Russia-Ukraine war live: Kyiv warns of Russian mobilisation on eastern border; Kramatorsk apartment block attack kills three | Ukraine
The EU summit is the first such meeting in the Ukrainian capital since the war began on February 24, 2022, and ends two weeks in which the West has promised Ukraine significant new weapons deliveries to help it counter an expected new Russian offensive. Moscow condemned these Western promises as a provocation.
The allies will discuss sending even more weapons and money to Ukraine, expanding access of Ukrainian products to the EU market, helping Ukraine meet its energy needs, imposing new sanctions on Russia, prosecuting the leadership in Moscow for the war, and extending the EU roaming ban. zone of mobile calls to Ukraine.
EU representatives will arrive in Kyiv
More than a dozen senior EU officials will arrive in Kyiv on Thursday, Reuters reported, promising additional military, financial and political aid. This is a symbolic trip to highlight support for Ukraine as the first anniversary of the Russian invasion approaches.
But the EU is poised to shatter Ukraine’s hopes of quick membership by highlighting the need for more anti-corruption measures and by not wanting to take in a country at war, Europe’s biggest armed conflict since World War II.
Despite great admiration for Ukraine’s resistance and praise for anti-corruption measures, the EU refuses to offer Kyiv a fast track to membership.
Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal has said he wants Ukraine to join the European Union in two years, while a liberal Belgian EU MP teased that he dreams of doing so within the next five years. In fact, it will most likely take much longer.
“Some may want to speculate about the end of the game, but the simple truth is that we are not yet there,” said another EU official.
On Thursday, senior members of the EU’s executive European Commission will meet with their counterparts in the Ukrainian government. Commission head Ursula von der Leyen and chairman of the 27 EU national leaders Charles Michel will meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday.
Kyiv warns of Russian mobilization on eastern border
According to Defense Minister Alexei Reznikov, Russia is planning a major offensive to coincide with the anniversary of the war in Ukraine on February 24.
Speaking to French media, Reznikov warned that Russia would call on a large contingent of mobilized troops. Referring to Russia’s general mobilization of 300,000 conscripts last September, he said figures at the border suggested the real number could be closer to 500,000.
“We do not underestimate our enemy,” Reznikov said. “The official number is 300,000, but when we see troops at the borders, we estimate it’s much more.”
The Guardian was unable to independently verify these figures.
On Wednesday night, President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russian forces were trying to make gains that they could showcase on the February anniversary of their invasion, and released a gruesome report on the situation in the eastern part of the Donetsk region.
“A certain intensification of offensive operations of the occupiers on the front in the east of our country has been noted. The situation has become tougher,” Zelensky said in a video message.
Reznikov said the offensive would likely focus on two areas: in the country’s east, where heavy fighting has taken place in recent weeks; and south.
“We believe that given the fact that [Russia] lives in symbolism, they will try something around February 24th.”
Three killed in a terrorist attack in an apartment building in Kramatorsk
A Russian rocket destroyed an apartment building and damaged seven more houses in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk on Wednesday evening, killing at least three people and injuring 20, regional police said.
Local authorities initially said that Russia fired the missile, but police later said that an Iskander-K tactical missile hit at 21:45 local time (19:45 GMT).
“At least eight apartment buildings were affected. One of them was completely destroyed,” the police said in a Facebook post. “People can stay under the rubble.”
At least 44 people were killed last month when a Russian rocket hit a residential building in the east of Dnipro.
CV and welcome
Hello and welcome to our live broadcast about the war in Ukraine. My name is Helen Sullivan and I will update you shortly.
On Wednesday evening, in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk, about 55km northwest of Bakhmut, a Russian rocket hit an apartment building, killing at least three people and injuring 20, police said.
The situation on the front lines in eastern Ukraine has “complicated” as Russian troops push for the achievements they could showcase on the first anniversary of their February 24 invasion, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a late-night address.
Here are other key recent developments:
Fierce fighting continues in eastern Ukraine, where Russian troops are trying to gain a foothold near the strategic logistics hub Liman. This was announced on Wednesday evening by Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar.
The former commander of the Russian mercenary group Wagner, who fled to Norway, told Reuters he wants to apologize for the fighting in Ukraine. and advocated for the accountability of perpetrators of atrocities during the conflict.
British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said he did not consider it right to send British fighter jets to Ukraine at the moment. He said it was “not a firm decision”, adding, “I’ve learned two things: never rule anything out and never rule anything out.” In the meantime, Downing Street is still ruling out giving Kyiv British aircraft, saying it is impractical given the complexity of the planes.
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said he had a “frank and productive” conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron. regarding his country’s “urgent operational needs in self-defence”.
The US is preparing more than $2 billion in military aid for Ukraine, which is expected to include longer-range missiles and other ammunition and weapons for the first time. This was reported to Reuters by two US officials briefed on the matter. The Kremlin said longer-range missiles, reportedly to be included in an upcoming military aid package, would escalate the conflict but not change its course.
Norwegian academics, human rights activists, best-selling authors and a former minister called on Oslo to step up support for Ukraine. saying the government should do more to help after making billions in additional oil and gas revenue from its war with Russia. Norway’s oil and gas revenues soared to a 12-month high as energy prices tripled after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Norway replaced Russia as Europe’s biggest supplier of natural gas.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the growing relations between Russia and China pose a threat not only to Asia, but also to Europe. In a speech at Keio University in Tokyo, the head of NATO stressed the importance of closer cooperation and more “friends” for NATO in the Indo-Pacific region, adding that the war in Ukraine showed “how security is interconnected.”
A UK Department of Defense intelligence update says “some of the most intense shelling of the conflict” has taken place along the Dnieper River in recent days. “This includes ongoing shelling of the city of Kherson,” the ministry notes, adding that outside of Donbass, Kherson is the city most frequently targeted by shelling during the conflict.
The woman who heads the Kyiv tax office was accused of multimillion-dollar fraud after a raid on one of her four homes. The State Bureau of Investigation of Ukraine (SBI) said in a statement that the acting head of the inspectorate, who has not been named, abused her “power and official position” along with other representatives of the agency.