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Crash of Il-76 near Belgorod and Ukraine-Slovakia PM's meeting in Uzhhorod - Wednesday brief

Crash of Il-76 near Belgorod and Ukraine-Slovakia PM's meeting in Uzhhorod - Wednesday brief Collage by RBC-Ukraine

An Il-76 military transport plane crashed in the Korocha district of the Belgorod region of the Russian Federation. And Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal met with Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico in Uzhhorod.

For more details on what happened on Wednesday, January 24, read RBC-Ukraine's material.

Russia's war against Ukraine

An IL-76 military plane crashed in the Belgorod region

On January 24, the IL-76 military transport plane crashed in the Korocha district of the Belgorod region of the Russian Federation. RBC-Ukraine's sources said the ship has been transporting missiles for the S-300 air defense system.

At the same time, Russia claims that there were 65 prisoners on the plane, as well as 6 crew members and 3 escorts. The Russians accuse Ukraine of shooting down the plane.

Ukraine reacted to the Russian statements, calling on Ukrainians not to spread fake news before official statements.

Later, the General Staff issued a statement amid information about the downing of the IL-76 near Belgorod. The statement said that the Ukrainian Armed Forces would continue to take measures to control the airspace in the Belgorod-Kharkiv direction.

The Defense Ministry's Main Intelligence Directorate stated that the exchange of prisoners of war scheduled for January 24 did not take place, although the Ukrainian side fulfilled its part of the agreements. The intelligence agency also noted that, according to the agreements, the Russian side was supposed to ensure the safety of Ukrainian defenders.

At the same time, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Russians are playing with the lives of Ukrainian prisoners, with the feelings of their relatives and with the emotions of our society.

"I called Umerov, Zaluzhnyi, Shaptala, Budanov, and Maliuk - they reported on the situation with the plane and the exchange. Obviously, the Russians are playing with the lives of Ukrainian captives, with the feelings of their families, and with the emotions of our society," says Zelenskyy.

Ukraine's PM meets with Slovakia's PM in Uzhhorod

During a meeting in Uzhhorod with his Slovak counterpart Robert Fico, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said that despite differences, Ukraine intends to form a policy of "new pragmatism" with the Slovak government that will benefit both countries.

"I am confident that today's meeting with Prime Minister Robert Fico will open a new page in our relations," he writes.

All the details are in the article by RBC-Ukraine.

Latvia unveils timeline for construction of Baltic defense line on Russian border

The construction of the Baltic defense line on the border with Russia may take up to ten years, according to the Minister of Defense of Latvia, Andris Spruds.

The head of the defense department acknowledges that the costs of strengthening the NATO and Russia border will be significant, but the exact amount has not been disclosed.

The preliminary calculations of the construction cost of the defense line have been made, but they are yet to be finalized. In any case, this information will not be made public.

The government must decide how to balance these expenses with other state priorities, emphasized the minister. At the same time, Spruds has reminded that security is one of the major priorities.

Estonian General names number of soldiers Russia to withdraw from Ukraine for attacking NATO

In the event of an attack on NATO, the Russians would need to withdraw approximately 300 thousand soldiers from Ukraine, says the commander of the Estonian Defense Forces, Martin Herem.

According to him, at least four factors are needed for Russia to attack NATO.

"First, Russia would have to pull most of its troops out of Ukraine – 300,000 of its 400,000 troops there," he said.

Secondly, time for the recovery of the troops is also needed. According to Khemera's opinion, it will take about a year for this.

"Third, even after a year of recovery and pulling out of Ukraine, something earthshattering would need to happen in the world – a super pandemic, complete economic collapse, war in Taiwan or the Balkans – that is when we should be very attentive," - added the commander.

U.S. won't be able to sustain weapons transferred to Ukraine without funding - Pentagon

The United States will be unable to transfer necessary weaponry to Ukraine and support the provided systems without additional funding from Congress, according to Pentagon representative Patrick Ryder during his briefing.

Ryder said that a lack of funding forced the Pentagon to suspend the withdrawal of weapons from its reserves. "And this, of course, prevents us from meeting Ukraine's most urgent battlefield needs to include things like artillery rounds, anti-tank weapons, air defense interceptors," he said.

Orban urges Hungarian parliament to ratify Sweden's NATO application

The government of Hungary calls on the parliament to ratify Sweden's NATO membership application as soon as possible, according to the Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orbán, and the Secretary-General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg.

Orban stated that his government supports Sweden's NATO membership.

"I also stressed that we will continue to urge the Hungarian National Assembly to vote in favor of Sweden's accession and conclude the ratification at the first possible opportunity," Orbán wrote.