Ukraine-Russia war latest: Navalny’s funeral to be held Friday as Kyiv facing ‘months of ammunition shortages’

Alexei Navalny’s spokesperson has confirmed the opposition leader’s funeral will be held on Friday as Ukraine faces “months” of ammunition shortages.

President Vladimir Putin’s fiercest political foe died while serving a prison sentence earlier this month.

His funeral will take place at a church in the southeastern Maryino district of Moscow at 2pm local time on Friday.

It comes as Ukraine is facing ammunition shortages that could last for “several months”, according to the head of the UK Armed Forces.

Admiral Sir Tony Radakin reportedly told a conference in London on Tuesday that NATO allies were discussing how to strengthen support for the country as the war enters its third year.

With US aid held up in Congress, Mr Radakin said Ukraine’s army “was struggling in terms of its ammunition and its stockpiles”.

“I think that’s the predicament that’s likely to last for at least the next few months,” Radakin said, according to The Guardian.

Key Points

  • Macron says putting Western troops on ground in Ukraine cannot be ruled out

  • North Korea has sent millions of artillery shells to Russia, South Korea says

  • Ukraine says it destroys 11 Russia-launched drones, two missiles

Explosions reported in Poltava

21:50 , Barney Davis

Ukraine’s public broadcaster, Ukrinform reported explosions during an air raid alert.

“The sounds of explosions were heard in the Myrhorod district of Poltava region,” reads the report, referring to local eyewitnesses.

Before that, an air raid alert was declared in Kyiv and a number of region, while the Air Force warned of an incoming missile flying toward Poltava region.

During the air alert in Poltava region, a number of explosions were reported.

Polish PM to meet protesting farmers

20:30 , Athena Stavrou

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said on Wednesday he would meet protesting farmers’ leaders on Thursday, as demonstrations continued across the country.

Farmers across Europe have been protesting for weeks against constraints placed on them by EU regulations meant to tackle climate change, as well as rising costs and what they say is unfair competition from outside the EU, particularly Ukraine.

“I have convened an agricultural summit in Warsaw for tomorrow ... I will meet with the leaders of all protesting groups,” he said during a press conference.

“We have a very important problem. We are the most pro-Ukrainian nation when it comes to aid, but we have the biggest problems in Europe resulting from the war.”

Poland Farmers Protest (Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
Poland Farmers Protest (Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Imprisonment of Russian activist ‘politically motivated’, says Nobel committee

19:30 , Athena Stavrou

The committee awarding the Nobel Peace Prize said it was “appalled” by the jail sentence imposed on Russian activist Oleg Orlov, a leader of the disbanded human rights centre Memorial who shared the prize in 2022.

“The sentence against Mr Orlov is politically motivated and provides another proof of the increasing disrespect for human rights and freedom of speech in today’s Russia,” Joergen Watne Frydnes, head of the committee, said in a statement on Wednesday.

Orlov was sentenced to two and a half years in prison on Tuesday for “discrediting the armed forces” by protesting against the war in Ukraine and accusing President Vladimir Putin of leading a descent into fascism.

“The Putin regime has for many years tried to silence the leadership of Memorial and other important civil society organizations in Russia, and they are now using the war on Ukraine as a pretext to finish the job,” said Watne Frydnes.

“It is important that they won’t succeed.”

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

Armenia to boycott meetings of Russia-led alliance

18:30 , Athena Stavrou

Armenia is set to boycott meetings of a Russian-led alliance after a “de facto freeze” of its membership, Russian state news agency TASS reported.

Armenia is a member of the CSTO, which also includes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Belarus.

“The freezing of relations with the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organisation) means Armenia does not have a permanent representative to the CSTO and does not participate in events at the high and top levels,” TASS quoted Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan as saying during a parliament session.

Pashinyan has skipped several recent meetings of the bloc, amid a sharp downturn in relations with the alliance’s leading member, Russia.

