UN adopts resolution calling on Russia to end hostilities and leave Ukraine

The United Nations General Assembly on Thursday overwhelmingly voted in favour of a resolution calling on Russia to end its hostilities in Ukraine and withdraw its forces. Although the resolution is non-binding, the vote serves as a barometer of world opinion and comes on the eve of the one-year anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of its southern neighbour. Follow our blog to see how the day’s events unfolded. All times are Paris time (GMT+1).

This live blog is no longer being updated. For more of our coverage on the war in Ukraine, please click here.

03:02am: Russia claims Ukraine preparing ‘invasion’ of Transnistria

Russia on Thursday claimed Ukraine was ramping up efforts to invade Transnistria, Moldova’s Moscow-backed separatist region, and pledged a “response”.

The Russian defence ministry’s statement was released on the eve of the one-year anniversary of Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine.

Since the launch of the full-scale assault against Ukraine a year ago, the Kremlin has been accused of raising tensions in Transnistria to destabilise Ukraine and Moldova.

“The Kyiv regime has stepped up preparations for the invasion of the Transnistrian Moldavian Republic,” the statement said.

02:43am: China calls for cease-fire between Ukraine and Russia

China called on Russia and Ukraine to hold peace talks as soon as possible and warned that nuclear weapons must not be used in the conflict, in a 12-point policy paper released Friday on the war’s first anniversary.

“All parties should support Russia and Ukraine in working in the same direction and resuming direct dialogue as quickly as possible,” Beijing’s foreign ministry said, stressing that “nuclear weapons must not be used and nuclear wars must not be fought”

It also called on Russia and Ukraine to avoid attacking civilians.

“Parties to the conflict should strictly abide by international humanitarian law, avoid attacking civilians or civilian facilities,” Beijing’s foreign ministry said.

China also urges steps to ensure the export of grain, after disruptions caused global food prices to spike.

The peace proposal mainly elaborated on long-held Chinese positions, including referring to the need that all countries’ “sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity be effectively guaranteed.”

It also called an end to the “Cold War mentality” — it’s standard term for what it regards as US hegemony and interference in other countries.

01:11am: Military situation in Ukraine’s south is dangerous, says Zelensky

The military situation in Ukraine’s south is quite dangerous in some places while conditions in the east are very difficult, President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video address early on Friday.

Speaking on the first anniversary of the Russian invasion, Zelensky said pro-Moscow forces had again shelled the southern city of Kherson, this time cutting off heat for 40,000 people.

“As for the south – in some places the situation is quite dangerous but our troops have the means to respond to the occupiers,” he said, summarising events on the various fronts.

“In the east – it’s very difficult, painful. But we are doing everything to withstand it,” he continued, in reference to repeated attacks by Russian forces seeking to capture theeastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

10:33pm: Hungary to send delegation to Sweden, Finland over NATO bids

Hungary plans to send a delegation to Sweden and Finland to resolve “political disputes” that have raised doubts among some Hungarian lawmakers of whether to support the two Nordic nations’ applications to join NATO, a senior Hungarian lawmaker said Thursday.

Mate Kocsis, the head of the nationalist Fidesz party’s parliamentary caucus, said some ruling party lawmakers resented that “politicians from these countries have insulted Hungary in a crude, unfounded and often vulgar manner in recent years, and now they are asking for a favour.”

A parliamentary delegation will travel to Sweden and Finland seeking to clarify their positions, he said.

Hungary is the only NATO member country besides Turkey that has not yet approved Sweden and Finland’s bids to join the Western military alliance. The northern European neighbors dropped their long-standing military neutrality and sought NATO membership in May in response to Russia’s war in Ukraine.

10:26pm: US to impose ‘sweeping’ sanctions on Russia over Ukraine war

The United States will announce “sweeping” new sanctions against Russia, the White House said Thursday.

The sanctions will target “key sectors that generate revenue for Putin”, Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters.

The sanctions will include Russian banks, technology and defense sectors, and will impact both people and companies involved in the conflict, Jean-Pierre said.

10:07pm: UN adopts resolution calling on Russia to end Ukraine hostilities

The United Nations General Assembly on Thursday voted in favour of a resolution calling for Russia to end its hostilities in Ukraine and withdraw its forces. Although the resolution is non-binding, it marks further isolation of Russia.

The resolution was adopted with 141 votes in favor and 32 abstentions. Six countries joined Russia to vote no.

