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Ukraine: Putin celebrates his army, Washington announces new sanctions

Vladimir Putin greeted Friday the "héros" fighting in Ukraine and the rearmament of Russia on the occasion of the day celebrating the Russian armed forces, & the day before the second anniversary of the assault on kyiv.

Russia marks February 23 as Defenders of the Fatherland Day. This annual celebration comes as the Russian army has achieved several successes in Ukraine in recent days.

In a video broadcast on Friday, Vladimir Putin, in a serious tone, paid tribute to the “participants of the special operation” in Ukraine, who, according to him, “are fighting for truth and justice.”

“You are our authentic hero of the people”, declared the Russian leader, who, like every year, paid his respects at the tomb of the unknown soldier, under the walls of the Kremlin.

States -The United States, for its part, announced new sanctions against Moscow on Friday, even if the multiple retaliatory measures adopted over the past two years have not made it possible to halt its ability to continue its offensive.

“If Putin does not pay the price for the death and destruction he is wreaking, he will continue,” Joe Biden warned in a statement.

The US President mentioned measures targeting individuals linked to the imprisonment of the opponent Alexeï Navalny, who died on February 16, the Russian war machine and around a hundred entities helping Moscow to circumvent sanctions.

– Reset –

Ukraine: Putin celebrates his army, Washington announces new sanctions

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, near the Kremlin, to mark the day celebrating the Russian Armed Forces, in Moscow, February 23, 2024 © POOL – Sergei SAVOSTYANOV

Weakened by the blocking of American aid, the failure of its summer counter-offensive and a growing lack of men and ammunition, the Ukrainian army faces an “extremely difficult” situation. , by the own admission of President Volodymyr Zelensky who had to resolve a week ago to cede the fortress town of Avdiïvka on the Eastern front.

He also urged the American Congress to approve additional military aid to his country, in an interview broadcast Thursday on Fox News, the favorite channel of conservatives, who are blocking an envelope of 60 billion dollars.

In recent days, Vladimir Putin has increased his praise, decorating soldiers, flying in a strategic bomber while, for a year, his country has focused on the war effort, with the surge in equipment production and the recruitment of hundreds of thousands of soldiers.

On Friday, he touted increasing deliveries of missiles, drones, armored vehicles, artillery and air defense. “Based on our current combat experience, we will continue to strengthen the armed forces,” he advocated.

Three weeks before the presidential election of March 15-17, Mr. Putin is approaching the second anniversary of this assault in a much better position, while the year 2022 had been marked by the failure of the offensive on kyiv and humiliating retirements.

Ukraine: Putin celebrates his army, Washington announces new sanctions

A view of the town of View of the Ukrainian town of Avdiivka, in the Russian-controlled part of the Donetsk region, February 19, 2024 © AFP – STRINGER

The capture of Avdiïvka, a well-defended city in the eastern part of Ukraine, which has faced multiple Russian attacks since October, was an opportunity for him to present himself as the victor.

– Mariïnka, “hot spot” on the front –

Western officials wishing to show political support began arriving in Ukraine on Friday, even if the question of accelerating arms deliveries risks still remaining unresolved.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen arrived in Lviv (west), according to Mr. Zelensky, as did American Senator Chuck Schumer.

Russian diplomacy announced on Friday that it had expanded its list of EU officials banned from accessing Russia, in reaction to new European sanctions, targeting in particular three Chinese firms having supplied the Russian army.

In the meantime, the strikes against Ukraine continue. The Ukrainian General Staff reported nighttime attacks by Russian drones and missiles on Friday. A bombing left three dead in Odessa (south), according to the police.

The Russian army has also carried out around a hundred attacks in the last 24 hours on the Eastern front, almost half of which around Mariïnka, a new “hot spot” with the Avdiïvka area, the Ukrainian army indicated on Friday.

If Moscow has suffered very heavy losses, with up to 120,000 dead according to American sources, it was able to recruit nearly half a million men in 2023 and another around 53,000 in January 2024, according to official figures.

Conversely, Ukraine saw its army decimated by its counter-offensive in the summer of 2023 and is unable to replenish its ranks. In recent weeks, it has nevertheless recorded successes in the Black Sea.

But, on the front, the men, exhausted, lack artillery ammunition, aid European Union having fallen behind and that of the United States still being in question.

“You know, they have factories that produce it and we ? We beg to have weapons”, says Oleksiï, a soldier returning from the trenches not far from Avdiïvka.

At the rear, in Kiev, a retiree, Nina, emphasizes told AFP that Ukraine “did not give up” after two years of fighting: “We learned to hold on, to be stronger and to believe in it.”

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116