PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron conveyed to Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky his “wish to work actively to restore the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine during his second term”, in coordination with his allies, said declared the Elysée presidential.
Macron assured Zelenskyy during their hour-long chat on Saturday that “military material” and humanitarian aid would continue to flow into Ukraine, the Elysee Palace said.
France has so far sent 615 tonnes of materials and aid, including generators for hospitals, ambulances and food. France has been coy about its contribution in defensive weapons, but Macron recently mentioned anti-tank missiles from Milan and a delivery of truck-mounted Caesar guns among the “substantial equipment.”
“This support will continue to grow,” the French president told Zelenskyy, according to the Elysee.
Macron was re-elected president of France six days ago. During his first term, Macron has had many conversations with Zelenskyy and Russian leader Vladimir Putin since the February 24 invasion of Russia.
KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIAN-UKRAINE WAR:
— Ukrainian forces fight Russia’s brutal advance in Donbass
– The wives of the defenders of Mariupol call for the evacuation of the soldiers of the final resistance
– Ukrainians cross the front line towards the houses despite the dangers
— Ukrainian women learn to demine after taking refuge in Kosovo
Follow all AP stories on Russia’s war on Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine
LVIV, Ukraine – Russia’s Foreign Minister says Moscow has evacuated more than a million people from Ukraine since the war began.
Sergey Lavrov’s remarks in an interview with Chinese state news agency Xinhua on Saturday come as Ukraine accused Moscow of forcibly expelling Ukrainians from the country. Lavrov said that figure included more than 300 Chinese civilians.
Lavrov did not provide any evidence to back up his claim during the interview.
Lavrov also said that negotiations were continuing between Russia and Ukraine “almost every day”. However, he warned that “progress has not been easy”.
Lavrov partly blamed “belligerent rhetoric and inflammatory actions by Western supporters of the kyiv regime” for disrupting the talks. However, Russian state television has had guests nightly who suggest Moscow is using nuclear weapons in the conflict.
LVIV, Ukraine – The British military believe Russian forces in Ukraine are likely suffering from “weakened morale”.
Britain’s Ministry of Defense made the assessment in a tweet on Saturday as part of a daily report it provides on Russia’s war on kyiv.
He says Russia “still faces considerable challenges” in the fighting. The British military believe Russian forces have “been forced to merge and redeploy exhausted and disparate units following failed advances in north-east Ukraine”.
She did not provide any information on how she arrived at this assessment. However, analysts believe that Russian forces that failed to take kyiv at the start of the war were redeployed without sufficient time to rearm and properly equip themselves.
The British believe Russia is hoping to reorganize its efforts and shorten supply lines.
The ministry added: “A lack of unit-level skills and inconsistent air support have prevented Russia from fully leveraging its combat mass, despite localized improvements.”
WASHINGTON — A senior U.S. defense official said Friday that the Russian offensive was proceeding much more slowly than expected, in part because of Ukrainian resistance strength.
“We also feel that because of this slow and uneven progress, again, without full knowledge of all aspects of the Russian plan, we believe and assess that they are behind in what they were trying to accomplish. in the Donbass,” the official said. said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the U.S. military’s assessment.
He said the United States believed the Russians were “at least several days behind where they wanted to be” as they tried to surround Ukrainian troops to the east.
As troops attempt to move north out of Mariupol so they can advance on Ukrainian forces from the south, their progress has been “slow and uneven, and certainly not decisive, in any event”, the official said. responsible.
KYIV, Ukraine – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has accused Russia of trying to destroy Donbass and everyone who lives there.
“The constant brutal shelling, the constant Russian strikes on infrastructure and residential areas show that Russia wants to empty this territory of all people. Therefore, the defense of our land, the defense of our people, is literally a fight for life,” he said Friday night in his nightly video address to the nation.
He said that the towns and villages of Donbass would only survive if Ukraine remained standing. “If the Russian invaders are able to carry out their plans, even partially, then they have enough artillery and planes to turn all of Donbass to stone. As they did with Mariupol.
Zelenskyy said Mariupol, once one of the region’s most developed cities, was now a “Russian concentration camp among the ruins”.
In Kharkiv, a major northern city, the situation was “brutal” but Ukrainian troops and intelligence operatives “had significant tactical successes”, he said without giving further details.
Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov said around 20% of the city’s residential buildings were so badly damaged that it will be impossible to restore them.
Zelenskyy said rescuers were still scouring the rubble in Kyiv after Thursday’s missile strikes. He expressed his condolences to the family of Vira Hyrych, who was killed in the bombardment. He said she was the 23rd journalist killed during the war.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov appears to have dismissed the need for the United Nations to help secure humanitarian corridors out of besieged cities in Ukraine, striking a hard line a day after the UN chief visited war-ravaged kyiv with this very objective.
As an interviewer for Saudi Arabian TV channel Al-Arabiya tried to ask Lavrov about UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres’ proposals for humanitarian aid and the evacuation of civilians, Lavrov cut him off.
“There is no need. I know, I know,” an irritated Lavrov said. “Nobody needs to provide help to open humanitarian corridors. There is only one problem … humanitarian corridors are ignored by Ukrainian ultra-nationals,” he said.
“We appreciate the Secretary General’s interest in being helpful,” he added. “(We) explained… what is the mechanism that allows them to monitor how the humanitarian corridors are advertised.
During the hour-long interview, Lavrov also accused the West of sabotaging Russia’s peace talks with Ukraine. He said thorny negotiations in Istanbul last month had made progress on issues of Russian territorial claims and security guarantees until Ukrainian diplomats backtracked at the behest of the West.
“We’re stuck because of their desire to play games all the time,” Lavrov said. “Because of the instructions they are getting from Washington, from London, from some other capitals, not to speed up the negotiations.”
Asked about the risks of the war spilling over into neighboring Moldova after a series of explosions rocked a breakaway border region of the country, Lavrov sounded ominous.
“Moldova should worry about its own future,” he said. “Because they are trained in NATO.”
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