Ukraine has said Russian forces are using terminals of Elon Musk’s satellite internet service Starlink in occupied areas. The Ukrainian military released what it said was an intercept of an exchange between two Russian soldiers as proof of “systemic” use. Starlink systems have been vital for Ukraine’s battlefield communications throughout Russia’s nearly two-year-old invasion.
Starlink said it did not sell terminals to Russia, it was not aware of others doing so, and its network did not operate in Russia. However statements by the company and Elon Musk did not appear to address concerns that Russian troops might be obtaining and using them regardless, including on illegally Russian-occupied Ukrainian soil.
Democrats and some Republicans in the US Senate have moved closer to passing a $95bn aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, showing bipartisanship despite opposition from Republican hardliners and Donald Trump. The Senate voted 67-27 in a rare Sunday session to clear the latest procedural hurdle and moved the bill towards an ultimate vote on passage. It would then have to go to the House of Representatives where there is the prospect of further Republican obstruction but also support on both sides for Ukraine.
A Russian drone strike on Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, killed seven people, including three children, the Kharkiv regional governor Oleh Syniehubov reported on Saturday. A Ukrainian prosecutor, her husband, and their three small children were among the seven killed after the strike hit an oil depot, triggering blazes that burned half a street to the ground, officials said. An elderly couple living in the same street were also killed in the attack, which the mayor, Ihor Terekhov, said injured 57 people and burned 15 homes. Ukraine said it destroyed most of the 45 attack drones launched by Russia over Saturday night, with little damage reported on Sunday morning.
Volodymyr Zelenskiy has appointed Oleksandr Pavliuk, former first deputy defence minister, as the new commander of Ukraine’s ground forces. Pavliuk, a lieutenant-general who served in the ministry role for a year, replaces Col Gen Oleksandr Syrskyi as commander of Ukraine’s armed forces.
The UK’s Ministry of Defence said there were indications Russia’s war was contributing to a shortage of healthcare professionals across Russia. In an intelligence update, the MoD added the heavy resource and financial burden of the war was negatively affecting a range of civilian sectors.
Russia’s registration of candidates for the March presidential election has closed, Tass reported on Sunday, with a list including Vladimir Putin and three politicians who all support Moscow’s war in Ukraine. The list did not include the Russian anti-war candidate Boris Nadezhdin after the Russian election commission barred him on a technicality from running. Nadezhdin said he would challenge the decision in Russia’s supreme court.
Japan will pledge 15.8bn yen ($106m) in aid to Ukraine at a conference to be held in Tokyo on 19 February, Kyodo News reported on Sunday, citing unidentified sources. The funding will be used for reconstruction in seven areas, including agriculture and the disposal of rubble, Kyodo said.