Just a day after China’s top diplomat visited Moscow and pledged a deeper partnership with Russia, Beijing abstained on the vote – the fourth time it has done so on such action since the Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 last year.

The other 15 countries that either voted against or abstained were Belarus, Bolivia, Cambodia, Cuba, Eritrea, Equatorial Guinea, Iran, Laos, Mali, Nicaragua, North Korea, St. Vincent, Syria, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

7:09pm: Eiffel Tower in Paris lit up in yellow and blue in solidarity with Ukraine

The Eiffel Tower in Paris was on Thursday lit up in yellow and blue – the colours of the Ukrainian flag – in a show of solidarity with the Ukrainian people on the eve of the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of its southern neighbour.

The top of the tower was bathed in blue, and the bottom in yellow, with the tower’s habitual white spotlight rotating at its top.

“Glory to Ukraine!” tweeted Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo in Ukrainian.

Hidalgo had asked for the show of support, which comes as France, like other western countries, is boosting arms deliveries to Kyiv. The French defence ministry said last week that the first batch of AMX-10 armoured vehicles President Emmanuel Macron promised would be delivered within days.

6:53pm: Poland expels Belarus diplomat in tit-for-tat move

Poland’s Foreign Ministry said Thursday it is set to expel a Belarusian diplomat amid swelling tensions over the imprisonment of a prominent ethnic Polish journalist in Belarus.

The defense attache at the Embassy of Belarus will to leave Warsaw very soon, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lukasz Jasina told Polish new agency PAP. Jasina said the action was taken in response to Belarus recently expelling a Polish border guard liaison officer and two employees of Poland’s consulate in Grodno.

Bilateral relations between the neighboring nations are already strained by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s support for Russia’s military aggression in Ukraine. The ties between Belarus and Poland hit a new low this month when a court in Minsk handed an eight-year prison term to Andrzej Poczobut, a well-known correspondent for Polish media, for harming Belarus’ national security and “inciting discord.”

In 2020, Poczobut reported extensively on massive anti-government protests that broke out following Lukashenko’s disputed reelection in a vote that the opposition and Western countries regard as fraudulent.

6:13pm UN vote on Russian invasion will demonstrate support for Ukraine

The United Nations is expected to vote Thursday on a resolution demanding Russia withdraw troops from Ukraine one year after invading the country.

While non-binding, the vote is important as it will lay out the extent of support for Kyiv around the world.

Kyiv hopes to garner the support of at least as many nations as in October, when 143 countries voted to condemn Russia’s declared annexation of several Ukrainian territorie. Close attention will be paid to China, India and more than 30 other countries which abstained during previous UN votes in support of Ukraine.

The resolution, sponsored by Kyiv’s close allies, endorses Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, calls for an immediate end to fighting, and demands Russia “immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw” its forces from the country.

5:11pm: Spain may increase Leopard tank deliveries to Ukraine to 10

Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Thursday during a visit to Kyiv that it may increase the number of Leopard 2A4 tanks to be sent to Ukraine to 10 from the six promised earlier and will also discuss potential aircraft deliveries with NATO and EU partners.

The German-made fighting vehicles are part of over 50 2A4s Spain had mothballed in reserve, and they require repairs and refitting.

“As the defence minister told parliament yesterday, we will send six Leopard 2A4s. We intend to see in the coming weeks and months whether we can increase the total to 10,” Sanchez told reporters after meeting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on the eve of the anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

4:02pm: Fear that Russia will try to ‘mark’ one year anniversary of Ukraine invasion

On the eve of the one-year-anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion, there is fear and apprehension in the air in Ukraine, FRANCE 24’s Gulliver Cragg reported from Kyiv.

“According to military spokespeople in the south, and other sources, there is activity in the Black Sea, suggesting that the Russians may be preparing another large-scale missile attack,” FRANCE 24’s Cragg added.

“Quite a lot of people have left Kyiv for a few days to not be here on the anniversary of the invasion, they’re taking precaution, and some have taken their children out of the city. I have the impression here in Kyiv that there are fewer people on the streets today. There are fewer traffic jams so there certainly a certain degree of apprehension.”

To watch the full report, click on the player below.

3:59pm: Zelensky has seen no Chinese peace plan but would welcome a meeting

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Thursday he had not seen any Chinese peace plan but that “we would like to meet with China”.

3:15pm: Italy calls for G7’s Russia sanctions to be enforced by all of G20

The sanctions introduced by G7 nations against Russia following its invasion of Ukraine should be applied by all G20 countries as well, Italy’s Economy Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti said on Thursday.

