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As Russians reassemble near Kyiv, Zelensky says Ukraine at ‘turning point’

A destroyed car is pictured as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues, in Irpin, Ukraine March 11, 2022. REUTERS/Serhii Nuzhnenko

After President Volodymyr Zelensky stated the battle had reached a “strategic turning point,” air raid sirens blared throughout many Ukrainian cities on Saturday morning, advising residents to seek shelter, according to local media.

Russia blocked residents from escaping the besieged city of Mariupol, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy claimed angrily in a video address on Friday night, vowing to try again to send food and medicines there on Saturday
Satellite images taken on Friday showed Russian military units were continuing to deploy closer to Ukraine’s capital Kyiv and were firing artillery toward residential areas, a U.S. private company said
United States Vice President Kamala Harris struck an emotional tone on Friday, as she described the impact of Russia’s invasion on Ukrainians as “painful to watch”

The news: Russian forces looked to be reorganising, presumably in preparation for a new onslaught aimed at Kyiv, according to Ukraine’s military and Britain’s defence minister.

  • Efforts to economically isolate Russia have intensified, with the US putting additional penalties on senior Kremlin officials and Russian oligarchs, and the European Union preparing to revoke Russia’s preferential trading status on Saturday.

What Zelensky said: With the Russian attack now in its third week, Zelensky, who has galvanised his people with a series of speeches delivered from Kyiv, said Ukraine had “already reached a strategic turning point.”

  • “It is impossible to say how many days we still have (ahead of us) to free Ukrainian land. But we can say we will do it,” he said. “We are already moving towards our goal, our victory.”

What’s going on: In the latest penalty for Russia’s Feb 24 invasion, the US announced penalties on Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, three family members of President Vladimir Putin’s spokeswoman, and parliamentarians on Friday.

  • Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen stated that the treasury continues to hold Russian officials accountable for aiding Putin’s illegitimate and unprovoked war.
  • On Friday, Russian military continued to blast cities across the country in the largest assault on a European country since World War II. As they marched on Kyiv, satellite photographs showed them firing artillery.
  • Thousands of Ukrainians are trapped in besieged cities as a result of the war, which has resulted in almost 2 million refugees.
  • Putin describes the incursion as a “special operation” aimed at disarming Ukraine and deposing neo-Nazi leaders. Ukraine and its Western allies see this as a spurious excuse for a self-declared war that has sparked concerns of wider European confrontation.
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