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Zelensky says Ukraine needs new weapons amid ‘very tough’ situation

Ukraine needs new weapons and faster deliveries to counter the “very difficult” situation of constant attacks by Russian troops in the east of the Donetsk region, President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Sunday. Meanwhile, according to local authorities, at least three people were killed as a result of Russian shelling of residential areas of Kherson in southern Ukraine. Follow our live blog for all the latest developments. All times are in Paris time (GMT+1).

20:28: Germany will not send fighter jets to Ukraine, says Scholz

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz reiterated on Sunday that Germany would not send fighter jets to Ukraine as Kyiv increasingly urges the West to provide more advanced weapons to help repel a Russian invasion.

It was only Wednesday that Scholz agreed to send 14 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine and allow other European countries to send their tanks after weeks of intense debate and mounting pressure from allies.

20:24: Zelensky in Ukraine attacks attempt to let Russia return to the Olympics

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Sunday that allowing Russia to participate in the 2024 Games in Paris is tantamount to demonstrating that “terror is acceptable to some extent.”

“The attempts of the International Olympic Committee to return Russian athletes to the Olympic Games are attempts to tell the whole world that terror is somehow acceptable,” Zelensky said in his late-night video message.

He said that Russia should not be allowed to “use (the Games) or any other sporting event as propaganda for its aggression or state chauvinism.”

20:04: We need faster supplies, new weapons to counter the “difficult” situation, Zelenskiy says.

Ukraine is facing a “very difficult” situation in eastern Donetsk Oblast and needs faster arms shipments and new types of weapons to counter Russian attacks, President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Sunday.

“The situation is very difficult. Bakhmut, Vuhledar and other parts of the Donetsk region are under constant shelling from Russia,” Zelensky said in his late-night video message.

“Russia wants the war to drag on and exhaust our forces. So we must make time our weapon. We must speed things up, speed up deliveries and open up new weapon options for Ukraine.”

7:28 pm: New Czech leader Petr Pavel talks with Zelensky

Czech President-elect Petr Pavel spoke with Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday, the day after winning the election.

He will be sworn in on March 9 to replace divisive incumbent Milos Zeman, who maintained friendly relations with China and Russia before Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine last February.

Analysts told AFP that Pavel’s approach will be very different from Zeman’s, as he will be strongly pro-Western and focus on ties with the EU and NATO.

5:35 pm: Russian-backed authorities say Ukrainian rockets killed four people in southeast

Four people were killed and five injured in an attack by Ukrainian security forces on a bridge in the Melitopol region in southeastern Ukraine, pro-Russian authorities said Sunday.

Reuters was unable to immediately confirm the report.

4:49 pm: Three people were killed in Russian shelling of Kherson, officials say.

Three people were killed in Russian strikes on the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson on Sunday that damaged a hospital and a school, the regional administration said.

“Today, nine people were injured as a result of Russian shelling: three were killed (two men and one woman), six were injured,” the ministry said in a statement on the Telegram app.

“As a result of enemy shelling, a number of civilian infrastructure facilities were damaged: the Kherson Regional Clinical Hospital, a school, a bus station, a post office, a bank, residential buildings,” the report says.

2:00 pm: Mourners in tears remember British volunteer killed in eastern Ukraine

With tears in their eyes, mourners in Kyiv on Sunday paid tribute to the memory of a British volunteer who died in a rescue operation in the eastern Ukrainian city of Soledar.

British volunteer Andrew Bagshaw, for whom the service was being held, and fellow volunteer Chris Parry were killed during an attempted humanitarian evacuation in eastern Ukraine, Parry’s family said.

Several dozen mourners, including fellow volunteers who knew Bagshaw and others who came to offer their condolences, gathered in a small church on the grounds of Kyiv’s ancient St. Sophia Cathedral for a service led by an Orthodox priest.

11:44 am: Putin is open “for contacts” with the German Scholz, a Kremlin official told the Russian news agency.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is open to contact with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, although no phone call is scheduled, a Kremlin spokesman told the state news agency RIA Novosti on Sunday.

Germany, which has previously resisted most of all Western deliveries of modern battle tanks to Ukraine to help it fend off a Russian invasion, said last week it would send 14 of its Leopard 2 tanks to Kyiv and would also approve Leopard deliveries from European allies.

This announcement, soon followed by a US promise to hand over M1 Abrams tanks to Kyiv, infuriated the Kremlin.

10:54 am: North Korea denies arms trade with Russia

North Korea on Sunday denied supplying weapons to Moscow after the United States said the nuclear-weapon state had supplied rockets and missiles to the Russian private military group Wagner.

Earlier this month, Washington called the Wagner Group a “transnational criminal organization”, citing its arms dealings in Pyongyang in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.

07:34: Ukraine repels attack around Blagodatne as Russian Wagner claims control

The Ukrainian military said on Sunday that their forces had repelled an attack in the area of ​​Blagodatnoye in the eastern part of the Donetsk region, while the Russian private military group Wagner said it had taken control of the village.

“Units of the Defense Forces of Ukraine repelled the attacks of the occupiers in the areas of … Blagodatny … Donetsk region,” says the daily morning report of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine regarding the fighting on Saturday.

It added that his forces repelled attacks by Russian troops in the area of ​​13 more settlements in the Donetsk region.

The Wagner Group, designated by the United States as a transnational criminal organization, said Saturday on messaging app Telegram that its units have taken control of Blagodatnoe.

Reuters was unable to independently verify the reports.

03:48: Ukraine imposes sanctions on 182 Russian, Belarusian firms, three people

Ukraine has imposed sanctions on 182 Russian and Belarusian companies and three individuals as part of a series of moves by President Volodymyr Zelensky to block Moscow and Minsk’s ties to his country.

“Their assets in Ukraine are blocked, their property will be used to protect us,” Zelensky said in a video message.

According to the list published by the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, sanctioned companies are mainly engaged in the transportation of goods, car leasing and chemical production.

The list includes the Russian producer and exporter of potash fertilizers Uralkali, the Belarusian state-owned potash producer Belaruskali, the Belarusian Railways, as well as the Russian VTB-Leasing and Gazprombank Leasing, which are engaged in transport leasing.

03:33: Zelensky in Ukraine denounces neutrality in sport during war

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has denounced the idea of ​​neutrality in sport at a time when his country’s athletes fight and die in war and their Russian counterparts may be allowed to compete.

Redoubling his efforts in what he called a “marathon of integrity” to prevent Russian athletes from taking part in the 2024 Olympics, Zelenskiy said their presence would normalize Russia’s invasion of his country.

“There is no neutrality when such a war is going on. And we know how often tyrannies try to use sport for their own ideological interests,” Zelenskiy said in a video message Saturday evening.

Zelenskiy said on Friday that Ukraine would launch an international campaign to keep Russia out of the 2024 Summer Games in Paris.

Russia has said that any attempt to oust it from international sport is “doomed to fail”.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and Reuters)

© Graphic studio France Media World

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