In light of his army's recent successes in recapturing previously occupied territories, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called the annexations by Russia meaningless. "As soon as the Ukrainian flag has returned, no one remembers the Russian farce with any papers and any annexations," said Zelenskyy in his nightly video address.
It had previously become known that Russian troops had to give up the strategically important small town of Lyman in the eastern region of Donetsk and that the Ukrainians now have control there again. Around seven months after the war began, Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin annexed the Ukrainian regions of Luhansk, Zaporizhia and Cherson in addition to Donetsk last Friday. The incorporation of the regions, parts of which Russia has not even conquered, in violation of international law, is not recognized internationally.
Both Germany and the USA have assured Ukraine that they will continue to support the liberation of their country. In the meantime, in view of the mass exodus before the partial mobilization that has been going on for about ten days, Russia has, according to its own statements, begun to actively prevent conscripts from leaving the country.
Called up Russian men trying to escape at the border
According to its own statements, Russia has already stopped more than 180 conscripts trying to flee from being drafted into the military on the border with neighboring Georgia. They were given a draft notice right at the Verkhni Lars border crossing, the Interfax agency reported, citing the military commissariat of the Russian region of North Ossetia, which borders on the ex-Soviet Republic of Georgia.
The mobilization ordered by Kremlin chief Putin on September 21 triggered a veritable mass exodus in Russia. Tens of thousands of men fled not only to Georgia in the South Caucasus, but also to the Central Asian ex-Soviet states of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
Ukraine gets additional howitzers from Slovakia
Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht announced the delivery of 16 Slovak-made self-propelled howitzers to the Ukraine for the coming year. The Zuzana-type systems are produced in Slovakia and financed jointly with Denmark, Norway and Germany, the SPD politician told the ARD program "Report from Berlin" on February 24 after returning from her first trip to Ukraine since the beginning of the war .
US minister: Support for Ukraine 'as long as necessary'
The United States assures Ukraine of continued support - regardless of the further course of the war. The combat operations are currently developing positively for the Ukrainian army, said US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on the news channel CNN. It is difficult to predict the further course, he restricted. "But I would say that no matter which direction this goes, we will provide security support to Ukrainians for as long as necessary," he said.
What is important today
A few days after the annexation of four Ukrainian regions announced by Kremlin chief Putin, the State Duma in Moscow is expected to seal the illegal annexations by law on Monday. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian army is likely to continue its recapture attempts after the successful recapture of Lyman.