Since coming to power in a 2018 revolution, Pashinyan has deepened Armenia’s ties with Europe and the United States, repeatedly drawing the ire of traditional ally Russia.

‘Immense frustration’ over delays releasing Chelsea Ukraine cash, says minister

17:30 , Athena Stavrou

The UK Government has expressed “immense frustration” over delays in releasing funds from the sale of Chelsea Football Club to help Ukraine war victims.

Roman Abramovich sold Chelsea after he was sanctioned as part of the UK’s efforts to target Russian oligarchs following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

Mr Abramovich pledged to divert all proceeds to a foundation to benefit victims of the war.

The Premier League club was sold in May 2022 for £2.5 billion – then the highest price paid for a sports team – although the House of Lords European Affairs Committee last month reported the cash was frozen in a UK bank account amid “disagreement” about where it should be spent.

Speaking in the Commons during a statement on Ukraine, SNP foreign affairs spokesman Brendan O’Hara pressed the Government to explain what was happening with frozen Russian assets.

Foreign Office minister Andrew Mitchel replied: “There is immense frustration that the Chelsea fund isn’t out and operating at this time.

“We are doing everything we can within significant and irritating levels of difficulty to get it deployed and we will do that as fast as we possibly can.”

Former Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has been criticised for failing to donate money to Ukrainians (PA) (PA Archive)
Former Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has been criticised for failing to donate money to Ukrainians (PA) (PA Archive)

Russia's Lavrov to visit Turkey

17:03 , Athena Stavrou

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will visit Turkey on Friday and Saturday, his spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said, as the two countries prepare a visit to Turkey by President Vladimir Putin.

Lavrov will attend a forum and hold talks with his Turkish counterpart, Zakharova said.

Russia and Turkey have been preparing a Putin visit which the Kremlin said this week would take place after Russia’s presidential election in mid-March.

Moldovan breakaway region asked Russia for protection

16:45 , Athena Stavrou

A Moscow-backed breakaway region in eastern Moldova has asked Russia for their help to protect their economy.

The region of Transnistria has been under the control of separatist authorities since a 1992 war with Moldova and is politically and economically supported by Russia.

They said on Wednesday that the Moldovan government was hurting their economy and pleaded with Russia for their protection.

Putin allies tell Macron French troops will ‘suffer fate of Napoleon’s army’ if sent to Ukraine

16:06 , Athena Stavrou

Allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin warned French President Macron that troops he sent to Ukraine would meet the same end as Napoleon’s army.

Napoleon Bonaparte’s Grande Armee whose 1812 invasion of Russia notoriously ended in death and defeat.

It comes after Macron suggested on Monday that European nations could send troops to Ukraine, although he cautioned that there was no consensus at this stage.

Vyacheslav Volodin, the chairman of the State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s parliament and a close Putin ally, said Macron appeared to see himself as Napoleon and warned him against following in the footsteps of the French emperor.

“To maintain his personal power, Macron could not think of anything better than to ignite a third world war. His initiatives are becoming dangerous for the citizens of France,” Volodin said on his official social media feed.

“Before making such statements, it would be right for Macron to remember how it ended for Napoleon and his soldiers, more than 600,000 of whom were left lying in the damp earth.”

French President Emmanuel Macron attends a press conference at the end of the meeting in support of Ukraine (EPA)
French President Emmanuel Macron attends a press conference at the end of the meeting in support of Ukraine (EPA)

Russia captures village near Avdiivka

15:42 , Athena Stavrou

Russian troops have captured the Ukrainian village of Stepove, about 11 km northwest of Avdiivka, the Russian Defence Ministry said on Monday.

The Ukrainian military said on Tuesday it had withdrawn troops from Stepove and Sieverne, two villages that had a total pre-war population of fewer than 100 people.

Russia captured the town of Avdiivka earlier this month, its first major gain since taking Bakhmut last May.

