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Ukrainian officials say troops are facing “permanent” assault in the east as heavy shelling continues 


A senior European Union official accused Russia on Friday of taking its war against Ukraine to a “different stage” by taking aim at civilians and non-military targets, prompting Germany and the US to supply military equipment to Ukraine in order for the country to better defend themselves.

Speaking at a press conference in Tokyo, the secretary general of the European Union’s European External Action Service, Stefano Sannino, said Russia had “moved from a concept of special operation to a concept now of a war against NATO and the West.”

“I think that this latest development in terms of armed supply is just an evolution of the situation and of the way Russia started moving the war into a different stage,” Sannino, said, adding that Putin was launching “indiscriminate attacks against civilians and against cities.”

Here’s what else is happening:

Annexed Ukrainian regions to be put on Moscow time: The occupied parts of four Ukrainian regions — the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions — which Russia declared it had annexed in September will be ordered to use Moscow time, according to a post on Russia’s Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Telegram channel. 

Kremlin says Washington “demonizing” Russian private mercenary Wagner group: The Kremlin said Friday that Washington has been “demonizing” the Russian private mercenary organization Wagner Group for years, following the US Treasury’s decision to designate the group as a significant transnational criminal organization. The Treasury Department on Thursday designated the group, which is heavily involved in the war in Ukraine, as a significant transnational criminal organization, and imposed a slew of sanctions on a transnational network that supports it.

“Substantial damage” to Ukraine’s power grid after missile attack: Ukrenergo, Ukraine’s state-run energy operator, has said Thursday’s Russian missile strikes resulted in “substantial damage” to the power grid. Russia launched 70 missiles at Ukraine on Thursday, 47 of which were intercepted, the Ukrainian Armed Forces said in its daily operational update on Facebook, and Moscow’s forces also carried out 44 airstrikes, including 18 using Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones.

Djokovic’s father responds to criticism after posing with fan wearing pro-Russia “Z” symbol: The father of tennis star Novak Djokovic has responded to criticism after a video emerged on Wednesday of him at the Australian Open posing with fans holding Russia flags, voicing his support for Russia. In a statement Friday that stopped short of an apology, Srdjan Djokovic said he was in Melbourne “to support my son only,” and “had no intention of causing such headlines or disruption.”  


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