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Putin claims NATO’s participation in the delivery of weapons to Ukraine in the war

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has described Western arms shipments to Ukraine as “participation in crimes” in the country.

Putin told state television on Sunday that NATO members were supplying weapons worth several billion dollars to Kiev.

These shipments were “somehow” involved in the war because Kiev received the weapons for free. Putin claimed that the West was thus “complicit in the bombing of residential areas”.

Western politicians have repeatedly rejected this view.

Meanwhile, the situation on the front in Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region remains intense, with both sides providing contradictory information about developments in the hotly contested city of Bakhmut.

While Russian sources stated that the village of Yahydin south of the road to Sloviansk had been captured, the Ukrainian General Staff said on Sunday that Russian attacks there had been repulsed.

The capture would clear the way for the Russian units to reach the village of Khromov, through which supplies passed for the Ukrainian forces at Bakhmut.

Both sides confirmed fighting around the village of Ivanevsky on the road to Kostyantinivka, west of Bakhmut.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reiterated his country’s claim to Ukraine’s Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014.

“This is our land. Our people. Our history,” the 45-year-old said in a statement distributed on Sunday. He added that with the return of Crimea, peace will also come in Ukraine. “We will return the Ukrainian flag to every corner of Ukraine.”

In 2020, Zelensky declared February 26 as the Day of Resistance to Russia’s occupation of Crimea.

Deputy Chief of Military Intelligence of Ukraine Vadym Skipetsky said that the Armed Forces of Ukraine will be ready to launch a counteroffensive in the spring.

Liberate all lands

However, the exact timing depends on several factors — including Western arms shipments, which play a hugely important role in Ukraine’s efforts to defend itself against Russian attackers, Skipetsky told Germany’s Funke Media Group in comments published Sunday.

More than a year after Russia launched its all-out invasion of neighboring Ukraine, Skibitsky reiterated Kiev’s stated goal of liberating all Ukrainian lands, including Crimea.

“We will only stop when we return our country to the (internationally recognized) borders of 1991,” he said. This is our message to Russia and the international community.

Skibitsky went on to explain how Kiev was planning to achieve its “strategic military objectives”.

“We are trying to drive a wedge into the Russian front in the south between Crimea and the Russian mainland,” the military intelligence official said.

“It is possible that we also destroy the depots of weapons or military equipment on Russian soil, for example around the city of Belgorod, where attacks are being launched on Ukraine. This poses a threat to the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, for example.”

Russia began its all-out invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022. At least 8,000 civilians have been killed and more than 13,000 wounded so far, according to official estimates.

Currently, Russian forces occupy about 20% of the territory of Ukraine.

According to the British Ministry of Defense, Moscow suffered significant losses in one of the elite units of its army.

The 155th Marine Brigade was tasked with some of the most difficult tactical maneuvers of the Ukraine war and suffered very high losses, the ministry said in a daily briefing on Sunday.

The ministry published a satellite image showing the accumulation of destroyed Russian military vehicles southeast of the Ukrainian city of Voldar. According to the British, these are presumed to belong to an elite unit that has recently played a central role in Russian offensives.

The British suspected that the brigade’s capabilities had deteriorated greatly, as high losses had to be compensated for by significantly less experienced troops. They say this limits Moscow’s operational ability to operate.

Also on Sunday, CIA Director William Burns said the US was “confident” that China was “considering providing lethal equipment” to aid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. He went on to say that he hoped Beijing would decide against it.

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