Russian court sentences man to 10 years in treason case

15:10 , Athena Stavrou

A Russian military court sentenced a man to 10 years in prison after finding him guilty of treason.

Vyacheslav Lyutor, from St Petersburg, had stood accused of attempted treason, cooperation with a foreign state and participation in a terrorist organisation, a Russian lawyers’ association said on Wednesday.

It did not say if the 33-year-old pleaded guilty.

Russia independent news outlet Mediazona reported the prosecution charged Lyutor, a bank employee, with collaborating with the Freedom of Russia Legion, a Ukraine-based paramilitary group of Russians who oppose Putin.

The prosecution alleged Lyutor was planning to leave Russia and go to fight for the Ukrainian army, Mediazona reported, citing a correspondent in the courtroom.

Russian authorities launched 70 treason cases in 2023, a record figure, according to Pervy Otdel. Russian independent media said that was more than over the previous 20 years combined.

David Lammy pledges support for Ukraine until it ‘prevails'

14:40 , Athena Stavrou

The shadow foreign secretary has pledged that Britain will support Ukraine “until it prevails”.

David Lammy told the Commons: “Last week marks two years since the start of Putin’s full scale illegal invasion of Ukraine.

The bombed cities, the raped civilians and the children kidnapped to Russia show the barbarity of Putin’s rogue regime. Ukraine’s resilience in the face of hell is testament to their enormous courage.”

He added: “This war has to be a wake-up call to all of Europe, there is more we, along with our allies, must do together.”

The MP for Tottenham further stated: “More sanctions are welcome but enforcement remains the weak link. Last December an OFSI report showed that there had been zero enforcement measures for post-February 2022 sanction breaches in relation to Russia.”

 (PA Wire)
(PA Wire)

ICYMI: Sri Lanka ends visas for hundreds of thousands of Russians staying there to avoid war

13:30 , Athena Stavrou

Sri Lanka has told hundreds of thousands of Russians and some Ukrainians staying in the country to escape the war that they must leave in the next two weeks, immigration officers said.

The immigration controller issued a notice to the tourism ministry asking Russian and Ukrainian people staying on extended tourist visas to leave Sri Lanka within two weeks from 23 February.

Just over 288,000 Russians and nearly 20,000 Ukrainians have traveled to Sri Lanka in the last two years since the war began, according to official data.

Read the full story here:

Sri Lanka ends visas for hundreds of thousands of Russians avoiding war

13:00 , Athena Stavrou

Alexei Navalny’s wife urged the European Parliament to investigate money linked to Putin and his allies in the West.

“Putin is the leader of an organised criminal gang. This includes poisoners and assassins but they’re just puppets. The most important thing is the people close to Putin - his friends, associates and keepers of mafia money,” she said.

“You and all of us must fight the criminal gang. And the political innovation here is to apply the methods of fighting organised crime, not political competition. Not statements of concern but the search for mafia associates in your countries, for discreet lawyers and financiers who are helping Putin and his friends to hide money.”

 (AP)
(AP)

Watch: Wife of Alexei Navalny receives standing ovation at European Parliament

12:30 , Athena Stavrou

Zelensky co-hosts summit in Albania

11:52 , Athena Stavrou

President Zelensky has co-hosted a summit with the Albanian government to encourage further support for Kyiv from south-eastern European countries.

It comes as signs of fatigue grow as the war enters its third year.

Mr Zelensky arrived as part of an international tour that saw him in Saudi Arabia earlier on Tuesday to push for a peace plan and the return of prisoners of war from Russia.

The Ukrainian leader called Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama “Ukraine’s unwavering friend” in a message on X, adding the two would “discuss defence and political cooperation, support for the Peace Formula, and security agreements”.

“I will propose supporting Ukraine’s efforts to achieve just and lasting peace, as well as organizing the Global Peace Summit in Switzerland,” he said, referring to the summit.

Mr Zelensky and Mr Rama also signed a friendship and cooperation agreement “to strengthen our cooperation with Albania and Ukraine‘s position in the Balkans”.

