Air raid sirens sound again across Ukraine. Unfortunately, it’s a sound citizens are used to hearing. This morning, Russia launched an unprecedented attack on the territory of Ukraine. More than a hundred missiles hit several cities in the country, including the capital Kiev, a presidential aide said. The capital’s mayor, Vitali Klitschko, quickly reported on the situation, confirming three injuries, including a 14-year-old girl. He said they were fine and in hospital. The attacks caused blackouts in the Odesa and Dnipropetrovsk regions, which were intended to extend the damage to energy infrastructure.
The bombings came after the Kremlin rejected Ukraine’s peace plan, insisting that Kiev accept the annexation of Russia’s four regions. Moscow has repeatedly denied targeting civilians, but Ukraine says daily bombings destroy villages, towns and national infrastructure, from electricity to medical care. Kyrillo Tymoshenko, a deputy to Russian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said Russian gunfire hit the obstetrics and gynecology department of a hospital in the city of Kherson on Wednesday, but no one was injured. Tymoshenko said in a Telegram post that staff and patients had been moved to shelters.
“When we got to the basement, the shooting didn’t stop. Not even for a minute.” The recently liberated Ukrainian city of Kherson is under constant fire from Russian troops who have retreated to the east bank of the river after recapturing the city in a major Ukrainian victory last month. In his annual speech held behind closed doors because of the war in Russia, Zelensky said Ukraine’s military resistance to the Kremlin had restored faith in universal values. “Because of our unity, we have achieved what no one in the world believed in. No one but us,” he told lawmakers, his cabinet, other senior officials and top military commanders.
“Our national colors have now become an international symbol of courage and indomitability around the world,” he said in his 45-minute speech, which was sometimes applauded. The closing speech focused mainly on the war, now in its eleventh month, but took the opportunity to outline ideas such as decentralizing the energy system and going green to rebuild a strong and prosperous nation.. Zelensky thanked Western partners for arms supplies and said Ukraine would build a strong national defense industry “which will become one of the strongest defense industries in Europe and the world”.
On February 24, Russia invaded Ukraine. Kyiv and its Western allies have denounced Russia’s actions as an imperialist land grab. Russian President Vladimir Putin called the move a “special military operation” aimed at militarizing his neighbors. Russia is under heavy sanctions for a war that has killed tens of thousands, killed millions, razed cities and devastated the global economy by driving up energy and fuel prices and food prices. Talks aimed at ending the war are still off the table. Zelensky is pushing hard for a ten-point peace plan that calls on Russia to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity and withdraw all its troops.
But Moscow rejected that proposal on Wednesday and reiterated that Kyiv must accept the annexation of four regions by Russia: Luhansk and Donetsk in the east and Kherson and Zaporizhzia in the south. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said there could be no peace plan that “does not take into account the current reality in Russian territories as four regions enter Russia.” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Zelensky’s idea of forcing Russia out of eastern Ukraine and Crimea with help from the West and making Moscow pay for Q’s losses was a “fantasy”.
Russia will continue to improve its technological and combat capabilities in Ukraine, according to Russian news agency TASS, citing Sergei Lavrov. He said troops mobilized from Moscow had received “rigorous training” and that while many were now on the ground, most were not yet on the front lines. Zelensky said there was unity in parliament and praised Ukrainians for helping the West “reinvent itself”. “Our national colors are now an international symbol of courage and perseverance throughout the world”He said in his annual address behind closed doors.
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