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Ukraine live briefing: Kyiv says missile debris hit children’s hospital; F-16 training wait drags

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Officials in Kyiv said fragments of a missile hit a children’s hospital as the sound of explosions rang out in the capital on Friday. The Kyiv military administration said air defense systems were working, and there were no initial reports of casualties or major damage.

Kyiv will probably go another year without F-16 fighter jets, a process that one Ukrainian official said was “dragging it out,” The Washington Post reports. A first group of six Ukrainian pilots is not expected to finish training on the U.S.-made aircraft before next summer, after delays in an instruction program, according to Ukrainian officials.

Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said first responders rushed to the children’s hospital after missile fragments fell on its grounds. He reported sounds of explosions earlier and urged residents to stay in shelters. The Kyiv military administration has lifted air raid warnings.

The Ukrainian pilots must first undertake English lessons in Britain before combat training, officials said. Although the pilots are fluent in English, they will learn terminology associated with the jets. Another 20 Ukrainian pilots are ready for English training, U.S. officials said. But most of Ukraine’s best pilots are expected to remain in Ukraine, where they are flying sorties in Soviet-developed planes, and firing French SCALP and British Storm Shadow missiles.

President Biden has asked Congress to approve $20.6 billion more in funding for Ukraine, including $13 billion to be allocated to military aid. The United States has committed more than $60 billion in aid to Ukraine during the war.

The co-founder of Russian technology giant Yandex called the war in Ukraine “barbaric,” in a rare display of dissent among the Russian elite. Arkady Volozh, who has lived in Tel Aviv since 2014, told the Bell news outlet that he had friends and family in Ukraine and was “horrified by the fact that every day bombs fly into the homes of Ukrainians.” Volozh earned billions since co-founding Yandex, which provides search and a variety of other online services, in 1997. He resigned last year after being placed under E.U. sanctions. He said he felt a “share of responsibility” for Russia’s actions.

The military administration of Ukraine’s Kupiansk ordered an evacuation of civilians from the area in the northeast Kharkiv region. Authorities have said thousands of civilians would need to leave towns and villages near the combat zone in Kupiansk, where Ukrainian and Russian officials separately reported a raging battle.

Ukrainian forces have recaptured the heights over Bakhmut and are encircling Russian troops in the eastern city, Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar told the Guardian. Maliar said progress was being made in outflanking enemy forces after months of deadly battle. The Washington Post could not immediately verify the claims.

A strike that pounded a hotel in Zaporizhzhia city killed one person, and injured at least 19 others, including four children, officials in the southeastern Ukrainian region said. The Russian strike on Thursday hit a hotel used by U.N. personnel and other aid workers in Ukraine, Denise Brown, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Ukraine said, describing the attack as “utterly inadmissible.”

Around 1,000 Ukrainian Marines are returning home after a six-month training in Britain, the U.K. Defense Ministry said Friday. The marines received training that included conducting beach raids using inflatable boats. Ukrainian units have had to cross waterways when attacking Russian positions, including the Dnieper River.

Britain will host an energy conference around the two-year anniversary of the Ukraine war in February, focusing partly on energy security, the government said. It said Energy Security Secretary Grant Shapps will invite senior government ministers and industry leaders to the conference in London, which follows European efforts to reduce dependence on Russian energy.

The amount includes $43.1 billion in military support and over $20 billion in economic assistance. But while Washington is the leading donor to Ukraine, other countries have provided a much larger share of their GDP to fund Kyiv’s efforts.

Serhiy Morgunov contributed to this report.

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