Russia claims it sent its forces into Ukraine to defend residents of two self-proclaimed Russian-backed statelets, the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics – Copyright AFP YAMIL LAGE
Here are the latest developments in the war in Ukraine.
– Fierce fighting in eastern city –
Russian artillery slams Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region with fierce fighting over the city of Severodonetsk, but the local governor says there was some progress in pushing back invading forces.
Gaining control of Severodonetsk would give Russia de-facto control of Lugansk, one of two regions along with Donetsk that make up the Donbas.
Russia claims it sent its forces into Ukraine to defend residents of two self-proclaimed Russian-backed statelets, the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics.
“They (Russians) didn’t seize it fully,” says Lugansk regional governor Sergiy Gaiday.
“As soon as we get a big amount of Western long-range weapons, we will push their artillery back… and then Russian infantry will run.”
– ‘Many settlements liberated’: Kremlin –
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says “many settlements have been liberated from the pro-Nazi armed forces of Ukraine and directly from nationalist elements” in the 100 days since the invasion.
“In terms of ensuring their protection, measures are being taken and certain results have been achieved,” Peskov says.
“The opportunity has been provided for people to start establishing a peaceful life,” Peskov tells reporters.
– Putin made ‘historic’ error –
French President Emmanuel Macron says his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin committed a “historic and fundamental error” by invading Ukraine.
“I think he has isolated himself,” Macron tells French media.
The French president insists that Russia should not be “humiliated… so that the day the fighting stops we can pave a way out through diplomatic means.”
Macron says he does not “rule out” a visit to Kyiv.
– AU head ‘reassured’ on food shortages –
African Union head Macky Sall says he was “reassured” after talks with Putin on food shortages caused by Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine.
Putin hosted the Senegalese president, who chairs the African Union, at his Black Sea residence in Sochi.
Putin says there was “no problem” to export grain from Ukraine, saying it could be done via Ukrainian ports, via others under Russian control, or even through central Europe.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is expected in Turkey next Wednesday for talks on creating a “security corridor” to unblock exports from Ukraine.
– Ukraine says Russia sent ‘stolen’ grain abroad –
Ukraine’s ambassador to Ankara accuses Russia of “stealing” Ukrainian grain and sending it abroad.
“Russia shamelessly steals Ukrainian grain and sends it overseas from Crimea, including to Turkey,” said envoy Vasyl Bodnar.
“We have asked for Turkey’s help to resolve the issue,” he says.
– EU sanctions alleged Putin girlfriend –
The EU adds President Vladimir Putin’s alleged girlfriend, former gymnast Alina Kabaeva, to an assets freeze and visa ban blacklist as part of a sixth wave of sanctions that include a ban on most Russian oil imports.
Britain was the first country to put Kabaeva on its sanctions list last month.