Hungarian Air Force scrambles fighter jets to border after unidentified aircraft spotted

Ukraine: Russian Oniks missiles fired from Bastion systems

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According to a statement from the Hungarian Ministry of Defense, the radar signaled an unidentified aircraft in the late evening on May 3, so the Hungarian Air Defense Service issued an alert and ordered a takeoff for a fighter in the Air Defense Standby Service. The radars detected the signal around 10 pm in the border area of ​​the eastern part of the country.

No aircraft was found during the inspection of the airspace concerned, however, the aircraft remained in the area for some time for airspace surveillance and then returned to the base in Kecskemét.

It is unclear whether the aircraft was detected on the eastern border of the country with Ukraine or Romania. 

The alert came as Russian forces fired rockets at the encircled steel works in Ukraine’s Mariupol and smoke darkened the sky above the plant, where officials say 200 civilians are still trapped despite evacuations, while the EU prepared to sanction Russian oil.

The attack followed a UN-brokered ceasefire around the Soviet-era steel complex that allowed several groups of civilians to escape the last holdout of Ukrainian fighters in the southern port in recent days.

More civilians were trapped in bunkers and tunnels under the complex and some 100,000 remained in the rest of the city, mayor Vadym Boychenko said on Tuesday.

Mariupol is a major target for Russia as is seeks to cut Ukraine off from the Black Sea and connect Russian-controlled territory in the south and east.

Russia’s offensive in eastern Ukraine, focused on the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, killed at least three civilians in the city of Vuhledar, the Ukrainian president’s office said.

Ukraine’s military said Russian forces were trying to take the frontline town of Rubizhne.

Russian bombardments since troops invaded Ukraine on Feb.24 have flattened cities, killed thousands of civilians and forced more than five million to flee the country.

The war shifted to the eastern provinces, parts of which were already held by Russian-backed separatists before Russian President Vladimir Putin launched the invasion, after Russia abandoned an assault on Kyiv at the end of March.

Its troops are trying to encircle a large Ukrainian force there, attacking from three directions with massive bombardment along the front, in what Moscow says is a special military operation to tackle nationalists it calls Nazis.

In response, Western allies of Ukraine have stepped up supplies of increasingly heavy weapons. Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska asked the West to maintain its support.

“Ukraine needs weapons so that Ukrainian refugees can return home and rebuild the economy. Therefore, we ask you not to stop, to accelerate the pace of heavy weapons provision,” she told British morning television.

She said she had not seen President Volodymyr Zelenskiy since the start of the invasion.

In Brussels, the European Commission is expected to finalise a sixth package of EU sanctions against Russia on Tuesday, including a possible embargo on buying Russian oil.

In a major shift, Germany said it was prepared to back an immediate EU embargo on Russian oil.

The European Commission may spare Hungary and Slovakia from the embargo because of the two countries’ dependence on Russian crude, two EU officials said on Monday.

Kyiv says Russia’s energy exports to Europe, so far largely exempt from international sanctions, are funding the Kremlin war effort with millions of euros every day.

“This package should include clear steps to block Russia’s revenues from energy resources,” Mr Zelensky said in his nightly video address.

EU countries have paid more than 47 billion euros ($47.43 billion) to Russia for gas and oil since it invaded Ukraine, according to research organisation the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air.

Ambassadors from EU countries will discuss the proposed oil sanctions when they meet on Wednesday.

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