While the Russian soldier has been on trial since Wednesday for a “crime against humanity” who sought pardon in the Bar Association, Russian forces continue to advance in Ukraine. In particular, they announced that they were about to conquer the Lugansk region.
Towards the end of some bastions of resistance persist in Ukraine? While Kyiv has asked the defenders of the Azovstal steel plant to stop the fighting, Russia says the capture of the breakaway region of Lugansk is almost complete. On the diplomatic front, Turkey is preparing to discuss with NATO the nominations of Sweden and Finland for NATO membership.
Kyiv asks the “heroes” of Azovstal to stop fighting
While they were fortified at the steel post to counter attacks by Russian forces, Kyiv summoned the Azovstal defenders in Mariupol to stop the fighting, a Ukrainian commander confirmed Friday in a video message.
“The military high command gave the order to save the lives of the soldiers of our garrison and stop defending the city,” said Denis Prokopenko, commander of the Azov Regiment, one of the Ukrainian units located in the steelworks.
“We were able to rescue the civilians, the seriously injured people received the necessary assistance, and we were able to evacuate them for exchange later,” he continued.
The steel mill was the last enclave of Ukrainian resistance in Mariupol, a strategically important port city located on the Sea of Azov. In addition, the Russian Defense Ministry announced on Friday that 1,908 Ukrainian soldiers stationed in Azovstal have surrendered to Russian forces since Monday.
Russia says it is nearing completion of the occupation of Luhansk
Along the same lines, the Russian Defense Minister also announced that the occupation of the breakaway province of Luhansk was almost complete.
“Units of the Russian Armed Forces, together with the people’s militias of the Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics, continue to increase control over the Donbass lands. The liberation of the Lugansk People’s Republic is almost completed,” said Sergei Shoigu this Friday.
Moscow had already recognized the independence of this region, part of which had been controlled by the Russians since 2014, as well as the independence of Donetsk. In the Lugansk region, the Russians besieged Severodonetsk and Lysichansk, two regions separated by a river and forming the last pocket of Ukrainian resistance.
Seven wounded in Russian bombing of the Lozovo cultural center
At least seven people, including an 11-year-old child, were injured in a Russian missile attack on a newly reconstructed Ukrainian cultural center in Lozova, in the east of the country, Volodymyr Zelensky announced in a video message broadcast on Telegram.
According to an emergency services official quoted by Ukraine’s Interfax agency, no deaths could be denied. In the video accompanying the Ukrainian president’s message, a powerful explosion rang out from the building in a cloud of smoke.
Volodymyr Zelensky commented: “The occupiers identified culture, education and humanity as their enemies. They spared no missile for them.”
Russian soldier on trial for ‘war crimes’ asks for pardon
The Russian soldier has been on trial since Wednesday for a “war crime”, the first trial of its kind since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and asked for pardon at the Bar Association on Friday. “I am sincerely sorry,” Sergeant Vadim Chichimarin, 21, told the court. On Wednesday, he confessed to killing Oleksandr Chelipov, a 62-year-old civilian, on February 28 in northeastern Ukraine.
“I regret what I did,” he continued from his box. Before adding, “I was nervous in this situation. I didn’t want to kill.” “I want to apologize for what I did.”
Following this statement, his attorney argued that his client initially did not want to carry out the firing order in the first place. He then said the 21-year-old soldier was “not guilty.” A verdict at this trial is expected on Monday.
Exchanges between Turkey and NATO are expected on Saturday
While he was against Sweden and Finland joining NATO a week ago, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that he would meet on Saturday by phone with NATO chief, Jens Stoltenberg.
“I spoke today with the Dutch Prime Minister. Officials from the UK and Finland have also requested an interview tomorrow [samedi]. After that we will also speak with NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg,” he said.
As of last week, the Turkish president announced his opposition to the accession of these two countries, considering that they support Kurdish “terrorists” from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Repeat on Friday “We can’t say yes.”