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Kremlin says creation of ‘buffer zone’ in Ukraine needs time

Later on Wednesday, Belgorod regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said one person was killed and seven more wounded in Ukrainian shelling of the Russian border town of Shebekino…reports Asian Lite News

Russia said on Wednesday that its military was still working to create a “buffer zone” in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region but this would take time.

President Vladimir Putin said in May that Russia was creating a buffer to protect its border regions, especially Belgorod which lies adjacent to Kharkiv, from Ukrainian attacks.

“Of course, the realization of this task is time-consuming, it takes time. Work in this direction is under way,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters when asked how long it would take for Russia to guarantee the security of Belgorod.

Later on Wednesday, Belgorod regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said one person was killed and seven more wounded in Ukrainian shelling of the Russian border town of Shebekino.

According to Gladkov, three multi-story residential buildings, several commercial facilities, an industrial enterprise and 20 vehicles were damaged in the incident.

Shebekino and the wider Belgorod region have come under frequent attack by Ukrainian shells and drones in the course of the war which is now well into its third year.

Meanwhile, Norway Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store said on Wednesday that the country will start the process of donating six F-16 fighters to Ukraine this year, aiming to boost Kyiv’s ability to defend itself against attacks from the air during its ongoing conflict against Russia.

The Norwegian government had decided last year to donate the F-16s to Ukraine as part of a multinational collaboration, led by Denmark, the Netherlands and the USA.

Store had announced the decision on Ukraine’s Independence Day in Kyiv last year. Norway’s Defence Ministry said on Wednesday that it has contributed to the training of Ukrainian fighter pilots at Denmark’s Skrydstrup air base since autumn 2023.

“Norway has and Norway will support the training in the future as well,” said Prime Minister Store.

Norway phased out F-16 fighters in 2021 in connection with the phasing in of the new F-35 combat aircraft. As many as 32 F-16s have been sold to Romania.

“We must continue to support Ukraine’s defence against the Russian war of aggression. Ukraine is fighting a battle both for its own freedom and for our shared values, democracy and international law. Ukraine is at the forefront of Euro-Atlantic security,” stated Espen Barth Eide, Norway’s Foreign Minister.

The need for weapons for the fighters will increase in line with the number of F-16s in the Ukrainian Air Force, believes Norway’s Defence Minister Bjorn Arild Gram.

“Armament and other support for the aircraft will be handled within the framework of the multinational cooperation. Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Great Britain and Norway are involved in this collaboration,” he mentioned.

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