Ukraine-Russia war latest: Romania denies it was hit as three-hour drone siege ignites port city


Ukraine-Russia war latest: Romania denies it was hit as three-hour drone siege ignites port city

Key points
    Ukraine says Russian drones ‘detonated in Romania’ | But Romania denies reportsThree-hour drone barrage ignites port
    Why is Zelenskyy sacking his defence minister?Use of elite Russian troops is sign ‘something is wrong’ in Zaporizhzhia – reports
    Russian cyberattackers launch ‘malware campaign’ against Android phonesLive reporting by Brad Young

11:24:43 Kamikaze drone strikes Russian intelligence service building – reports

Russia’s drone attack on the Danube was not the only one to occur last night – Ukraine launched two drones into the Kursk region, according to the Russian defence ministry.

This follows reports that drone debris fell on the roof of a security services building on Sunday evening.

Kursk governor Roman Starovoit said a drone started a fire at a non-residential building in the city of Kurchatov without going into more detail, but Russia’s Baza news outlet said it belonged to the FSB.

One of Russia’s biggest nuclear plants is about 2.5 miles from Kurchatov, but there were no reports the plant was affected or targeted.

Sky News cannot independently verify these battlefield reports.

11:05:30 Mid-morning roundup

It’s been a busy morning in Ukraine – not least some back and forth over whether Russian drones exploded in the territory of Romania, a member of NATO.

So if you’re just joining us, let’s get you up to speed on the main developments so far…

Three-hour siege: 32 Russian drones barraged the southern Ukrainian border city of Izmail overnight, burning several buildings.

Drones in Romania? Some of them fell and exploded across the border, according to Ukraine, but Romania denied the claims.

Defence minister sacked: Ukraine’s Oleksii Reznikov has resigned, as Volodymyr Zelenskyy seeks to crack down on alleged corruption within the department – though Mr Reznikov himself was not implicated.

‘Something is wrong’: Ukraine has breached the strongest line of Russian defences in the Zaporizhzhia region and Moscow has already sent in elite airborne troops to bolster its defences in a sign “something is wrong” in the Russian army, Ukrainian officials said.

Cyberattacks: Russian cyberattackers have launched a “malware campaign” to steal sensitive information from mobile phones belonging to Ukrainian soldiers, the UK MoD said.

10:46:22 Analysis: Defence minister’s dismissal is part of the story of Ukraine’s rebirth

By John Sparks, international correspondent

Some will, no doubt, greet the news of Oleksiy Reznikov’s dismissal with feelings of surprise. At the very moment Ukraine’s armed forces start to make progress at the front as part of their hard-fought counteroffensive, Volodymyr Zelenskyy jettisons the defence minister in a nationally televised address.

The reason for this reshuffle has everything to do with the country that Ukraine is trying to become as it tears itself away from Russia’s grasp.

Mr Reznikov oversaw an organisation that has accomplished an extraordinary transition from post-Soviet army into something far more dynamic and non-hierarchical – and far better equipped. The former lawyer, 57, has been widely praised for his role in securing billions of dollars of advanced weaponry from Western countries, including the US and the UK.

However, it was a succession of allegations about corruption at his department that ultimately brought him down.

His deputy, Vyacheslav Shapovalov, was forced to resign in January after the ministry was accused of signing food contracts at hugely inflated prices. 

A few months later, a Ukrainian journalist revealed a startling price increase for a batch of winter jackets manufactured in Turkey. What’s more, the jackets were lightweight and inadequately warm.  

There is no suggestion that Mr Reznikov has been involved personally in these scandals but the president said the time had come for a fresh start, appointing a respected 41-year-old called Rustem Umerov to take his place.

“I believe that the ministry needs new approaches and other formats of interaction with both the military and society as a whole,” Mr Zelenskyy in his nightly address.

A fresh start is a key war aim in Ukraine, as the president and the majority of his fellow citizens try to shed their Russian invaders – and the Russian way of doing things in the post-Soviet era.

Vladimir Putin’s model of government involves total control of the state and the economy, which is run in connection with a powerful oligarch class. It operates through fear and favour and there is no public accountability at the top. Dissent is not tolerated.

Ukraine is charting a different path as it attempts to separate itself from its oversized neighbour – the Russian invasion is the latest chapter in that long-running story – and Mr Zelenskyy has committed himself to that journey.

He won the presidential election in 2019 on an anti-corruption platform and he knows that further reforms are essential for admittance to bodies such as the European Union.

It is for these reasons that his well-connected and battle-hardened defence minister has had to go.

10:07:59 War-wounded begin recovery

At rehabilitation centres across Ukraine, upwards of 20,000 people have been receiving treatment for amputations.

Many of them are soldiers, returning from the frontline suffering from physical wounds and psychological trauma.

