On Friday, the war in Ukraine reached its second year with no end in sight. Russia isolated itself at the United Nations in a vote demanding the withdrawal of its forces, and G7 leaders are due to collaborate on additional assistance for Ukraine.
As the battle continued in Ukraine's east and south on the first anniversary of Russia's invasion, the country's international allies demonstrated their support.
Paris illuminated the Eiffel Tower in the colours of the Ukrainian flag, blue and yellow, and London had a vigil attended by individuals draped in Ukrainian flags. In Brussels, European Union structures were also coloured-lit.
Thursday, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution commemorating the war's anniversary and demanding Russia withdraw and cease fighting.
There were 141 votes for and 32 against, with 32 abstentions. Belarus, North Korea, Eritrea, Mali, Nicaragua, and Syria, in voting nay joined Russia.
China, an ally of Russia, abstained from the U.N. vote.
Dmitry Polyanskiy, Russia's Deputy U.N. Ambassador, condemned the action at the United Nations as "useless."
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskiy praised the vote.
In a tweet, he stated, "This resolution is a powerful signal of unflagging global support for Ukraine,"
As the anniversary approached, the Ukraine military reported increasing Russian action in the east and south, with at least 25 towns and villages in three northern areas bordering the Russian border coming under fire.
Reuters was unable to confirm reports from the battlefield.
On February 24 last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized a full-scale invasion of Ukraine to grab Kyiv and overthrow the pro-European government. However, Moscow's aspirations were crushed by the robust defence and embarrassing military failures.
In late 2022, Ukraine's counteroffensives successfully recaptured a significant portion of its lost area. Russia currently controls approximately 20% of Ukraine.
The war, which Russia calls a "special military operation" to safeguard Russian sovereignty, has fallen into attritional trench warfare, with mounting losses on both sides, especially in this year's combat around the eastern city of Bakhmut.
Some U.S. and Western authorities estimate Russia's fatalities to be close to 200,000 dead and injured, while the top U.S. general stated in November that more than 100,000 troops on each side were killed or wounded.
It is impossible to reliably confirm losses in Europe's deadliest battle since World War II.
Millions of civilians have been slain, and millions more Ukrainians have fled their nation.
The village of Bucha, near Kyiv in the north, where mass graves were discovered, and the bombed destroyed city of Mariupol in the south, became icons of what Ukraine and her supporters termed Russian savagery.
Ukraine and the Western world have accused Russia of committing war crimes, but Russia has denied targeting civilians.
Apart from the military campaigns, the war has harmed the global economy and ushered in a Cold War-like cold in international relations, with Putin invoking the spectre of nuclear weapons and indicating a desire to escalate a confrontation that sparked harsh Western sanctions.
With Zelenskiy's insistence on his nation's autonomy and Moscow's disengagement, the chances for peace are poor.
"We are uncertain as to when the war will conclude. However, we do know that once the war is over, we must ensure that history does not repeat itself "Thursday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told Reuters.
"We must ensure that the cycle of Russian hostility is broken. We must prevent Russia from undermining European security, "He stated.
Support for Ukraine
The White House announced that U.S. Vice President Joe Biden would meet online with G7 leaders and Zelenskiy on Friday to commemorate the anniversary and announce fresh sanctions against those assisting Russia's war effort.
Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser for the White House, stated that the United States would contribute an additional $2 billion in security support.
The United States has stated that China is considering sending weaponry to Russia, which might escalate the crisis into a clash involving Russia, China, Ukraine, and the U.S.-led NATO.
Last week, Beijing's top diplomat visited Moscow and guaranteed deeper cooperation between the two countries. On Thursday, Putin lauded "new frontiers" in relations and signalled Xi Jinping would visit.
On Friday, Xi is slated to deliver a "peace speech"; however, some observers have questioned whether China's efforts to act as a mediator will extend beyond rhetoric.
In a position paper released on Friday, the Chinese foreign ministry stated that dialogue and negotiation were the only realistic means of resolving the crisis.
"Conflict and war are never beneficial. All parties must remain sensible and exercise restraint, refrain from fanning the fires and increasing tensions, and prevent the crisis from worsening or even spiralling out of control, "The government stated.
Thursday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, echoing the Kremlin's increasingly bellicose tone, portrayed the war as an existential struggle against a hostile West.
Ukraine and its allies assert the invasion is an illegitimate territory grab designed to subjugate a sovereign nation.
Putin revealed on Thursday his intention to deploy new multi-warhead Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missiles this year, heightening tensions further. This week, he stopped Russia's participation in the New START, or Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, a nuclear arms limitation agreement with the United States.
Russia is concentrating its military efforts on capturing the eastern Ukrainian provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk, which comprise the industrial zone known as the Donbas near the Russian border.
On Thursday, continuous explosions could be heard near a Ukrainian tank park near Bakhmut, which has become Russia's primary target.
"If we abandon Bakhmut, everything else will become more complex. We cannot surrender it under any conditions. We will persevere, "Tank operator Junior Sergeant Oleh Slavin told Reuters.