Fighting continues in Ukraine following the one year anniversary of Russia’s invasion on 24 February.
Countries around the world held a minute’s silence in recognition of Ukraine’s resolve. There have been reports of new Russian strikes on cities in the east and south of the country.
Ukraine’s military reported 27 Russian airstrikes and 75 attacks from multiple rocket launchers in the most recent 24-hour period, with five civilians reported wounded in the Donetsk province, where territory is split between Russian and Ukrainian control.
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky continued to wage a media war, posting a series of videos in which he stated ‘Russia must lose in Ukraine’, and claimed that Ukraine could win the war this year. In a video shared to Twitter, he said: “We are capable of this in unity, resolutely and unyieldingly, to put an end to Russian aggression this year.”
In a separate tweet, Volodymyr Zelensky also pushed for more sanctions pressure on Russia after the UK, US and European Union all announced new measures aimed at further choking off funding and support for Moscow.
What has Volodymyr Zelensky said about Russian sanctions?
On Saturday (25 February) Zelensky tweeted: “The 10th (EU flag emoji) sanctions package targets Russian military industry, propaganda & financial system. The pressure on russian aggressor must increase: we expect decisive steps against Rosatom & Russian nuclear industry, more pressure on military & banking.”
Rosatom is a Russian state nuclear agency - Russian President Vladimir Putin announced this week that Russia must be ready to resume nuclear weapons tests if needed, and claimed that some Americans are considering carrying out nuclear tests barred under the global test ban which came into force after the Cold War.
In a later tweet, Zelensky said: “Diplomacy did not work. The existing security architecture did not work. But there was something that did work. Unity of Ukraine, Germany, and the entire free world. And determination to protect the foundations of our lives.”
What are the latest sanctions against Russia?
Russia became the most sanctioned nation in the world over the past year, targeted by more than 30 countries representing more than half of the world’s economy. But the squeeze on its economy, trade and firms has yet to deliver a knockout blow - and the IMF actually predicts slight growth of 0.3% this year.
The 10th sanctions package adopted by the EU includes an additional 120 individuals and entities (including three Russian banks) added to the sanctions list and further export bans and restrictions on sensitive dual-use and advanced technologies that ‘contribute to Russia’s military capabilities and technological enhancement’.
According to the European Commission, the new export bans affect goods worth €11.4 billion. Bans on imports worth roughly €1.3 billion have also been introduced under the new sanctions package.
Two more Russian media outlets have also been added to the EU’s media ban, and Russian nationals have been banned from serving on governing bodies of Member States’ critical infrastructure companies.
Russia’s ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Antonov, said: “We have learned to live under economic and political pressure. The experience of previous sanctions has shown that they harm the world market to a greater extent, worsen the situation of ordinary citizens in states that initiate or support reckless sanctions.”