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Lavrov claims West will fight until ‘the last Ukrainian’

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov made one other string of assertions in an interview with Chinese state media agency Xinhua, published Saturday morning.

Lavrov claimed that NATO was interfering with a political settlement in Ukraine and that the West intended to fight until “the last Ukrainian,” in keeping with an NBC News translation.

He also claimed the Ukraine conflict “contributes to the strategy of freeing the world from the neo-colonial oppression of the West.”

—Matt Clinch

‘We won’t hand over’: UN chief tells Ukrainians

The United Nations won’t hand over, but will “redouble its efforts to avoid wasting lives and reduce human suffering,” Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a Twitter post on Friday.

The UN chief said he was “moved by the resilience and bravado of the people of Ukraine. My message to them is easy: We won’t hand over.”

“On this war, as in all wars, the civilians at all times pay the best price,” he said.

“I used to be moved by the resilience and bravado of the people of Ukraine. My message to them is easy: We won’t hand over,” tweeted UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, after he returned from a visit to Ukraine earlier this week, where he visited the Kyiv suburbs of Borodianka, Bucha and Irpin.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Guterres has just returned from the war-torn country, where he visited the Kyiv suburbs of Borodianka, Bucha and Irpin nine weeks after Russia began its illegal and unprovoked war.

“After we see this horrendous site, it makes me feel how necessary it’s [to have] a radical investigation and accountability,” he said Thursday, when he was in Bucha — where horrific photos of mass graves and executed civilians strewn within the streets sparked a worldwide outrage.

“The war is an absurdity within the twenty first century. The war is evil,” he said during his visit to Ukraine, where he also met President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Russia has been forced to merge ‘depleted and disparate’ forces in Ukraine, UK says

Russia faces “considerable challenges” in its war against Ukraine, including shortcomings in its tactical co-ordination and weakened morale, the U.K. Defence Ministry said. On this photo taken in April 2022, volunteers are seen cleansing up the rubble from a constructing in Kyiv hit by a Russian missile attack.

Sopa Images | Lightrocket | Getty Images

Russia continues to face “considerable challenges” in its war against Ukraine, the U.K. Defence Ministry said.

“It has been forced to merge and redeploy depleted and disparate units from the failed advances in north-east Ukraine. A lot of these units are likely affected by weakened morale,” the ministry said on Twitter.

“Shortcomings in Russian tactical co-ordination remain. A scarcity of unit-level skills and inconsistent air support have left Russia unable to completely leverage its combat mass, despite localised improvements,” said the most recent British intelligence report.

In a bid to repair problems which have constrained its advances, Moscow is trying to pay attention combat power geographically, shorten its supply lines and simplify command and control, the report said.

— Joanna Tan

U.S. and Canadian troops are training Ukrainian soldiers in Europe, Pentagon says

Canada has given heavy artillery to Ukrainian forces including M-777 howitzers just like this one.

Lennart Preiss | Getty Images

U.S. troops in Germany have began training Ukrainian soldiers on using heavy weapons to defend their country against Russian attacks, the Pentagon said Friday.

“These efforts construct on the initial artillery training that Ukraine’s forces have already got received elsewhere and in addition includes training on radar systems and armored vehicles which have been recently announced as a part of security assistance packages,” Press Secretary John F. Kirby said.

This week, President Joe Biden called on Congress to authorize as much as $33 billion in humanitarian and military aid to Kyiv in its fight against Moscow’s attacks.

Canada has given heavy artillery to Ukrainian forces, including M-777 howitzers and anti-armor ammunition, the Canadian government said last week.

Canadian service members are training Ukrainians on the M-777 howitzer in Europe, Kirby added, citing Canadian Defense Minister Anita Anand.

— Joanna Tan

Russia says it is not at war with NATO, blames alliance for war in Ukraine

Russia’s foreign minister says Moscow doesn’t consider itself at war with NATO.

In an interview with Saudi Arabia’s Al-Arabiya TV channel, Sergei Lavrov said: “Unfortunately, NATO, it seems, considers itself to be at war with Russia.”

“NATO and European Union leaders, a lot of them, in England, in the USA, Poland, France, Germany and after all European Union chief diplomat Josep Borrell, they bluntly, publicly and consistently say, ‘Putin must fail, Russia should be defeated,'” he told the network.

“If you use this terminology,” he said, “I think you think that that you simply are at war with the one who you wish to be defeated.”

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says Moscow is just not at war with NATO, but that NATO sees itself as being at war with the Kremlin.

Dimitar Dilkoff | Afp | Getty Images

Lavrov — who has been sanctioned by the U.S., U.K. and Europe for his role within the war — reportedly said his country’s “special operation” in Ukraine is “a response to what NATO was doing in Ukraine to organize this country for a really aggressive posture against the Russian Federation.”

He told Al-Arabiya that Ukraine was given arms that may reach Russian territory, and that military bases were being built, including on the Sea of Azov — where the battle for the besieged port city of Mariupol continues today.

Russian forces have largely destroyed town of Mariupol, though Moscow falsely claims that it doesn’t goal civilian areas.

Lavrov claimed many military exercises held on Ukrainian territory “were conducted under NATO auspices, and most of those exercises were designed against the [interests] of the Russian Federation, so the aim of this operation is to be sure that that those plans don’t materialize.”

— Joanna Tan

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