Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has announced new sanctions against Russia and its allies Iran and Syria. "Ukrainian sanctions are part of the global pressure on Russia," said the 45-year-old in his daily video address. 400 people and companies are affected by the measure, said Zelenskyj.
Meanwhile, Kremlin boss Vladimir Putin has shown himself unimpressed by the latest punitive measures against him - the issuance of an arrest warrant by the International Criminal Court. The 70-year-old visited the occupied Ukrainian territory for the first time on Saturday and drove through the destroyed port city of Mariupol. Shortly before, he used the ninth anniversary of the annexation of Crimea to perform in the port city of Sevastopol, where the Russian Black Sea Fleet is also based.
Syria starting point for Russia's war against Ukraine
In his video message, Zelenskyy blamed the international community's passivity in Syria a few years ago, when Putin kept President Bashar al-Assad in power there with his bombs, for the start of the war in Ukraine. "The people of Syria have not received adequate international protection and this has given the Kremlin and its accomplices a sense of impunity," said Zelenskyy.
"There is only one way to protect life - it is necessary to expel the Russian army from Ukrainian soil. And we will do it," Zelenskyy promised. In his weekly summary, he thought his country was on the right track. For example, Ukraine received a new armaments package with ammunition, artillery and combat aircraft from the West. In addition, there were larger rounds of negotiations with the United States about further armaments aid, the Ukrainian head of state said.
Putin on surprise visits to occupied parts of Ukraine
For the first time since the beginning of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin has visited the occupied territories of the neighboring country. As the Kremlin announced on Sunday night, Putin had paid a "working visit" to the port of Mariupol on the Sea of Azov, which had been destroyed in heavy fighting. After his arrival in a helicopter, he informed himself about the situation during a tour and also talked to residents of the city, the state agency Tass reported. Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Marat Chusnullin informed Putin about the status of the reconstruction work.
Putin had just arrived on an unannounced visit to the Black Sea Peninsula to mark the ninth anniversary of Russia's annexation of Crimea. "Our President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin knows how to surprise," Moscow-appointed governor of the port city of Sevastopol, Mikhail Rasvozhayev, wrote on his Telegram channel on Saturday. State television broadcast images of the Kremlin chief opening an art school for children in Sevastopol.
After his visits to Ukraine, Putin met with the commanders of the Russian armed forces fighting in Ukraine in Rostov-on-Don. Among other things, Chief of Staff Valery Gerasimov reported to him on the situation at the fronts.
Scholz on Putin arrest warrant: Nobody is above the law
Following the arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court against Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chancellor Olaf Scholz emphasized that no one is above the law. "The International Criminal Court is the right institution to investigate war crimes," Scholz said on the decision at a press conference in Tokyo on Saturday. He added: "And the thing is that no one is above the law." The court in The Hague, Netherlands, issued an arrest warrant for kidnapping children from occupied territories in Ukraine to Russia.
Medvedev calls on Americans to stand up for Trump
Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, in turn, has called on the Americans to revolt because of the alleged imminent arrest of ex-US President Donald Trump. "Take back the country, Americans! To battle!" Medvedev wrote on his Telegram channel on Saturday. How seriously the 57-year-old meant his demands remained unclear.
In his text, Medvedev also addressed the arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court against Kremlin chief Putin. "The idiots in Europe want to arrest a stranger, and on March 21 their own will be arrested in America," Medvedev wrote.
Grain agreement officially extended
Russia and Ukraine have agreed to extend the grain deal. This was announced by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday. Without an agreement, the agreement would have expired on March 19.
There is a dispute about the length of the agreement. While Ukraine's Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov tweeted that the deal had been extended by 120 days, Moscow immediately denied it, stressing that it had only extended the deal by 60 days.
Dead and injured after shelling in eastern Ukraine
According to local authorities, at least two people died in a Russian bombardment with cluster munitions in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk. Eight other people were also injured, said the Ukrainian military governor of the Donetsk region, Pavlo Kyrylenko, on his Telegram channel on Saturday. Kramatorsk is about 20 kilometers west of the front line in the Donetsk region.
What will be important on Sunday
The extension of the grain agreement between Russia and Ukraine comes into force on Sunday. According to information from Moscow, Ukraine can still export food via its Black Sea ports for 60 days.
Outside of this limited compromise, the positions of the two warring factions are unchanged. Further fighting is to be expected on Sunday, especially around the Bachmut area.