Saturday, April 20, 2024

Live Updates: Russia’s “Special Operation” in Ukraine; Day 25

Russian forces are pressing ahead with their military operation in Ukraine to counter what they call a “threat” to their national security from the pro-West Ukrainian government. Kiev and Russia’s Western adversaries call the operations an “invasion”. The situation is fluid in Ukraine right now with both sides claiming victories on the battlefield. Iran Front Page brings you the latest developments on the ground live as they unfold in Ukraine.

Ukraine: Russia losing high-ranking military officers

Russia is losing high ranking military officers in the war in Ukraine, according to reports from the Ukrainian army.

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to the Ukrainian president, claimed on Twitter that six Russian generals had been killed.

Russia confirmed on daily newspaper Kommersant that deputy Black Sea fleet commander Andrey Paliy died while fighting in the Mariupol region.

US military commander and CIA chief, David Petraeus, told CNN it was “very, very, very, very uncommon” for generals to be killed.

“The bottom line is that their command-and-control has broken down,” Petraeus added.

France freezes 850 million euros of Russian assets

France has seized around 850 million euros ($920 million) of Russian oligarchs’ assets on its soil, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire stated.

“We have immobilised … 150 million euros in individual’s accounts, credit lines in France and in French establishments,” in addition to “539 million euros in real estate on French territory” Le Maire said on television.

“The sanctions are hitting Russia, the state, [Russia’s President] Vladimir Putin hard,” he added.

China’s envoy to US says Beijing not sending arms to Russia

China’s ambassador to the US stated his country was not sending weapons to Russia for use in Ukraine, but he did not definitively rule out the possibility Beijing might do so in the future.

In a lengthy phone call on Friday, US President Joe Biden warned his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping that there would be “consequences” if Beijing provided material support to Moscow as it prosecutes its war against Kyiv.

Asked today on CBS whether China might send money or weapons to Russia, Ambassador Qin Gang spoke about the present, saying: “There is disinformation about China providing military assistance to Russia. We reject that.”

Instead, “what China is doing is sending food, medicine, sleeping bags and baby formula, not weapons and ammunition to any party,” he added.

US delivers air defence system to Slovakia

The US-made Patriot air defence system is on its way to Slovakia, Defence Minister Jaroslav Nad said, paving the way for Bratislava to possibly deliver similar hardware to Ukraine.

NATO member Slovakia announced this week it was willing to provide its Russian-made S-300 anti-aircraft system to Ukraine but only on the condition that it received a substitute to avoid an Alliance security gap.

US President Joe Biden promised to help Ukraine get air defence systems with a longer range than the shoulder-borne Stinger missiles already on the ground, but to do so without entering into direct conflict with Russia.

The old S-300 system would be an ideal weapon since the Ukrainian army is already familiar with the hardware.

“I can confirm that the first units to deploy the anti-aircraft Patriot system are gradually arriving,” Nad said on Facebook, adding the delivery would continue over the next few days.

Russian attack killed 56 elderly residents of a care home in eastern Ukraine

Fifty-six elderly residents of a care home in the eastern Ukrainian town of Kreminna were killed when a Russian tank opened fire on a care home, according to the head of the Luhansk region.

Serhii Haidai stated the attack happened nine days ago, on March 11, and that fifteen other residents of the care home had been abducted and taken to the town of Svatove in what is now Russian-occupied territory.

Haidai first reported the attack in a video statement posted to Twitter on March 12 but said at the time he had no information on casualties, indicating Ukrainian emergency services and officials had come under fire when they tried to gain access the area.

“[Russian forces] opened fire on a nursing home for elderly people with a tank. There were only elderly people living there, many of them with disabilities. We have no idea how many people have died and how many survived. When we tried to reach the scene, they started shelling us,” he said on March 12.

In his statement posted Sunday on Telegram, Haidai noted it had still not been possible to reach the scene of the attack.

Kreminna lies immediately to the west of the towns of Rubizhne and Severodonetsk, two towns that have seen some of the most intense fighting in the eastern part of the country.

US: Putin resorting to “disgusting” civil attacks because his campaign is “stalled”

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said on Sunday that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s campaign in Ukraine is “stalled,” which is why he has resorted to “disgusting” attacks against civilians there.