Giorgetti made the statement on the sidelines of a summit of G20 finance leaders in Bengaluru.

The minister explained, “Otherwise Russia circumvents the sanctions system and the effects risk falling short of our expectations.”

3:10pm: G7 pledges $39bn for Ukraine in 2023

The Group of Seven (G7) nations on Thursday announced that it has increased its economic support for Ukraine to $39 billion this year, and urged an IMF programme for the country by the end of March, according to a statement released by Japan, the bloc’s current president.

3:06pm: Shelling by Ukraine kills three ambulance workers, says Russia-installed official

Three ambulance workers trying to evacuate people from their homes in the Russian-controlled city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine were killed by Ukrainian shelling on Thursday, a Russian-installed official in the region said.

The medical team had mobilised to rescue the civilians after a first wave of Ukrainian shelling, when Kyiv’s forces started shelling again and they rescue workers were caught in the crossfire, Russian news agency TASS reported. It also stated that a number of other medical workers had been injured in the same attack.

Dmitry Gartsev, the Russian-installed head of the local health ministry, said on his Telegram channel that doctors were currently fighting to save the life of a fourth ambulance worker. The Russian-reported fatalities could not be immediately verified.

1:16pm: Russia says key Crimea bridge damaged in blast reopens

Moscow on Thursday announced the full reopening to car traffic of a key Crimea bridge damaged by a blast in October.

“All lanes of the Crimean bridge are fully open to car traffic 39 days ahead of schedule,” Russian Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin said, quoted by his press service.

Moscow blamed Kyiv for the attack which killed three people on the bridge linking the Moscow-annexed Crimea peninsula to mainland Russia, but Kyiv has denied the charges.

Khusnullin said that “work was carried out round-the-clock” by around 500 people to complete the repairs.

The Russian government had the bridge to be repaired by July 2023. Repairs on the railway part of the bridge (also called the Kerch bridge) are still ongoing, Khusnullin said.

The Kerch bridge also serves as a vital transport link for carrying military equipment to Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine.

1:14pm: Ukraine ‘will prevail’, Zelensky says ahead of invasion anniversary

Ukraine “will prevail” over invading Russian forces, President Volodymyr Zelensky said Thursday, a day before the first anniversary of Moscow’s assault on his country.

“We have not broken down, we have overcome many ordeals and we will prevail. We will hold to account all those who brought this evil, this war to our land,” Zelensky said on social media.

12:01pm: Ukraine boycotts OSCE gathering in protest over Russian presence

A meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s parliamentary assembly has begun without the Ukrainian delegation, which described the planned presence of Russian lawmakers as “an affront.”

The two-day meeting of the normally low-profile assembly has been overshadowed by controversy over the Russians’ attendance.

The Austrians said that, as host nation, they were obliged to grant visas to representatives from all 57 OSCE member states. Ukraine said it wouldn’t attend if Russia was present, as did Lithuania.

The Vienna-based OSCE was created during the Cold War as a platform for dialogue between East and West. The group has a wide-ranging mission, including peace, human rights, arms control and other security issues.

“I do sympathize with the fact that some members find it unbearable to sit in the same room as the aggressors,” the parliamentary assembly’s president, Margareta Cederfelt, told the opening session. “But for those present today, this is your opportunity to stand up for Ukraine and to confront the lies from the aggressors.”

A Slovak delegate read out a statement from the Ukrainian delegation, which said that “the presence of these warmongers in Vienna is an affront to everything that the OSCE stands for… They are not here for genuine dialogue nor for cooperation, they are here to spread their propaganda.”

11:11am: Finland says it will send three Leopard tanks to Ukraine

Finland will send three Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine, the Finnish defence ministry said on Thursday.

10:47am: Czech Republic approves further military aid for Ukraine

The Czech government has approved a further military aid shipment to Ukraine and will continue to send equipment from stocks, Defence Minister Jana Cernochova has said.

Cernochova did not disclose any specific equipment being shipped but said the country, from its army reserves, has so far sent 38 tanks, 55 armoured vehicles, four aircraft and 13 self-propelled howitzers, alongside larger shipments from the private sector.

10:34am: Putin pledges to boost Russian weapon production and ‘strengthen’ armed forces

President Vladimir Putin has called Russia’s army a guarantor of national stability, and promised to boost arms production nearly a year after the start of the Ukraine offensive.

