The situation on the front is ‘extremely acute’, says Zelenskiy Reuters


© Reuters. US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov, Icelandic Foreign Minister Thordis Kolbrun Reykfjord Gylfadottir and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg met to discuss how to help Ukraine defend itself


(Reuters) – Ukraine on Friday battled Russian troops trying to break through its lines in the east and northeast before Kyiv takes over tanks from its Western allies, saying the fighting showed it needed more weapons to repel the invaders.


* Three people were killed and at least two wounded after Russian forces attacked a residential area in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kostiantynivka, the regional governor said Saturday.

* On Friday, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy described the situation on the front as “extremely acute”, especially in the eastern Donetsk region where Russia is stepping up its offensive.

* Zelenskiy reported major battles for Vuhledar, southwest of the capital Donetsk, and Bakhmut, to the northeast. Bakhmut was largely pulverized by repeated Russian attacks.


* Several countries have promised Ukraine 321 heavy tanks, Kiev’s ambassador to France said on Friday.

* Poland will send an additional 60 tanks to Ukraine on top of the 14 German-made Leopard 2 tanks it has already promised, Poland’s prime minister said in an interview with Canadian television on Thursday.


* Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov will hold a meeting with Lynne Tracy, the new US ambassador to Moscow, early next week, the RIA news agency reported on Saturday.

* A senior aide to Ukraine’s president sharply criticized the International Olympic Committee for siding with Russia days after he said the Olympic Council of Asia had offered Russian and Belarusian athletes a chance to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

* Ukraine will launch an international campaign to prevent Russian athletes from competing at the 2024 Olympics, Zelenskiy said on Friday.

* Ukraine will summon Hungary’s ambassador to complain about Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s “completely unacceptable” remarks about Ukraine, Kyiv said on Friday. Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko, writing on Facebook (NASDAQ: ), said Orban told reporters that Ukraine is a no man’s land and compared it to Afghanistan.


* Russia is violating “fundamental principles of child protection” in wartime by giving Ukrainian children Russian passports and putting them up for adoption, the head of the UN refugee agency told Reuters.


* A senior U.S. Treasury Department sanctions official on a trip to Turkey and the Middle East next week will warn countries and companies that they could lose access to the U.S. market if they do business with entities subject to U.S. restrictions as Washington cracks down on Russian attempts to evade sanctions.

* Japan tightened sanctions on Russia on Friday after the latest wave of missile attacks in Ukraine, adding goods to a list of banned exports and freezing the assets of Russian officials and entities. Russia has said that the sanctions against Japan are not a cause for concern and that it is adapting to life under such restrictions.

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