- Biden will travel to Rzeszow in southeastern Poland
- EU leaders call for recovery fund for Ukraine
- Pentagon official says Russia will emerge weaker from war in Ukraine
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This article was last updated at 08:08 UTC/GMT
Russian forces pushed back up to 35 km east of Kyiv according to British intelligence
According to British intelligence, Ukrainian forces managed to retake towns and defensive positions from invading Russian forces up to 35 kilometers (22 miles) east of the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv.
A British Ministry of Defense report said on Friday that Ukrainian troops were likely to continue pushing Russian forces north-west from kyiv to Hostomel airfield, some 26 kilometers from the capital. He was captured by Russian forces on February 25 at the start of the invasion of Moscow.
Russian forces in southern Ukraine were still seeking to bypass the city of Mykolaiv as they attempted to move into Odessa, with fierce Ukrainian resistance and supply issues hampering their advance, the report said.
Nearly half of Germans want Ukraine to join EU: survey
The number of people in Germany in favor of Ukraine joining the EU has increased by 16% since 2018, according to a YouGov survey.
Forty-six percent of respondents would now like to see Ukraine in the bloc.
The survey also showed a sharp reduction in the number of people opposed to the country’s EU membership, with just 30% down from 47% in 2018.
Other countries show similar trends, with 42% of French people in favor of Ukraine joining the EU (2018: 22%), 60% in Spain and 45% in Italy. The percentage of undecided remains quite high in all the countries included in the survey at 24-29%.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged his country to be quickly accepted into the bloc amid the Russian invasion and signed a formal request. But several EU countries, including Germany, have come out against accelerating Ukraine’s membership bid.
Zelenskyy signed an application for EU membership at the end of February
Some Russian military units withdraw after heavy losses: Ukrainian General Staff
A number of Russian military units have withdrawn behind the Russian border after losing more than half of their personnel, the Ukrainian General Staff said.
According to Oleksiy Arestovych, senior adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy, the front lines between Ukrainian and Russian troops have become “virtually frozen”.
The General Staff said that Russian troops continued to blockade the major cities of Kharkiv and Sumy and also appeared to be preparing for a new offensive in Izyum in the Kharkiv region.
Information cannot be independently verified.
US to announce increased gas shipments to Europe
US President Joe Biden is expected to announce increased shipments of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe, in a bid to wean the continent off Russian energy.
Biden plans to discuss this issue with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Friday.
Earlier this week, von der Leyen said “we are aiming to have a commitment for additional supplies for the next two winters”.
According to sources quoted by Reuters, Biden promised the United States would deliver an additional 15 billion cubic meters of LNG to Europe this year.
Nearly 40% of EU natural gas currently comes from Russia.
Ex-President Medvedev says sanctions will ‘consolidate’ Russian society
Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council and former president, said it is “foolish” to believe Western sanctions could have an effect on the Kremlin.
Sanctions against Russian companies will not cause popular discontent with the authorities, he told the RIA news agency, adding that they will instead lead citizens to support the government.
“It seems to me that those who make these decisions [to impose sanctions] do not understand our mentality; they don’t understand the Russian worldview,” Medvedev said.
“It’s not a pressure on big companies and entrepreneurs, but a pressure on absolutely everyone [in Russia]“, he stressed, adding that this will lead to the “consolidation of Russian society”.
The Kremlin has described Western sanctions as an “economic war” against Russia.
Medvedev was Russia’s president from 2008 to 2012 and prime minister from 2012 to 2020.
Ukrainian Zelenskyy speaks of “peace” and “victory”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video address that his country was getting closer to “peace” and “victory”.
“The country must move towards peace, move forward. With every day of our defense, we are getting closer to the peace that we so badly need,” Zelenskyy said.
“We are getting closer to victory.
“We must seek peace,” Zelenskyy stressed, adding that “Russia must also seek peace.”
Ukraine’s president said he had spoken with NATO and EU leaders and they promised to impose more sanctions on Russia.
Russia will emerge weakened from Ukraine conflict, says Pentagon official
US Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl said Russia would be weakened following its invasion of Ukraine.
“I think with a high degree of certainty that Russia will emerge from Ukraine weaker than it entered the conflict,” Kahl said.
“Militarily weaker, economically weaker, politically and geopolitically weaker and more isolated,” he added.
Kahl said Russia is likely to increase its use of unguided bombs and artillery in Ukraine as it lacks precision-guided munitions.
Biden will visit a town in Poland near the Ukrainian border
The White House has said US President Joe Biden will visit a town in Poland near the Ukrainian border on Friday.
The city in question is Rzeszow in southeastern Poland, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) west of the country’s border with Ukraine. Until now, the White House had not released details of the president’s trip to Poland.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also visited Rzeszow on March 5 as he traveled to Poland to show support for countries on NATO’s eastern flank.
EU leaders call for recovery fund for Ukraine
EU leaders have called for the creation of a solidarity fund for Ukraine’s economic recovery, according to a joint statement.
The statement from the 27 EU member states was released on Thursday evening after two days of talks.
The fund is intended to help Ukraine recover from the “enormous destruction and losses” inflicted on the country by Russia during the war.
The statement also called for an international donor conference to support Ukraine after the “Russian onslaught ceases”.
In addition, EU leaders pledged to support the Ukrainian government “for its immediate needs”.
Summary of the events of the Ukraine-Russia crisis on Thursday
At a press conference in Brussels on Thursday, US President Joe Biden said NATO is more united than ever in the face of the ongoing Russian invasion. He announced more than $2 billion (1.8 billion euros) in military aid to Ukraine and $1 billion in aid for war-affected Ukrainians.
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said on Facebook that a total of 3,343 people had been evacuated from Ukrainian cities through humanitarian corridors on Thursday.
The Canadian government has said it will increase oil exports by around 5% as countries forego Russian energy due to the attack on Ukraine.
Belarusian opposition leader in exile Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya has called on Belarusian troops not to get involved in the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Ukrainian lawmakers have voted overwhelmingly in favor of a measure aimed at punishing citizens who help Russian forces. Ukrainian collaborators could face up to 12 years in prison under the new law.
Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said the battlefront was “virtually frozen”. He said Russian forces were “virtually at a standstill” and claimed Russian troops lacked the resources to advance their offensive.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reportedly told reporters in Brussels that Russia and Ukraine agreed on technical issues during peace talks, but said the two countries were divided on territorial issues such as the peninsula Crimean.
sdi/sri (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)