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Ukrainian lawmakers have voted in favor of reducing the maximum age of military enlistment for young adults from 27 to 25, the country's parliament said in a Telegram post on Tuesday.
“The majority of citizens now receive a deferment from conscription for military service upon reaching the age of 18. It is mainly about getting an education. Education lasts for 4-6 years and ends at the age of 22-24,” the parliament’s Telegram post read.
“With the reduction of the maximum conscription age to 25 years, the conscription commissions will have 1-3 years to realize the fulfillment of military duty by citizens of Ukraine and their conscription for military service,” the parliament said.
Under Ukrainian law, the conscription process for young adults includes registering at an enlistment office, undergoing necessary medical examinations and being selected for military service if no exemptions and deferments were made.
A fire at an oil refinery in Russia’s Krasnodar territory has been extinguished after a possible unmanned aerial vehicle attack, according to Krasnodar Gov. Veniamin Kondratiev.
The fire was reported at the Afipsky Refinery in Seversky District and no casualties were reported, Kondratiev said on Telegram early Wednesday morning. One of the fuel oil distillation units had caught fire, he added.
The governor said “fire brigades, MES, and emergency services” were working to extinguish the fire.
One person was injured in a shelling of the town of Shebekino, according to Vyacheslav Gladkov, the governor of Russia's Belgorod region, .
“According to preliminary information, there is one female victim," Gladkov said in a Wednesday Telegram post. "Residential buildings are damaged, vehicles are on fire."
Russian President Vladimir Putin called a drone attack in the Moscow region a "clear sign of terrorist activity" while pointing the finger at Ukraine. Though Ukraine has denied that it was directly involved, it comes the same day that at least one person was killed in an aerial assault on Kyiv early Tuesday.
The governor of Russia's Belgorod region said the number of Ukrainian strikes has increased near the border with its highest number of reported attacks in the last 24 hours.
Here's what to know to get up to speed:
- Moscow attacks: Eight drones were involved in an attack in the Moscow region on Tuesday, the Russian Defense Ministry said. Russia blamed Ukraine Ukraine which has denied any direct involvement. Putin said the city's air defenses worked normally, also suggesting that the drone attacks had been in response to recent Russian strikes against Ukrainian infrastructure. "Kyiv chose the path of intimidation of Russian citizens and attacks on residential buildings," Putin said.
- Assault on Kyiv: Explosions in Kyiv early Tuesday killed one person and injured at least three others, the Ukrainian military said. It marks the 17th aerial attack on the capital city this month. Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said there would've been more damage without Ukraine’s modern air defense systems.
- Western countries react: British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said on Tuesday that Ukraine has the right to "project force" over its borders for self-defense, following a drone attack in Moscow. A National Security Council spokesperson stressed that the United States does not back attacks in Russia. More generally, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Tuesday that there is no fatigue among Western countries on providing aid to Ukraine.
- Strikes in Belgorod: There have been dozens of strikes in several areas of Russia's Belgorod region by Ukrainian mortar and artillery fire over the last 24 hours — by far the highest reported number in a single day, according to the region's governor, Vyacheslav Gladkov. The region is located next to Ukraine and has seen a growing incidence of cross-border fire. The governor said one person was killed and two others were injured in an attack on a temporary accommodation center.
- Protecting Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant: International Atomic Energy Agency chief Rafael Grossi outlined five principles to protect Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) and asked that Russia and Ukraine observe them to ensure the plant's safety and security. Grossi added that he has not yet secured their agreement on protecting the facility.
- Latest on NATO: The US expects Sweden’s accession to NATO to be completed “in the weeks ahead,” according to Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Russia's invasion of Ukraine prompted non-aligned Finland and Sweden to abandon their neutrality and seek protection within NATO. Finland officially became the 31st member of NATO on April 4.
One person was killed and two others were injured in a Ukrainian attack on a temporary accommodation center, according to Vyacheslav Gladkov, the governor of Russia's Belgorod region.
Gladkov said in a Telegram post on Tuesday that “[…] the security guard of this institution died. Two more people were injured. They are in critical condition in intensive care."
According to Gladkov, cannon artillery was used in the strike that hit the center.
Some context: There has been increased fighting along the border, specifically in the Belgorod region, officials have reported.
Namely, last week, a group of anti-Putin Russian nationals – who are aligned with the Ukrainian army – claimed responsibility for an attack in Belgorod, leaving Moscow to say it was fighting the group of saboteurs.
In a Telegram post, groups calling themselves the “Freedom of Russia Legion” and “Russian Volunteer Corps” said they had “liberated” a settlement in the Belgorod region, which borders Ukraine.
Ukrainian tennis player Lesia Tsurenko beat her first-round opponent at the French Open Tuesday, but still described her disposition as "unhappy."
Tsurenko, who lived in Kyiv as a teenager, said the Russian invasion and subsequent war in her country has impacted her state of mind on the court.
“Some days if I have unhappy face, it's just because, you know, my city was probably bombed I think 16 times in May only,” she said.
Speaking to the media on her 34th birthday, an emotional Tsurenko was not in a celebratory mood.
“Yesterday, part of the rocket landed 100m away from my home. This can make me unhappy, you know, and probably, my face is not super happy just because of that. Not because I go into the locker room and I'm, like, spreading hate towards someone," she said.
Ahead of the Miami Open in March, world No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka, who is from Belarus, said she struggled to understand the “hate” she encountered in the locker room amid strained relations between some players following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Sabalenka did not specifically mention Tsurenko.
Tsurenko next competes at Roland Garros on Thursday against the American Lauren Davis.
The US expects Sweden’s accession to NATO to be completed “in the weeks ahead,” according to Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
“We have no doubt that it can be, and it should be and we expect it to be,” said Blinken at a news conference in Luleå, Sweden, with Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson.
Key context: Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine prompted non-aligned Finland and Sweden to abandon their neutrality and seek protection within NATO. Finland officially became the 31st member of NATO on April 4.
US President Joe Biden said he spoke on Monday with newly reelected Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and discussed the potential of approving the sale of new US fighter jets if Turkey drops its objections to Sweden joining NATO.
However, Blinken said the two issues are viewed as separate by the administration.
“From our perspective, we believe that both should go forward and should go forward as quickly as possible — that is to say, Sweden's accession — and we'll move forward on the F-16 package,” Blinken said.
The secretary of state also said that it was “appropriate” that every member have its say on the accession of new members into the alliance.
“Each member is making a solemn commitment to every other member that it will join in coming to their defense if they are the victims of aggression, and so it's important that every member have its say in this process,” he said.
British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said on Tuesday that Ukraine has the right to "project force" over its borders for self-defense, following a drone attack in Moscow.
"Ukraine does have the legitimate right to defend itself. It has the legitimate right to do so within its own borders, of course, but it does also have the right to project force beyond its borders to undermine Russia’s ability to project force into Ukraine itself," Cleverly told reporters after a joint news conference with Estonia’s Prime Minister Kaja Kallas.
"So legitimate military targets beyond its own border are part of Ukraine’s self-defense. And we should recognize that," he added.
Cleverly said he does not have any assessment over the drone attacks in Moscow on Tuesday, and he was referring to military targets more broadly beyond borders that are "internationally recognized as being legitimate as part of a nation’s self-defense."
At least three residential buildings were damaged by drones in Moscow on Tuesday, Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reported.
Russia has blamed Ukraine for the incident, while Kyiv has denied any direct involvement.
What the US says: A National Security Council spokesperson stressed that the US does not back attacks in Russia.
"We saw the news and are still gathering information about what happened," the spokesperson said. "As general matter, we do not support attacks inside of Russia."