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Zelenskyy says return of land needed for peace

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Mariupol fall imminent; Russian soldier pleads guilty

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reiterated on Wednesday that the return of Russian-controlled Ukrainian territory — Crimea, illegally annexed in 2014, and the disputed eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions since the same year — was peacefully negotiated prerequisites.

Zelensky’s remarks came after former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger hinted that some lands would need to be surrendered to end the war that has raged since the Russians launched their invasion on February 24.

Kissinger urged Ukraine to recognize its occupied territories and told the West not to seek outright defeat of Russia in order to end the conflict. Kissinger said in a video from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that taking a hard line in peace talks with Russia could jeopardize Europe’s future stability.

“Negotiations need to start within the next two months so as not to create insurmountable instability and tension,” said Kissinger, who turned 99 on Friday. “Continuing the war after that will not be freedom for Ukraine, but a new war against Russia itself.”

According to a recent poll, 82 percent of Ukrainians refuse to give up any land to end the war, and Ukrainians overwhelmingly support Zelensky’s position. A separate survey aimed at assessing Americans’ perceptions of the war showed continued support for helping Ukraine, but not at the expense of the U.S. economy, as inflation became a bigger concern.

Latest News:

►Denys Prokopenko, Ukraine’s top military commander who fought at the steel mill in the southern port city of Mariupol last week, was alive in Russian-controlled territory, his wife said Tuesday after their brief phone conversation. on the territory.

► The U.S. on Wednesday will shut down Russia’s last avenue for repaying billions in debt to international investors, making Russia’s first debt default in more than a century all but inevitable. The U.S. Treasury Department said it did not plan to renew Russia’s license to continue paying debt holders through U.S. banks.

►Authorities said Tuesday that 200 decomposing bodies were found in the basement of a bombed-out apartment building in battered Mariupol. The mayoral adviser Petro Andryushchenk said local residents had refused Russia’s request to collect the bodies of the dead, so the Russian Ministry of Emergencies left the bodies in the rubble.

USA TODAY: Join our Russia-Ukraine War channel to receive updates directly on your phone

Pope extends olive branch to Russian Orthodox leader

Pope Francis greeted Russian Orthodox Church leaders, emphasizing the value of human life and wisdom as the Vatican grapples with unstable relations in the Ukraine war. Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill is a staunch supporter of the Russian invasion, while Francis pleaded with Russian President Vladimir Putin to end the hostilities.

“These days, I pray to our Heavenly Father for the Holy Spirit to renew and strengthen us in the ministry of the Gospel, especially in our efforts to protect the value and dignity of every human life,” Francis wrote to Kirill wrote in the letter.

This week, Francis’ efforts to maintain a positive relationship with Kirill drew criticism from within the Roman Catholic Church. Polish Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki, returning from a visit to Ukraine, called on the Vatican to change its “naive and utopian” policies, saying it would not work in the long run.

Putin fast-tracks Russian citizenship for residents of occupied Ukrainian city

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree simplifying the procedure for residents of the occupied Ukrainian cities of Zaporozhye and Kherson to obtain Russian citizenship. The decree mirrors the procedure used by Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions three years ago. Kherson is a city in southern Ukraine with a population of over 280,000.

“We will integrate (Kherson) into Russia as much as possible,” said Kirill Stremusov, a Russian-appointed official in the region. “All residents of the Kherson region are entitled to Russian citizenship and a Russian passport.”

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry claims that the Russians are preparing a fake referendum to “legitimize” the occupation authorities in the Temporarily Occupied Zone.

Zelensky: Send more weapons to defend against Russian attack in Donbass

As Russia focuses on making progress in the eastern Donbas region to salvage a struggling war effort, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is asking for more help — namely more weapons to fend off attacks on four cities attack.

“The situation in Donbass is very difficult right now,” Zelensky said in his nightly video address on Tuesday. “In fact, the entire force of the Russian army, whatever they had left, was thrown into the offensive there. Liman, Popasna, Sievierodonetsk, Slaviansk – the occupiers wanted to destroy everything there.”

He praised the Ukrainian military’s efforts to confront a larger enemy, but said continued Western arms were needed to overcome Russia’s advantage. The equipment required includes multiple rocket launchers and tanks, he said.

On Saturday, U.S. President Joe Biden signed a $40 billion aid package that includes more than $20 billion for the Pentagon to provide Ukraine with weapons, intelligence and training.

Contributed by: Associated Press

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