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Ukraine updates: 2,400 children taken to Belarus — report

More than 2,400 children from Ukraine have been taken to Belarus since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in early 2022, according to a study

More than 2,400 children from Ukraine have been taken to Belarus since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in early 2022, according to a study

A new study has revealed that more than 2,400 Ukrainian children have been forcefully relocated to Belarus.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian officials said that at least two people were killed in the southern region of Kherson after Russian shelling from the eastern bank of the Dnipro River.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said that they have forced Russian forces out of the eastern part of the Black Sea region.

Here's a look at the latest developments on Friday, November 17, in Russia's war in Ukraine:

UK says Russia started using A-50 early warning and control aircraft in Ukraine

For the first time, Russia has likely started using the A-50 MAINSTAY D — its Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft — to identify targets over Ukraine for its SA-21 long-range ground-based air defense missile system, the British Ministry of Defense said in its daily intelligence update.

"This adds to MAINSTAY’s core mission of co-ordinating fighter aircraft," it continued.

According to the update, compared to SA-21's usual ground-based radar, MAINSTAY can use its radar to spot enemy aircraft at longer ranges because its altitude allows it to see further around the curvature of the earth.

"Russia has likely expedited integrating MAINSTAY and SA-21 partially because it is concerned about the prospect of Ukraine deploying Western-provided combat aircraft," the ministry added.

In August, the United States approved sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine from Denmark and the Netherlands to defend against Russian invaders as soon as pilot training was completed.

Ukraine has actively sought the US-made F-16 fighter jets to help it counter Russian air superiority.

Ukraine says it established 'several bridgeheads' on eastern bank of Dnipro

Ukrainian troops have conducted a "series of successful operations" on the eastern bank of the Dnipro River in the Russian-occupied part of Kherson region and established several bridgeheads, Ukraine's military said.

In a statement, the Ukrainian Marines said on their Facebook page that they were continuing to carry out operations on the eastern side of the river. Russia conceded for the first time this week that Ukrainian troops had crossed the river.

The Ukrainian military liberated the city of Kherson, the regional centre, and the area around it on the western bank of the Dnipro in November 2022. The river, a formidable natural barrier, became the dividing line on much of the southern front.

Crossing the Dnipro with heavy military equipment and supplies could allow Ukrainian troops to open a new line of attack in the south on the most direct land route to Crimea, seized and annexed by Russia in 2014.

2 killed in Kherson after Russia's shelling

At least two people were killed and 12 others were injured after Russia's shelling on Thursday in different areas of southern Ukraine's Kherson region, local officials said.

A 75-year-old woman died in her apartment as Russian troops continued shelling from the eastern bank of the largely occupied Dnipro River, according to regional governor Oleksandr Prokudin.

He had earlier reported an attack in afternoon in the village of Bilozerka which killed a man whose body was found under the debris.

"A critical infrastructure object was also destroyed. Now Bilozerka and surrounding villages are without electricity," Prokudin said on Telegram.

Russian troops abandoned Kherson and the western bank of the Dnipro River late last year but they continue to shell the region from the eastern bank.

Thousands of Ukrainian children transferred to Belarus: Yale study

Since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, more than 2,400 Ukrainian children in the age group between 6 and 17-years-old have been transferred to 13 locations across Belarus, according to a new study published by Yale University on Thursday.

Some experts estimate the number of such transfers to be much higher.

In May, Ukraine's prosecutor general had said that he was probing Belarus' alleged role in the forced transfer of more than 19,000 identified children from Russian-occupied territories.

The research by the Humanitarian Research Lab at Yale School of Public Health is by far the most extensive one conducted on relocations of Ukrainian children.

The US State Department said, "These revelations of Belarusian involvement are part of a broader campaign directed by Russia."

Russia has not commented on the findings of the research so far.

The 39-page report states that children had been transported from at least 17 cities in Ukraine's Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia regions. Last year, Russia illegally annexed parts in and around the four eastern and southern Ukrainian regions.

"Russia's systematic effort to identify, collect, transport, and re-educate Ukraine's children has been facilitated by Belarus," the report said.

Situation better for Ukraine in Black Sea: Zelenskyy

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky said the situation in the Black Sea has shifted in his country's favor in recent months.
"We managed to seize the initiative from Russia in the Black Sea and created security conditions that force the aggressor to flee the eastern part of the water area and try to hide warships," Zelensky said on Thursday in Kyiv.

According to Zelenskyy, Russian forces have largely vacated the the western part of the Black Sea and had withdrawn to the eastern part.

"Russia is unable to use the Black Sea as a springboard to destabilize other regions of the world," the Ukrainian leader said during the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (PABSEC) meeting.

Ukraine has been struggling to continue exporting through the Black Sea due to Russia's blockade of ports.

mfi/kb (dpa, Reuters)