Volodymyr Zelensky asks for more assistance at NATO summit
Addressing the NATO summit in Brussels, President Zelensky said Ukraine needed fighter jets, tanks, anti-ship weapons and improved air defense to repel Russian troops. “I am sure you already understand that Russia does not intend to stop in Ukraine. Does not think and will not. It wants to go further, against the eastern members of NATO. The Baltic states, Poland –for sure,” he said.
Zelenskiy added that NATO had yet to show what it can do to save people, to show that this is indeed the most powerful defense alliance in the world.
NATO said it will tighten sanctions against Moscow, strengthen its forces on its eastern flank and send more military aid to Ukraine.
It is one thing to say and another thing to do
“Today, NATO leaders agreed to reset our deterrence and defense for the longer term to face a new security reality,” NATO chief Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters following an extraordinary meeting in Brussels.
He explained that NATO will have “substantially more forces in the eastern part of the alliance at higher readiness,” including more pre-positioned equipment and supplies on the ground, more aircraft and strengthened air and missile defense systems, as well as more ship carriers, submarines, and a significant numbers of combat ships on a permanent basis.
NATO will also reinforce its cyber defense and work to ensure better interoperability between national capabilities, he said.
Hit first strategy as pill no longer works
Reuters said Jens Stoltenberg said NATO is concerned that Russia may be trying to create a pretext for the use of chemical weapons in Ukraine by accusing the United States and its allies of preparing such an attack. “There is also a risk that it (a chemical weapons attack) will have a direct effect on people living in NATO countries,” Stoltenberg said.
The Guardian reported that Britain and the US fear Russia could be setting the stage to use a chemical weapon in Ukraine after Kremlin officials alleged without firm evidence that the US had been supporting a bioweapons program in the country.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Wednesday that Russia had been making “false claims about alleged US biological weapons labs and chemical weapons development in Ukraine”, and added that the allegations had been echoed in Beijing.
President of Ukraine addresses world powers
“You’d better give Ukraine the weapons we need now than look for weapons for other countries later. I mean Georgia, Moldova, the Baltic states, Poland and Central Asia,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told those gathered at the G7 summit.
“Next, we need to create a new system of security guarantees for Ukraine and our region. Real guarantees effective guarantees that can stop any aggression within 24 hours. Within 24 hours, we have proposed an association, a U-24. Something that the world needs not just to prevent wars, but also to stop active hostilities that have already begun and also to provide support to those countries that suffer from natural disasters or need support during pandemics or which face migration or food crises,” stated Zelensky.
First prisoner swap
Ukraine and Russia conducted the first prisoner swap since the start of the conflict, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said on Facebook. Ten Ukrainian prisoners of war held by the Russian military were released in exchange for ten Russian soldiers captured by Ukrainian forces. Ukraine handed over 11 civilian Russian sailors, who were rescued from a sunken ship near Odessa to Russia in exchange for 19 Ukrainian civilian sailors.
Special camps for Russian prisoners of war, created in accordance with international law norms, are now operating in Ukraine, said Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova.
Not FAKE, but barefaced lie
“A car belonging to Russian occupiers with a loudspeaker is driving around Mariupol spreading false information among the townspeople that the invaders allegedly have already taken control of Odesa, and that Zaporizhia allegedly no longer accepts refugees from Mariupol, so they should go to Russia,” the Mariupol City Council’s press service said on Thursday.
In addition, Russians in the village of Nikolske note that the only possibility of evacuation is by bus to Rostov and that Ukraine has abandoned them. This is a deliberate misinformation of the occupiers, in order not only to disrupt the evacuation process, but also to deliberately turn Mariupol residents against their country, the press service said.
Russia to blame for humanitarian crisis in Ukraine
The U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a resolution Thursday blaming Russia for the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and urging an immediate cease-fire and protection for millions of civilians and the homes, schools and hospitals critical to their survival. The vote result was: 140-5 with only Belarus, Syria, North Korea and Eritrea joining Russia in opposing the measure, with 38 abstentions.
Children, innocent victims
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Orlando Bloom came to Moldova to help Ukrainian refugees.
UNICEF said more than half of Ukraine’s children – 4.3 million children – have been displaced since the beginning of the war in Ukraine. The war in Ukraine has led to the displacement of more than 1.8 million children who have crossed into the neighbouring countries as refugees and 2.5 million children who are now internally displaced inside Ukraine.