Live updates: Russia’s war in Ukraine

The leaders of France, Germany and Italy have arrived in Kyiv for a high-profile trip to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s defense minister said the number of Ukrainians who have died since Russia invaded the country in February is likely to reach tens of thousands.

Here are the latest developments:

European leaders meet with Zelensky: French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi met Zelensky, during a visit to Kyiv aimed at calming tensions over what Ukrainian officials see as lukewarm support in their battle against Russia. Speaking to reporters on the podium upon arrival at the Kyiv train station, Macron told reporters that he had “a message from European unity addressed to Ukrainian men and women”.

US aid supports the Ukrainian army: US weapons will help Ukraine regain the territories occupied by Russia, including Crimea And the DonbassUkrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov told Matthew Chance in an exclusive interview in Brussels. The defense minister said the first step would be to stabilize the situation on the ground to prevent further losses against Russian forces. The second stage is to return the Russian forces to their pre-invasion positions on February 24, he said, adding that the army will “move step by step”.

Fighting intensified in the East: The self-proclaimed Russian-backed leader Donetsk People’s Republic The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in eastern Ukraine said on Thursday that its fighters will cross the borders of the Donetsk region. “The supply of new weapons to Ukraine by the West forces the forces of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea not to stop at the borders of the Donetsk Republic,” Denis Pushilin told RIA Novosti Russian media. He added that he wanted to hold a “referendum” for his region to join Russia. Ukraine still controls large parts of the Donetsk region, most notably the population centers of Kramatorsk and Slovyansk.

UK increases sanctions on Russia On Thursday, Britain imposed sanctions on the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch KirillThe British Foreign Office said in a statement “for his outstanding support for Russian military aggression in Ukraine”. Patriarch Kirill was punished along with many allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin and military leaders. The announcement came two days after Russia posted an update stop list Banning 49 British nationals from entering the country, including journalists, British military officials, defense contractors and members of Parliament.

China confirms its support for Russia: Chinese President Xi Jinping reiterated his support for Moscow on issues of “sovereignty and security” in a phone call with his counterpart Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, as he backed his support for the two countries’ partnership despite the global backlash against him. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Speaking on his 69th birthday, Xi also pledged to deepen strategic coordination between the two countries, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

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