Ukrainian President Zelenskiy believes Russian forces are trying to destroy towns in the eastern Donbass region the same way they did in Mariupol.
During an overnight address, Zelenskiy said:
In the Donbass there are massive air and artillery strikes.
The goal of the occupiers in this direction remains the same – they want to destroy all of Donbass step by step. Entire.
Lysychansk, Slovyansk, Kramatorsk – they aim to turn any city into Mariupol. Completely ruined.
Zelenskiy also called for parity on the battlefield in favor of more heavy weapons.
That is why we repeatedly insist on the acceleration of arms deliveries to Ukraine. Parity is needed on the battlefield as soon as possible to stop this diabolical armada and move it beyond the borders of Ukraine.
EU leaders will decide today whether to grant candidate status to Ukraine, following a positive recommendation from the European Commission last Friday.
EU leaders in Brussels are expected to endorse last week’s recommendation from the European Commission, the EU’s executive.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said he spoke to 11 EU leaders on Wednesday about Ukraine’s candidacy and would make further calls on Thursday, believing all 27 EU countries would support Ukraine’s candidate status.
“We deserve it,” he told crowds in Amsterdam via video link.
It’s a very pivotal moment for us, because some people on my team say it’s like coming out of the dark into the light.
As far as our army and our society are concerned, this is a great motivator, a great motivator for the unity and victory of the Ukrainian people.
Expectations of a yes vote have risen since four European leaders, including France and Germany, who had been seen as among the more lukewarm, visited Kyiv last week in a show of support.
Zelenskiy applied for EU membership five days after the Russian attack began. On a day when explosions were heard in Kyiv, he called for “immediate joining under a new special procedure”. While the initial response from around 10 EU states was deeply skeptical, opposition has faded, although questions remain about the long way to go.
Ukraine has been seeking EU membership since the 2004 ‘Orange Revolution’ and more strongly since the Maidan protests of 2013-14, when pro-Kremlin President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted after refusing to sign an association agreement with the block.
Granting Ukraine candidate status for EU membership would be a historic decision signaling to Russia that it can no longer claim a sphere of influence over its eastern neighbour, the Kyiv ambassador told Brussels.
Vsevolod Chentsov, the head of Ukraine’s mission to the EU, said Russia’s war had united Kyiv with the bloc, while ending what he called a “mistake” over if his country could belong to the union.
A survey published this week by the European Council on Foreign Relations, a think tank, showed that 57% of Europeans support Ukraine’s membership bid.
EU candidate status, which can only be granted if existing member countries agree unanimously, is the first step towards membership. It does not provide any security guarantee or automatic right to join the block.
Ukraine’s full membership will depend on the war-torn country’s ability to meet the political and economic conditions.
Hello, it’s Samantha Lock back with you as we continue to bring you all the latest news from Ukraine.
Here are all the other major developments as of 8am in Kyiv.
- Russian forces are on the verge of capturing the last pocket of resistance in the Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine. Sievierodonetsk and its neighboring town, Lysychansk, continue to be battered by intense Russian bombardment. Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai said on Wednesday that Russian forces were moving towards Lysychansk, targeting buildings of police, state security and prosecutors.
- Dramatic footage has emerged from Russia of what appears to be a drone flying at an oil refinery and causing an explosion in this could be an attack inside the borders of Russia. Video shared on social media shows the unmanned aerial vehicle crashing into the Novoshakhtinsk oil refinery in the Rostov region, in what would be an embarrassing breach of Russia’s air defense systems.
- Russian missile strike kills at least one in southern Ukrainian port city of Mykolaiv, according to its mayor, Oleksandr Senkevych. The attack caused several fires and damaged a number of buildings, including a school, Senkevych said. Regional Governor Vitaliy Kim said seven missiles hit Mykolaiv.
- Residents and workers of a nuclear power plant in Enerhodar, a town in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region, are kidnapped by Russian occupiers, according to the mayor of the region. “Where is a stranger. The others are in very difficult conditions: they are tortured with electricity, physically and morally intimidated,” said Mayor Dmytro Orlov.
- A TV tower in the separatist Ukrainian city of Donetsk was badly damaged by shelling and broadcasting was cut offlocal Donetsk news agency reported. The Petrovskiy TV Center is still standing, but some of its equipment was damaged, while some equipment was moved, the agency said.
- British intelligence predicts that Russia’s momentum will slow in the coming months.“Our defense intelligence service believes, however, that in the next few months Russia may reach a point where there is no more forward momentum because it has exhausted its resources,” the Prime Minister said. British Minister Boris Johnson to journalists.
- Leaders of upcoming G7 summit in Germany to announce new measures to pressure Russia as well as new commitments to strengthen European security, said a senior US official. “We will roll out a concrete set of proposals to increase pressure on Russia,” the official said. The G7 is also expected to discuss the fate of a Russian turbine stranded in Canada and blamed for cutting gas supplies to Germany, Canada’s natural resources minister has said.
- The Kremlin said EU sanctions that led Lithuania to block the transit of some goods to the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad were “absolutely unacceptable”. Moscow was working on retaliatory measures in response to “illegal sanctions” from the EU, he said. The Russian Foreign Ministry said Moscow’s response to Lithuania’s ban would not be exclusively diplomatic but practical in nature.
- Ukraine has played down the chances of reaching a deal with Russia that could allow stranded grain shipments to start crossing the Black Sea. Consultations are ongoing, Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko said. The Russian Defense Ministry said Moscow and Ankara agreed to continue talks on safe ship departures and grain exports from Ukrainian ports.
- Finland’s armed forces chief says his country is ready for a Russian attack and would put up strong resistance in the event that one should occur. The Finns are motivated to fight and the country has built up a substantial arsenal, General Timo Kivinen said, adding: “The most important line of defense is between the ears.”
- Russian President Vladimir Putin has called for stronger ties with the countries of the group of emerging economies BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China South Africa – after Western sanctions against Ukraine. Putin said talks were continuing on “opening Indian chain stores in Russia, increasing the share of Chinese automobiles” in the Russian market.
- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visited Iran on Wednesday. Iran’s Foreign Ministry said Lavrov’s visit was aimed at “expanding cooperation with the Eurasian region and the Caucasus.”
- Europe must immediately prepare for Russia to halt all gas exports to the region this winteraccording to the head of the International Energy Agency, Fatih Birol. He called on governments to work on reducing demand and keeping nuclear power plants open.
- Ukrainian photojournalist and accompanying soldier were ‘coldly executed’ when killed in the first weeks of the Russian invasion, according to Reporters Without Borders. Maks Levin and Oleksiy Chernyshov reportedly searched Russian-occupied forests for the photographer’s missing drone, the agency said, citing the findings of an inquest into their deaths.