“We’ve seen deliberate targeting of cities and towns and civilians throughout the last several weeks,” Austin told CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

“And again, I believe that he’s taking these kinds of steps because as was described earlier, his campaign has stalled. He’s not been able to achieve the goals as rapidly that he wants to achieve as rapidly as he wants to achieve them. And so he’s, he’s resorting to the types of tactics that we see on display every day. And again, this is really disgusting,” he continued.

Austin added later that “the maneuver forces on the ground are essentially stalled and it’s been, it’s had the effect of him moving his forces into a wood chipper.”

Even so, Austin said there does not yet appear to be evidence that mercenaries or foreign fighters have shown up in Ukraine to help Russia.

“We have not seen mercenaries show up on the battlefield, to my knowledge,” he added.

Asked about Russia’s claim that it has launched hypersonic missiles against Ukraine, Austin said he does not believe Russia’s use of such missiles would be a “game changer,” though he cautioned that he “cannot confirm or dispute” that they have been deployed.

“I would not see it as a game changer,” he continued, adding, “I think, again, the reason that he’s resorting to using these types of weapons is because he’s trying to reestablish some momentum … you kind of question why he would do this. Is he running low on precision guided munitions?”

Strike on Kyiv apartment block wounds five

A shell has exploded outside an apartment block in Kyiv, wounding five people, Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko said on Telegram.

“It was lucky” that there were not more casualties, Sviatlana Vodolaga, a spokeswoman for the state emergency service told AFP, adding that six people were rescued from the block.

The ten-story building in northwestern Sviatoshyn district was badly damaged, with all the windows blown out and scorch marks from a fire that broke out, in the latest bombardment as Russian forces try to encircle the Ukrainian capital.

UN: At least 902 civilians killed in Ukraine since conflict began

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has confirmed at least 902 civilian deaths and 1,459 injuries in Ukraine as of March 19.

The actual toll is thought to be considerably higher since OHCHR’s monitoring team has not yet been able to receive or verify casualty reports from several badly hit cities, including Mariupol.

US: Russia will feel more consequences if they use chemical weapons in Ukraine

Russia will face more consequences from the US if it uses chemical weapons in it’s invasion of Ukraine, US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Sunday.

“What we see happening is, again, this is a false flag effort by the Russians. They are advancing what they might intend to do. We’ve seen it happen before. They are the ones who have used chemical weapons … And we are concerned that they may use chemical weapons in Ukraine,” Thomas-Greenfield told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”

She continued, “We’ve been clear if they escalate to this level, we will respond aggressively to what they are doing. You’ve seen the consequences so far of our actions against Russia and against [Vladimir] Putin, and they are feeling those consequences. And they will feel more if they take this unfortunate decision to use chemical weapons.”

The US and NATO has advised that Russia may use chemical weapons or create a “false flag” operation where they are used in its attack against Ukraine. Earlier this month, US President Joe Biden also warned Russia “will pay a severe price if they use chemicals.”

Germany reach Qatar deal to wean themselves of Russian fuel

Germany and Qatar have reached a long-term energy partnership, a German official has stated, as Europe’s biggest economy seeks to become less dependent on Russian energy sources.

It comes after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson travelled to Saudi Arabia as London looked to make similar changes to its energy security.

Russia is the largest supplier of gas to Germany and Robert Habeck, the country’s economy minister, has launched several initiatives to lessen Germany’s energy dependence on Russia.

A spokesperson for the German economics ministry noted: “The companies that have come to Qatar with (Habeck) will now enter into contract negotiations with the Qatari side.”

Zelensky: “I’m ready for negotiations” with Putin, but if they fail, it could mean “a third World War”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Sunday he is ready to negotiate with Russian President Vladimir Putin, but warned that if any negotiation attempts fail, it could mean the fight between the two countries would lead to “a third World War.”

“I’m ready for negotiations with him. I was ready for the last two years. And I think that without negotiations, we cannot end this war,” Zelensky told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria in an exclusive interview Sunday morning.

