KYIV, Ukraine (AP) – Fighting intensified in Ukraine after the country celebrated its anniversary Russian invasion. On Saturday, Ukrainian authorities reported dozens of new Russian strikes and attacks on cities in the east and south.
After a sad and defiant day of remembrance Friday and a marathon press conference, Ukraine’s seemingly indefatigable president followed up on new video posts the next day declaring that “Russia must lose in Ukraine” and arguing that its forces could be defeated this year.
In a separate tweet, President Volodymyr Zelensky It also pushed for more sanctions pressure on Russia after the United Kingdom and the United States. and the European Union All of the new measures announced are aimed at further choking off funding and support for Moscow.
“The pressure on the Russian aggressor must increase,” Zelensky wrote on Twitter in English.
He said Ukraine wanted to see “decisive steps” against Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom and the Russian nuclear industry as well as “more pressure on the military and banks”.
Russian President Vladimir Putin He said this week that Rosatom and his Defense Ministry need to work to ensure that Russia is ready to resume nuclear weapons testing if it is necessary. He claimed that the United States is working on nuclear weapons and that some in the United States are considering plans to conduct nuclear tests that are prohibited under the global test ban that took effect after the end of the Cold War.
“If the United States conducts tests, we will do it too,” Putin said.
Russia has already become the most punished country in the world over the past year, with sanctions targeted by more than 30 countries representing more than half of the world’s economy. But the pressure on its economy, trade and companies did not deal a fatal blow.
Russia’s ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Antonov, called the latest US sanctions “ill-conceived”.
“We have learned to live under economic and political pressure,” said Antonov. “The experience of previous sanctions has shown that they damage the global market to a large extent, and exacerbate the situation of ordinary citizens in countries that initiate or support reckless sanctions.”
Anniversary February 24th From last year’s invasion the Russian attacks did not subside.
Still, in one of his video posts on Saturday, Zelensky asked: “Is it possible we can win?”
He said “yes”. “We are capable of this in unity, resolutely and uncompromisingly, to put an end to Russian aggression this year.”
On Saturday, the Ukrainian military announced 27 Russian airstrikes and 75 attacks from multiple missile launchers in the last 24 hours. It said Russia’s offensive efforts remained concentrated in Ukraine’s industrial east and northeast. Five injured civilians have been reported in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk province, where territory is roughly divided between Russian and Ukrainian control.
Battles have raged around “near” and “nearby” Bakhmut, a city in the Donetsk region that has become a focus of fighting in recent months, according to Ukraine’s ground forces. The army said that the Russian forces continued their attempts to penetrate the Ukrainian defenses and surround and seize the city.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, owner of Russia’s private military company Wagner, claimed on Saturday that his fighters had “completely taken control” of the village of Yahadna on the northern outskirts of Bakhmut. The claim has not been confirmed by the Russian military or the Ukrainian military.
In the southern Kherson region, Governor Oleksandr Prokudin also reported 83 Russian bombing attacks. The regional capital, also called Kherson, was hit nine times, and residential buildings, a nursery and a medical institution were bombed. The head of the Ukrainian Presidential Office reported that three civilians were wounded in the area.
French President Emmanuel Macron said on Saturday that he aims to discuss peace efforts related to the Ukraine war with China when he travels there in April. China called for a cease-fire and peace talks. Zelensky on Friday offered qualified support for Beijing’s apparent interest in playing a role.
Macron said in Paris that “China must now help us put pressure on Russia.”
“It is clear that Russia will not use either chemical or nuclear weapons,” he said. “But also until (Russia) stops this aggression as a condition for negotiation.”
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Saturday that he welcomes parts of the peace plan for Ukraine proposed by China, but disagrees with other aspects.
“There are things that are remarkably true, such as the renewed condemnation of the use of nuclear weapons,” Schultz told reporters during an official visit to India.. “What’s missing, in my opinion, is a clear line that says, ‘Russian forces should also withdraw.'”
Elise Morton in London, Sylvie Courbet in Paris, and Frank Jordan in Berlin contributed to this report.
Follow AP coverage of the war in Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine And the anniversary of the invasion https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine-a-year-of-war
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