rights.
The Ukrainian Air Force said in the early hours of Saturday that Ukraine was attacked by 16 Russian drones on Friday night.
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Writing on Telegram, the air force command said that 11 out of 16 drones were shot down “in the central, western and eastern regions”.
Among the areas targeted were the capital, Kyiv, and the western Lviv province.
Head of the Kyiv city administration, Serhii Popko, said Ukrainian air defences shot down all drones heading for the Ukrainian capital, while Lviv regional Governor Maksym Kozytskyi said on Saturday that three of six drones were shot down, with the other three hitting a district bordering Poland.
According to the Ukrainian Air Force, the attacks were carried out from the eastern coast of the Sea of Azov and Russia’s Bryansk province, which borders Ukraine.
The Ukrainian military added in its regular update on Saturday morning that Russian forces, over the last 24 hours, launched 34 air attacks, one missile strike and 57 rounds of anti-aircraft fire.
The Facebook update said that falling debris hit the southern Kherson province, damaging seven houses and a kindergarten.
Pavlo Kyrylenko, regional governor of the Donetsk province, said one person was killed and three wounded when 11 towns and villages in the province were shelled on Friday.
Further west, Russian rockets hit a residential area overnight on Friday in the city of Zaporizhzhia, the regional capital of the partially occupied province of the same name.
No casualties were reported, but houses were damaged and a catering establishment destroyed, Anatoliy Kurtev of the Zaporizhzhia City Council said.
The International Criminal Court said on Friday that it has issued an arrest warrant for Putin for war crimes, accusing him of personal responsibility for the abductions of children from Ukraine, together with Russia’s commissioner for children’s rights, Maria Lvova-Belova.
It is the first time the global court has issued a warrant against a leader of one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.
The move was immediately dismissed by Moscow – and welcomed by Ukraine as a major breakthrough.
Its practical implications, however, could be limited as the chances of Putin facing trial at the ICC are highly unlikely because Moscow does not recognise the court’s jurisdiction or extradite its nationals.
United Kingdom military officials said on Saturday that Russia is likely to widen conscription. In its latest intelligence update, the UK Defence Ministry said that deputies in the Russian Duma, the lower house of Russia’s parliament, introduced a bill on Monday to change the conscription age for men to 21 to 30, from the current 18 to 27.
The ministry said that, at the moment, many men aged 18 to 21 claim exemption from military service because they are in higher education. The change would mean that they would eventually still have to serve. It said the law will likely be passed and come into force in January 2024.