“If there’s just 1% chance for us to stop this war, I think that we need to take this chance. We need to do that. I can tell you about the result of this negotiations — in any case, we are losing people on a daily basis, innocent people on the ground,” he added.

He continued, “Russian forces have come to exterminate us, to kill us. And we can demonstrate that the dignity of our people and our army that we are able to deal a powerful blow, we are able to strike back. But, unfortunately, our dignity is not going to preserve the lives. So, I think we have to use any format, any chance in order to have a possibility of negotiating, possibility of talking to Putin. But if these attempts fail, that would mean that this is a third World War.”

Zelenksky said there are “compromises” that Ukraine cannot make in negotiations with Putin.

Zelensky was asked by Zakaria about the Russian demands — including that they recognize that Crimea is part of Russia, the two republics in the Donbas are independent republics, and they guarantee that Ukraine will never be a member of NATO.

He stated, “There are compromises for which we cannot be ready as an independent state.”

“Any compromises related to our territorial integrity and our sovereignty and the Ukrainian people have spoken about it, they have not greeted Russian soldiers with a bunch of flowers, they have greeted them with bravery, they have greeted them with weapons in their hands,” he added.

Zelensky said that Russia “cannot curry favor with the citizens of another country forcibly.”

“You cannot just make a president of another country to recognize anything by the use of force,” he added.

Zelensky said if his country had been admitted into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization alliance earlier, then Russia would not have invaded the country.

“If we were a NATO member, a war wouldn’t have started. I’d like to receive security guarantees for my country, for my people,” Zelensky stated, adding that he was grateful for the aid NATO has provided since the invasion began.

“If NATO members are ready to see us in the alliance, then do it immediately because people are dying on a daily basis,” he noted.

He continued, “But if you are not ready to preserve the lives of our people, if you just want to see us straddle two worlds, if you want to see us in this dubious position where we don’t understand whether you can accept us or not — you cannot place us in this situation, you cannot force us to be in this limbo.”

“I requested them personally to say directly that we are going to accept you into NATO in a year or two or five, just say it directly and clearly, or just say no,” Zelensky said, adding, “And the response was very clear, you’re not going to be a NATO member, but publicly, the doors will remain open.”

Fighting ongoing inside Mariupol

Fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces is going on inside the eastern port city of Mariupol, regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko announced.

Many of Mariupol’s 400,000 residents have been trapped for more than two weeks as Russia seeks to take control of the city, which would help secure a land corridor to the Crimea peninsula.

Ukraine front lines not shifting as Russia loses momentum

The front lines between Ukrainian and Russian forces are “practically frozen”, as Russia does not have enough combat strength to advance further, Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych has said in a video address.

“[Over the past day] there were practically no rocket strikes on [Ukrainian] cities,” Arestovych added.

Ukraine claims 14,700 Russian forces killed

The Ukrainian armed forces have updated their assessment of estimated losses inflicted on Russia, the Kyiv Independent reports. It includes 14,700 Russian troops.

France: War with Russia won’t result in energy spiral for EU

Bruno Le Maire, the French Finance Minister, has said that he hoped the current energy price shock to inflation rates would last a matter of months and that he did not see a years-long inflationary spiral in European Union economies.

“I cannot give a precise date, it may be during 2023,” Le Maire stated, adding that energy prices would fall back to more reasonable levels once Europe cut back on its gas and oil imports from Russia.

“I don’t think we have entered an inflationary spiral,” he continued.

Pope: Ukraine war is “a senseless massacre”

Pope Francis called the war in Ukraine “a senseless massacre, where havoc and atrocities are repeated every day,” in his weekly Sunday address and blessing.

“I beg all the actors of the international community to make a real effort to put an end to this repugnant war,” the head of the Catholic Church told the crowd in St Peter’s Square after his Angelus Prayer.

“This week, missiles and bombs hit civilians, the elderly, children and pregnant mothers,” Pope Francis said, adding he visited injured children treated in Rome. “One of them is missing an arm, another one wounded in the head, innocent children,” the Pope said.

“Let us stay close to this battered people, embrace them with affection and with concrete commitment and prayer, and please do not get used to war and violence,” he added.

“And I feel great pain for those who don’t even have the chance to escape,’’ Francis said.

