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A Russian missile attack on residential buildings killed at least two people in Kharkiv, Ukrainian officials said. One of the victims was a 10-year-old boy and is among the more than 500 children who have been killed in Ukraine since Russia's full-scale invasion in February 2022.
Meanwhile, Germany's largest defense company said it is ramping up production as Western countries continue to give aid to Ukraine.
Here's what else to know:
- Kharkiv strike: Russia launched a deadly strike in the heart of Kharkiv city early Friday morning, killing a 68-year-old woman and her 10-year-old grandson, Ukrainian officials said. The boy was apparently asleep when the missiles hit, Ukraine's Defense Ministry said. At least 27 people were injured, according to the head of Kharkiv’s Regional Military Administration.
- Hroza death toll rises: The death toll following a Russian missile strike on a cafe and shop in the village of Hroza in Ukraine’s Kupiansk district rose to 52 on Friday, according to the head of Kharkiv’s Regional Military Administration. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov reiterated the "Russian military does not strike civilian targets."
- Germany ramps up production: Germany's largest arms manufacturer said it has booked a major order of artillery shells to be produced in a deal with the German government to replenish stocks dented by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the defense company, Rheinmetall, said. It is expected to be fulfilled in 2024, it said.
- Prigozhin crash investigation: There is not yet a final report from investigators on the cause of the plane crash that killed Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin in August, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said. Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested Thursday it was not an “external” attack that brought down Prigozhin's plane, but hand grenades within the aircraft.
- Fallen Ukrainian service members: The bodies of 64 fallen Ukrainian service members have been repatriated to Ukraine in exchange for the remains of Russian military personnel who died in the country, Ukraine’s Coordinating Agency for the Treatment of Prisoners of War said. Since the beginning of the war, at least 1,896 bodies of Ukrainian service members have been repatriated, according to the agency.
A 10-year-old boy who was killed by Russia's strike on the city of Kharkiv on Friday was apparently asleep when missiles hit residential buildings, Ukrainian officials said.
"A child's body wrapped in a blanket. He was murdered this morning in Kharkiv by a russian (lowercase in the post) missile. The boy was apparently sleeping," Ukraine's Defense Ministry said in a post on social media, accompanied by a picture that purports to show the boy's body lying in the middle of the rubble.
"The Iskander is a russian ballistic missile that can reach Kharkiv, Ukraine's border city, in just a few seconds," it added.
The picture purportedly shows the boy's body, wrapped in a blue blanket covered by dust, surrounded by pieces of debris, as several rescuers stand nearby.
CNN has not independently verified the photo.
The boy's younger brother, an 11-month-old baby, survived and is in hospital, President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his evening address Friday.
The boys' parents also survived and are in hospital, but their grandmother was killed in the strike, Zelensky said.
Some context: The 10-year-old is among the more than 500 children who have been killed in Ukraine since Russia's full-scale invasion in February 2022. Another 1,129 children have been injured with various degrees of severity, according to Ukraine's Prosecutor General's Office.
Friday's attack on Kharkiv came after a Russian attack on the village of Hroza on Thursday, in which another child was killed, along with at least 51 more people. Two children and two adults are still missing in Hroza following the attack.
Russia maintains it does not strike civilian targets.
The United States is expelling two Russian diplomats from the embassy in Washington, according to the State Department.
The expulsion is in response to Russia’s “specious expulsion of two U.S. Embassy Moscow diplomats” last month, a spokesperson said Friday, adding that the State Department reciprocated by expelling two "Russian Embassy officials operating in the United States.”
“The Department will not tolerate the Russian government’s pattern of harassment of our diplomats,” the spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “The Department’s actions send a clear message that unacceptable actions against our Embassy personnel in Moscow will have consequences.”
Last month, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller warned that the US would respond to the expulsion of two US diplomats from Russia “expeditiously.”
The bodies of 64 fallen Ukrainian service members have been repatriated to Ukraine in exchange for the remains of Russian military personnel who died in the country, Ukraine’s Coordinating Agency for the Treatment of Prisoners of War said Friday.
Ukrainian officials will now take the service members' bodies to state institutions for forensic exams, the agency said in a statement.
Since the beginning of the war, at least 1,896 bodies of Ukrainian service members have been repatriated, according to the agency.
The coordinating agency also negotiates exchanges involving prisoners of war. One such exchange saw 22 Ukrainian POWs released from Russia in August, according to the Ukrainian president's office.
A court has seized the Ukraine-based assets of three Russian oligarchs — more than $464 million — for their alleged support of Russia’s war in Ukraine, according to Ukraine's Security Service (SBU) and prosecutor's office.
The oligarchs targeted were Mikhail Fridman, Petr Aven and Andrey Kosogov, according to a Friday statement from the SBU.
The three businessmen are considered to be a part of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle and are allegedly involved in schemes that contribute "large-scale financing" to Russia's war, the SBU and prosecutors said.
