On the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shared messages of hope as anxiety and resolve filled the air throughout Ukrainian cities.
Zelensky declared 2023 as the year of Ukraine’s victory over Russia, and expressed confidence in his country’s ability to fend off attacks, but did not speculate on how soon the fighting could end.
Officials around the world joined Zelensky in his hopeful message, releasing statements emphasizing their support for Ukraine.
If you’re just now catching up, here’s what you need to know:
China developments: China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said Friday that China is willing to play a constructive role in resolving issues between Ukraine and Russia, but did not provide concrete details on what that looks like. His comments come after China released a document Friday outlining its position on the conflict in Ukraine, which Ukrainian diplomat Zhanna Leshchynska called “a good sign.” Russia’s Foreign Ministry also voiced appreciation Friday for the proposal, and blamed Ukraine and the West for the lack of negotiations on it.
Zelensky said Friday Ukraine “will work with China” if they show respect for international law and territorial integrity. The Ukrainian president said he would like to hold a bilateral meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping.
Shelling continues. Ongoing Russian shelling has killed at least three civilians in Ukraine’s east and south, and injured several others over the last 24 hours, according to situational updates from local authorities. The heating system in the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson has been damaged due to Russian shelling and residents may have to remain without heat for several days, the Kherson region military administration said Friday. A spokesperson for Ukraine’s Air Force said the Ukrainian military is on alert for any attacks by Russian forces and that security measures across the country have been increased.
Sanctions. The European Union has approved a 10th round of sanctions against Russia, the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the EU said on Friday. And US Secretary of State Antony Blinken rolled out more sanctions, visa restrictions and additional tariffs for Russia in a Friday announcement. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said he also intends to present the idea of imposing new sanctions against Russia during a virtual meeting with G7 leaders and Zelensky. British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly too announced a new package of sanctions and trade measures against Russia on Friday. The EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said Russia’s economy will experience more difficulties due to the continued sanctions.
Military assistance. Germany will send four more Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, increasing the number it’s sending from 14 to 18, according to the German defense ministry. Sweden also pledged to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine in a military package that includes further air defense components, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said Friday. A first delivery of Leopard 2 tanks from Poland has arrived in Ukraine, a spokesperson for the Polish defense ministry said. Meanwhile, Russia could provide Iran with fighter jets as military cooperation between the two countries deepens, the White House said Friday.