Five developments as Zelensky refuses to sacrifice territory for peace

Buenos dias. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has again asked Russia to come to the negotiation table to find a diplomatic solution to end the conflict but said he won’t cede any territory as a precondition.

Russia’s former president has made a stark admission, saying it’s foolish to think Western sanctions will force Moscow to abandon its military campaign.

Elsewhere, the UK will donate 2 million pounds worth of food to Ukraine’s besieged areas.

Here’s what happened overnight – and you can follow the latest updates in our live blog.

1. Russia won’t give up its territory for the sake of peace, says Zelensky

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has again appealed to Russia to negotiate an end to the war, but says Ukraine would not agree to give up any of its territory for the sake of peace.

In his nightly video address to the nation Friday, Zelensky appeared to be responding to Col.-Gen Sergei Rudskoi, deputy chief of the Russian general staff, who said Russian forces would now focus on “the main goal, the liberation of Donbas.”

Russian-backed separatists have controlled part of the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine since 2014, and Russian forces have been battling to seize more of the region from Ukraine, including the besieged city of Mariupol.

Rudskoi’s statement also was a suggestion that Russia may be backing away from trying to take Kyiv and other major cities where its offensive has stalled. Zelensky noted that Russian forces have lost thousands of troops but still haven’t been able to take Kyiv or Kharkiv, the second largest city.

2. UK to fund 2 million pounds of food supplies for encircled Ukrainian cities

Britain said on Saturday it would fund 2 million pounds ($2.6 million) worth of vital food supplies for areas of Ukraine which are encircled by Russian forces following a direct request from the Ukrainian government.

Just over a month after Moscow invaded Ukraine in what it describes as a “special military operation”, Russian troops have failed to capture any major Ukrainian cities and have resorted to pounding them with artillery and air strikes.

Worst hit has been the eastern port of Mariupol, a city of 400,000 under siege since the war’s early days. Tens of thousands of people are still believed to be trapped inside with no access to food, power or heating.

Britain said around 25 truckloads of dried food, tinned goods and water will be transported by road and rail from warehouses in Poland and Slovakia to the most at-risk Ukrainian towns and cities.

3. Biden to call on ‘free world’ to stand against Putin in Poland speech

US President Joe Biden will argue in a speech in Poland on Saturday that the “free world” opposes Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and that there is unity among major economies on the need to stop Vladimir Putin, the White House said.

After three days of emergency meetings with allies of the G7, European Council and NATO, and a visit with US troops in Poland, Biden will meet with Polish President Andrzej Duda.

Mr Biden, who took office last year after a violently contested election, vowed to restore democracy at home and unite democracies abroad to confront autocrats including the Russian president and China’s leader Xi Jinping.

Putin’s Feb 24 invasion of Ukraine, which Russia calls a “special operation”, has tested that promise and threatened to inaugurate a new Cold War three decades after the Soviet Union unraveled.

4. Western sanctions won’t sway Kremlin, says Russia’s former president Medvedev

It is “foolish” to believe that Western sanctions against Russian businesses could have any effect on the Moscow government, Russian ex-president and deputy head of security council Dmitry Medvedev was quoted as saying on Friday.

The sanctions will only consolidate the Russian society and not cause popular discontent with the authorities, Medvedev told Russia’s RIA news agency in an interview.

The West has imposed an array of sanctions on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine, but one month into the war, the Kremlin says it will continue the assault until it accomplishes its goals of Ukraine’s “demilitarization and denazification”.

Some of the sanctions have specifically targeted billionaire businessmen believed to be close to President Vladimir Putin.

5. Seven Russian generals killed in Ukraine named

Western officials on Friday named seven Russian generals they said had so far been killed, and another who had been sacked, during the war in Ukraine.

The latest to die, Lieutenant General Yakov Rezanstev, was a commander of Russia’s 49th Combined Arms Army in its southern military district, an official disclosed.

Meanwhile, Russian Army Commander General Vlaislav Yershov, of the 6th Combined Arms Army, was identified as the general sacked earlier this week by the Kremlin.

It has been reported his abrupt dismissal was due to the heavy losses and strategic failures seen during the Russian military’s month-long invasion of its neighbour.

Listen to the latest episode of our daily Ukraine podcast

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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