The Ukrainian leader also awarded Mr Rama the “Yaroslav the Wise” medal for his contribution to Ukraine.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Navalny’s widow claims his 'body was abused’

11:00 , Athena Stavrou

While addressing the European Parliament on Wednesday, Alexei Navalny’s widow claimed he was tortured in prison and that his body was “abused”.

“Putin killed my husband,” Yulia Navalnaya said. “On his orders, Alexei was tortured for three years, he was staved in a tiny stone cell. Cut off from the outside world and denied visits, phone calls and then even letters.”

She added: “And then they killed him. Even after that, they abused his body.”

Navalny’s widow adressing the European Parliament

10:53 , Athena Stavrou

Alexei Navalny’s widow is currently addressing the European Parliament as the Russian opposition leader’s funeral in confirmed.

Speaking to the parliament on Wednesday, Yulia Navalnaya said she was “not sure” whether her late husband’s funeral will be peaceful as she fears police will make arrests.

 (Sky News)
(Sky News)

Ukraine facing ammunition shortages, head of UK Armed Forces says

10:20 , Athena Stavrou

Ukraine is facing ammunition shortages that could last for “several months”, according to the head of the UK Armed Forces claimed.

Admiral Sir Tony Radakin reportedly told a conference in London on Tuesday that NATO allies were discussing how to strengthen support for the country as the war enters it’s third year.

With US aid held up in Congress, Mr Radakin said Ukraine’s army “was struggling in terms of its ammunition and its stockpiles”.

“I think that’s the predicament that’s likely to last for at least the next few months,” Radakin said, according to The Guardian.

Navalny’s widow set to address European Parliament

09:40 , Athena Stavrou

The widow of Putin’s biggest political foe Alexei Navalny is due to address the European Parliament this morning.

Yulia Navalnaya is expected to speak about her late husband’s death on February 16 in a Russian prison and urge the parliament to support political prisoners in Russia.

The address is expected to begin at around 10am.

 (Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Navalny’s funeral to be held on Friday

09:36 , Athena Stavrou

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s funeral and farewell ceremony will be held on Friday, Navalny‘s spokesperson Kira Yarmysh said on the X social network.

The funeral will be held at the Borisovskoye cemetery after a farewell ceremony at a church in the Maryino district of Moscow, she said.

 (Moscow City Court)
(Moscow City Court)

Pictures: Zelensky arrives in Albania

09:05 , Athena Stavrou

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in the Albanian capital of Tirana, Albanian Foreign Minister Igli Hasani said on Wednesday.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

EU should consider 'using frozen Russian asset profits for Ukraine’s military’

08:41 , Athena Stavrou

The European Commission President said that the EU should consider using profits from frozen Russian assets to fund Ukraine’s war effort.

Ursula von der Leyen said that it was “time to start a conversation” about the controversial policy on Wednesday.

“It is time to start a conversation about using the windfall profits of frozen Russian assets to jointly purchase military equipment for Ukraine,” she told the European Parliament in a speech urging the EU to do more on defence policy.

“There could be no stronger symbol and no greater use for that money than to make Ukraine and all of Europe a safer place to live.”

 (@vonderleyen via X via REUTERS)
(@vonderleyen via X via REUTERS)

Ukraine ‘struggling’ to hold defensive positions near city of Avdiivka

08:09 , Holly Evans

Military analysts have said that Russian forces are maintaining a “high tempo of operations” around the city of Avdiivka, which was captured after months of heavy fighting.

Putin’s troops are hoping to prevent the Ukrainian army from regrouping and building defensive lines, and have increased the size of their assault groups, the Institute for the Study of War said.

In a blow to Zelensky’s forces, they have also withdrawn from the villages of Stepove and Severne as Moscow focuses its attention to the settlements around the city.

