Here is the situation as it stands on Thursday, February 23, 2023:
- US President Joe Biden, speaking in Warsaw on Wednesday, promised that the United States “will defend literally every inch of NATO”, the military alliance that includes some Eastern European countries bordering Russia.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin said Chinese leader Xi Jinping would visit Russia, adding the two countries’ relations had reached “new frontiers”. The US and other Western countries have voiced concerns over China providing material support for Russia’s war in Ukraine, the largest land conflict in Europe since World War Two.
- In a national address, Putin also said Russia will “pay increased attention to strengthening” land, air and sea nuclear capabilities.
- A senior defence official said Russia will stick to agreed limits on nuclear missiles and keep informing the US about changes in its deployments, despite the suspension of the New START treaty – its last remaining arms control treaty with Washington.
- Russia’s defence ministry accused Ukraine of planning to invade Moldova’s breakaway Transnistria region in a false flag operation, the RIA news agency reported.
- Lithuania’s President Gitanas Nauseda said he urged Biden to seek NATO deployment of additional military equipment, such as HIMARS artillery or attack helicopters, in the Baltic states.
- UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres denounced Russia’s invasion as a violation of the founding UN Charter and international law, and called out Moscow’s threats about the possible use of nuclear weapons, saying: “It is high time to step back from the brink.”
- Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska called on the UN to establish a special tribunal to prosecute crimes of Russian aggression, stressing that “it is not only us who need that, we need that for everyone”.
- The UN General Assembly was set to vote on Thursday on a resolution calling for “just and lasting peace in Ukraine”, the latest opportunity for countries to lodge an official position on the conflict.
- European Union countries could not reach an agreement on Wednesday about new sanctions against Russia, and planned more talks to have the package ready for the first anniversary of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine on Friday, diplomats said.
- Two civilians were killed in Russian shelling of the Kherson region in southern Ukraine and two were wounded in a missile strike on the northeastern city of Kharkiv, regional officials said.
- The head of the Wagner Russian mercenary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, took a bitter public feud with the army top brass to a new level, publishing a grisly image of dozens of his fighters he said had been killed after being deprived of ammunition.
- Russian prosecutors said they were proceeding with a case against exiled science fiction writer Dmitry Glukhovsky, accused of publishing “false information” about Russian atrocities in the war.
- Ukrainian forces repelled 90 Russian attacks in the northeast and east over the past 24 hours, the military said early on Thursday. Russian troops attacked near Kupiansk in the Kharkiv region and around Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Shakhtarsk in the Donetsk region, where, according to the Ukrainian military, Russia is concentrating its offensive efforts.
Source: News Agencies