Pope Francis invited “every faithful and every community” to join him on March 25, the day of the Christian Annunciation, “in carrying out a solemn act of consecration of humanity, especially of Russia and Ukraine.”

“All this is inhumane, indeed it is also sacrilegious because it goes against the sacredness of human life. Especially against defenseless human life, which must be respected and protected, not eliminated, and which comes before any strategy, let’s not forget, it is cruel, inhuman and sacrilegious,” he concluded.

Millions of children displaced by Russia’s war in Ukraine

At least 1.5 million children have been made refugees by Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, UNICEF spokesperson Joe English told CNN Sunday.

A further 3.3 million minors are currently displaced within the country, English added.

Each of these is an individual child whose life has been torn apart, whose world has been turned upside down,” English said.

At least 150 children have been killed and 160 injured since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February, according to the UN agency.

Ukrainian deputy PM: Civilian casualties outnumber military losses

A Ukrainian politician has said the situation in her country is becoming “more and more severe” as the war with Russia wages on.

Olha Stefanishyna, the deputy prime minister for European and Euro-Atlantic integration, stated Ukrainian forces resisting against the Russians were facing “severe attacks” over the past 15 days.

She told Sophy Ridge On Sunday on Sky News: “Russia has committed nearly all possible war crimes which humanity has seen over the Second World War.”

“The number of civilian victims is far more than those from the armed forces of Ukraine. It is absolutely essential that no one is getting used to the war,” she continued, adding, “We’ve said we will resist and we will go stronger regardless of any attempt by the Russian federation, which has failed so far in its majority.”

Stefanishyna said Ukraine was still open to talks with Russia but added the country was not prepared to give up some territory to Russia, noting that the priority is a ceasefire.

NATO defences increase on eastern flank

The first units deploying the Patriot air defence system have started arriving from NATO partner countries in Slovakia and the deployment will continue in the coming days, Jaroslav Nad, the Slovak Defence Minister said.

The system will be operated by German and Dutch troops and will initially be deployed at the Sliac airport in central Slovakia to help reinforce defence of NATO’s eastern flank.

It comes after the UK committed to deploying the British Army’s Sky Sabre air-defence missile system to Poland along with 100 troops to protect Polish air space from “Russian aggression”.

UN: 10m people forced from homes in Ukraine war

Russia’s war on Ukraine has driven 10 million people from their homes, the head of the UN refugee agency said.

“The war in Ukraine is so devastating that 10 million have fled – either displaced inside the country, or as refugees abroad,” Filippo Grandi, the UN high commissioner for refugees, wrote on Twitter.

“Among the responsibilities of those who wage war, everywhere in the world, is the suffering inflicted on civilians who are forced to flee their homes,” he added.

According to UN data, almost 3.4 million refugees have left Ukraine since the war began on February 24, with more than 2 million taken in by neighboring Poland, close to 530,000 by Romania and over 362,000 by Moldova.

Some 6.5 million are estimated to be internally displaced in the country.

Ukraine sees high risk of attack from Belarus on western Volyn region

Ukraine sees a high risk of an attack on western Ukraine’s Volyn region being launched from Belarus, Zelenskyy’s office said, citing the military.

The Russian invasion has mostly focused on northern, southern and eastern areas of Ukraine, though missiles also hit the Yavoriv military base last week, close to the Polish border.

It was not immediately clear whether Ukraine saw the threat of an attack on Volyn from Russian forces or the Belarusian military, which has so far not publicly committed troops to supporting Russia.

Turkey: Russia & Ukraine getting closer to agreement on ‘critical’ issues

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told Hurriyet daily that Russia and Ukraine were getting closer to an agreement on “critical” issues and have nearly agreed on some subjects.

Cavusoglu also noted that he was hopeful for a ceasefire if the sides don’t take a step back from the progress they have made towards an agreement.

Gazprom says it continues Russian gas exports to Europe via Ukraine

Russian energy giant Gazprom said it continues to supply gas to Europe via Ukraine in line with requests from European consumers.

The company added the requests stood at 106.6 million cubic metres for March 20.

