Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Friday his nation will be victorious against Russia as the war with the neighboring country entered its second year with no apparent end in sight.
“We endured. We were not defeated. And we will do everything to gain victory this year,” Zelenskyy said in a statement released on social media. “Ukraine has inspired the world. Ukraine has united the world,” he added.
Leaders of the Group of 7 were set to meet virtually Friday to announce new sanctions against those aiding Russia’s war effort.
The White House said Friday it is imposing sweeping new sanctions targeting banking, mining and defense sectors as well as "over 200 individuals and entities, including both Russian and third-country actors across Europe, Asia, and the Middle East that are supporting Russia's war effort."
The White House also announced Friday an additional $2 billion in assistance to Ukraine. “Specifically, the United States is committing additional Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) and counter-UAS and electronic warfare detection equipment, as well as critical ammunition stocks for artillery and precision fires capabilities that will bolster Ukraine’s ability to repel Russian aggression,” the White House said in a statement.
The United Nations approved a resolution Thursday demanding the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Russia troops from Ukraine.
Meanwhile, China on Friday called for a cease-fire and the opening of peace talks between Russia and Ukraine. It was part of a 12-point proposal that also urged the end of Western sanctions against Russia, suggested measures to prevent attacks on civilian infrastructure, ensure the safety of nuclear facilities and establish corridors for the delivery of humanitarian aid. China has sought to be seen as neutral in the conflict but has refused to criticize Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The diplomatic moves come against the backdrop of continued fighting in eastern Ukraine. Ukraine said Thursday it has repelled attempted Russian advances along the length of the front line of fighting in eastern and southern Ukraine, leaving the war in a stalemate a day ahead of the first anniversary of Moscow’s invasion.
Russia controls about a fifth of Ukrainian territory, far short of the quick, countrywide takeover many military analysts predicted a year ago as Moscow’s tanks rolled into Ukraine’s eastern flank.
In the most recent fighting, Moscow’s forces have made progress trying to encircle Bakhmut, with Ukrainian military spokesperson Brigadier General Oleksiy Gromov saying Moscow was trying to use its manpower advantage to exhaust Kyiv's forces.
"The enemy, despite significant losses, does not abandon attempts to surround Bakhmut," he said.
But Ukraine said Russian troops have failed to break through Ukrainian lines to the north near Kreminna and to the south at Vuhledar, where they have sustained heavy losses assaulting across open ground.
Gromov said Ukrainian forces repelled 90 Russian attacks in the northeast and east in the last day.