Kyiv According to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Ukraine wants to bring back all parts of the country occupied by Russia, including Crimea. Zelensky emphasized this on Sunday on the anniversary of the occupation of the Black Sea Peninsula by Russian troops. The situation on the fronts in eastern Ukraine remains static, while the air force chief is asking for more anti-aircraft weapons.
“In 2014, Russian aggression began with the capture of Crimea,” Zelensky said in his nightly video address on Sunday. “It is logical that with the liberation of Crimea, we will mark a historic end to all attempts by Russia to ruin the lives of Ukrainians and all the peoples of Europe and Asia, which the Kremlin once claimed to subdue.”
Zelensky further said: “Today, February 26, we mark the day of resistance against the occupation of Crimea and Sevastopol.” left to the enemy”. At the same time, Zelensky was confident: “International law will prevail here, on the soil of Ukraine: in the Donbass, in Azov, in Cherson and in the Crimea.”
In spring 2014, Russia took control of the Crimean Peninsula, which belongs to Ukraine. The first armed clashes between supporters of the Ukrainian government and pro-Russian demonstrators on February 26, 2014 finally led to military intervention by Russia.
A controlled referendum on incorporation into the Russian Federation led to Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in March.
International Crimean Platform calls on Moscow to withdraw
On the anniversary of the occupation, the International Crimean Platform once again demanded the withdrawal of all Russian troops from Ukraine. In a statement released Sunday, platform participants reiterated their support for Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders and condemned “Russia’s unprovoked aggression.” At the same time, they again declared the annexation of Crimea and the other areas of Ukraine that have since been annexed by Moscow to be illegal.
The Crimea platform was launched in 2021 by the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry to diplomatically reverse the incorporation of the Black Sea peninsula by Russia if possible. The campaign is supported by well over 40 countries, and NATO and the EU are also involved.
Kiev: Fronts unchanged despite Russian attacks
According to the Ukrainian general staff, the battle situation along the front sections in eastern Ukraine has not changed recently. Although Russian troops attacked at several points with air and artillery support, they were unable to break through, the General Staff said.
As in the days before, the heaviest fighting was fought at Kupyansk, Bakhmut, Limansk, Avdiivka and Shakhtarsk. The absolute focus was once again the city of Bachmut, which had been fought over for weeks. A series of Russian attacks against smaller suburbs were repelled there.
Air Force Chief: Ukraine needs more air defense systems
Despite many rockets and combat drones shot down by the Russian attackers, Ukraine still needs more anti-aircraft weapons, according to its air force chief. “Since September alone, more than 650 Russian cruise missiles and 610 Iranian-made kamikaze drones have been shot down,” Lieutenant General Mykola Oleshchuk told a Ukrainian military-related online portal on Sunday. The Russian attacks on critical infrastructure were aimed at “breaking the Ukrainian population, putting them in darkness”.
At the end of the year, the power and water supply had repeatedly failed in large parts of Ukraine because the anti-aircraft defense system was unable to completely destroy the bulk of the incoming missiles.
Oleshchuk said Ukraine was “actively supported” by the West in terms of anti-aircraft defense with various weapons. But this is not enough. “We need more technologically advanced weapons that will help us quickly restore order to the sky and rid it of the presence of terrorists.” The general immediately added a wish list to his words: “Modern medium- and long-range multipurpose aircraft and anti-aircraft missile systems, and albeit in large numbers.”
White House: Ukraine currently needs Leopard tanks, not Abrams
According to the White House, US President Joe Biden only approved the delivery of Abrams main battle tanks to Ukraine because of federal government instigation. “He originally decided against sending them because his military said they would not be useful on the battlefield in this fight,” Biden National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told ABC on Sunday.
In the interests of “alliance unity” and “to ensure Ukraine gets what it wants,” Biden agreed to the long-term supply of Abrams tanks. Chancellor Olaf Scholz had hesitated for a long time to send German Leopard main battle tanks – until the USA, in turn, agreed to deliver Abrams tanks.
What does the day bring?
The UN Human Rights Council in Geneva will be dealing with the Russian attack on Ukraine, which violates international law, and human rights violations in Iran, Afghanistan and other countries as of this Monday.
This is how the Handelsblatt reports on the Ukraine war:
Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock gives a speech at the opening meeting in Geneva. Reports about the systematic kidnapping of Ukrainian children to Russia, which Moscow rejects as false reports, are likely to be discussed at the meeting.
More: Don’t miss any developments in the Ukraine war – everything new in our news blog