Moscow claims over 100 Ukrainian covert op troops & foreign mercenaries eliminated west of Kiev

“High-precision air-launched missiles struck the training centre for covert operations forces of the Ukrainian military, where foreign mercenaries were based, near the settlement of Ovruch in the Zhitomir region”, Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said on Sunday, adding that more than 100 troops and mercenaries were killed.

At the same time, he noted that the Russian military eliminated one of Ukraine’s major fuel bases, and a vast number of other military objects.

According to the defence ministry, since the beginning of the special op in Ukraine, Russian troops have destroyed some 1,500 tanks, over 1,200 military vehicles, and more than 200 drones of the Ukrainian armed forces.

Russia says has again fired hypersonic missiles in Ukraine

Russia announced it had again fired its newest hypersonic missiles in Ukraine, destroying a fuel storage site in the country’s south.

“Kinzhal aviation missile systems with hypersonic ballistic missiles destroyed a large storage site for fuels and lubricants of the Ukrainian armed forces near the settlement of Kostyantynivka in the Mykolaiv region,” the Russian defence ministry said.

The strike marked the second day in a row that Russia used the Kinzhal, a weapon capable of striking targets 2,000km (1,250 miles) away at a speed 10 times the speed of sound.

UK: Russia will continue heavy firepower to support urban assaults

Russia will continue to use heavy firepower to support urban ground assaults, the UK Ministry of Defence said Sunday in its latest intelligence assessment.

In the past week, Russia increased its indiscriminate shelling of urban areas as its army made limited progress in capturing cities in eastern Ukraine, the assessment added.

“It is likely Russia will continue to use its heavy firepower to support assaults on urban areas as it looks to limit its own already considerable losses, at the cost of further civilian casualties,” the ministry said.

The indiscriminate shelling of residential areas has resulted in “widespread destruction and large numbers of civilian casualties,” the ministry added.

Senior Ukrainian official: ‘We will definitely feed ourselves’

Ukraine has enough wheat, corn and other basic food reserves to last it until  2023, the deputy head of the presidential office, Rostislav Shurma, reportedly said.

“Today there are enough reserves of wheat, corn, sunflower oil and basic products in warehouses for 3-5 years. We will definitely feed ourselves,” Shurma added.

Ukraine Officials say art school in Mariupol used as shelter bombed by Russians

Ukrainian authorities in the besieged port city of Mariupol claimed the Russian military has bombed an art school where about 400 people had taken refuge.

There was no immediate word of casualties from the Saturday attack.

Local authorities announced the school building was destroyed and people could remain under the rubble.

Five reported dead in Kharkiv after shelling

At least five people are dead in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv after shelling of a multiple-storey dwelling near an industrial area, according to police.

Officials posted on Facebook that one of the dead is a 9-year-old boy. They also posted images of the building, which they say caught fire during the attack. The picture showed smoke pouring out of multiple levels, with windows smashed.

Officials say that 266 civilians have died in the city since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began a month ago.

FM: China stands on ‘right side of history’ on Ukraine war

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi has said Beijing stands on the right side of history over the crisis in Ukraine and its position is “in line with the wishes of most countries”.

“China will never accept any external coercion or pressure, and opposes any unfounded accusations and suspicious against China,” Wang told reporters on Saturday evening.

“We have always stood for maintaining peace and opposing war,” Wang added.

“China’s position is objective and fair, and is in line with the wishes of most countries. Time will prove that China’s claims are on the right side of history,” he continued.

Germany raises concerns over gas suppliers

Germany’s vice chancellor has stated that next winter’s gas supplies to his country have not so far been secured.

Robert Habeck, who also serves as the economy and climate minister, hasn’t ruled out there being a so-called domino effect, with a setback in the gas supply chain causing a knock-on shortage in other facilities.

“If we don’t receive further gas supplies … and the deliveries from Russia are capped or stopped, we wouldn’t have enough to keep all our houses warm and to keep all our industry running,” Habeck told the German radio station Deutschlandfunk.

Ukraine holding 562 Russian prisoners of war

Iryna Vereshchuk, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister, has claimed Kyiv has “officially” 562 Russian soldiers in its custody.

“All Russian prisoners are treated in accordance with international human rights law,” she stated.

