Russia targets more Ukrainian towns and villages as Ukraine claims it shot down 2 warplanes

Russia targets more Ukrainian towns and villages as Ukraine claims it shot down 2 warplanes

Ukraine’s air force commander Mykola Oleshchuk claims his units shot down two Russian Su-34 jets overnight.

If confirmed, the claim would mean Ukraine had downed a total of 11 Russian warplanes, including an early warning and control A-50 plane, in less than a fortnight.

The news comes as Russian forces push hard toward more towns and villages in eastern and southeastern Ukraine as Moscow tries to press its current advantage in weapons and troops.

The commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Oleksandr Syrskyi, said on social media that the Russian army is trying to seize the towns and villages of Tonenke, Orlivka, Semenivka, Berdychi and Krasnohorivka in the eastern Donetsk region.

Those are places where Ukrainian military officials previously said they would form a new line of defence after Ukrainian troops pulled out of Avdiivka on 17 February.

According to police in the largely Russia-controlled Donetsk region, Russian missiles hit several buildings in Pokrovsk, but left no casualties.

Bulgaria will 'never' send troops to Ukraine

A major question for Kyiv officials is how it can unlock further military help from their partners.

Weighing in on the backlash against the French President's invitation to open the door to European countries contributing troops on the ground, Bulgarian Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov underscored that Bulgarian soldiers will never be sent to Ukraine.

"As long as I am Prime Minister, we will never discuss and there will be no decision about sending Bulgarian soldiers to Ukraine," Denkov said in Parliament.

He added that a recent declaration signed with Ukraine does not include any new commitments for Bulgaria.

Sudan receives Ukrainian grain

As European farmers protest in anger at the influx of Ukrainian grain into the EU market, a shipment of 76,000 tonnes of wheat flour donated by Ukraine to the United Nations World Food Programme’s (WFP) Sudan operation has arrived in Port Sudan for emergency food distributions.

This in-kind food donation will be a core part of food rations provided to 1 million conflict-affected people in Sudan for one month.

The shipment, part of Ukraine's humanitarian "Grain from Ukraine" initiative launched by President Zelenskyy, was made possible by the German Federal Foreign Office, which covered the operational cost of €15 million.

This includes the transportation costs of the wheat from Ukraine to Sudan and the implementation and distribution within the country to people in need.