Ukraine war: Turkey pleads for 'localised' ceasefire, Soledar latest, UK sends Challenger tanks

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By Sarah Palmer  & AP & AFP
Emergency workers clear the rubble after a Russian rocket hit a multistory building leaving many people under debris in Dnipro
Emergency workers clear the rubble after a Russian rocket hit a multistory building leaving many people under debris in Dnipro   -   Copyright  AP Photo

1. More bodies pulled from the rubble following Russian strikes

The death toll from a Russian strike in Dnipro, eastern Ukraine, on Saturday has risen to 21, according to the head of the regional military administration. 

"Twenty innocent victims", said Valentyn Reznichenko on Telegram today, detailing that 73 people had been injured in the strike on a residential building. "Rescue operations are continuing. The fate of more than 40 people remains unknown," he added.

On Saturday morning, air raid sirens sounded out across much of Ukraine as the country was battered by Russian missile attacks. Missiles hit around lunchtime in Kyiv and the Kharkiv and Lviv regions. 

In Dnipro, five people were initially reported dead when the Russian missile toppled a block of flats.15 people were pulled from the rubble alive.  

This was the first strike on the Ukrainian capital since New Year's Eve. Kyiv's critical infrastructure was once again targeted. In the wider Kyiv region, a residential building in the village of Kopyliv was hit, and the windows of the houses nearby were blown out.

AFP
Five people have been killed and more than 20 wounded in the southeastern city of DniproAFP

2. Battle for Soledar continues

Fierce fighting continues in the small eastern Ukrainian town of Soledar, near Bakhmut, with tanks on the outskirts firing from the roadside and explosions on the horizons of the surrounding farmland.

That’s the claim from Kyiv, despite Russia saying on Friday that it had taken control of the town.

According to UK broadcaster Sky News, while the leader of a Russian mercenary group has claimed to have taken the town, Ukrainian soldiers say it is still contested.

In footage from the broadcaster, soldiers are seen both in heavy military vehicles and on foot, operating handheld drones in the middle of a cluster of houses.

Capturing the town of Soledar would mark an elusive victory for the Kremlin but come at the cost of heavy Russian losses and extensive destruction of the territory they claim.

3. Zelenskyy wants to address the UN on invasion anniversary

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wants to visit the United Nations to address a high-level meeting of the 193-member General Assembly on the eve of the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion, a senior Foreign Ministry official said on Friday.

First Deputy Foreign Minister Emine Dzhaparova cautioned that, “It’s still a question if there will be a security situation that will allow him to come.”

If Zelenskyy does come to the UN, it would be his second trip outside Ukraine since the war began. He made a surprise visit to Washington last month to meet President Joe Biden and members of Congress.

AFP
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy attends a coordination meeting on the state border protection in the northwestern regions of Ukraine in the western city of LvivAFP

4. UK Prime Minister promises 'Challenger 2' tanks to UK

British PM Rishi Sunak has promised to provide tanks and artillery systems to Ukraine, amid renewed missile attacks by Moscow targeting the Ukrainian capital and other cities.

Sunak’s Downing Street office said in a statement that he made the pledge to provide Challenger 2 tanks after speaking to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Saturday.

It did not say when the tanks were to be delivered or how many. British media has reported that four British Army Challenger 2 main battle tanks will be sent to eastern Europe immediately, with eight more to follow shortly after, without citing sources.

5. Turkey pleads for 'localised ceasefires'

Turkey, a NATO member that has maintained good relations between both Russia and Ukraine since the invasion, proposed on Saturday there should be local ceasefires and small-scale deescalation until a peace agreement is made.

One of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's close advisers, Ibrahim Kalin, said that neither Russia nor Ukraine "is in a position to win militarily".

He added that mediating the two countries is "the worst international challenge since the Second World War".

"We have already had some successes," he said, referring to the agreement signed last summer on Ukrainian grain exports to the Black Sea via the Bosphorus (nearly 18 million tonnes exported to date) and the agreed exchanges of prisoners of war.