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Zelenskiy warns of Russian drone campaign as Ukraine claims to have downed almost 500 since September – as it happened

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We’re closing this live blog down now. Thanks for reading. Here’s a summary of the day’s main news event.

The UK’s prime minister, Rishi Sunak, reaffirmed his nation’s ongoing support for Ukraine during a call with the latter’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy. The two men discussed further defence cooperation, separate statements said.

Russia is planning a protracted campaign of attacks with Iranian drones to “exhaust” Ukraine, Zelenskiy warned in his Monday night address. Ukraine, he said, had to “act and do everything so that the terrorists fail in their aim, as all their others have failed.”

On national television in Ukraine, Yuriy Ignat, spokesperson for the Ukraine air force, said nearly 500 Russian drones have been downed since September.

The Ukrainian strike on a Russian base in Makiivka, Donetsk, has generated “significant criticism of Russian military leadership”, according to a recent report from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW). Several prominent Russian pro-war bloggers and commentators acknowledged the attack on Makiivka, with many suggesting the number of casualties was higher than the figures officially reported.

The general staff of Ukraine’s armed forces has said up to 10 units of Russian military equipment of various types in occupied Makiivka were damaged or destroyed. Ukraine almost never publicly claims responsibility for attacks on Russian-controlled territory in Ukraine, but its military reported the Makiivka attack as “a strike on Russian manpower and military equipment”.

Satellite images taken by the US-based company Planet Labs that purportedly show the aftermath of the strike on Makiivka have circulated online, showing the building that allegedly housed the Russian troops before and after it was hit. The images, dated 2 January, show a building almost completely razed to the ground. Unverified footage posted online of the aftermath of the blast also showed a huge building reduced to smoking rubble.

It is unlikely Russia will achieve a significant breakthrough near Bakhmut in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region in the coming weeks, the UK Ministry of Defence has said. This is due in part to Russia likely conducting offensive operations in the area at only platoon or section level, it said.

The French prime minister, Élisabeth Borne, said this morning she was more confident over the situation of French energy supplies for the next few weeks. She cited lower consumption and an increase in nuclear output capacity.

Nato countries will discuss their defence spending targets in the coming months as some of them call for turning a 2% target into a minimum figure, the Nato secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, told the German news agency DPA.

Ukraine and the European Union will hold a summit in Kyiv on 3 February to discuss financial and military support, Zelenskiy’s office said on Monday.

Source: The Guardian

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