Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has urged the international community for warplanes to counter Russian aggression. The international community has also moved on other weapon systems, Zelenskyj said in a video message. The appeal was aimed at politicians, the military and experts at the Munich Security Conference.
There is a coalition to supply main battle tanks, the taboo on long-range artillery shells has been lifted, the president said. "The world has already heard how necessary it is for global security to create an aircraft coalition for Ukraine."
In the city of Bakhmut in the east, which had been fought over for months, the Ukrainian defenders came under increasing pressure. According to their boss Yevgeny Prigoschin, the Russian mercenary force Wagner conquered the strategically important military location Paraskovijivka north of Bakhmut. This increases the danger that the Ukrainians will be cut off from supply and retreat routes.
Russia invaded the neighboring country on February 24 almost a year ago. Saturday marks the 360th day of Ukraine's defensive struggle. However, in the understanding of most Ukrainians, the war started in 2014. At that time, Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula and sent soldiers under the guise of an alleged separatist movement to the Donbass in eastern Ukraine.
Zelenskyj: Victory this year is possible
Selenskyj reported to the home audience what he said at the opening of the Munich Security Conference. "Ukraine's key message at the security conference is clear: we must do everything we can to derail Russian aggression this year," he said. That is possible, but it can only be achieved "if Ukraine gets the weapons it needs."
Just as with the tanks, one can responsibly say in advance "that the problem of the planes will be solved," said Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, according to the Kiev media in Munich. "It will take a little more time." The discussion about the planes will be structured differently than about the tanks. "But that work has already begun," Kuleba said. The Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Olexander Kubrakow asked in Munich to help Ukraine with cluster munitions and phosphorus incendiary bombs.
Russian forces advance on Bakhmut from the north
"The place Paraskovijivka is completely under the control of departments of the mercenary company Wagner," Prigozhin said, according to the Russian agency Interfax. There was no independent confirmation. The place was not mentioned in the evening report of the Ukrainian general staff.
Russian military bloggers wrote that Paraskoviyevka was an important junction of the Ukrainian defense lines north of Bakhmut. Should the neighboring villages of Verkhivka, Berkhivka and Jahidne also be conquered, the Ukrainian troops in Bakhmut could no longer be supplied from the north. In the south of Bakhmut, too, Russian forces are pushing behind the Ukrainians.
Ukrainian soldiers complete training on US tanks
According to the US military, several hundred Ukrainian soldiers have already been trained on Bradley armored personnel carriers at the military training area in Grafenwoehr in Bavaria. The first group of about 635 Ukrainians completed their almost five-week training this week, the US Department of Defense said. Two other battalions would have started training. Training on Stryker wheeled armored personnel carriers is also to begin next week for a first group of Ukrainian soldiers. The USA, as an important ally, supplies Ukraine with both types of tanks.
Moscow enraged by US statements on Crimea
According to Moscow, the United States is inciting Ukraine to strike the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, thereby fueling the conflict. "Now the American warmongers are going even further: They incite the Kiev regime to escalate further by transferring the war to our territory," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in Moscow.
The trigger was statements by top US diplomat Victoria Nuland, according to which Washington considers Russian military facilities in Crimea to be legitimate targets. "Ukraine will not be safe unless Crimea is at least demilitarized," Nuland said in Washington. Kiev can count on support from the USA.
That will be important on Saturday
The Russian war of aggression against Ukraine is also the most important topic at the Munich Security Conference on the second day. Speakers expected include EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, US Vice President Kamala Harris and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.