As the war enters its 786th day, these are the main developments.

Here is the situation on Saturday, April 20, 2024.

Fighting

  • Russia’s Ministry of Defence reported Ukrainian drone strikes overnight and into Saturday. It said 26 drones were detected over the Belgorod region, 10 over Bryansk, and eight over Kursk, among several other regions.
  • The strikes killed two people in Russia’s Belgorod region, Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said on Saturday. The governors of Kursk, Kaluga and Bryansk, all in western Russia, reported strikes in their regions as well.
  • Ukraine’s air force said it shot down a Russian strategic bomber with antiaircraft missiles for the first time since the war began in 2022.
  • The warplane was downed in Russian airspace, 300km (186 miles) from Ukraine’s border, on Friday after it took part in a long-range air strike in the central region of Dnipropetrovsk.
  • The Russian attack killed at least nine people in the eastern city of Dnipro and surrounding region and injured at least 28 others, regional officials said.
  • Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited the site of the strike in Dnipro and called on his country’s allies to rush in more air defences.
  • Zelenskyy said Russian missiles also struck the Black Sea port of Pivdennyi in the southern Odesa region, destroying grain storage facilities and the food inside.

Politics and diplomacy

  • German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said he believed the war in Ukraine could drag on for several more years and on Friday defended Germany’s military support for Ukraine.
  • Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven (G7) countries expressed “strong concern” about the transfer of materials and weapons components from Chinese businesses to Russia for its military offensive in Ukraine.
  • At their meeting on the Italian island of Capri on Friday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said this was heightening “the biggest threat to European security since the end of the Cold War”.

Weapons

  • The United States House of Representatives is scheduled to vote later on Saturday to approve $95bn in foreign aid for Ukraine, Israel and other US allies. The package includes $61bn for Ukraine.
  • Ukraine’s Zelenskyy on Friday told a gathering of NATO defence ministers via videolink that the alliance must decide if it is Ukraine’s ally, urging member states to step up arms deliveries to his struggling forces.
  • “Our sky must become safe again,” he said, telling the minister that Ukraine could not defend itself without Western support.

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Aljazera

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