Russia-Ukraine war live updates: Ukraine says it’s rebuilding for counteroffensives; EU condemns 'reckless' and 'vile' Odesa attack


President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Prime Minister of Greece Kyriakos Mitsotakis (L) inspect the functioning of the ‘grain corridor’ in the Black Sea in the port of Odesa, Ukraine on March 06, 2024.

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European Union leaders have sharply criticized a deadly Russian missile strike on Ukraine’s southern port city of Odesa, near to where President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis held a meeting.

Zelenskyy and Mitsotakis met in Odesa on Wednesday to pay tribute to the 12 people killed by a Russian drone strike on the city last week. During the meeting, Mitsotakis said the pair heard the sound of sirens and “an explosion that was very close to us.”

A Ukrainian navy spokesperson said five people were killed in the strike, according to Sky News.

“The reckless air attack on Odesa when President @ZelenskyyUa and PM @kmitsotakis were visiting, to pay tribute to the victims of the March 2 drone strike on a residential building, proves again Putin’s disregard for any norms and his willingness to escalate,” European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Wednesday via social media site X.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, meanwhile, said that she “strongly” condemned the “vile attack” on Odesa.

“No one is intimidated by this new attempt at terror – certainly not the two leaders on the ground nor the brave people of Ukraine,” she said via X. “More than ever, we stand by Ukraine.”

Russia’s Defense Ministry said Russian forces on Wednesday launched a high-precision missile strike on a hangar in Odesa where it said Ukrainian forces were preparing naval drones for operations.

— Sam Meredith

Ukrainian soldiers of 32nd brigade are seen along the frontline in their fighting position during the ongoing two-year war between Russia and Ukraine in the direction of Kupyansk, in Kharkiv, Ukraine on March 06, 2024.

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A top Ukrainian military commander has said Kyiv’s forces will try to seize the initiative and conduct unspecified counteroffensive actions in 2024.

Ukrainian ground forces commander Oleksandr Pavlyuk said in televised comments on Wednesday that the military would try to stabilize the front line and create a grouping of forces to conduct counteroffensive actions over the coming months.

His comments came shortly after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned that Russia was likely preparing an offensive in Ukraine in the spring or the start of summer.

— Sam Meredith

A senior Russian military officer has warned that the Kremlin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine could escalate into a full-scale war in Europe, Reuters reported, citing state news agency RIA.

Colonel-General Vladimir Zarudnitsky, who leads the Russian army’s Military Academy of the General Staff, reportedly warned in a defense ministry publication that the likelihood of Russian forces becoming involved in a new conflict was increasing “significantly.”

“The possibility of an escalation of the conflict in Ukraine – from the expansion of participants in ‘proxy forces’ used for military confrontation with Russia to a large-scale war in Europe – cannot be ruled out,” Zarudnitsky was quoted as saying.

“The main source of military threats to our state is the anti-Russian policy of the United States and its allies, who are conducting a new type of hybrid warfare in order to weaken Russia in every possible way, limit its sovereignty and destroy its territorial integrity.”

— Sam Meredith

The President of Lithuania, Gitanas Nausda speaks to press during a joint press conference with President of Poland, Andrzej Duda at NATO’s Dragon-24 exercise, a part of large scale Steadfast Defender-24 exercise. 

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Lithuanian intelligence services on Thursday said in a report that Russia can continue fighting in Ukraine for at least two more years.

“Russia has sufficient financial, human, material, and technical resources to continue fighting at a similar intensity, at least in the near term,” Lithuania said in its latest annual national threat assessment.

“Its chosen strategy is a war of attrition, based on the expectation of growing war-weariness in Western societies and governments and the diminishing will to fight among Ukrainians.”

The report said Russian forces had been able to regroup and strengthen in 2023 after suffering heavy losses the previous year.

In a move likely designed to signal Moscow’s disapproval of Finland’s NATO membership, Lithuanian intelligence agencies said, Russia had deployed vessels capable of carrying Kalibr cruise missiles on Lake Ladoga for the first time. Lake Ladoga is a body of water near Finland’s southeast border with Russia.

“Russia is engaged in two parallel processes. It is both compensating for its losses in Ukraine and creating new capabilities for a long-term confrontation with the West,” the report said.

— Sam Meredith

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Wednesday said that Russia would not interfere with the U.S. presidential election later this year, and had not done so in the past.

“We never interfered in elections in the United States,” Peskov said, according to Reuters. “And this time, we do not intend to interfere.”

Peskov reiterated that any attempts by other countries to interfere with Russia’s presidential elections would be prevented.

Investigations from U.S. authorities have previously found that Russia has interfered, or at least tried to, during several recent elections in the U.S., including presidential elections and midterms.

— Sophie Kiderlin

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Wednesday that people had been killed and injured in a Russian attack on Ukraine’s Black Sea port of Odesa.

Zelenskyy was also quoted by the broadcaster Suspilne as saying that Ukraine needed stronger air defences. He was meeting Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in Odesa.

— Reuters





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