Ukrainian soldiers defending their position near Avdiivka in the Donetsk region (EPA)
Ukrainian soldiers defending their position near Avdiivka in the Donetsk region (EPA)

Zelensky visits Albania in latest trip to boost solidarity

07:44 , Holly Evans

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in the Albanian capital of Tirana, Albanian Foreign Minister Igli Hasani said on Wednesday.

“A pivotal moment for fostering bilateral ties, and standing in solidarity with Ukraine in its heroic fight against Russia’s aggression,” Hasani wrote on the X social network.

North Korea has already sent millions of artillery rounds to Russia, warns South Korea

07:20 , Holly Evans

North Korea has shipped as many as 6,700 containers with potentially millions of rounds of artillery shells to Russia since talks between Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un in September last year, Seoul says.

South Korea’s defence minister said the exact contents of the containers could not be known, but that they likely contained either three million 152mm artillery shells or 500,000 122mm rounds.

“It could possibly be a mix of the two, and you can say that at least several million shells have been sent,” Shin Won-sik said.

Read the full article here

North Korea has already sent millions of artillery shells to Russia, says South Korea

22:00 , Barney Davis

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire on Wednesday publicly challenged U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s view that it would be legal to monetise some $300 billion in frozen Russian assets, revealing deep divisions in the G7.

Le Maire rejected the US position and said France was convinced there was no sufficient basis in international law to proceed, and further work was required.

Yellen told reporters there was “a strong international law, economic and moral case” for deriving value from the Russian assets, either seizing them outright or using them as collateral, and the “countermeasures theory” justified such action under international law.

Le Maire, asked specifically about the countermeasures theory, said he disagreed.

“We don’t think this legal basis is sufficient,” he said. He said broad international consensus was needed.

“This legal basis must be accepted not only by the European countries, not only by the G7 countries, but by all the member states of the world community, and I mean by all the member states of the G20. We should not add any kind of division among the G20 countries,” he said.

Putin 'more powerful than Stalin' and Europe 'at war', says UK MP

05:00 , Alexander Butler

A UK MP says Vladimir Putin is “now more powerful than Stalin” and “Europe is at war”.

Speaking during an urgent question on the UK’s aid to Ukraine in the House of Commons, Tobias Ellwood said it was “very clear” that the Ukraine war would “move out further”.

“Putin is now more powerful than Stalin, trying to emulate what Stalin did in eastern Europe.

“Can we agree that Europe is at war? This affects us, this affects our economy and security.”

Russia 'unable' to protect high-value aircraft and Ukraine a constant 'threat', MoD says

04:00 , Alexander Butler

Russia has shown a repeated “inability” to protect its high-value aircraft and Ukraine’s defences “continue to pose a threat”, the UK defence ministry has said.

It referenced the downing of two Russian A-50 aircraft by Ukraine in as many months - specialist spy planes which are estimated to cost nearly £300m each.

The MoD pointed out that there was a “remote” chance that an A-50 shot down four days ago was hit by Russia itself.

'We are not on the cusp of war with Russia'

03:00 , Alexander Butler

The head of the UK armed forces has insisted “Britain is secure” and “we are not on the cusp of war with Russia”.

Admiral Sir Tony Radakin used a public speech today to stress that “we are not about to be invaded” and no one in the Ministry of Defence is talking about conscription.

“Britain is safe. We are safe because we are part of NATO... and also because we are a responsible nuclear power,” he said.

Russia's information war will peak in the 'coming weeks', Ukraine warns

02:00 , Alexander Butler

Russia’s information war will peak in the “coming weeks”, the Ukrainian intelligence department has warned.

Late last year, Ukraine reported Moscow had launched the Maidan-3 special operation which aimed to spread anti-Ukrainian messages online.

In a Telegram post today, it said the plan had cost $1.5bn and was “the most expensive action of the Russian special services in history”.

“During the coming weeks, the enemy will make every effort to spread narratives destructive to global security and attempts to incite conflicts - both inside Ukraine and in other parts of the world, where there is effective support of Ukraine,” it said.

