Russia-Ukraine live updates: Zelensky pleads with world leaders for arms to fight Russia

A car drives near a burning warehouse hit by a Russian shell in the suburbs of Kyiv, today.FADEL SENNA/AFP/Getty Images

Here are the latest updates on the war in Ukraine:

  • World leaders heard impassioned pleas today from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for more military aid to defend his country at a NATO Summit in Brussels. The president’s speech was part of series of summits — hosted by NATO, the Group of Seven industrialized nations and the European Union discuss next steps in countering Russia’s month-old invasion of its much smaller neighbour.
  • World leaders have agreed to send more military equipment to Ukraine and swell NATO ranks along Europe’s eastern flank. Washington also announced a new series of sanctions against Russia and a new $1 billion humanitarian aid package for Ukraine. It said it would take in 100,000 refugees.
  • Russia may be trying to create a pretext for the use of chemical weapons in Ukraine by accusing the United States and its allies of preparing such an attack, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday.
  • Ukrainian authorities in besieged Mariupol said on Thursday about 15,000 civilians had been illegally deported to Russia since Russian forces seized parts of the southern port city.
  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday accused Russia of crossing a red line into barbarism in its war with Ukraine and said the West needed to “tighten the vice” in sanctions to bring the conflict to an end.

MURAT YUKSELIR / THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: GRAPHIC NEWS


1:35 p.m. ET

West pledges more aid for Ukraine, but not all Zelensky seeks

US President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference at NATO after meeting with allies about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, today.Evan Vucci/The Associated Press

President Joe Biden and Western allies pledged new sanctions and humanitarian aid on Thursday in response to Vladimir Putin’s assault on Ukraine, but their offers fell short of the more robust military assistance that President Volodymyr Zelensky pleaded for in a pair of live-video appearances.

The leaders spent Thursday crafting their next steps to counter Russia’s month-old invasion — and huddling over how they might respond should Putin deploy chemical, biological or even a nuclear weapon. They met in a trio of emergency summits that had them shuttling across Brussels for back-to-back-to-back meetings of NATO, the Group of Seven industrialized nations and the 27-member European Council.

Zelensky, while thankful for their help, made clear to the Western allies he needed far more than they’re currently willing to give.

US President Biden, who was attending all three summits, said more aid was on its way. But Western leaders also suggested they were treading carefully so as not to further escalate the conflict beyond the borders of Ukraine.

The White House announced the US would welcome 100,000 Ukrainian refugees and provide an additional $1 billion in food, medicine, water and other supplies.

-The Associated Press


12:43 p.m. ET

Zelensky pleads with world leaders at NATO Summit for arms to fight Russia

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses world leaders during a NATO summit on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, at the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels, today.Handout/Getty Images

In his virtual address to NATO, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stopped short of issuing his usual request for no-fly zone. But he hit out at the military alliance for not doing more to help his country defend itself against the Russians and appealed for “unlimited military support.”

“You have at least 20,000 tanks. Ukraine asks for 1 per cent, 1 per cent of all your tanks. Please give them to us or sell them to us. But we, so far, have not heard a clear response. We just want to save our people, to survive, just to survive,” Mr. Zelensky said.

The extraordinary series of summits — hosted by NATO, the Group of Seven industrialized nations and the European Union — reflected alarm that the conflict shows no sign of ending soon and could even spread beyond Ukraine’s borders. As Europe faces its greatest crisis in generations, Western leaders continue the search for ways to increase pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin while avoiding steps that could lead to a wider war on the continent.

-Emma Graney and The Associated Press


12:20 p.m. ET

Ukraine says Moscow is forcibly taking civilians to Russia

Ukraine accused Moscow of forcibly taking thousands of civilians from the shattered port city of Mariupol to Russia so that they can be used as “hostages” to pressure Kyiv to give up.

A month into the invasion, meanwhile, the two sides traded heavy blows in what has become a devastating war of attrition. Ukraine’s navy said it sank a large landing ship near the port city of Berdyansk that had been used to supply Russian forces with armored vehicles. Russia claimed to have taken the eastern town of Izyum after fierce fighting.

– The Associated Press


11:08 a.m. ET

Ukraine says it has destroyed a large Russian landing ship

The Ukrainian navy says it successfully attacked the Orsk, a large Russian landing ship anchored in a port near Berdyansk. Video shows explosions, flames and large plumes of smoke rising from one ship as other naval vessels steam away from the scene. Russia has so far not commented on the attack.

The Globe and Mail

Ukraine said on Thursday it had destroyed a large Russian landing support ship, the Orsk, at the Russian-occupied port of Berdiansk on the Sea of ​​Azov.

Russia said on Monday the ship had docked at Berdiansk, 70 km southwest of the besieged port city of Mariupol, and the website of the Russian armed forces news outlet Zvezda (Star) underlined the port’s importance to Russian supply lines.

