Ukraine has said it will not agree to any ceasefire deal that would involve handing over territory to Russia, as Moscow intensified its attack in the eastern Donbas region. “The war must end with the complete restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty,” said Ukraine’s presidential chief of staff, Andriy Yermak.
The comments came as Russia said it was willing to resume peace negotiations – but its lead negotiator also said on Sunday that the initiative to continue them was with Kyiv. Kremlin aide Vladimir Medinsky claimed in an interview with Belarusian TV that “Russia has never refused talks”.
Polish president Andrzej Duda became the first foreign leader to address the Ukrainian parliament in person since the invasion began, backing Ukraine’s stance on territorial concessions and warning the international community that ceding any territory to Russia would be a “huge blow” to the entire west.
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy said 50 to 100 Ukrainians were dying every day on the war’s eastern front in what appeared to be a reference to military casualties. The heaviest fighting is focused around the twin cities of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk in Luhansk, one of the two regions that make up the Donbas. Serhiy Gaidai, the governor of Luhansk, said in a local television interview that Russia was using “scorched-earth” tactics in the region.
Ukraine is set to top the agenda at the four-day World Economic Forum in Davos, which kicks off on Monday with a video address from Zelenskiy. This year Russia’s “house” at the event was transformed by Ukrainian artists into a “Russian war crimes house”, portraying images of misery and devastation.
The UK prime minister, Boris Johnson, spoke with Zelenskiy on Sunday evening about Russia’s blockade of Odesa, Ukraine’s largest shipping port. The blockade of Ukraine’s ports has been a growing concern for world leaders as many continue to warn about global food security, in particular for developing countries.
The Moscow-installed mayor of Enerhodar, a southern city of Ukraine and the location of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, has been wounded in an explosion. Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported that Andrey Shevchik was in intensive care.
A bid by Ukraine to join the European Union would not be finalised for “15 or 20 years”, France’s Europe minister said. “We have to be honest. If you say Ukraine is going to join the EU in six months, or a year or two, you’re lying,” Clément Beaune said. “It’s probably in 15 or 20 years. It takes a long time.”
Zelenskiy has extended Ukraine’s martial law for three months through to 23 August. Ukraine’s parliament also banned the symbols “Z” and “V”, used by Russia’s military to promote its war in Ukraine, but agreed to Zelenskiy’s call to allow their use for educational or historic purposes.
Olena Zelenska has given a rare interview with Zelenskiy, only their second public appearance together since Russia launched its invasion. She recounts the “anxiety and stupor” she felt on 24 February, and says that even though she has barely seen her husband since, “no one, not even the war, could take him away” from her.
Technicians linked to the Syrian military’s infamous barrel bombs that have wreaked devastation across much of the country have been deployed to Russia to help potentially prepare for a similar campaign in the Ukraine war, European officials believe. Intelligence officers say more than 50 specialists have been in Russia for several weeks working alongside officials from president Vladimir Putin’s military.
YouTube has taken down more than 70,000 videos and 9,000 channels related to the war in Ukraine for violating content guidelines, including removal of videos that referred to the invasion as a “liberation mission”.