Ukraine: Fighting continues, Zelenskyy seeks more sanctions

Kyiv, Ukraine –

Fighting has escalated in Ukraine after the country marked Russia’s Invasion Day, and on Saturday Ukrainian officials reported dozens of new Russian strikes and attacks on cities in the east and south.

After Friday’s solemn and defiant anniversary and marathon press conference, Ukraine’s seemingly indomitable president declared that ‘Russia must lose in Ukraine’ and its army could be defeated. claimed. Year.

In a separate tweet, President Volodymyr Zelensky also put more sanctions pressure on Russia after the UK, US and European Union all announced new measures aimed at further cutting off Russian funding and support. asked for

“We must increase pressure on Russian aggressors,” Zelensky tweeted in English.

He said Ukraine wants “firm measures” against the Russian state nuclear company Rosatom and the Russian nuclear industry, as well as “further pressure on the military and banks.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin said this week that Rosatom and the Defense Ministry need to work to ensure Russia can resume nuclear testing if necessary. He argued that the United States was working on nuclear weapons and that some parts of the United States were contemplating plans to conduct nuclear tests prohibited under the global test ban that came into effect after the end of the Cold War.

“If the U.S. tests, we will,” Putin said.

Russia has already become the world’s most sanctioned country in the past year, subject to sanctions by more than 30 countries representing more than half of the global economy. But the pressure on the economy, trade and businesses has yet to strike a knockout blow.

Russia’s ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Antonov, called the latest US sanctions “rash.”

“We have learned to live under economic and political pressure,” Antonov said. “Past sanctions experience shows that reckless sanctions that initiate or support reckless sanctions exacerbate the situation for civilians and cause great damage to global markets.”

The February 24th anniversary of last year’s invasion brought no respite to the Russian offensive.

Still, in one of his video posts on Saturday, Zelensky asked:

“Yes,” he said. “We can do this this year, unitedly and resolutely to put an end to Russian aggression.”

The Ukrainian military on Saturday reported 27 Russian airstrikes and 75 attacks by multiple rocket launchers in the last 24 hours. Russian offensive efforts continue to be concentrated in Ukraine’s industrial eastern and northeastern regions. Donetsk oblast in eastern Ukraine reported five injured civilians.

The Ukrainian Army said fighting was raging “around” and “near” the city of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region, which has been the focus of fighting in recent months. The military said Russian forces are continuing attempts to break through Ukrainian defenses, surround and occupy the city.

Evgeny Prigozhin, owner of the Russian private military company Wagner, claimed on Saturday that his fighters had “totally taken over” the village of Yahidne on the northern outskirts of Bakhmut. No claims from either the Russian or Ukrainian military have been confirmed.

In the southern Kherson region, Governor Oleksandr Prokudin also reported 83 Russian shelling attacks, nine times hitting the provincial capital, also called Kherson, and hitting homes, kindergartens and medical facilities. The head of the Ukrainian president’s office said he had injured three civilians in the area.

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Saturday that he aims to discuss peace initiatives related to the Ukraine war with China when he visits China in April. China has called for a ceasefire and peace talks. Zelensky on Friday offered limited support for Beijing’s apparent interest in playing the role.

“China now has to help us put pressure on Russia,” Macron said in Paris.

“Obviously to keep Russia from using chemical or nuclear weapons,” he said. “But also for (Russia) to stop this aggression as a condition of negotiation.”

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Saturday that he welcomed some of China’s proposed peace plans for Ukraine, but disagreed with others.

“There are things that are very right, such as new accusations of the use of nuclear weapons,” Scholz told reporters during an official visit to India. “What my view lacks is a clear line: ‘Russian forces must also withdraw’.”


Elise Morton in London, Sylvie Corbet in Paris and Frank Jordans in Berlin contributed to this report.

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