Ukraine war live updates: Russia has to take NATO’s nuclear capabilities into account, Putin says;

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By Amit

Future world order is being decided now, Russia’s foreign minister says

Speaking at a conference of regional representatives of his ministry on Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that “at the moment, the configuration of the future world order is being decided.”

Pavel Bednyakov | Sputnik | Reuters

The future world order is being decided right now, Russia’s foreign minister said Monday, adding that Moscow has frustrated the West’s plans “to isolate, and even dismember” the country. 

Speaking at a conference of regional representatives of his ministry on Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that “at the moment, the configuration of the future world order is being decided.”

“[This determines] Russia’s place in the democratic, fair, polycentric system that is being formed now and for which there is no and cannot be an alternative,” he said according to comments reported by news agency Tass.

“I want to emphasize that we managed not only to disrupt the plans of the collective West to isolate, and even dismember Russia, but also to ensure ongoing cooperation with the overwhelming majority of members of the international community. We now call it the world majority,” he said in comments translated by Google.

Lavrov cited closer ties with countries like China and India and “many other international partners” including post-Soviet states like Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, and the BRICS nations (which include Brazil and South Africa).

Lavrov’s comments parrot similar remarks by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday in which he said the West wants to defeat and divide Russia.

— Holly Ellyatt

Ukraine praises Saudi Arabia’s support after $400 million aid pledge

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud arrives for joint press conference with head of the office of the president of Ukraine and foreign minister of Ukraine in Kyiv on Feb. 26, 2023.

Genya Savilov | Afp | Getty Images

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy praised Saudi Arabia on Sunday following a high-level diplomatic visit that saw the Middle Eastern kingdom, an ally of Russia given their oil production ties, pledge a $400 million aid package to Ukraine.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and Andriy Yermak, head of the office of the president of Ukraine, were present at a ceremony in which an agreement and memorandum of understanding worth $400 million of aid to Ukraine, which Saudi Arabia initially pledged last October, were signed.

The agreement includes a joint cooperation program for providing humanitarian assistance from the Kingdom to Ukraine worth $100 million, Saudi’s state press agency said.

“The signing of the agreement and the MoU reflects the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s commitment to supporting Ukraine and its people in facing the social and economic challenges that the country is going through and contributing to alleviating the effects resulting from it,” the agency added.

Zelenskyy said in his nightly address Sunday that he had a good meeting with the kingdom’s foreign minister, the first high-level official visit by a representative of Saudi Arabia.

“Of course, we are working on a higher level of visits and relations. But now we have finally reached an interaction,” Zelenskyy said.

“This … brings concrete and sensitive results for Ukrainians, in particular with regard to the release of prisoners of war. I thank our Saudi partners for their cooperation and assistance,” he added.

— Holly Ellyatt

Mariupol explosions likely to be unnerving Russia, UK says

A Russian serviceman guarding an area near the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, amid the ongoing Russian military action in Ukraine, on June 13, 2022.

Yuri Kadobnov | AFP | Getty Images

A series of recent, unexplained explosions in Mariupol, a southern port city in Ukraine that Russia seized last May after a prolonged siege, is likely to be alarming Russia, according to Britain’s Ministry of Defense.

“Since 21 February 2023, pro-Russian officials have reported at least 14 explosions around the Russian-occupied city of Mariupol,” the ministry said in an intelligence update on Twitter Monday.

“Sites of the incidents have included an ammo cache at the airport, two fuel depots, and a steel works that Russia uses as a military base,” the ministry added, noting that the explosions have taken place despite Mariupol being at least 50 miles away from the front line.

“Although widely devastated earlier in the war, Mariupol is important to Russia because it is the largest city Russia captured in 2022 that it still controls, and sits on a key logistics route.”

The ministry noted that Russia “will likely be concerned that unexplained explosions are occurring in a zone it had probably previously assessed as beyond the range of routine Ukrainian strike capabilities.”

