War in Ukraine: Latest developments
Here are the latest developments in the war in Ukraine:
Macron, Scholz, Draghi in Kyiv
French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi visit Kyiv for the first time since Russia invaded Ukraine.
Macron says their visit to Kyiv and its battle-damaged suburb of Irpin aims to send “a message of European unity” with Ukraine, which is seeking EU membership.
Scholz says they want to ensure the country gets military, financial and humanitarian aid “for as long as necessary”.
Macron has been criticised for stressing the need not to “humiliate” Russia.
He, Scholz and Draghi have worked to maintain contact with President Vladimir Putin.
10,000 civilians trapped in eastern city
The governor of the eastern Lugansk region, Sergiy Gaiday, says around 10,000 civilians, out of a pre-war population of 100,000, remain trapped in the city of Severodonetsk, where intense fighting has raged for weeks.
The city is the biggest in the Lugansk region that has not fallen to Russian forces.
The three bridges into the city have been destroyed, cutting off key escape routes.
Moscow says Ukraine on Wednesday blocked the evacuation of civilians from a chemical plant where Ukrainian forces are holding out.
“Kyiv authorities cynically scuppered the humanitarian operation”, the Russian defence ministry said.
$1 bn more in US weapons
US President Joe Biden announces a new $1 billion worth of arms and ammunition for Ukraine.
The package includes more artillery, coastal anti-ship defence systems and ammunition for artillery and advanced rocket systems that Ukraine is already using.
Kyiv says it is outgunned in the fight for its industrial heartland of Donbas and appealed to Western allies for greater military aid.
Xi assures Russia of Chinese support
Chinese President Xi Jinping assures Putin of Beijing’s support on “sovereignty and security” during a call, according to state media.
China is “willing to continue to offer mutual support (to Russia) on issues concerning core interests and major concerns such as sovereignty and security,” Chinese state broadcaster CCTV reports Xi as saying.
China has refused to condemn Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine and has been accused of providing diplomatic cover for Russia by blasting Western sanctions and arms sales to Kyiv.
Japanese airline ditches Z logo
Japan’s Zipair budget airline ditches its Z logo for fear of it being read as a sign of support for Russia’s war in Ukraine.
The letter Z has become a symbol of support for Russia’s invasion after being spotted on Russian tanks and military uniforms in Ukraine.
It has since appeared on cars, clothing and on billboards across Russia, as well as on social media.
UK rocket launcher delivery soon
UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace says Britain will soon deliver multiple-launch rocket systems to Ukraine in response to its request for more heavy weapons.
The US too has promised to send multiple-launch rocket systems and medium-range ammunition.
Ikea reduces Russian activities
Swedish furniture giant Ikea says it will “scale down” its activities in Russia and Belarus, after putting them on hold following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“Businesses and supply chains across the world have been heavily impacted and we do not see that it is possible to resume operations any time soon,” Ingka Group, which manages the majority of Ikea’s stores, says in a statement.