10:02am: EU considering to sanction Iran entities involved in Russian war in Ukraine, Von der Leyen says
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday the EU will propose sanctions targeting for the first time Iranian economic operators involved in the Russian war in Ukraine.
“For the first time we are also proposing to sanction Iranian entities including those linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard,” Von der Leyen told European lawmakers in Strasbourg.
Von der Leyen said the 10th package of sanctions, worth a total of 11 billion euros ($11.79 billion), would target new trade bans and technology export controls, including drones, helicopters and missiles.
9:20am: UN appeals for $5.6 billion for aid to Ukraine in 2023
The UN said Wednesday that it needed $5.6 billion to provide humanitarian aid in Ukraine and to the millions who have fled the war-ravaged country.
“Almost a year on, the war continues to cause death, destruction and displacement daily, and on a staggering scale,” UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths said in a statement.
Around 21.8 million Ukrainians were now in need of humanitarian assistance, according to UN estimates.
The needs are so great that aid organisations cannot reach everyone, but the UN said the requested $5.6 billion would allow it to reach the 15.3 million people in most dire need this year. A full $1.7 billion of that amount was needed for assistance to the more than four million Ukrainian refugees hosted across eastern Europe, it said.
8:52am: Russia plans to retake settlements surrendered in Kharkiv
Russia plans to seize back all the settlements in Ukraine’s northeastern Kharkiv region that it surrendered to Kyiv last year, said an official who led the Russian-installed administration in the region.
8:08am: NATO countries should spend minimum 2% of GDP on defence: Germany
NATO countries should spend a minimum of 2% of their gross domestic product (GDP) on defence, said German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius on Wednesday as NATO defence ministers gathered in Brussels.
“Just spending two percent will not be enough. It must be the basis for everything that follows. The German government is debating that right now and will soon reach an agreement,” Pistorius told reporters.
Ukraine urged allies to speed up the pace of military aid as NATO defence ministers prepared to meet for a second day on Wednesday, while Russia said its troops had broken through two fortified lines of Ukrainian defences on the eastern front.
7:30am: Kyiv urges speedy military aid amid fears of spring offensive
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is trying to push Western allies to supply military aid faster, FRANCE 24’s correspondent Gulliver Cragg reports from Kyiv.
As fighting rages on the eastern front, Russia could be preparing a massive offensive in Bakhmut and other cities.
Bakhmut’s capture would provide a stepping stone for Russia to advance on two bigger Donetsk cities, Kramatorsk and Sloviansk, and give Moscow momentum after months of battlefield setbacks following its invasion last February.
10:13pm: Russia denies plotting coup in Moldova
Russia on Tuesday slapped down as “completely unfounded” accusations from Moldova that Moscow was plotting to violently overthrow the country’s pro-European leadership with the help of saboteurs.
“Such claims are completely unfounded and unsubstantiated,” the Russian foreign ministry said after Moldova’s President Maia Sandu on Monday accused Russia of plotting her government’s overthrow.
Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky said last week that Kyiv had “intercepted the plan for the destruction of Moldova by Russian intelligence”.
The Russian foreign ministry accused Kyiv of seeking to pit Moldova against Russia and accused Moldovan authorities of Russophobia.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and Reuters)
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