Ukraine names new head of anti-corruption watchdog

01:00 , Alexander Butler

Ukraine has approved the new head of a state watchdog responsible for crafting anti-corruption policy, officials said.

Fighting graft is a top priority for Ukraine as it seeks membership in the European Union, and authorities have stepped up their crackdown during the war with Russia.

Viktor Pavluschyk, a former investigator, will serve a four-year term heading the National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NACP) after winning an internationally supervised recruitment competition.

NACP formulates Ukraine’s anti-corruption agenda and monitors public servants for illicit gains, working closely with Kyiv’s anti-graft law enforcement agencies.

Ukraine’s Zelensky says he is in Saudi Arabia on working visit

00:01 , Alexander Butler

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy arrived in Saudi Arabia on a working visit on Tuesday to meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to a statement posted on his Telegram account.

Zelenskiy wrote that the primary topics of discussion would be Kyiv’s Peace Formula framework for ending Russia’s invasion, as well as the return of captives and deported people.

The Saudi state news agency confirmed in a statement that Zelenskiy had arrived in the kingdom.

Ukraine warns delays in Western aid supplies ‘costing lives and territory’

Tuesday 27 February 2024 23:00 , Alexander Butler

Ukraine warns delays in Western aid supplies ‘costing lives and territory’

Watch: Zelensky warns Ukraine will not exist if Russia wins war

Tuesday 27 February 2024 22:00 , Alexander Butler

Zelensky warns Ukraine will not exist if Russia wins war

Sri Lanka ends visas for hundreds of thousands of Russians staying there to avoid war

Tuesday 27 February 2024 21:00 , Alexander Butler

Sri Lanka ends visas for hundreds of thousands of Russians avoiding war

Macron says putting Western troops on ground in Ukraine cannot be ruled out

Tuesday 27 February 2024 19:00 , Alexander Butler

Macron says putting Western troops on ground in Ukraine cannot be ruled out

Putin had Alexei Navalny killed to stop prisoner swap, ally claims

Tuesday 27 February 2024 18:00 , Alexander Butler

Putin had Alexei Navalny killed to stop prisoner swap, ally claims

Families of Ukrainians taken prisoner by Russia desperate for news: ‘Please do not forget them’

Tuesday 27 February 2024 17:00 , Alexander Butler

Families of Ukrainians taken prisoner by Russia desperate for news

Russia says its forces capture second Ukrainian village near Avdiivka in two days

Tuesday 27 February 2024 14:08 , Tom Watling

Russia has claimed its forces have made further progress in eastern Ukraine by taking control of the village of Severne near Avdiivka, a Ukrainian town it captured earlier this month.

In a statement, the Kremlin’s defence ministry said its forces captured Severne, “occupied more advantageous lines and positions” and struck concentrations of Ukrainian manpower and equipment near three other settlements.

The Independent could not independently verify the battlefield claims but DeepState, a Ukrainian war tracker, has suggested the town is now under Russian occupation.

Ukraine’s southern military commander Oleksandr Tarnavskyi said on Tuesday that they had stablilised the defensive line in Tonenko roughly a mile behind Severne. He did not mention the status of Severne itself.

If confirmed, it is the third town Russia has captured in the Avdiivka direction in the past 10 days and the second in just two days. Yesterday, Ukraine announced it was withdrawing from nearby Lastochkyne.

German Vice-Chancellor to France: Send Ukraine weapons, not soldiers

Tuesday 27 February 2024 13:31 , Tom Watling

German Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck has rejected French suggestions that Ukraine could be supported with a deployment of Western troops.

“German soldiers are not going to Ukraine,” he told a news conference.

“I’m glad if France is considering how to support Ukraine more strongly, but if I can make a suggestion, then send more weapons,” he added. “Do what you can do now and give Ukraine the ammunition and tanks that can be sent right now.”

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