Ukraine accuses Russia of targeting rescue workers with double strike on Pokrovsk; dozens of ships backed up in Black Sea

Ukrainian officials on Tuesday accused the Kremlin’s forces of targeting rescue workers by hitting residential buildings with two consecutive missiles – the first one to draw crews to the scene and the second one to wound or kill them. The strikes on Monday evening in the downtown district of the city of Pokrovsk killed nine people and wounded more than 80 others, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in his nightly address. According to Ukrainian authorities, one of those killed was an emergency official, and most of those wounded were police officers, emergency workers and soldiers who rushed to assist residents.

Regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko put the number of wounded at 81, including 39 civilians, 31 policemen, seven employees of the state emergency service and four military personnel. Two children were among those injured. Donetsk is one of the regions of Ukraine that Russia partially occupies and claimed to unilaterally annex late in 2022.

Dozens of secondhand Leopard 1 tanks that once belonged to Belgium have been bought by another European country for Ukrainian forces fighting Russia’s invasion, the arms trader who did the deal said on Tuesday. It has been reported that German arms manufacturer Rheinmetall is the buyer and intends to prepare most of them for export to Ukraine. The company and the German defence ministry did not comment.

The German-made Leopards were at the centre of a public spat earlier this year after the Belgian defence minister Ludivine Dedonder said the government had explored buying back tanks to send to Ukraine but had been quoted unreasonable prices.

Ukrainian special services have foiled an attempt by Russian hackers to penetrate the Ukrainian armed forces’ combat information system, the SBU security service said on Tuesday. “As a result of complex measures, SBU exposed and blocked the illegal actions of Russian hackers who tried to penetrate Ukrainian military networks and organise intelligence gathering,” Reuters reported the SBU as saying.

Roman Starovoyt, governor of Kursk in Russia, has claimed a Ukraine “kamikaze” drone fell at the Gornalsky St Nicholas monastery in the region, injuring a child.

Zelenskiy said in a video published on Tuesday that Ukraine would fight back against Russia in the Black Sea to ensure its waters were not blockaded and it could import and export grain and other goods. The comments, published on the president’s website, come days after Ukrainian maritime drones packed with explosives damaged a Russian warship near a major Russian port and struck a Russian tanker.

Reuters has reported that dozens of ships are backed up around critical Danube arteries close to Ukraine’s river gateways days after Russian drone attacks on Ukrainian ports. Shipping data showed at least 30 ships anchored around Musura Bay in the Black Sea, which leads into a channel that links up with Izmail further along the waterway.

Britain has said it is targeting Vladimir Putin’s access to foreign military supplies by imposing 25 new sanctions on individuals and businesses. The foreign secretary, James Cleverly, said: “Today’s landmark sanctions will further diminish Russia’s arsenal and close the net on supply chains propping up Putin’s now-struggling defence industry. There is nowhere for those sustaining Russia’s military machine to hide.”

The Georgian prime minister, Irakli Garibashvili, labelled Russia an “aggressor” as he marked 15 years since the two countries fought a war over a breakaway region. “We have known for a long time that Russia was an aggressor, we know that and the whole world knows that.”

Putin signed a decree suspending Russia’s double taxation agreements with what it calls “unfriendly countries” – those that have imposed sanctions on Moscow – the state news agency RIA reported.

Two men were injured and hospitalised after Russian shelling in Kozacha Lopan in Kharkiv region, said Oleh Synyehubov, the governor of the region.

Interfax reported that a tanker hit in the Kerch strait by Ukrainian drones had a metal patch welded to its damaged hull and was ready to be towed to a shipyard.

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