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Russia-Ukraine war at a glance: what we know on day 544 of the invasion

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Netherlands and Denmark to donate up to 61 F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine; Volodymyr Zelenskiy vows retaliation for deadly strike on city of Chernihiv

The Netherlands and Denmark have announced they will donate up to 61 F-16 fighter jets between them to Ukraine once pilot training has been satisfactorily completed, as Volodymyr Zelenskiy visited both countries after months of entreaties to bolster the Ukrainian air force.

The Ukrainian president also said that Kyiv was “getting closer” to obtaining Swedish Gripen fighter jets during a visit to Sweden. “Our soldiers are already starting to test them,” he said in his nightly address, adding that he had discussed the matter with Sweden’s prime minister, Ulf Kristersson.

Zelenskiy vowed retaliation after at least seven people were killed and 144 injured in a “vile” Russian missile strike that hit a theatre and a central square in the northern Ukrainian city of Chernihiv. “I am sure our soldiers will give a response to Russia for this terrorist attack,” Zelenskiy said. “A notable response.”

Russia said Ukrainian drones had attacked four separate regions in a flurry of attempted strikes on Sunday, injuring five people and forcing two of Moscow’s airports to briefly divert flights. Russia’s Kursk, Rostov and Belgorod regions, all of which border Ukraine, reported attempted drone strikes, while Russia’s defence ministry said it had jammed a Ukrainian drone in the Moscow region, forcing it to crash in an unpopulated area.

A day earlier a Ukrainian drone targeted a military airfield in Russia’s Novgorod region, causing a fire and damaging one warplane, Russia’s defence ministry said. The ministry said nobody was hurt.

There have been increasing reports of SA-5 Gammon missiles striking Russia, with drones regularly hitting Moscow, the UK’s Ministry of Defence said in its latest intelligence update. The leadership of Russia’s aerospace forces is likely under considerable pressure to improve air defences over the western parts of the country, the MoD added.

South Africa will not be “drawn into a contest between global powers”, its president, Cyril Ramaphosa, vowed as he prepared to host a summit of Brics emerging nations including Russia. Pretoria is officially non-aligned in the conflict but has been accused of siding with Moscow.

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