A Ukrainian serviceman carries a shell for a 2S5 Giatsint-S self-propelled howitzer before firing towards Russian troops outside the frontline town of Bakhmut, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Donetsk region, Ukraine March 5, 2023. REUTERS/Anna Kudriav
(Reuters) – Ukraine has decided to fight on in the ruined city of Bakhmut because the battle there is pinning down Russia’s best units and degrading them ahead of a planned Ukrainian spring counter-offensive, an aide to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said.
* Russian mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin said on Friday his Wagner private army had opened recruitment centres in 42 cities as he seeks to replenish its ranks after heavy losses in fighting for Bakhmut.
* The European Union could soon top up the fund used for purchasing weapons for Ukraine by 3.5 billion euros ($3.7 billion), a senior EU official said on Friday.
* The United States accused Russia on Friday of seeking to destabilize Moldova and said it would help the Eastern European country fight off such attempts by sharing information and providing other assistance, the White House said.
* Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday that a conversation with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the sidelines of the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting in India last week was “constructive”, but he heard nothing new from the U.S. side.
* Russia on Friday cautioned allies across the former Soviet Union of the perils of aligning with the United States after what Moscow said was a Western-backed coup attempt in Georgia similar to the Ukrainian “Maidan” revolution of 2014.
* The British government has written to Olympic sponsors urging them to pressure the International Olympic Committee (IOC) over its proposal to allow Russians and Belarusians to compete at next year’s Paris Games, British media reported on Saturday.
* The Group of Seven (G7) and other like-minded organisations renewed their pledge to support Ukraine’s energy sector, Japan’s foreign ministry said after the group convened for a meeting on Friday.
* Canada on Friday banned the import of all Russian aluminum and steel products in a move that Ottawa said was aimed at denying Moscow the ability to fund its war against Ukraine.
* Ukrainian officials on Friday ordered a historically Russian-aligned wing of the Orthodox Church to leave a monastery complex in Kyiv where it is based, the latest move against a denomination regarded with deep suspicion by the government.