Russian Missile Strike Kills 1, Injures 23 In Southern Ukraine
A Russian missile strike on the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv early Thursday has killed one person and injured 23 others.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on the Telegram app, “At night, Russia bombarded Mykolaiv with four Kalibr missiles launched from the Black Sea.”
The strike damaged homes and an apartment building. Russia denies targeting civilians, saying it attacks military targets.
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg says Ukraine has received more than 98% of the combat vehicles promised by NATO allies and partners. The deliveries include 1,550 armored vehicles and 230 tanks.
Speaking Thursday at a news conference in Brussels, he said NATO has trained and equipped more than nine new Ukrainian armored brigades, putting “Ukraine in a strong position to continue to retake occupied territory.”
Stoltenberg also said he ‘welcomed’ the call between Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Zelenskyy, but that it did not change the fact that China had still not condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Zelenskyy said he had a “long and meaningful” phone call with Xi Wednesday, with the two men agreeing to send envoys to Beijing and Kyiv in a possible initial move to broker peace talks to end Russia’s war against Ukraine.
Zelenskyy, in a comment on Twitter, gave no details of his nearly hourlong conversation with Xi, his first known contact with the Chinese president since Russia’s invasion 14 months ago. Zelenskyy said, “I believe that this call, as well as the appointment of Ukraine’s ambassador to China, will give a powerful impetus to the development of our bilateral relations.”
Later, on his website, he called the conversation productive and said it would lead the way toward “possible interaction with the aim of establishing a just and sustainable peace for Ukraine.”
Chinese state media reported that Xi appealed to Zelenskyy for negotiations between Russia and Ukraine, warning, “There is no winner in a nuclear war.” He was apparently referring to the threat of Russia using tactical nuclear weapons. Chinese state TV said Xi’s government would send a special representative to Ukraine for talks about a possible political settlement.
“Negotiation is the only viable way out,” state TV said in a report on Xi’s comments to Zelenskyy. “All parties concerned should remain calm and restrained in dealing with the nuclear issue and truly look at the future and destiny of themselves and humanity as a whole and work together to manage the crisis.”
China has attempted to appear neutral on the Russian invasion, in February proposing a cease-fire and peace talks. But Beijing has also refused to condemn Russia’s invasion or call for Moscow to withdraw its troops from Ukraine, including Crimea, which Russia illegally annexed in 2014.
Zelenskyy has repeatedly said his government will not engage in peace talks until Moscow withdraws its troops from all of Ukraine. “There can be no peace at the expense of territorial compromises,” Zelenskyy said after his phone call with Xi.
Russia wants Kyiv to acknowledge Russia’s annexation of Crimea and last year’s declaration that the Ukrainian provinces of Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia are part of Russia.
Russian recon aircraft over Baltic Sea
In Thursday’s update on the situation in Ukraine, the British defense ministry said imagery showed that by March 2023 Russian forces had established sandbag fighting position on the roofs of several of the six reactor buildings at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.
In the Twitter post the ministry said “Russia has likely constructed these positions because it is increasingly concerned about the prospects of a major Ukrainian offensive.”
However, the ministry said, “direct catastrophic damage to the reactors in unlikely under most plausible scenarios involving infantry weapons because the structures are very heavily reinforced.”