Australia announces additional military & humanitarian aid for Ukraine

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sunday announced additional military and humanitarian aid for Ukraine, while also imposing an immediate ban on exports of alumina and aluminium ore to Russia.

“It is clear that Ukraine’s need for military assistance remains urgent and ongoing,” Morrison’s Office announced in a statement.

The package includes A$21 million (US $15.3 million) in defensive military assistance for the Ukrainian Armed Forces, bringing Australia’s total military assistance so far to A$91 million (US $66.3 million), the statement said.

Morrison added the assistance will include ammunition and body armor.

The government announced it will also provide US $21.8 million worth of emergency humanitarian assistance which will focus on “protecting women, children, the elderly and the disabled.”

ISW: Russia’s initial campaign to seize Kyiv, force regime change ‘has failed’

The Institute for the Study of War says the initial Russian campaign to seize Ukraine’s capital and force regime change has failed.

“The doctrinally sound Russian response to this situation would be to end this campaign, accept a possibly lengthy operational pause, develop the plan for a new campaign, build up resources for that new campaign, and launch it when the resources and other conditions are ready,” the United States-based group said.

But the Russian military has not yet adopted this approach and continues efforts to restore momentum to this “culminated campaign”, the ISW noted.

This is creating conditions of “stalemate throughout most of Ukraine”, a bloody phase that could last for weeks or months, it added.

2,500 Russian bodies ‘sent to Belarus in dead of night’ as Kremlin hides toll

The bodies of more than 2,500 Russian soldiers have been transported to Belarus under the cover of darkness to disguise the true number of casualties in Ukraine, doctors have suggested.

Locals in the Homel, a region in southeastern Belarus less than 150 miles north of Kyiv, have told of hospital wards crammed full of “terribly disfigured” soldiers and morgues overflowing with corpses, as Russia quietly transports its wounded and dead across the border.

One doctor at Homel’s regional clinical hospital told Radio Free Europe that, by March 13, more than 2,500 bodies had been shipped by train or plane back to Russia from the region, though The Telegraph has been unable to independently verify the figure.

Another medic in Mazyr, a town home to 100,000 people, added that efforts to transport bodies back to Russia were increasingly taking place under the cover of darkness to minimise unwanted scrutiny.

City council: Thousands of Mariupol residents forcibly taken to Russia

The city council of Mariupol, Ukraine, announced that thousands of the city’s residents had been forcibly taken into Russia, with the mayor likening their removal to actions performed by the Nazis during World War II, CNN reported.

“Over the past week, several thousand Mariupol residents have been taken to Russian territory,” the city council said in a statement.

“The occupiers illegally took people from the Livoberezhny district and from the shelter in the sports club building, where more than a thousand people (mostly women and children) were hiding from the constant bombing,” it added.

The phones and documents of Mariupol residents were later checked at camps that the Ukrainians were taken to, before some were redirected to remote Russian cities, CNN reported. The city council noted that it could not account for the whereabouts of all the residents.

A Ukrainian police officer in Mariupol has also warned that the besieged port city has been “wiped off the face of the earth” and pleaded with the presidents of the United States and France to provide his country with a modern air defense system.

In a video from a rubble-strewn street, Mariupol police officer Michail Vershnin told Joe Biden and Emmanuel Macron they had promised assistance, “but what we have received is not quite it”.

“Children, elderly people are dying. The city is destroyed and it has been wiped off the face of the earth,” he said speaking in Russian in the video filmed on Friday, as flames and explosions raged.

“You have promised that there will be help, give us that help. Biden, Macron, you are great leaders. Be them to the end,” he added.

Vershnin stated the city is facing the fate of the Syrian city of Aleppo that was destroyed in 2016 during the war.

Ukraine’s president said the siege of Mariupol will go down in history for what he’s calling “war crimes” by Russia’s military.

“To do this to a peaceful city, what the occupiers did, is a terror that will be remembered for centuries to come,” Volodymyr Zelensky added.

Ukraine president: Russia sustaining “unprecedented losses”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday stated the Russian military has sustained “unprecedented losses” and that some Russian units have been “80 to 90% destroyed.”