“A modern, efficient army and navy are a guarantee of the country’s security and sovereignty, a guarantee of its stable development and its future,” Putin said in a video address on the occasion of the annual “Defender of the Fatherland Day” holiday in Russia. “That’s why, as before, we will pay priority attention to strengthening our defence capabilities,” he added on the eve of the first anniversary of Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine.

Putin said Russia will “conduct the balanced and high-quality development of all components of the armed forces” in particular by equipping troops with “new strike systems, reconnaissance and communication equipment, drones and artillery systems”.

“Now our industry is rapidly increasing the production of an entire range of conventional weapons,” he said in the video released by the Kremlin.

The president also hailed Russian soldiers, who are fighting “heroically” in Ukraine and “defending our people in our historical lands”. Russia’s “unbreakable unity is the key to our victory,” he said.

9:04am: Sweden open to sending Leopards to Ukraine, defence minister says

Sweden is open to sending some of its Leopard battle tanks to Ukraine as the Nordic country prepares to present another package of aid to help the country fight off the Russian invasion, its defence minister told local news agency TT.

The latest military and civilian aid package from Sweden to Ukraine includes armoured infantry fighting vehicles, which Defence Minister Pal Jonson told the news agency would be the country’s main contribution to Ukraine in terms of equipment for ground warfare.

Sweden is also preparing to send Ukraine the advanced Archer artillery system to Ukraine, but support in the Swedish parliament has been growing to additionally contribute some of the country’s around 120 Leopard tanks.

“We are open to that and we are in close dialogue with above all Germany about it,” Jonson was quoted by TT as saying.

8:13am: Prigozhin says Wagner Group now receiving ammunition for Ukraine war

Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder of Russia’s Wagner mercenary force, has said that his troops had begun receiving additional supplies of ammunition after a public row with Russia’s top army brass.

“Today at 6am, it was announced that the shipment of ammunition has started,” Prigozhin said in a statement on Telegram. “Most likely, the ball is now rolling. So far, it’s all on paper, but, as we were told, the principal documents have already been signed.”

Prigozhin’s Wagner Group has spearheaded Russia’s months-long battle for the town of Bakhmut in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.

In recent days, a long-standing feud with Russia’s military bosses escalated dramatically, with Prigozhin claiming that officials were denying Wagner ammunition out of personal animus to him.

8:11am: Russia possibly preparing for offensive in eastern Ukraine’s Vuhledar, says UK intelligence

Russian forces are possibly preparing for another offensive around the town of Vuhledar in the eastern Donbas region, with the town experiencing heavy shelling, Britain said in an intelligence bulletin on Thursday.

Britain added that fighting has also continued in the eastern city of Bakhmut over the last two days.

8:11am: Spain’s PM in Kyiv for talks with Zelensky ahead of Ukraine war anniversary

Spain‘s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez travelled to Kyiv on Thursday in a show of support a day before the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Returning to Kyiv today, one year since the start of the war,” Sanchez tweeted along with a video of him stepping off the train in the Ukrainian capital. “We will stand with Ukraine and its people until peace returns to Europe,” he tweeted in Spanish and Ukrainian.

4:53am: Russia accuses Ukraine of planning to invade Moldova’s breakaway region

Russia’s defence ministry accused Ukraine on Thursday of planning to invade Moldova‘s breakaway Transnistria region after a false flag operation, the RIA news agency reported.

The ministry said Ukraine planned to stage an attack by purportedly Russian forces from Transnistria as a pretext for the invasion, according to RIA.

4:00am: Biden says no sign Russia mulling nuke use after treaty suspension

US President Joe Biden on Wednesday offered fresh criticism of Russia’s suspension of a key nuclear treaty, but stressed there was no indication Moscow was moving closer to actually using an atomic weapon.

“It’s a big mistake to do that, not very responsible,” Biden told ABC News in Poland on the sidelines of a meeting with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg and eastern European leaders in Warsaw.

“But I don’t read into that that he’s thinking of using nuclear weapons or anything like that,” the US president added, noting that he had seen “no evidence” of any change in posture on nuclear arms use by Moscow.

2:04am: US considers release of intelligence on China’s potential arms transfer to Russia

The Biden administration is considering releasing intelligence it believes shows that China is weighing whether to supply weapons to support Russia‘s war in Ukraine, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

Ukraine, one year on
Ukraine, one year on © Studio graphique France Médias Monde

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and Reuters)

Source link

#adopts #resolution #calling #Russia #hostilities #leave #Ukraine

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *