Ukraine’s ambassador to India Igor Polikha was relieved of his post by President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday, diplomatic sources confirmed to The Hindu. Mr. Polikha has been known as one of the most senior European diplomats with extensive experience in India’s relations with eastern Europe. Mr. Polikha informed that he was neither surprised nor disappointed by the announcement as it was expected given his unusually long tenure.
In a decree that gave no reason for the move, Mr. Zelensky announced the sacking of Ukraine’s ambassadors to Germany, India, the Czech Republic, Norway and Hungary.
Meanwhile, Ukraine urged its allies to send more weapons as its forces dig in, hoping to stall Russia’s military advance through the eastern Donbas region, while Ukraine’s chief negotiator said a turning part was approaching in the conflict. Signalling that the Kremlin was in no mood for compromise, President Vladimir Putin said sanctions against Russia for the invasion it launched in February risked causing “catastrophic” energy price rises.
Here are the latest updates
Death toll after strike on east Ukraine building hits 15: rescuer
Rescuers on Sunday recovered 15 bodies after a Russian missile strike hit a residential building in Chasiv Yar town, eastern Ukraine, officials said.
“During the rescue operation, 15 bodies were found at the scene and five people were pulled out of the rubble,” alive, the local branch of the Ukrainian emergency service said on Facebook, adding that rescuers were in contact with three people alive under the rubble.- AFP
Russia hits Ukrainian hangars storing U.S.-made artillery weapons
Russian forces struck two Ukrainian army hangars storing U.S.-produced M777 howitzers, a type of artillery weapon, near Kostantinovka in the Donetsk region, the Russian defence ministry said on Sunday.- Reuters
Russian gas cutoff most likely scenario: French finance minister
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Sunday that a cutoff of Russian gas shipments was currently the most likely scenario.
“Let’s prepare for a cut off Russian gas. Today it’s the most likely scenario,” he told a business and economics conference in southern France. - Reuters
Ukraine reports clashes in east as U.S. presses on diplomatic front
Ukraine reported clashes with Russian troops on Sunday on fronts in the east and south, with six civilians killed in one rocket attack, as the United States sought to marshal international support in opposing Russia’s invasion.
Russian forces attacked Ukrainian positions near the eastern town of Sloviansk but were forced to withdraw, Ukraine’s military said, adding that Russian forces had launched a cruise missile attack on the northeastern city of Kharkiv from their side of the border. It gave no details of damage or casualties.
Luhansk region Governor Serhiy Gaidai said Russian forces were gathering in the area of the village of Bilohorivka, about 50 km (30 miles) east of Sloviansk. - Reuters
Rocket attack collapses apartment block in Ukraine’s Donbas, killing six
At least six people have been killed and more than 30 are feared trapped after Russian Uragan rockets hit a five-storey apartment block in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, collapsing the building, the region’s governor said.
Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said on Telegram that the strike took place on Saturday evening in the town of Chasiv Yar. He said six people had been confirmed killed and five wounded, and that according to information from residents, at least 34 people were likely trapped in the ruins.
Russian missiles pound east Ukraine, hit Kharkiv
Russian troops shelled Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region on Saturday as Ukrainian officials accused Moscow of preparing further attacks and Washington promised new military aid to Kyiv.
Having endured long battles to capture cities in the neighbouring Lugansk region, Russia is now seeking to push deeper into Donetsk to consolidate its hold over the entire Donbas region in the east.
Four and a half months into the war, residents in the town of Druzhkivka, in northern Donetsk, woke up Saturday to a suspected missile attack which ripped apart a supermarket and gouged a crater into the ground.
Five people were killed in the Donetsk region in the past 24 hours while seven were injured, Ukrainian officials said Saturday. - AFP
Ukrainian governor: Russia raising ‘true hell’ in the east
Russian forces are raising “true hell” in Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartland, despite assessments they were taking an operational pause, a regional governor said Saturday, while another Ukrainian official urged people in Russian-occupied southern areas to evacuate quickly “by all possible means” before a Ukrainian counteroffensive.
Deadly Russian shelling was reported in Ukraine’s east and south.
The governor of the eastern Luhansk region, Serhyi Haidai, said Russia launched more than 20 artillery, mortar and rocket strikes on the region overnight and its forces were pressing toward the border with the Donetsk region. - AP
Blinken and China’s Wang Yi hold ‘candid’ talks on Ukraine and trade
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Saturday he had discussed Russian aggression in Ukraine during more than five hours of talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, and raised concerns over Beijing’s alignment with Moscow.
Both diplomats described their first in-person talks since October as “candid”, with the meeting taking place a day after they attended a gathering of G20 foreign ministers on the Indonesian island of Bali.
“I shared again with the state councillor that we are concerned about the PRC’s alignment with Russia,” Mr. Blinken told a news conference after the talks, referring to the People’s Republic of China. - Reuters
Ukrainian army recruits begin military training at U.K.
The first batch of up to 10,000 inexperienced Ukrainian military recruits set to train in Britain over the coming months have started drills, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said Saturday.
The new British-led programme involves 1,050 UK service personnel training the Ukrainian volunteers, who have little to no military experience, at MoD sites across England for several weeks.
U.N. says Ukraine bears share of blame for nursing home attack
Two weeks after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine in February, Kremlin-backed rebels assaulted a nursing home in the eastern region of Luhansk. Dozens of elderly and disabled patients, many of them bedridden, were trapped inside without water or electricity.
Canada will return repaired turbines for Nord Stream 1, expand sanctions on Russia
Canada will return repaired Russian turbines to Germany needed for maintenance on the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline, Canada’s minister of natural resources said in a statement on Saturday.
The Canadian government, which is issuing a permit to exempt the return of the turbines from its Russian sanctions, said the move would support “Europe’s ability to access reliable and affordable energy as they continue to transition away from Russian oil and gas.”
Ukraine pleads for weapons, war in spotlight at G20 meeting
President Vladimir Putin said sanctions against Russia for the invasion it launched in February risked causing “catastrophic” energy price rises.
His top diplomat, Sergei Lavrov, clashed with his Western counterparts at a G20 meeting in Indonesia, where they urged Russia to allow Ukraine to ship its blockaded grain out to an increasingly hungry world.
Russia’s envoy to Britain, meanwhile, offered little prospect of a pullback from parts of Ukraine under Russian control.
In a major shake up, Ukraine sacks ambassador to India
Ukraine’s ambassador to India Igor Polikha was relieved of his post by President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday, diplomatic sources confirmed to The Hindu. Mr. Polikha has been known as one of the most senior European diplomats with extensive experience in India’s relations with eastern Europe.
Mr. Polikha informed that he was neither surprised nor disappointed by the announcement as it was expected given his unusually long tenure here. “After seven years as ambassador of any country, it is normal to return home. I am a career diplomat. I will return whenever the official process is completed,” said Ambassador Polikha to The Hindu confirming that his tenure in India has ended.