Ukraine: Zelenskyy seeks more sanctions, battle continues

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Fighting continues in Ukraine after the country celebrated its anniversary of the Russian invasion, with Ukrainian authorities reporting dozens of new Russian strikes and attacks on cities in the east and south on Saturday.

After a gloomy and challenging day of commemorations on Friday and a marathon press conference the apparently tireless president of Ukraine followed up a day later with new video posts declaring that “Russia must lose in Ukraine” and arguing that its forces can be defeated this year.

In a separate tweet, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also pushed for more sanctions against Russia after UK and US. and the European Union all announced new measures to further curb funding and support for Moscow.

“The pressure on the Russian aggressor must increase,” Zelensky tweeted in English.

He said Ukraine wants to see “decisive steps” against Russia’s state-owned nuclear company Rosatom and the Russian nuclear industry, as well as “more pressure on the military and banking system”.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said this week Rosatom and his defense ministry must work to ensure Russia is ready to resume nuclear weapons tests If necessary. He claimed that the US is working on nuclear weapons and that some in the US are considering plans to conduct nuclear tests that were banned under the global test ban that came into effect after the end of the Cold War.

“If the US carries out tests, so will we,” Putin said.

Russia has already become the most sanctioned country in the world in the past year, the target of sanctions by more than 30 countries representing more than half of the world’s economy. But the pressure on the economy, trade and businesses has yet to deal a huge blow.

The Russian ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Antonov, called the latest US sanctions “ill-considered”.

“We have learned to live under economic and political pressure,” Antonov said. “Experience with previous sanctions has shown that they harm the global market to a greater extent and worsen the situation of ordinary citizens in states that initiate or support reckless sanctions.”

February 24 birthday last year’s invasion brought no respite from Russian attacks.

Still, in one of his video posts on Saturday, Zelenskyy asked, “Is it possible for us to win?”

“Yes,” he said. “We are in a position to end Russian aggression this year with unity, resoluteness and intransigence.”

The Ukrainian military reported 27 Russian air strikes and 75 multiple rocket launcher attacks in the most recent 24-hour period on Saturday. It said Russian offensive efforts remain concentrated in Ukraine’s industrial east and northeast. Five injured civilians were reported in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk province, where territory is roughly divided between Russian and Ukrainian administration.

Fighting raged ‘around’ and ‘near’ Bakhmut, a city in the Donetsk region that the Ukrainian army says has become the center of fighting in recent months. The army said Russian forces continued to try to break through Ukrainian defenses, surround and take the city.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, owner of the Russian private military company Wagner, claimed on Saturday that his fighters have “completely taken over” the village of Yahidne on the northern outskirts of Bakhmut. There is no confirmation of the claim of the Russian army or the Ukrainian army.

In the southern region of Kherson, Governor Oleksandr Prokudin also reported 83 Russian shelling, hitting the regional capital, also known as Kherson, nine times, and hitting residential buildings, a kindergarten and a medical facility. The head of the Presidential Office of Ukraine reported three civilian casualties in the region.

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Saturday he wants to discuss peace efforts related to Ukraine’s war with China when he travels there in April. China has called for a ceasefire and peace talks. Zelenskyy gave qualified support on Friday for Beijing’s apparent interest in playing a role.

Macron said in Paris that “China must now help us put pressure on Russia.”

“Obviously so that Russia never uses chemical or nuclear weapons,” he said. “But also so that (Russia) stops this aggression as a precondition for negotiations.”

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Saturday that he welcomes parts of China’s proposed peace plan for Ukraine but disagrees with other aspects.

“There are things that are remarkably accurate, such as the renewed condemnation of the use of nuclear weapons,” Scholz told reporters during an official visit to India.. “What I think is missing is a discernible line that says, ‘Russian troops must also withdraw.’”


Elise Morton in London, Sylvie Corbet in Paris and Frank Jordans in Berlin contributed to this report.


Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine at and of the anniversary of the invasion at

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