Sun, 26 Mar 2023

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will on Wednesday visit the UK for the first time since the start of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. News of his visit came as Russian forces ramped up a winter assault in eastern Ukraine, bringing tens of thousands of freshly mobilised troops to the battlefield. Follow FRANCE 24's live blog for the latest developments. All times are Paris time (GMT+1).

9:50am: Zelensky to visit UK for first time since Russian invasion

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky will Wednesday make his first visit to the UK since the Russian invasion of his country, Britain said, announcing that it would offer fighter jet training to Ukrainian troops.

Zelensky would meet Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and address parliament, Sunak's office said, adding that the UK was planning "to train fighter jet pilots and marines" from the Ukrainian armed forces.

"As part of today's talks, the prime minister will offer to bolster the UK's training offer for Ukrainian troops, including expanding it to fighter jet pilots to ensure Ukraine can defend its skies well into the future," a statement said.

8:14am: Russia says EU price cap exemptions show its oil is still in demand

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said on Wednesday that European Union moves to add what he called "exemptions" to its price cap on oil products showed that Russian oil was still in demand.

"Yesterday we saw another change to the European Union's regulations, the exemptions," he said in comments published by the state-run TASS news agency.

"This once again emphasises that our oil products are in demand in Europe, once European politicians indicated that their actions defy any logic and take such decisions and think how to get out of this situation," he said

7:49am: Moscow intensifies winter assault, Kyiv expects new offensive

Russian forces ramped up a winter assault in eastern Ukraine, bringing tens of thousands of freshly mobilised troops to the battlefield, while Kyiv expected Moscow to broaden its offensive as towns in the northeast and south came under fire.

Ukraine's military said on Tuesday that 1,030 Russian troops were killed over 24 hours, the highest daily toll of the war. The figure could not be independently verified, and Russia has also claimed to have killed large numbers of Ukrainian troops in recent weeks. For its part, Russia said it had inflicted 6,500 Ukrainian casualties in the month of January.

Ukraine national security chief Oleksiy Danilov said in an interview on Tuesday that the Kremlin is expected to target the northeastern Kharkiv or southern Zaporizhzhia regions in a new thrust.

"Attempts at an offensive in either the Kharkiv or Zaporizhzhia direction will of course be made," he told Reuters,

speaking in his office in Kyiv. "How successful they'll be will depend on us."

The Ukraine Armed Forces said on Tuesday evening that more than 30 towns and villages in Kharkiv and 20 communities in Zaporizhzhia came under fire.

Originally published on France24

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