Ukraine space plant hit and US wants more Saudi oil – round-upon July 16, 2022 at 5:48 pm

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Russian missiles kill three people in Dnipro, and Joe Biden wants Saudi Arabia to open the oil taps.

A mother and daughter comfort one anotherImage source, Getty Images

Three people were killed in a Russian long-range missile attack on the central Ukrainian city of Dnipro on Friday evening.

Local officials said the missiles hit a factory which makes space rockets and satellites, as well as a nearby street.

Russia’s defence ministry said the factory made parts for Ukrainian missiles.

Dnipro has taken in large numbers of Ukrainians fleeing the fighting further east, where Russia has concentrated its forces.

One resident, Klavdia, said a rocket landed just in front of her window.

“It’s difficult to understand where to seek shelter during attacks like this. In the basement, behind walls – everything collapses anyway,” she told Reuters news agency.

While Russia’s ground offensive in the Donbas region of east Ukraine has slowed down, there has been an increase in the number of attacks from the air – often hitting city centres.

On Thursday, 23 people were killed in a Russian missile attack on the city of Vinnytsia, which lies west of Kyiv – a long way from the front lines in the east and south.

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Why Biden needs Saudi Arabia

US President Joe Biden (left) fist-bumps Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (right) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia/. Photo: 15 July 2022

Image source, Reuters

During Joe Biden’s first few weeks as US president he refused even to speak to Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

US intelligence believes the crown prince approved the gruesome killing of the Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, causing a huge international outcry.

But in another sign of the far-reaching consequences of the war in Ukraine, this week the president travelled to Saudi Arabia as part of his Middle East tour. The two leaders were even photographed performing a friendly fist-bump in the grounds of Jeddah’s royal palace.

So why the U-turn? Oil prices have a lot to do with it.

As energy costs soar – due partly to the war in Ukraine – Washington wants Saudi Arabia to produce more oil to bring prices down.

Our Middle East correspondent Anna Foster has written about the significance of Mr Biden’s visit.

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The RAF pilots flying close to Snake Island

Flt Lt Lewis Travers

Flt Lt Lewis Travers’ job is to deter Russian aggression, he says.

Currently based in Romania, he is one of 200 Royal Air Force (RAF) personnel taking part in a Nato mission to police skies across Eastern Europe.

British air crews have been carrying out deployments there since 2017, but Vladimir Putin’s invasion of neighbouring Ukraine in February changed everything.

“The area we routinely operate in is not at all far from Snake Island. Being able to see the fighting going on between Russia and Ukraine has certainly been eye-opening for us,” Flt Lt Travers told the BBC.

Snake Island – a small, strategic piece of land located off Ukraine’s south-west coast – was captured by Russia in the first days of the war, but recently retaken by Ukraine.

The BBC’s Phillip Norton went to Romania to find out what life is like on deployment so close to the war.

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War in Ukraine: More coverage

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