Russia is planning a major offensive to mark the one-year anniversary of the war in Ukraine on February 24, Russian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said. 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 conscript soldiers last September, he claimed the numbers at the border suggest the true size could be closer to 500,000.
In an interview on Russian state television on Thursday, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said everyone wants the conflict in Ukraine to end. but that the west’s support for Kyiv played an important role in how Russia approaches the campaign. Lavrov also said Moscow had plans to overshadow pro-Ukrainian events organized by Western and allied countries around the world to mark the Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine.
A Russian missile destroyed an apartment building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk late on Wednesday and at least two people were killed and seven injured, regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said. “Rescuers, law enforcement and public utilities are working on site to dig through the rubble of the destroyed building. It is likely that there are still people under it,” he wrote on the Telegram messaging app. At least 44 people were killed last month when a Russian missile hit an apartment building in the eastern city of Dnipro.
On Thursday, two more Russian missiles hit Kramatorsk. The latest attacks have resulted in civilian casualties, said the head of the regional military administration. Pavlo Kyrylenko, but it is not clear how much. The mayor of the city, Oleksandr Honcharenko, confirmed that there had been a strike and urged residents to remain in bomb shelters.
Two people were killed by Russian shelling in Ukraine’s southern Kherson region on Wednesday, according to local authorities. A 25-year-old man was killed in the town of Kherson and a 44-year-old woman was killed after Russian troops shelled a residential area in the village of Komyshany, the regional military administration said.
More than a dozen top EU officials, including the chairman of the The European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, arrived in Kiev on Thursday with promises of more military, financial and political aid. It is a symbolic trip intended to emphasize support for Ukraine as the first anniversary of the Russian invasion approaches.
The best diplomat of the EU, Joseph Borrellhas announced a doubling of the number of Ukrainian troops to be trained by the EU to 30,000 this year. He also pledged 25 million euros for mine clearance in areas recaptured by Ukraine.
Ursula von der Leyen has announced an international center for the prosecution of crimes in Ukraine will be established at The Hague. “It will coordinate the collection of evidence, it will be embedded in the joint investigation team supported by our agency Eurojust,” said the president of the European Commission.
Volodymyr Zelensky urged the EU to impose more sanctions on Russia, saying he had discussed a new sanctions package with von der Leyen. Ukraine’s president said at a joint press conference in Kyiv with the president of the European Commission that the speed of the EU sanctions campaign against Russia had “slowed somewhat” while Russia had “accelerated the pace of adjustment to sanctions”.
Austria has declared four Russian diplomats persona non gratae for conduct inconsistent with international agreements. said the State Department on Thursday without giving much detail.
An update from the UK Ministry of Defense said Russia’s role as a “reliable arms exporter” is “most likely” undermined by the invasion of Ukraine and international sanctions.. The Defense Ministry said Russia’s share of the international arms market was declining even before the war.
At least eight people have been killed in a fire in a dormitory for construction workers in the Crimean city Sevastopol, Russian officials have said so. According to the Russian-installed governor of Sevastopol, a fire broke out in a temporary accommodation for workers who were building the Tavrida highway, a road connecting Sevastopol to the city of Simferopol. Mikhail Razvozhayev.
Fierce fighting continued in eastern Ukraine, where Russian forces are trying to gain ground near the strategic logistics hub of Lyman, Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar said this on Wednesday evening. Russian troops are trying to make a profit they can show on the anniversary of their February 24, 2022 invasion, Zelensky said. “There has been a clear increase in the offensive operations of the occupiers at the front in the east of our country. The situation has become more difficult.”
Shell’s annual profits more than doubled to a record nearly $40bn (£32.3bn) following a rise in wholesale gas prices linked to the Ukraine war improved its performance as consumers struggled to pay huge energy bills.
Norway will increase the expenditure of its sovereign wealth fund in the coming years to finance military and civilian aid to Ukraine, Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere said this in parliament on Thursday.
A former commander of the Russian mercenary group Wagner who fled to Norway told Reuters he wanted to apologize for the fighting in Ukraine. and spoke out to bring perpetrators of atrocities in the conflict to justice. Andrei Medvedev, who fled on January 13 by crossing the Russian-Norwegian border, says he witnessed the killing and mistreatment of Russian prisoners taken to Ukraine to fight for Wagner.
British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace has said he does not think sending British fighter jets to Ukraine is “for the time being” the right approach. He said it was “not a solid decision” and added, “I’ve learned two things: never rule anything out and never rule anything out.” Meanwhile, Downing Street continues to rule out Kiev getting British jets, saying it wasn’t practical given the plane’s complexity. On Wednesday, the Prime Minister’s spokesman said it could take years to fully train a pilot to fly a British fighter jet, adding that the British focus was on “how we can help Ukraine defend their country and down this year.”
The UK’s statements came as former Prime Minister Boris Johnson called on Western leaders to “give the Ukrainians the means to get the job done”, including heavy tanks and planes. Addressing the Atlantic Council in Washington, Johnson urged the west to “stop focusing on Putin and focus entirely on Ukraine.”