In one centre, named Superhumans, Mykhailo Yurchuk has become the chief motivator for new arrivals, pushing them through their recovery as he learns to live with his own disability.

09:29:13 Romania denies drones fell on territory

Romania’s defence ministry has denied reports that Russian drones fell in its territory.

This contradicts statements by Ukraine’s foreign ministry, which said they detonated on its neighbour’s land following an attack on Izmail.

“According to Ukraine’s state border guard service, last night, during a massive Russian attack near the port of Izmail, Russian ‘Shakheds’ fell and detonated on the territory of Romania,” Ukrainian official Oleg Nikolenko said

“This is yet another confirmation that Russia’s missile terror poses a huge threat not only to Ukraine’s security, but also to the security of neighbouring countries, including NATO member states.”

A Ukrainian industry source also told Reuters that two Russian drones had fallen on the Romanian side of the Danube. 

A Romanian spokesperson said the ministry would release a statement later today.

This is the second attack on the Danube in as many days, following Russian strikes on Reni yesterday.

09:04:45 Russian drones ‘detonate in Romania’

Earlier today we reported Russia launched a three-hour overnight drone siege on Izmail, a Ukrainian city on the border with Romania.

Some drones fell and detonated on Romanian territory, a member of the NATO alliance, said the Ukrainian foreign ministry.

Ukraine’s air force said it had shot down 23 out of 32 Iranian-made “Shahed” drones launched from Russia and occupied Crimea. 

The attack followed Russian strikes on another Danube River port, Reni, yesterday, which Romania’s foreign minister Luminita Odobescu called a “barbaric attack against civilian targets”.

08:42:59 Use of elite Russian troops is sign ‘something is wrong’ in Zaporizhzhia – reports

Ukrainian forces have been moving more freely in the Zaporizhzhia region after breaching Russia’s strongest, most densely mined line of defences, according to reports.

Approximately 60% of Russian defences were located in the first line of defence and Ukrainian soldiers now face two weaker lines ahead, Suspilno reported.

There are “fewer minefields” but “one should not think that it will be easy to take them”, the United Press Center of the Defense Forces of the Tavria Region, Oleksandr Shtupun, told the broadcaster.

He confirmed reports by the Institute for the Study of War that Russia was redeploying elite airborne units to defend the area.

“This is their elite counts, so if they are already using their so-called elite in defensive battles, then something is wrong with them,” he said.

Brigadier General Oleksandr Tarnavskiy told The Guardian it took longer to de-mine the region at the start of the counteroffensive than was expected, but he was optimistic now that barrier has been breached.

“Sooner or later, the Russians will run out of all the best soldiers. This will give us an impetus to attack more and faster,” he said.

08:08:17 Ukrainian defence minister resigns

As anticipated, Ukrainian defence minister Oleksii Reznikov has submitted his resignation letter to the chairman of parliament, he said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“It was an honour to serve the Ukrainian people and work for the #UAarmy for the last 22 months, the toughest period of Ukraine’s modern history,” he wrote.

He did not respond when asked by the Kyiv Post about rumours he could become the next Ukrainian ambassador to the UK.

“The most immediate plans are to start a number of projects to support the defence forces but in the status of an ordinary citizen,” he told the news site.

“This page of my life’s book is already written. It’s time to turn over and write new pages.”

08:07:10 Putin to meet Turkish president over food crisis

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will try to convince Vladimir Putin to return to the Black Sea grain deal today and ease a global food crisis.

The leaders are set to meet in Sochi, Russia, in the afternoon, and the Turkish administration hopes its role as broker in the original agreement – made last year – will aid discussions.

“We are cautious, but we hope to achieve success,” Turkey’s chief foreign policy and security advisor Akif Cagatay Kilic told the A Haber television channel.

Explained: Russia quit the grain deal in July, complaining that while it allowed the safe export of Ukrainian grain, its own food and fertiliser exports faced obstacles due to Western sanctions.

In particular, the Kremlin wants its state agricultural bank to be reconnected to the global SWIFT payments system.

Russia and Ukraine are two of the world’s key players in the wheat, barley, maize, rapeseed, rapeseed oil, sunflower seed and sunflower oil markets. 

Many people in the world’s poorest regions rely on shipments from the Black Sea for food.

07:45:59 Russian cyber attackers launch ‘malware campaign’ against Android phones

Cyber attackers linked to Russia’s intelligence agency have been targeting the phones of Ukrainian soldiers with a “malware campaign”, according to British intelligence.

A group known as Sandstorm has been deploying a virus named “Infamous Chisel” to steal sensitive military information, the UK Ministry of Defence said.

It enables persistent access to Android devices and the extraction of data from them, said the MoD, citing a report by the National Cyber Security Centre.

“This activity demonstrates Russia’s continued use of cyber capabilities to support the invasion of Ukraine,” it said.

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