“Ukrainians have proven they can fight more professionally than an army that has been waging wars for decades in various regions and conditions. We respond with wisdom and courage to the great number of their equipment and soldiers sent to Ukraine,” Zelensky said in a video message posted to social media.

He then switched from speaking Ukrainian to Russian and noted in areas where heavy fighting have taken place, the front line of defense is “littered with corpses of the Russian soldiers.”

“And these corpses, these dead bodies, are not being picked up by anyone. New units are being sent to advance right over them,” he added.

Six journalists killed in Ukraine

A Switzerland-based press freedom group claims six journalists have been killed and eight others have been wounded during the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“The journalists were killed under various circumstances, from shrapnel after a rocket attack to a bullet wound,” the Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) said.

Three of them were killed while covering battles close to Kyiv, near the city of Irpin, it added.

PEC also announced Russian forces in southern Ukraine have kidnapped two journalists.

UK: Russia failed to gain control of Ukrainian air space

Britain’s military claimed Russian forces have still not managed to gain air superiority over Ukraine.

“The Ukrainian Air Force and Air Defense Forces are continuing to effectively defend Ukrainian airspace,” the UK’s Ministry of Defense said in its latest defense intelligence update.

The UK MoD added Russia has failed to gain air control over Ukraine and is largely depending on stand-off weapons, “launched from the relative safety of Russian airspace to strike targets within Ukraine.”

“Gaining control of the air was one of Russia’s principal objectives for the opening days of the conflict and their continued failure to do so has significantly blunted their operational progress,” the ministry announced.

Ukraine claims another Russian general killed

A Ukrainian attack on an airfield in the south of the country last week killed a Russian general, according to the Ukrainian military’s General Staff.

Amid heavy fighting between the cities of Mykolaiv and Kherson, Ukrainian forces carried out an attack on the airport at Chornobayivka, just north of Kherson, on Wednesday.

The airport was occupied by Russian forces and served as a forward command post of Russia’s 8th Guards Combined Arms Army, according to Ukrainian officials.

Soon after the attack, Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said, “Burning enemy helicopters in Chornobayivka in the Kherson region is a demonstration of what is now happening to the occupying forces.”

Ukraine’s General Staff later added, “according to preliminary data” Russian Lieutenant-General Andrei Mordvichev, commander of the 8th Guards, had been killed.

US legislators stress urgent need to help Ukraine military

A bipartisan delegation of United States legislators visiting Poland has stated there is a very urgent need to equip and support Ukraine in every way possible.

“We are here to reassure and support the people of Ukraine. We are here to thank the people of Poland for the unbelievable generosity they have shown to the refugees,” Democrat Representative Stephen Lynch told the media.

“The most urgent action that we can take is to make sure that the Ukrainian fighters, those valiant patriots who are fighting for their freedom, have every bit of equipment, every bit of supply, every bit of support that we can possibly deliver to them,” he added.

Ukraine says it will soon receive more US Javelin & Stinger missiles

Ukraine will receive a new shipment of US weapons within days, including Javelin and Stinger missiles, Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov said in a televised interview.

“The [weapons] will be on the territory of our country in the nearest future. We are talking about days,” Danilov added.

Ukraine’s allies have delivered planeloads of weapons shipments to bolster its military against the Russian invasion. Russia has criticised such deliveries from NATO member states.

Kyiv claims 228 killed in capital since start of war, including four children

Kyiv city authorities say 228 people have been killed in the capital since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began, including four children.

A further 912 people have been wounded, the Kyiv city administration announced in a statement.

Report: US suggested Turkey transfer Russian-made missile system to Ukraine

The United States has informally raised with Turkey the unlikely possibility of sending its Russian-made S-400 missile defense systems to Ukraine to help it fight invading Russian forces, according to three sources familiar with the matter, Reuters reported.

US officials have floated the suggestion over the past month with their Turkish counterparts but no specific or formal request was made, the sources told Reuters. They stated it also came up briefly during Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman’s visit to Turkey earlier this month.

The Joe Biden administration has been asking allies who have been using Russian made equipment and systems including S-300s and S-400s to consider transferring them to Ukraine as it tries to fend off a Russian invasion.

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