Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has condemned the deadly Russian artillery raid on the city of Kherson in the south of the country. While fierce fighting continues to rage on the fronts, China's highest foreign policy expert is sounding out the chances of a peace plan by his state and party leader this Wednesday in Moscow.
Zelenskyj: Those responsible for attacks are found
"This Russian attack had no military purpose," Zelenskyi said in his nightly video address. "Just like thousands of similar Russian attacks that are a real message from Russia to the world." At least six people were killed and twelve injured in the artillery raid on a residential area and a bus stop in Kherson.
"The terrorist state is trying to show the world that terror is to be expected by bombarding streets, homes, schools, pharmacies and hospitals, churches, bus stops, markets and power plants," Zelenskyi said. However, he is confident that the attacker will be put in his place. And "by everyone together - Ukrainians and the world".
In the end, Ukrainian intelligence and the army would find those responsible for the attacks on Kherson and other cities. "And beyond that, we will prove that only humanity, only the UN Charter and only the right of every people to a free and safe life from terror and insane aggression like Russia's are worth considering."
Shortly before, the Ukrainian General Staff had reported a relatively stable situation on the various fronts of the country. Once again, the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in the east of the country were fiercely contested. "We are doing everything we can to repel enemy attacks there - constant intense attacks that Russia does not stop, although it suffers great losses there," Zelensky said.
Russia's Foreign Minister meets China's leading foreign policy leader
Shortly before the anniversary of Russia's invasion of neighboring Ukraine, China's top foreign policy expert Wang Yi will meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow on Wednesday. In addition to relations between the two countries, the conflict in Ukraine is certainly also on the agenda. Among other things, Wang wants to sound out Russia's positions on the peace initiative of his head of state Xi Jinping to end the Ukraine war. The Chinese foreign policy expert had already exchanged views with the head of the National Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, in Moscow on Tuesday.
Xi wants to present the position paper on the anniversary on Friday (24 February), which is so far only known in its outlines. Among other things, it is about "respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity," according to the Foreign Office in Beijing. Ukraine is demanding the complete withdrawal of Russian troops from its territory, including Crimea, as a prerequisite for talks with Moscow.
Zelenskyj continues "diplomatic marathon"
The day after US President Joe Biden's surprise visit to Kiev, Zelenskyj continued his "diplomatic marathon" that has now lasted almost a year. He met on Tuesday with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who pledged Ukraine's continued military, financial and civilian support for her country. Among other things, Kiev is to receive further air defense systems.
In addition, Selenskyj also received a delegation of the US Congress, as he announced in the evening. "This is a very important signal for our country, the entire region and the world," he said. "Yesterday President Biden was in Kiev, today it is representatives of Congress, namely members of the Republican Party."
What will be important on Wednesday
Nearly a year after Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the UN General Assembly will meet on Wednesday for a debate that could last until Thursday. In the end, a resolution is to be adopted which, among other things, calls on Russia to withdraw and emphasizes the territorial integrity of Ukraine.
Against the backdrop of the anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, US President Biden is meeting representatives of several Eastern European NATO states in Warsaw on the second day of his visit to Poland. The group in the so-called "Bucharest 9" format includes Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and the three Baltic states Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania - i.e. the states along NATO's eastern flank.