Russia hits civilian targets anew, EU officials visit Kyiv

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) – Russian rockets hit residential areas in eastern Ukraine on Thursday for the second time in 24 hours as top EU officials meet with government officials in Kyiv as the war rages. With Russia. Approaching its one-year milestone.

The latest attack in Kramatorsk came as rescuers searched for survivors in the rubble of an apartment building that was hit Wednesday evening by Russian missiles that killed at least one person. At least three people and 21 others were injured. The Ukrainian presidential office said at least one other victim was thought to be under rubble.

“Kramatorsk was once again torn apart by an explosion – the Russians did,” Pavlo Kyrylenko, the regional governor, wrote in a Telegram post. “Two more rocket attacks.”

He said at least five civilians were injured in the latest attack, which struck a residential building as well as a children’s clinic and a school in the city center. Kramatorsk Mayor Oleksandr Honcharenko urged residents to stay in shelters.

Kramatorsk is an important center for the Ukrainian military in the east.

There were no immediate details on Thursday’s attack.

Russia has repeatedly attacked apartment buildings during the war, resulting in civilian casualties, although the Kremlin has refused to target housing.

The presidential office said Russian shelling across Ukraine in the past 24 hours had killed eight civilians and wounded 29 others. Along with the victims in Kramatorsk, a total of four people were killed when Russian mortar shells hit a basement where they were staying in the northeastern Chernihiv region.

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President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy Meets with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen Ahead of what officials described as Friday’s summit. The last summit was held in Kyiv in October 2021 – a few months before the war began on February 24, 2022.

Von der Leyen praised Ukraine’s “wartime” agenda for EU membership, although Brussels officials noted that Ukraine’s accession to the 27-nation bloc was still a long way off.

Ahead of possible membership, Von der Leyen said the commission was asking Kyiv to “participate in key European programs – this would give Ukraine close benefits to EU membership in many areas.”

She said EU aid for Ukraine had reached 50 billion euros ($ 55 billion) since the start of the Russian war.

She said the EU plans to re-approve the 10th round of sanctions from Russia before February 24. Von der Leyen also announced that an international center for the prosecution of crimes of aggression in Ukraine would be set up in The Hague to facilitate the collection of evidence of war crimes.

Von der Leyen, on her fourth visit to Kiev since the Russian invasion, added that she Consoled by Ukraine’s anti-corruption drive Eliminating global corruption is a key condition for joining the EU.

Zelenskyy on Wednesday focused on corrupt officials For the second time in a week. Many high-ranking officials have been fired.

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Zelenskyy was elected in 2019 on the Anti-Corruption and Anti-Corruption Forum in a country that has long been plagued by corruption.

The latest allegations of corruption come as Western allies are providing billions of dollars to help Kyiv fight Moscow’s forces, and as the Ukrainian government introduces such reforms. It could potentially join the EU.

The Ukrainian government wants more Western military aid than tanks promised last week.As the conflicting parties are expected to launch a new offensive once the winter is over. Kyiv is now requesting fighter jets.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov told French BFM television that Kyiv expects Russia to “try something” on the 24th of February. He stressed the urgency of his government to get weapons without delay.

“We are telling our partners we also need to be prepared as soon as possible,” he said in an interview Wednesday evening.

US President Joe Biden has rejected the delivery of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine. US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin spoke on Thursday during a trip to the Philippines. The main focus of US assistance is to increase Ukraine’s military capabilities through the deployment of artillery and air defense and training of the Ukrainian army.

Austin said the United States was focused on providing Ukraine with the capabilities it needed to be effective in the offensive. Expect its upcoming spring.

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“Therefore, we are doing everything we can to give them the capacity they need now to be effective on the battlefield,” he said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the strategy would return, urging Moscow to ensure that potential Russian targets were out of line.

“The longer the weapons supplied to the Kyiv regime, the longer we will need to push them away from the territory that is part of our country,” Lavrov said in an interview with Russian state media.

He said Moscow wanted to see an end to the war, but noted that the duration of the conflict was less important than the desired outcome: to protect Russian territory and “people who want to keep part of Russian culture”. Reaffirm Moscow’s stated goal of protecting Russian speakers in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin Attracted national pride in a ceremony. To mark the 80th anniversary of the Nazi defeat in World War II in Stalingrad, as he sought to strengthen support at home for the battle in Ukraine, where Kremlin forces suffered casualties. Some embarrassing declines in recent months.

He said in Volgograd as Stalingrad was renamed in 1961 that “the strength of the Stalingrad defenders was the most important moral sign for Russian soldiers.” “And our victory.”


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