Ukraine war: Kyiv drone hits Moscow building, US gives fighter jet approval, martial law extended

Russian authorities said a Ukrainian military drone crashed into a building in central Moscow on Friday morning.

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Local air defence system shot down the drone before the debris fell in the city’s Expo Center complex, the defence ministry said in a statement.

The “unmanned aerial vehicle” was hit at about 4am local time but caused no casualties after interception, the statement added.

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said emergency services were operating around the non-residential building although no significant damage was done.

One of the walls had temporarily collapsed as a result of the falling wreckage, emergency services told the local media. Airspace near Moscow’s international airport was temporarily closed following the strikes.

Russia also claimed it had successfully defended against a Ukrainian drone attack which targeted its warships in the Black Sea on Thursday night.

Moscow and its surrounding region have been a target of frequent drone attacks in recent weeks as the Ukrainian counteroffensive progresses in full swing.

A drone was shot down near Kremlin in May, followed by a couple of attacks targeting the capital’s financial districts. 

US approves sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine

The United States has approved sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine via Denmark and the Netherlands. 

Washington has assured the delivery of highly sought-after fighter jets will start as soon as the Ukrainian pilots will complete the required training, a US official told the Guardian.  

Ukraine’s allies first agreed on training the country’s air force on advanced fighter jets at the G7 summit held in Japan in May, without ironing out the details. 

Officials attending the NATO summit in July hinted the training could start as early as August. 

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Kyiv, however, was not guaranteed the delivery of F-16 jets since its allies have resented sending warplanes. 

The approval comes as a relief for President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who has repeatedly called on the allies to provide aerial arms to bolster Ukraine’s slow-progressing counteroffensive. 

Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov thanked Denmark and the Netherlands for “outstanding leadership” in July after the summit. 

Russia, in response to the support, warned that allowing Kyiv to use F-16s would be a “colossal risk” and would spread the war across Europe. 

Zelenskyy extends martial law in Ukraine

Ukraine’s President signed two laws on Thursday to extend martial law until November 15 in an attempt to military presence on the frontline.

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The decrees will also continue to affect general military mobilisation, under which Ukrainian men aged between 18 and 60 cannot leave the country and may be called to serve in the military. 

Under the country’s legislation amended following the Russian invasion in February 2022, the law must be extended every 90 days. 

Political activities are limited while the law is in place, curtailing any form of election inside the country. The parliamentary elections, due to be held on October 29, will be ruled out as a result of the extension. 

Zelenskyy had ruled out the possibility of an election during the wartime, saying the country’s focus should be on fighting for its existence. 

“If we have martial law, we cannot have elections. … If there is no martial law, then there will be [elections],” he told US-based Washington Post in May. 

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Martial law is generally implemented when a country incurs civil unrest, is in a time of national crisis, or is in a state of war.

Ukraine declared martial law for 30 days in 2018, the first time since 1945, following a lack Sea spat against Russia.

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