Sunday, January 29

We launched missiles overnight, but claims it didn’t target residents – Russian defense ministry says

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Russia’s defense ministry said Saturday it launched cruise missile strikes overnight against targets in Ukraine — but claimed it exclusively targeted military infrastructure, as videos emerged of a residential high-rise near Kyiv that was struck by a missile or rocket fire.

“During the night, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation launched a strike with long-range precision weapons using air- and sea-launched cruise missiles against Ukrainian military infrastructure facilities,” Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said in a video statement.
“I emphasize once again that the fire is directed only on the objects of the military infrastructure of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, excluding damage to residential and social infrastructure.”

Scenes on the ground: CNN and other international news outlets have seen and documented damage to civilian infrastructure around Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian invasion. 

Images on Saturday morning showed severe damage to the outside of an apartment building in western Kyiv, with the outer walls blown out entirely for several apartment units. Emergency workers are on the scene, helping to evacuate residents. The extent of casualties is not yet clear.

The Russian ministry statement also claimed units of the Russian armed forces had taken control over the city of Melitopol in southeastern Ukraine. CNN on Thursday verified and geolocated footage circulating on social media of a massive explosion at Melitopol Airport.

A view shows an apartment building damaged by recent shelling in Kyiv, Ukraine February 26, 2022. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

As fighting intensifies in Kyiv, Chinese diplomat says national sovereignty “applies to the Ukraine issue”

As fighting in Kyiv intensified on Saturday, a top Chinese diplomat defended China’s long-held position on protecting national sovereignty — adding that it “applies equally to the Ukraine issue.”

“China firmly believes that the sovereignty & territorial integrity of all countries should be respected & protected and the purposes & principles of (the UN Charter) abided by in real earnest. This position of China is consistent & clear-cut, and applies equally to the Ukraine issue,” wrote Liu Xiaoming, the Chinese government’s special representative on Korean peninsula affairs.

Liu previously served as the Chinese ambassador to the United Kingdom.

The UN Security Council vote: Liu’s comments are especially striking as China had been one of the three countries that abstained from voting for a United Nations Security Council resolution to condemn Russia’s actions in Ukraine, at a Friday night meeting.

India and the UAE also abstained from voting, while Russia used its veto power as a permanent seat on the council to block the measure. After the vote, 50 countries released a joint statement accusing Russia of abusing its veto power.

China’s position on Ukraine: Over the last few days, as other countries moved to punish Russia and President Vladimir Putin, China has avoided condemning the invasion, instead calling for peace and diplomacy — and pointing the finger at the US instead for “fueling fires.”

Any action from the Security Council “should be truly conducive to defusing the crisis, rather than adding fuel to fire,” said China’s UN Ambassador Zhang Jun on Friday.

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