Russia’s offensive in Ukraine is set to enter the 12th week with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky saying on Friday night that “no one can predict the length of the war”. In his nightly video address to the nation, Zelensky said, “This will depend, unfortunately, not only on our people, who are already giving their maximum. This will depend on our partners, on European countries, on the entire free world.
Since the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Russia has defended its actions. The country’s president, Vladimir Putin, has said that the special military operation was necessary because the United States was using Ukraine to threaten Moscow and the Kremlin had to defend against the persecution of Russian-speaking people. Russia is also facing flak for alleged human rights abuses in Ukraine. The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has already launched a probe into these violations.
Here are the top updates:
> Zelensky said on Friday that the country’s military has retaken towns and villages from Russian troops, adding work is underway to restore electricity, running water, telephone communications and social services.
> The Ukrainian forces destroyed parts of a Russian armoured column as it tried to cross a river in the Donbas region, according to a video shared by the former. According to a report by news agency Reuters, Ukraine now controls territory stretching to the Siverskyi Donets River, around 40 kilometres to the east.
> Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu spoke to the United States defence secretary Lloyd Austin on Friday, the first conversation between the two since the beginning of the war in Ukraine. However, officials said that the call did not appear to signal any change in Russia’s offensive, news agency AP reported.
> The European Union (EU) has pledged another half-billion dollars as military support to Ukraine. Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday expressed gratitude for Ukraine’s partners for “strengthening sanctions against Russia and increasing military and financial assistance to us.”
> Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba said that he has asked G-7 countries to adopt legislation and put in place all necessary procedures needed to seize Russian sovereign assets and give them to Ukraine.
(With agency inputs)