The ship was capable of carrying 45 armored personnel carriers and 400 people.

Reuters


10:36 a.m. ET

Ukraine says Russian forces have been pushed back in areas around Kyiv

Ukraine said on Thursday that its troops had pushed back Russian forces from some areas around Kyiv but that Russia had not given up hope of surrounding and seizing the Ukrainian capital.

“In some sectors the enemy was driven back by more than 70 km (44 miles), in some sectors the enemy is at a distance of 35 km,” Defense Ministry spokesperson Oleksander Motuzyanyk told a televised briefing.

Reuters


10:16 a.m. ET

NATO says concerned Russia may be preparing pretext for chemical attack

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a media conference during a summit at NATO headquarters in Brussels.Thibault Camus/The Associated Press

Russia may be trying to create a pretext for the use of chemical weapons in Ukraine by accusing the United States and its allies of preparing such an attack, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday.

“We are concerned partly because we see the rhetoric and we see that Russia is trying to create some kind of pretext accusing Ukraine, the United States and NATO allies of preparing to use chemical and biological weapons,” he told reporters after a NATO summit in Brussels, adding any use of chemical weapons would have widespread consequences..

Reuters


9:20 a.m. ET

US to pledge US$1 billion in Ukraine aid, take 100,000 refugees

The United States will announce US$1-billion in humanitarian aid to Ukraine, and a plan to accept up to 100,000 Ukraine refugees, a senior administration official said.

The United States is also launching the ‘European Democratic Resilience Initiative’ with $320 million in funding to support media freedom, social resistance, and human rights in Ukraine and nearby countries, the official said.

Reuters


7:55 a.m. ET

Mariupol says 15,000 deported from besieged city to Russia

Ukrainian authorities in besieged Mariupol said on Thursday about 15,000 civilians had been illegally deported to Russia since Russian forces seized parts of the southern port city.

“Residents of the Left Bank district are beginning to be deported en masse to Russia. In total, about 15,000 Mariupol residents have been subjected to illegal deportation,” Mariupol city council said in a statement issued on Thursday.

Ukrainian officials say civilians trapped in Mariupol, which is normally home to about 400,000 people, facing a desperate plight without access to food, water, power or heat.

Reuters


7:41 a.m. ET

Swiss freeze more than $6 billion worth of sanctioned Russian assets

The Swiss government has frozen around US$6.17 billion worth of Russian assets in Switzerland covered by sanctions, and the number is likely to rise, a government official said on Thursday.

Pressure has increased on Switzerland — a popular destination for Moscow’s elite and a holding place for Russian wealth — to more quickly identify and freeze assets of hundreds of sanctioned Russians.

Its banks hold up to US$213 billion of Russian wealth, Switzerland’s bank lobby estimates.

Reuters


6:28 a.m. ET

Ukraine belongs in the EU: Zelensky

Ukraine is fighting for the security of the whole of Europe and should be a full member of the European Union, President Volodymyr Zelensky told Swedish lawmakers on Thursday via video link.

“We are not fighting just for the people of Ukraine, but for Europe’s security and we have shown that we deserve to be a fully-fledged member of the EU,” he said.

Reuters


5:43 a.m. ET

‘We will see who is our friend’, Zelensky says as Western leaders meet

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged Western nations gathering in Brussels on Thursday to take “serious steps” to help Kyiv fight Russia’s invasion, as an unprecedented one-day trio of NATO, G7 and EU summits got underway.

“At these three summits we will see who is our friend, who is our partner and who sold us out and betrayed us,” Zelensky said in a video address released early on Thursday.

He said he expected “serious steps” from Western allies, repeating calls for a no-fly zone over Ukraine and complaining that the West had not provided Ukraine with planes, modern anti-missile systems, tanks or anti-ship weapons.

While they will not send troops or planes, the 30 nations of NATO will agree to send Kyiv equipment to defend against biological, chemical and nuclear attacks.

Reuters


5:04 a.m. ET

Putin has crossed red line into barbarism: Johnson

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday accused Russia of crossing a red line into barbarism in its war with Ukraine and said the West needed to “tighten the vice” in sanctions to bring the conflict to an end.

“Vladimir Putin has already crossed the red line into barbarism,” Mr. Johnson told reporters on arrival in Brussels for an unprecedented one-day trio of NATO, G7 and EU summits. He said more sanctions needed to be imposed.

“It is very important we work together to get this thing done. The harder our sanctions … the more we can do to help Ukraine … the faster this thing can be over.”

Britain froze the assets of Russia’s Gazprombank and Alfa Bank, and the state-run shipping firm Sovcomflot, in its latest round of sanctions announced on Thursday. It added 59 individuals and entities in total. Gazprombank is one of main channels for payments for Russian oil and gas.

Reuters


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