Here is the situation on Monday, January 22, 2024.
- Twenty-seven people were killed and 25 injured after shelling hit a market on the outskirts of the Russian-occupied Ukrainian city of Donetsk, according to Denis Pushilin, the Moscow-appointed head of the Donetsk region. Pushilin blamed Ukraine for the attack on the suburb of Tekstilshchik and said Monday would be a day of mourning. Ukraine’s forces in the Tavria, or southern zone, said in a Facebook post that its soldiers were not responsible. “Donetsk is Ukraine!” it said. “Russia will have to answer for taking lives of Ukrainians.” Donetsk is one of four regions in Ukraine that Russia annexed illegally in 2022.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy did not address the attack in his Sunday night video but said that in a single day, Russia had shelled more than 100 cities, towns and villages in nine regions of Ukraine and that the attacks in Donetsk had been “particularly severe”. At least two people were killed in Ukrainian-controlled villages west of Donetsk, according to Ukrainian officials.
- Russia’s Ministry of Defence said its forces took control of the village of Krokhmalne in Ukraine’s northeastern Kharkiv region. Volodymyr Fityo, the spokesperson for the Ukrainian Ground Forces Command, told reporters that Kyiv had withdrawn its soldiers and that Russia taking the village of “five houses” was of “no strategic importance”. Fito said Ukrainian forces were still holding the front line.
- A fire broke out at a chemical transport terminal at Russia’s Ust-Luga Port following two explosions, regional officials said. Local media said the Baltic Sea port, 165km (about 100 miles) southwest of St Petersburg, had been attacked by Ukrainian drones, causing a gas tank to explode. No casualties were reported.
Politics and diplomacy
- Choe Son Hui, North Korea’s top diplomat, said her country was “ready to greet” Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to state media. Choe was in Moscow last week where she met the Russian president. Putin expressed “his willingness to visit the DPRK at an early date”, the statement said, using the acronym for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, North Korea’s official name. Putin last travelled to Pyongyang in 2000.
- Ukrainian tennis player Marta Kostyuk said it was important for the country’s players to keep winning at the Australian Open to remind people of the continuing conflict. The 21-year-old thrashed Russian qualifier Maria Timofeeva 6-2, 6-1 and refused to shake her hand afterwards. Kostyuk will meet US Open champion Coco Gauff in the quarter-final.
- Sunday marked 100 years since the death of Lenin, the founder of the Soviet Union whose body remains on display at his mausoleum on Moscow’s Red Square. Shortly before launching his full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Putin publicly chided Lenin for his supposed role in dividing the Russian Empire into nation-states like Ukraine.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies