Zelensky promises liberation of Mariupol

Zelensky promises liberation of Mariupol

Kyiv/ Moscow On the anniversary of the bombing of the Mariupol theater, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced the recapture of the city and a war crimes tribunal against Russians. “The day will come and we will liberate Mariupol,” Zelensky said in his daily video address on Thursday. Military observers expect a Ukrainian offensive this spring. Armed aid from the West continues unabated – including with fighter jets from Poland.

In his speech, Zelensky recalled the Russian air raid a year ago on the theater in the then heavily contested port city of Mariupol, where many civilians had found shelter at the time. “Russian bombs destroyed the theater in Mariupol,” said the 45-year-old.

To this day it is not clear how many people died. “Hundreds? One thousand?” Zelensky asked. Moscow denies responsibility for the attack, claiming the theater was blown up by the nationalist Ukrainian Azov regiment.

The President of Ukraine called the bombing of the theater one of Russia’s many war crimes. “The day will come when a tribunal will be established to restore justice to our people,” he promised.

According to him, the Ukrainian judiciary is working to clarify the cases. The country’s diplomats forged partnerships with foreign countries to bring the crimes before an international criminal court.

Human Rights Council report on Ukraine: Serious allegations against Moscow

The UN has now also provided a template for this. According to an investigative commission of the UN Human Rights Council, Russian troops committed numerous war crimes in the Ukraine war.

Graves in Ukraine

According to an investigative commission of the UN Human Rights Council, Russian troops committed numerous war crimes in the Ukraine war.

(Photo: IMAGO/NurPhoto)

These included intentional killings, attacks on civilians, unlawful detention, rape and forced deportations of children, the report said in Geneva on Thursday. In addition, waves of attacks by Russian forces on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure and the use of torture could constitute crimes against humanity.

China’s President on a state visit to Russia early next week

Chinese President Xi Jinping will travel to Russia early next week. The state visit is scheduled for March 20-22, the Chinese Foreign Ministry and the Russian Presidential Office announced on Friday. One of the central topics of the talks between Xi and Russian President Vladimir Putin is the deepening of the partnership between the two countries, the Russian side said.

Putin had already announced Xi’s visit to Moscow in February, when top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi was in the Russian capital for consultations. China and Russia had agreed on comprehensive cooperation just before the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine over a year ago. Both states have confirmed the intensity of their relations. The rapprochement of the great powers is viewed with concern in the West.

Russia wants to equip submarines with hypersonic missiles

The Russian Navy wants to equip its submarines with modern hypersonic weapons. “Let no one doubt that we will do this,” said Navy Chief Nikolai Yevmenov in an interview published in the army newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda on Friday. The admiral did not specify a date for the conversion of the submarine fleet to the new missiles.

According to him, there are currently around ten submarine types in service, belonging to four different generations. The modern guided missiles of the Kalibr type have been tested on second-generation submarines. “And today, all submarines in service can be equipped with them, including strategic submarine cruisers.” The next step would then be to upgrade with hypersonic missiles, according to Yevmenov.

Russia has so far introduced three types of hypersonic missiles: the Avangard, the Zirkon and the Kinzhal. Due to their high speed, these are currently considered practically unattainable for air defense. The Zirkon missiles, which can potentially also be equipped with nuclear warheads, are ship-based. So far, however, only one ship in the Russian fleet, the frigate “Fleet Admiral of the Soviet Union Gorshkov”, has been equipped with it.

MiGs for Kiev: Poland delivers fighter jets

According to President Andrzej Duda, Poland wants to hand over four MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine in the coming days. More MiG-29s are currently being serviced and prepared for a later transfer, Duda said in Warsaw on Thursday after a meeting with Czech President Petr Pavel. The country’s leadership made a corresponding decision, and the government then passed a resolution.

MIG 29

According to President Andrzej Duda, Poland wants to hand over four MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine in the coming days.

(Photo: imago/StockTrek Images)

Duda further said that the Polish Air Force currently has about a dozen MiG-29s, which were taken over from East Germany’s stocks in the early 1990s. “They continue to be used all the time as functioning MiGs for our air defense.” The machines handed over to Ukraine are to be replaced by modern fighter jets, which Poland ordered from South Korea and the USA.

Estonia and Lithuania announce further military aid to Ukraine

The Baltic states of Estonia and Lithuania will also continue to provide military aid to Ukraine in the fight against Russia. The Estonian government on Thursday decided to supply semi-automatic rifles, sniper rifles, sights, binoculars, ammunition, individual and special equipment, patrol boats and thermal imaging cameras.

Lithuania’s new aid package includes 155mm ammunition, vehicles and troop rations, Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas wrote on Twitter.

China calls on Russia and Ukraine for peace talks

China called on Ukraine and Russia to start peace talks as soon as possible. China hopes all parties will exercise restraint, resume peace talks as soon as possible and get back on the path to a political solution, Foreign Minister Qin Gang said in a phone call with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba on Thursday, according to the Chinese Xinhua News Agency. In the conflict, China is backing Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.

Russia is increasing the pressure on critics at home

The prominent Russian opposition figure Yevgeny Roisman was sentenced to 14 days in prison in Yekaterinburg for allegedly spreading extremist symbolism. The judge found Roisman guilty of an administrative offense, the Russian news agency Interfax reported on Thursday.

Oppositional Roisman

Roisman is said to have shared a video about the sentencing of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny on the Russian social network VKontakte (vk.com).

(Photo: dpa)

Roisman is said to have shared a video of the sentencing of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny on the Russian social network VKontakte (vk.com), which featured the emblem of his Anti-Corruption Fund (FBK), which is considered extremist in Russia. Roisman himself denies the allegation.

In addition, a regional politician was fined on Thursday for a satirical protest with noodles during a speech by Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin. The deputy of the regional parliament in the Volga region of Samara, Mikhail Abdalkin, had to pay the equivalent of 1,850 euros, the Internet portal “Protokol.Samara” reported.

What will be important on Friday

Finnish President Sauli Niinistö meets Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul on Friday to discuss his country’s NATO membership. Finland expects Erdogan to announce his approval of Finland’s entry into NATO after months of delay. Russia has criticized Finland and Sweden’s efforts to join NATO.

This is how the Handelsblatt reports on the Ukraine war:

In Ukraine, meanwhile, fighting continues, especially in the east of the country. Russia is still striving to capture the city of Bakhmut in order to have a result of its winter offensive. However, Ukraine is stubbornly defending the city, which is now completely in ruins.

More: You can find the latest news on developments in the Ukraine war in our news blog

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