Ukraine war

Ukraine's Volodymyr Zelenskyy claims Russia suffered "extraordinarily significant" east losses

Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, with the focus on towns like Vuhledar in eastern Donbas.(Photo: Reuters/Yevhen Titov)

According to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian military has inflicted "extraordinarily significant" losses on Russian soldiers near the town of Vuhledar in the eastern Donbas region.

"The situation is complex. And we are in conflict. Mr Zelenskyy stated in his nightly video message that "we are decimating the invaders and inflicting extraordinarily severe losses on Russia."

Mr Zelenskyy alluded to many cities in Donbas, where fighting has been concentrated for months. He stated, "the more losses Russia suffers there, in Donbas, in Bakhmut, Vuhledar, Marinka, Kreminna, the faster we will be able to end this war with Ukraine's victory."

After an "extended" meeting with the military leadership, the Ukrainian president spoke on the defence situation in various sectors.

He added that the situation was under control near the Black Sea port of Odesa, and troops were "protecting" the partially Russian-controlled centre province of Zaporizhia.

On the northern border with Russia and its ally Belarus, where Ukrainian troops recaptured cities from Russian forces in September and October, there were "excellent results."

Mr Zelenskyy stated, "Of course, military issues and intelligence details are not something you can share with everyone,"

"But I want our people to have predictability right now — and a sense that Ukraine is moving towards its goals."

Don't forget Napoleon, Russia warns France

In the meantime, Russia has reprimanded French President Emmanuel Macron for expressing a desire to see Russia defeated, stating that Moscow still remembers the destiny of Napoleon Bonaparte and accused Mr Macron of engaging in double-dealing diplomacy with the Kremlin.

Mr Macron stated in an interview with Le Journal du Dimanche that France desired Russia's loss in Ukraine but never intended to "crush" it.

"About 'Never': France did not begin with Macron, and the remains of Napoleon, revered at the state level, rest in the centre of Paris," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova stated.

"France and Russia must comprehend.

"In general, Macron is priceless," she said, adding that his words demonstrated that the West had discussed regime change in Russia and that Mr Macron had frequently sought meetings with the Russian leadership.

Some NATO partners have criticized Mr Macron for sending contradictory messages on his policy on the war between Ukraine and Russia, with some viewing France as a weak link in the Western alliance.

Mr Macron urged partners to increase their military support for Ukraine on Friday but also stated that he did not believe in regime change and that dialogue would be required at some point.

"Let's be precise. I do not believe in regime change for one second, and when I hear many individuals screaming for regime change, I wonder, "For which change? Who comes next? Who is your chief executive?'"

After years of Moscow's position hardening and confrontation, he stated in the publication that he did not believe a democratic solution from within civil society would emerge in Russia.

He added that he saw no choice in bringing Russian President Vladimir Putin back to the table of negotiations.

"All the options other than Vladimir Putin in the current system seem worse to me," said Mr Macron.

Macron and Zelenskyy discuss wartime plans

Mr Zelenskyy stated that the French president was "wasting his time" by contemplating a dialogue with Moscow.

"It will be a pointless conversation. Macron is, in reality, wasting his time. Mr Zelenskyy stated, "I have concluded that we cannot change the Russian attitude."

"We cannot stop them from isolating themselves in the pursuit of rebuilding the old Soviet empire if they choose to do so." It is up to them to decide whether or not to cooperate with the international community based on mutual respect."

He dismissed the notion that Mr Putin's isolation resulted from Western sanctions.

"It was, instead, the decision to launch the war that marginalized [Mr] Putin," he explained.

On Sunday, Mr Macron and Mr Zelenskyy discussed strategy, including what the Ukrainian leader called collaborative decisions ahead of this week's anniversary of Russia's invasion of his nation.

The two leaders spoke via telephone as Western leaders agreed at a conference in Munich to bolster their support for Ukraine in response to Russia's recent military aggression.

In his nightly video, Mr Zelenskyy praised the French president "for understanding our needs and for expressing jointly that we cannot waste any opportunity or a single week in our defence against Russian aggression."

"We also discussed important decisions that we are planning for this week — for our year of resistance."

This was an allusion to February 24, the first anniversary of Russia's invasion.

The office of Mr Macron added that the two leaders had addressed Mr Zelenskyy's upcoming trips to London, Paris, and the European Union in Brussels and that Mr Macron had reiterated NATO's support for increased military supplies to Ukraine.

During their phone conversation, the French president confirmed his support for a 10-point peace initiative presented by Mr Zelenskyy.

Publish : 2023-02-20 11:42:00

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