Ukraine refused to negotiate a ceasefire with Moscow and intensified its attacks in the eastern Donbas

Andrzej Duda, Polish President, told Ukraine’s Parliament that even “one inch” of its territory would be a loss to the West. He also assured Kyiv about Warsaw’s support for its European Union membership bid.

“Worrying voices have been heard, saying that Ukraine should submit to (President Vladimir Putin’s) demands,” Duda stated. He was the first foreign leader to address Ukrainian lawmakers since Russia’s February 24 invasion.

“Only Ukraine can decide its future.”

Russia has launched a major offensive against Luhansk in Donbas, one of the two provinces, after putting an end to weeks of resistance from the last Ukrainian fighters at the strategically located port of Mariupol in the southeastern region.

Russian-backed separatists had already seized parts of Luhansk, Donetsk and other provinces before the invasion. However, Moscow is determined to seize any remaining Ukrainian-held territory.

Russian forces attempted to breach Ukrainian defenses at Donetsk to get to the administrative borders of Luhansk. Further north, they continued heavy shelling on Sievierodonetsk.

The eastern part of a Ukrainian-held area that Russia is trying to take over after losing Kyiv, lies across the Siverskiy Donets River.

On Sunday, the British Defence Ministry stated that Russia would deploy its BMP-T “Terminator”, tank-support vehicles to support that offensive. The ministry stated that they are unlikely to make a significant impact on a unit which already suffered severe losses in the attempted attack on Kyiv.

Speaking to Reuters, the lead negotiator for Ukraine, Mykhailo Podolyak, said that he would not accept a ceasefire with Moscow or any agreement that required him to cede territory. Mykhailo Podolyak, Zelenskiy’s advisor, stated that making concessions would be counterproductive as Russia will hit back harder after any ceasefire or break in fighting.

“The war will never stop. “It will be put on pause temporarily,” Podolyak stated in an interview at the highly guarded presidential office. They’ll launch a new offensive that is more bloody, and larger-scale.

Recent appeals for an immediate ceasefire were made by U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and the Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi.

After a string of setbacks over nearly three months, Russian President Vladimir Putin is able to celebrate the end of fighting at Mariupol, Russia’s largest city.

According to the Russian defense ministry, the last Ukrainian forces that were encircled in Mariupol’s Azovstal steelworks had surrendered. Although Ukraine has not confirmed that all its forces are gone, the Azov regiment commander, which is one of the units within the factory, stated in a video that the Ukrainian military command had instructed the forces to leave Mariupol in order to save their lives.

Russia has full control over Mariupol, giving Russia the command of a land route linking the Crimea Peninsula and mainland Russia. This route was seized by Moscow in 2014.

GAS DISPUTE

Gazprom, Russia’s state gas company, said Saturday that it had stopped gas exports from Finland. Finland has rejected Moscow’s demand to pay in Russian roubles after Western countries imposed sanctions on the invasion.

Finland stated that it is ready for the cessation of Russian flow. The country applied Wednesday with its Nordic neighbour Sweden to join NATO’s military alliance. However, it is being opposed by NATO member Turkey.

Most European supply contracts are in dollars or euros. Moscow cut gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria last month after rejecting the terms.

Western countries have increased their weapons supplies to Ukraine. U.S. President Joe Biden signed Saturday’s bill that would provide almost $40 billion in humanitarian, military and economic aid to Kyiv.

Moscow claims that the United States and its allies are waging a proxy war by using Western sanctions as well as arms deliveries to Kyiv.

Zelenskiy stated that he stressed the importance of more sanctions against Russia and unblocking Ukrainian ports during a call with Draghi from Italy on Saturday.


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