— Holly Ellyatt

Ukraine hit by more drone attacks overnight

Ukraine’s air force said the country was targeted by a series of drone attacks overnight.

“On the night of February 27, the enemy attacked Ukraine with Iranian-made Shahed-type attack drones from the north,” the Air Force said in a Telegram update Monday.

It said up to 14 unmanned aerial vehicles were launched and that air defense teams destroyed 11 of them.

Parts of UAV (unmanned aerial vehicles): Orlan-10, Granat-3 , Shahed-136, Eleron-3-SV, used by the Russia against Ukraine, are seen during a media briefing of the Security and Defense Forces of Ukraine in Kyiv, Ukraine on 15 December 2022.

Nurphoto | Nurphoto | Getty Images

Russia has unleashed multiple drone strikes on Ukraine, with much of the country’s energy infrastructure damaged by drone attacks. Iran initially denied supplying drones to Russia but in November it acknowledged for the first time that it supplied Moscow with the UAVs, but said they had been sent to Russia before the war in Ukraine.

— Holly Ellyatt

Belarusian partisans say Russian military aircraft damaged near Minsk

A Russian A-50 surveillance military aircraft was damaged in a drone attack at an airfield near the Belarus capital of Minsk on Sunday, Belarus partisans and members of the exiled opposition said.

“Those were drones. The participants of the operation are Belarusian,” Aliaksandr Azarov, leader of Belarusian anti-government organization BYPOL, was quoted as saying on the organisation’s Telegram messaging app and on the Poland-based Belsat news channel.

“They are now safe, outside the country.”

Belsat is a Polish broadcaster focused on Belarusian news that Minsk has branded extremist. BYPOL, which includes former law enforcement officers who support opposition politicians, has been branded a terrorist organization.

Franak Viacorka, an adviser to Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya said in a post on Twitter it was the most successful act of sabotage since the beginning of 2022.

Reuters was not able to independently verify the reports. There was no immediate response from the defence ministries of Russia and Belarus to a request for comment.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko at the Palace of Independence on Dec. 19, 2022, in Minsk, Belarus.

Contributor | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Front and central parts of the aircraft as well as the radar antenna were damaged as a result of two explosions in the attack at the Machulishchy air base near Minsk, BYPOL reported.

The Beriev A-50 aircraft, which has the NATO reporting name of Mainstay, is a Russian airborne early warning aircraft, with airborne command and control capabilities, and the ability to track up to 60 targets at a time.

Since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a year ago, there have been several acts of sabotage in Belarus and in Russian regions bordering Ukraine, especially on the railway system.

— Reuters

Russia has to take into account NATO’s nuclear capability, Putin says

Putin said the West is complicit in “crimes” being committed by Ukraine by supplying the country with weapons and that the end goal is to destroy and divide Russia.

Mikhail Metzel | Sputnik | via Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow has to take into account NATO’s nuclear capabilities and claimed again that the West wants to eliminate Russia.

“Where the leading NATO countries have proclaimed their main goal to be the strategic defeat of Russia, in order for our people ‘to suffer’ as they put it, how, in these conditions, could we not take into account their nuclear potential?,” Putin asked during an interview with Pavel Zarubin on the Rossiya-1 TV channel on Sunday, according to an NBC translation.

Putin said the West is complicit in “crimes” being committed by Ukraine by supplying the country with weapons and that the end goal is to destroy and divide Russia.

“They have one goal – to destroy what was the Soviet Union and it’s central part – the Russian Federation. After that they may indeed accept us into the so-called “family of civilized nations”, but only separately, each part separately. Why? To order around these parts and to put them under their control,” Putin said, claiming that plans to destroy the Russian people are “on paper,” without presenting evidence.

Putin has repeatedly blamed the West for starting the conflict in Ukraine. In a speech last week ahead of the first anniversary of the start of the war, Putin tried to justify Russia’s invasion by claiming it has been attempting to allow citizens in the contested Donbas region in eastern Ukraine to speak their “own language.”

— Holly Ellyatt

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