The court decision applies to "20 companies and financial institutions owned by the Kremlin oligarchs as ultimate beneficiaries or via controlled offshore companies," according to Ukrainian officials.
The affected businesses include mobile operators, a mineral water producer, and financial and insurance companies. Ukraine said it took steps to ensure the businesses cannot be re-registered to a front person to avoid seizure.
None of the three Russian businessmen have immediately commented publicly on their assets being seized.
More on Fridman: Mikhail Fridman is among the few Russian oligarchs who have publicly spoken out against Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine. In the beginning days of the war, he called the conflict a "tragedy" for both Ukrainians and Russians.
But in September, the SBU accused the Ukrainian-born businessman of financing Moscow's war.
Fridman is chairman of Alfa Group, a private conglomerate operating primarily in Russia and former Soviet states that spans banking, insurance, retail and mineral water production.
CNN's Katharina Krebs and Charles Riley contributed reporting to this post.
There is not yet a final report from investigators on the cause of the plane crash that killed Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin in August, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Friday.
“This was not the final report,” Peskov told journalists during a news briefing Friday, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin's comments Thursday suggesting it was not an “external” attack that brought down Prigozhin's plane, but hand grenades within the aircraft.
“The president said that this report has yet to be finalized,” Peskov said.
The spokesperson declined to provide any details of what happened on the day the crash took place, and added that journalists can expect an official message from the Russian investigative committee when the full probe has been completed.
What Putin said: Speaking at the Valdai Discussion Club forum in Sochi, Putin said Thursday that the "chairman of the investigative committee just reported a few days ago that the fragments of hand grenades were found in the bodies of the victims."
"There was no external influence on the plane, it is an established fact," the Russian leader claimed.
Putin added that the investigation into the crash of the plane carrying Prigozhin is still ongoing and that no examination was carried out to establish the presence of alcohol or drugs in the system of the victims who were on board the plane.
"In my opinion, such an examination should have been carried out, but it wasn't," he said.
Some background: Prigozhin, who led a failed uprising against the Kremlin, was among 10 people on board a private plane that crashed in a field northwest of Moscow in August while en route to St. Petersburg. All on board, including Prigozhin and his top aides, were killed.
There is no concrete evidence that points to Kremlin involvement in Prigozhin's death and, officially, the cause of the crash is unknown. Russia has denied any involvement in downing the plane.
However, Ukrainian officials and US President Joe Biden have suggested Putin may have been behind the crash. Speculation about Prigozhin's eventual fate began soon after his short-lived mutiny, and he joined a long line of Putin antagonists who met an early death.
CNN's Mariya Knight and Tara John contributed reporting to this post.
Germany's largest arms manufacturer Rheinmetall said it has booked a major order of artillery shells to be produced in a deal with the German government to replenish stocks dented by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, with the fulfillment slated for 2024, according to the defense company.
''Rheinmetall has booked a major order for 155mm artillery ammunition following a second call-off under an existing framework order with the German government,'' Rheinmetall said in a press statement Friday.
The defense company, based in Dusseldorf, Germany, said that the new framework contract for 155mm artillery ammunition would run until 2029 and represents a potential order volume of around $1.35 billion (or about 1.2 billion euros). Delivery of the order to the German government is scheduled to take place in 2024.
"The war in Ukraine has compelled the armed forces of numerous nations to replenish their ammunition stocks. In this context, Rheinmetall has already booked several large orders for artillery ammunition,'' the statement said.
As recently as July 2023, Rheinmetall announced the signing of a new framework agreement for artillery ammunition with Germany's armed forces and the expansion of an existing agreement. The agreements between Germany and Rheinmetall entail the delivery of several hundred thousand shells, fuses and propelling charges, the defense company said in its statement.
Remember: Rheinmetall's CEO Armin Papperger told CNN in an exclusive interview in July that his company would ramp up its annual production of artillery rounds from 100,000 to 600,000 in 2024 — with much of that extra output earmarked for delivery to Ukraine. Papperger said that Rheinmetall could provide 60% of the artillery ammunition Ukraine needed.
The defense company's announcement comes as political upheaval in the US Congress and drained ammunition stocks among NATO countries threaten the flow of military aid to Ukraine.
Many of Ukraine's smaller European allies are dedicating a greater share of their economic power to support Ukraine than the US.
CNN analyzed how international assistance to Ukraine stacks up.
The US has committed the second-largest amount of money to help Ukraine overall – including military, financial and humanitarian assistance – after the European Union, which has sent a total of around $85.1 billion, according to Kiel Institute data. That figure does not include contributions from individual EU member states, which are counted separately.
But unlike some of Ukraine’s smaller allies, Washington’s contributions account for 0.3% of its GDP, data shows.
Norway and the Baltic states bordering Russia — Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia — are committing a greater proportion of their wealth to the war at more than 1% of their GDP.