Russia-Ukraine war: List of key events, day 721

As the war enters its 721st day, these are the main developments.

A woman being carried to an ambulance after a Russian attack on Kharkiv region
An injured woman is carried to safety after Russian artillery shelling hit the town of Vovchansk in the Kharkiv region [Andrii Marienko/AP]

Here is the situation on Wednesday, February 14, 2024.

Fighting

  • At least 10 people were killed in Russian drone and shelling attacks across eastern, central and northern parts of Ukraine, including three who were at a market in the northeastern region of Kharkiv.
  • A missile and drone attack on the central Ukrainian city of Dnipro damaged a power plant, forcing authorities to close schools and evacuate a hospital. Ukraine’s Air Force said it shot down 16 of 23 drones.

  • The UN’s educational, scientific and cultural organisation UNESCO said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused damage estimated at about $3.5bn to the country’s heritage and cultural sites, with some 5,000 destroyed.

Politics and diplomacy

 

  • Mike Johnson, the Republican Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, blocked war aid for Ukraine, ignoring President Joe Biden’s plea that passing the bill was vital to stand up to “Russian dictator” Vladimir Putin. Johnson, who is close to presidential candidate Donald Trump, told reporters he had no intention even of allowing a vote on the bill, which had been passed in the Senate.
  • Russia added Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas and two of the country’s top officials to its wanted list over the “destruction” of Soviet-era war memorials and alleged hostility towards Russia, hours after intelligence services in the Baltic state warned that Russia was gearing up for a war against NATO in the coming decade. Kallas is one of Ukraine’s most vocal supporters.
  • US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he had spoken this week of Paul Whelan, a former Marine jailed in Russia on espionage charges, as he promised sustained efforts to free Whelan as well as journalist Evan Gershkovich who has been detained pending trial on spying charges. The men and the US government have rejected the spying claims. The US classified Whelan and Gershkovich as “wrongfully detained”.
  • A Russian military appeal court overturned a fine to jail left-wing academic Boris Kagarlitsky for five years after he criticised Moscow’s war in Ukraine, his lawyer said.

Weapons

  • Global defence spending jumped by 9 percent to a record $2.2 trillion last year, the London-based think tank the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) said in its annual report The Military Balance, and was likely to rise further in 2024.
  • The report said Russia had lost some 3,000 main battle tanks during the fighting in Ukraine, or roughly as many as it had in its active inventory before it began its full-scale invasion two years ago. It is now refitting older tanks for use, it added.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies