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Ukraine marks a year of war — as it happened

February 24, 2023

Ukraine's Zelenskyy says "2023 will be the year of our victory" as Poland says the first Leopard tanks have already been delivered to Kyiv.

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Ukrainians are holding ceremonies across the country Friday on the first anniversary of Russia's invasionImage: Ukrainian Presidency/AP/picture alliance

These updates are now closed. You can find more coverage of the war in Ukraine here.

Biden says 'not rational' for China to negotiate outcome of Ukraine war

US President Joe Biden said the idea China would be negotiating the outcome of the Ukraine war was not rational.

"I've seen nothing in the plan that would indicate that there is something that would be beneficial to anyone other than Russia if the Chinese plan were followed," Biden told ABC News.

"The idea that China is going to be negotiating the outcome of a war, that's a totally unjust war for Ukraine, is just not rational," he added.

Beijing released its 12-point document on Friday calling for peace talks. 

Although it calls for respect for national sovereignty, it does not explicitly say that Russia must withdraw its troops from Ukraine.

It also includes criticism of unilateral sanctions.

Zelenskyy wants to discuss peace with China, Ukrainian official tells DW

DW spoke with Igor Zhovkva, deputy head of the office of the president of Ukraine, about Zelenskyy's plan to have a phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

"The role of China is really important not only in Asia, but worldwide," Zhovkva said.

Zelenskyy is "ready to share with Xi Jinping Ukraine's understanding of what is going on … Ukraine's understanding of how we want to bring peace not only to Ukraine but to this part of the world," Zhovkva said, referring to Ukraine's 10-point peace formula.

Asked about US intelligence that China may be planning on sending weapons to Russia, he pointed to earlier Chinese comments that it was not planning on such a move.

Zelenskyy on conditions for possible talks with Russia

Canada to send more tanks to Ukraine.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced his country was sending four more Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine.

The delivery would bring to eight the total number of Leopard 2 tanks Canada has pledged.

Trudeau also said Canada was imposing new sanctions on Russian, joining other G7 countries who made similar announcements on Friday. 

Trudeau told reporters in Toronto the new sanctions would target 129 individuals and 63 entities, including Russian deputy prime ministers and other officials.

"Vladimir Putin made a grave miscalculation when he launched his war of aggression," Trudeau said. "He underestimated Ukrainians, and he underestimated the solidarity of their friends around the world ... but today, we are stronger and more unified than ever."

EU agrees fresh set of sanctions on Russia

Late on Friday, the European Union approved a tenth package of Russia sanctions on the anniversary of the Kremlin's invasion of Ukraine, according to the Swedish EU presidency.

"Together, the EU member states have imposed the most forceful and far-reaching sanctions ever to help Ukraine win the war," the presidency said on Twitter.

Ukrainian prime minister poses with newly delivered Polish tanks

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal posed in front of four Leopard 2 tanks, alongside Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who had traveled to Kyiv to mark the arrival of the first Western tanks in the country.

"A year ago, tanks went to Ukraine to deprive Ukrainians of their freedom," Schmyhal said. "Today, tanks have also entered Ukraine, but to protect freedom."

Poland has pledged 14 German-made Leopard 2 tanks in total, with Morawiecki saying that a further 60 PT-91 combat vehicles would also be provided in line with the promise Poland made in January.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki shake hands next to the first Leopard 2 tanks delivered from Poland
Poland is the first country to deliver tanks to Ukraine, of several that have already made pledges to deliver moreImage: Ukrainian Governmental Press Service/REUTERS

Germany's Baerbock calls for peace not subjugation at UN Security Council

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock called for a "comprehensive and lasting" peace during the session of the UN Security Council on Friday.

"Today, the eyes of the world are on the Security Council — the body that bears primary responsibility for the maintenance of peace and security in this world," she told her counterparts.

"But peace must mean peace. Peace must not mean that we forget who the aggressor is — and who the victim is. Because subjugation is not peace. That would mean rewarding the aggressor," she said.

She said that the peace plan that was voted for by the majority of the UN General Assembly members on Thursday would also be "in the interest of people in Russia," pointing out that some 200,000 Russians have already been killed or wounded, hundreds of thousands more have left the country and over 1,000 international companies have shut up shop in Russia.

German FM addresses UN Security Council

"This war is not the world’s war. This war is not the war of the Russian people. This war is Putin’s war," she added.

German, French, UK officials suggest Ukraine engage in peace talks, The Wall Street Journal reports

NATO's three largest European members have suggested offering closer military ties with Ukraine as a way to boost Kyiv's confidence to enter peace talks with Russia, US newspaper The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing officials from Germany, France and the UK.

The paper reported that French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz had told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, during his visit to Paris, that he should start thinking about opening peace talks with Russia.

The report comes a week after UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak put forward a plan to supply Ukraine with advanced military equipment once the war ends so that it could better defend itself in any possible future conflicts.

The WSJ said that the officials had been careful to say that the decision to initiate peace talks would be up to Ukraine only.

But the report went on to point out that leaders in the three countries privately are starting to doubt that Ukraine will be able to remove Russian forces from the parts of Donbas and Crimea that they have occupied since 2014.

Despite public comments of full support for Ukraine and its territorial integrity, some officials seem worried that this support will only be able to last for so long.

"We keep repeating that Russia mustn’t win, but what does that mean? If the war goes on for long enough with this intensity, Ukraine’s losses will become unbearable," the WSJ cited a senior French official as saying. "And no one believes they will be able to retrieve Crimea."

Scholz: 'Russia stands alone with its aggression'

Zelenskyy joins G7 leaders for video conference

The leaders of the Group of 7 (G7) countries held a virtual meeting on Friday with the war in Ukraine on the top of the agenda.

In a joint statement, they said that they would target those helping Russia evade sanctions and impose "severe costs" on them.

"We call on third-countries or other international actors who seek to evade or undermine our measures to cease providing material support to Russia's war, or face severe costs," the statement said.

Earlier in the day, the US announced a new packet of sanctions in coordination with the G7.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also joined the video conference, thanking the leaders and setting out his priorities in the war against Russia.

People gather around the world for Ukraine war anniversary

Erdogan speaks with Zelenskyy and Putin by phone

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held phone calls with the leaders of both Ukraine and Russia on Friday.

Erdogan's office wrote on Twitter that he had spoken with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy about both the war and the recent earthquakes that hit Turkey and Syria.

Erdogan reportedly said that he thanked Zelenskyy for Ukrainian solidarity following the earthquakes and declared his support to provide whatever was necessary to "shape peace and produce a solution based on ceasefire and negotiations" to end the war.

The Turkish president later had a call with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, also thanking him for support in the wake of the deadly earthquakes and reiterating the need to achieve "a just peace."

US warns against calls for truce in Ukraine

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke at the UN Security Council meeting on Friday, saying that calls for an unconditional truce in Ukraine would merely allow Russia to rest and rearm rather than establish a "just and durable peace."

His warning comes after China produced a 12-point peace plan, which included a call for a ceasefire.

"Any peace that legitimizes Russia's seizure of land by force will weaken the [UN] Charter and send a message to would-be aggressors everywhere that they can invade countries and get away with it," Blinken said.

"No member of this council should call for peace while supporting Russia's war on Ukraine and on the UN Charter," Blinken — who has accused China of considering sending arms to Russia — added.

Russia's military lacks 'critical self-reflection,' ex-US General Ben Hodges tells DW

Ben Hodges, a retired general who was the commander of the US army in Europe, says Russia has consistently struggled with adapting to the challenges it faced on the battlefield. 

Hodges told DW that Russia's military chiefs "are not stupid, but they do not have a culture that allows critical self-reflection. And if you want to improve, especially in the short amount of time, you have to be honest about what went wrong."

"Instead, what you see is guys like [Yevgeny] Prigozhin publicly blaming the general staff for not supporting him more," Hodges said, referring to the owner of the Wagner Group of mercenaries and his row with the Russian army.

Nine years after Moscow annexed Crimea from Ukraine, Russian military ranks "still have not figured out a coherent command structure that gets all of their advantages into the fight at the same time," he said.

"On the other hand, the Ukrainians who started off with every disadvantage except for the fact that they're defending their own country, have a much more Western approach to this adapting to new technologies," he added. "I've never seen soldiers learn new equipment as fast as the Ukrainian crew."

What does Ukraine need to win the war?

Russia arrests dozens of protesters marking anniversary of invasion

In contrast with the ceremonies held in Ukraine and by its allies, Russian police spent Friday arresting dozens of people in various cities who were laying flowers at different monuments to commemorate Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine that began one year ago.

The OVD-Info human rights group said at least three people were arrested in the capital Moscow after they put flowers on the monument to Ukrainian poet Lesya Ukrainka, while another 15 were reportedly arrested laying flowers at the monument to Ukrainian writer Taras Shevchenko in St. Petersburg.

According to the news site Meduza, several people were also arrested for protesting by holding up signs saying "I support peace" and "Peace to Ukraine. Soldiers go home" in various other cities.

Some 4,300 people were detained amid protests during the early stages of the war. Moscow introduced new hefty fines and jail terms for those found guilty of criticizing the Russian invasion.

Zelenskyy calls Ukrainian victory 'inevitable'

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has told a news conference that his country will win against Russia this year "if we all do our homework" and work together.

He thanked the 141 countries that voted in favor of condemning the Russian invasion at the UN General Assembly session held on Thursday night.

He added that a Ukrainian victory would be 'inevitable' if the West keeps its promises of support for his country. 

He said that he wanted representatives from all continents at any peace talk summits, naming specifically India and China, two countries that have refused to condemn Russia's invasion.

Zelenskyy said that Ukraine, and Europe in general, needed security guarantees and respect for international law, before a diplomatic end to the war could be achieved.

"We need daily investments in peace," the Ukrainian president said, explaining that more needs to be done to build ties with countries in Africa and Latin America, suggesting that he would be willing to talk to their media organizations to get Ukraine's message through to their populations.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine one year on

UN Security Council debates Russia's war in Ukraine

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres opened Friday's UN Security Council session by saying that "life is a living hell for the people of Ukraine."

He said that half of Ukraine's children have been forced to leave the country, adding that "Nearly 10 million people, including 7.8 million children, are at risk of acute post-traumatic stress disorder."

Ukraine's foreign minister, who was also present for the session, stressed that any peace deal must be in line with the demands laid out in the proposal voted for by the majority of UN General Assembly members on Thursday.

"Ukraine will resist as it has done so far, and Ukraine will win. Putin is going to lose much sooner than he thinks," Kuleba told the 15-member Security Council.

He ended by calling for a minute's silence, at which point the majority of those present — with the notable exception of the Russian representative — stood to observe the moment of respect.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock criticized China's lack of attempts to influence Russia, on the sidelines of the security council meeting, according to DW chief political correspondent Nina Haase who was at the UN in New York.

"China has a special responsibility as permanent member and could’ve used its influence on Russia to convince them of the peace plan," Baerbock said.

"If you speak of peace you must not mean oppression. If you make no difference between aggressor and victim you don't support peace, but you reward violence," she said, adding "This would create a different world order where no small country can live in safety."

Lula again raises idea of 'peace club' of nations

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has once again called for countries that have neither sided expressly with Ukraine nor with Russia to form a group that could mediate negotiations between the two sides.

"At a time when humanity, facing so many challenges, is in need of peace, the war between Russia and Ukraine has reached its one-year anniversary," Lula wrote on Twitter.

"It's urgent that a group of countries that aren't involved in the conflict take on the responsibility of setting up negotiations to re-establish peace."

Lula, like his predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro, has been reticent to directly condemn Moscow and has refused to implement sanctions. However, Brazil voted with the majority of members of the UN General Assembly on Thursday to condemn the invasion and call for an end to the war.

'We cannot wait' until war ends to prosecute Russian war crimes, head of the Center for Civil Liberties tells DW

Oleksandra Matviichuk is the head of the Center for Civil Liberties, an organization in Kyiv that shared the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize for its work documenting war crimes and human rights abuses.

She told DW that legal proceedings against Russian war crimes must already start to bring justice to the victims in Ukraine.

"We cannot wait when the war will end. Justice must be independent of the magnitude of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's regime's power, and the history of humankind convincingly prove that, sooner or later, authoritarian regimes collapsed and their leaders, who sees himself as untouchable, appeared under the court."

Matviichuk said her organization was documenting cases of Russian forces "deliberately" shelling residential buildings, schools, churches and hospitals. Other cases include alleged attacks on evacuation corridors, managing filtration camp systems and organizing forcible deportations, as well murders, rapes, tortures and abductions.

With the large scale of atrocities, "it's impossible to recognize" individual victims' stories and they become reduced to numbers, she said. "But people are not numbers, and only justice can return people their names."

Human rights lawyer Oleksandra Matviichuk on war crimes

China to strengthen political ties with Belarus

China's Foreign Ministry said on Friday that it was ready to boost mutual political trust with Belarus, following a phone call between Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang and his Belarusian counterpart Sergei Aleinik.

Qin told Aleinik that Beijing would support efforts to stop external forces from interfering in Belarusian domestic affairs.

Belarus is a close ally of Russia and President Aleksander Lukashenko is reliant on Russian support to maintain his control of the former Soviet country.

Ukraine has warned that Belarus may send its forces to join Russia's war effort after allowing Russia to use its territory as a launch pad for the initial full-scale invasion last year.

How Russia's war is testing NATO's resolve

US announces new sanctions packet against Russia

Washington marked the one-year anniversary of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine with the announcement of a new packet of sanctions that target both Russian and "third-country actors" across Europe, Asia and the Middle East that have helped Moscow get around previous sanctions.

"We will sanction additional actors tied to Russia's defense and technology industry, including those responsible for backfilling Russian stocks of sanctioned items or enabling Russian sanctions evasion," a White House fact sheet said.

The US Treasury Department called the packet the "most significant sanctions actions to date."

The move is being made in cooperation with G7 allies and focuses on some 250 people and firms — specifically banks, arms dealers and technology companies with ties to weapons productions and sanctions evasion.

The US is also providing a further $2 billion (€1.9 billion) in arms and munitions for Ukraine — but not the F-16 fighter jets that Ukraine has requested.

Are the sanctions working?

German Foreign Minister Baerbock slams call to end arms deliveries

Annalena Baerbock, Germany's foreign minister, criticized those within Germany who have called to stop the delivery of weapons to Ukraine.

"These glib calls to not send any more weapons to Ukraine, these are not calls for peace — but for submission," the Greens lawmaker said during an online event held by her party to mark the anniversary of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

"Peace is when Russia stops fighting and pulls its troops back," Baerbock stressed. Anything else "wouldn't be peace, but the end of Ukraine and the end of international law."

Several well-known figures within Germany have led the charge in pushing for an end to arms deliveries and calls for peace negotiations. An accompanying petition with hundreds of thousands of signatures has sparked outrage among those who have expressed continued support for Ukraine.

Sweden says it will send 10 Leopard tanks to Ukraine

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson and Defense Minister Pal Jonson said on Friday that they would be sending "around" 10 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, along with two anti-aircraft systems.

Kristersson said that the decision had been made after Germany's initiative to send its own tanks, adding that the delivery would be done in coordination with other countries, Swedish public broadcaster SVT reported.

Swedish total support for Ukraine, mostly focusing on humanitarian aid, amounts to some 10.6 billion Swedish kronor (€960 million, $1.01 billion).

Medvedev: Russia ready to fight 'to the borders of Poland'

Dmitry Medvedev, a close ally of Vladimir Putin and a Russian former president and prime minister — has said that Moscow would achieve all of its goals in what it calls its "special military operation" in Ukraine.

"Victory will be achieved," he wrote on his Telegram channel. "This is why it is so important to reach all the goals of the special military operation. To push back the borders of the threats against our country as far as possible, even if this is to the borders of Poland".

He warned that any peace agreement would lead to the US trying to "weaken Russia as much as possible" unless Ukraine is fully defeated.

Medvedev served as president from 2008 to 2012, during which time Putin took the role of prime minister as a way of getting around his previous term limit.

France calls for G20 to denounce Russia's invasion

France said it will not sign a G20 final communique unless it has the same denunciation of Russia's invasion as it did last year.

"I want to make very clear that we will oppose any step back from the leaders on the statement from the leaders in Bali on this question of war in Ukraine," Bruno Le Maire told a news conference.

India is hosting the summit and has tried to take a neutral stance since the invasion began.

India was among the countries that abstained from voting to adopt a resolution demanding that Russia end its war in Ukraine.

As meetings began on Friday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi avoided mention of Ukraine.

"We fully trust India to reach a strong communique and we are happy to see India in the driving seat today," Le Maire said.

G20 leaders condemned the Russian invasion "in the strongest possible terms" at the summit held in Bali last year.

The final communique from this session of talks is expected to be issued on Saturday.

One year into the war in Ukraine, three refugees look back

Poland's defense chief says Leopard tanks already in Ukraine

Poland's Minister of Defense Mariusz Blaszczak on Friday said that the first Leopard tanks have been delivered to Ukraine.

The comments were made in a meeting of the country's National Security Council.

"The prime minister couldn't be here, he went to Kyiv to bring Leopard tanks which are the first batch delivered to Ukraine," President Andrzej Duda said during opening remarks at the meeting in Warsaw.

Financial crime watchdog suspends Russia's membership

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has suspended Russia's membership due to the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

"The Russian Federation's actions unacceptably run counter to the FATF core principles aiming to promote security, safety, and the integrity of the global financial system," the Paris-based organization said in a statement.

The FATF deals with money laundering and terror financing prevention.

Ukrainians outraged as Russian lawmakers join Vienna talks

Austria is facing criticism for granting visas to six Russian lawmakers so that they could attend the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly's annual winter meeting.

Austria's Foreign Ministry says it's legally bound to issue visas to Russian parliamentarians, but the Ukrainian and Lithuanian delegations do not agree and have refused to show up.

On Thursday a large number of delegates staged a walkout as a Russian representative made an address.

The OSCE, which has 57 member states and 11 additional partners, is one of the few remaining organizations which still counts both Ukraine and Russia among its members.

Russian refugees talk of their hopes for Russia

Pentagon commits new $2-billion Ukraine aid package

The US Pentagon on Friday announced a new $2 billion security assistance package for Ukraine.

In a statement, the Department of Defense said the aid would be provided under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI)  and would include high-tech drones and ammunition for various weapons systems including the HIMARS Artillery Rocket Systems.

In addition to the new aid package, the US has committed more than $32 billion in security assistance.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement that the first anniversary of Russia's invasion is a chance for all who believe in freedom "to recommit ourselves to supporting Ukraine's brave defenders for the long haul — and to recall that the stakes of Russia's war stretch far beyond Ukraine.''

Can be no victory in Russia's 'criminal war' — Steinmeier

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier made an address at Bellevue Palace in Berlin, where a commemoration event was being held by the German government.

Steinmeier said that the war was continuing "with unrelenting intensity" and that there were no words to describe the "pain and cruelty which millions of Ukrainians are experiencing."

The German president said it should be made clear to Russia that "there can be no victory in its criminal war."

Steinmeier said that looking ahead, "Germany can be relied upon."

In a video address, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that from the moment of the Russian invasion "Germany stood by our side. Germany helps us to protect Ukraine from Russian terror and Germany will be on our side on the day of victory and day of freedom."

Steinmeier: European security order reduced 'to ashes'

EU chief: Putin has 'failed to achieve a single goal'

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas gave an address as the country marks its Independence Day.

Von der Leyen quoted former Estonian President Lennart Mari who said "Europe is not Geography, Europe is a unity of principles and an allegiance to principles. Principles shape geography, geography does not shape principles."

Von der Leyen pointed out that this was something Russian President Vladimir Putin has never understood.

"One year on from the start of his brutal war, Putin has failed to achieve a single one of his strategic goals," Von der Leyen said. "Instead of dividing the European Union, he finds us united and determined to stand by Ukraine for as long as it takes."

The EU chief said Ukraine had become "a testament to the bravery of a nation which will never relent in its quest for freedom," but warned that Russia had continued to send hundreds of thousands of young Russians "as cannon fodder," and said that as the losses continued to mount so too did "desperation, delusion and disinformation."

NATO, EU chiefs mark invasion anniversary in Tallinn

Estonia's Prime Minister Kaja Kallas was joined by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at a ceremony in the Estonian capital Tallinn to mark the country's independence on a day that coincides with the start of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

As a percentage of GDP, Estonia is the top donor to Ukraine's defense with defense and humanitarian aid, according to the Kiel Institute for the World Economy's Ukraine support tracker. Estonia like Ukraine, was occupied by the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

Since Estonia's independence in 1991, the country has gone on to join the EU and NATO in 2004 along with its Baltic neighbors Latvia and Lithuania.

Ahead of the ceremonies marking independence and the anniversary of the invasion, Kallas told AFP, "So as long as they are fighting there, they are weakening the same enemy as we have."

NATO reaffirms solidarity with Ukraine

NATO issued a statement on Friday marking the one-year anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine.

"We pay tribute to the lives lost, and we deplore the tragic human suffering and destruction, including of Ukraine’s residential areas and civilian and energy infrastructure, caused by Russia’s illegal war," the defense alliance said in a statement.

NATO said that Russia "bears full responsibility for this war" and said Moscow had "not shown any genuine openness to a just and lasting peace.

International pressure would continue to be placed on Russia and Belarus who NATO said was among those "actively facilitating Russia's war."

NATO stressed: "We remain ready to defend every inch of Allied territory... against all threats and challenges." 

Commemoration events taking place in Ukraine

Ukrainians are holding memorials and commemoration events marking a year since it was invaded by Russian forces.

In the capital Kyiv, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy honored soldiers from Ukraine's armed forces who have been at the forefront of the defense of Ukraine in an emotional ceremony.

Medals were also handed out medals to family members of fallen Ukrainian soldiers.

Ukraine's President Zelenskyy underestimated by Putin — DW report

The fierce resistance shown by Ukrainians is in part thanks to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

No leader before has managed to hold an address every single day for a straight year.

Zelenskyy records video statements in his office, a bunker or elsewhere, chronicling the war against his country.

Zelenskyy's determination has surprised many, above all Vladimir Putin.

Zelenskyy thanks armed forces who made Urkaine 'unbreakable'

Germany 'stands firmly' with Ukraine — Scholz

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz expressed confidence that Russian President Vladimir Putin would not achieve what he set out to when his forces invaded Ukraine one year ago.

"Germany stands firmly by the side of Ukraine," Scholz said in a recorded message posted on social media, and stressed "The sooner Putin realizes that he will no achieve his imperialist goal, the greater the chance of an end to the war."

Scholz thanked Germans for their willingness  to accept Ukrainian refugees. "We have taken in more than one million Ukrainian refugees, thanks to great willingness to help everywhere in the country," Scholz said. "For this I would like to thank everyone who made this possible." 

DW correspondent shares personal experiences from the war in Ukraine

DW's Max Zander has reported from Ukraine during the course of the Russian invasion and shared some of his observations with DW TV's Sarah Kelly.

"The first time I went to Ukraine, for me what really stood out was, just two train rides away from Berlin you can see all this destruction, you can really see what the war actually does in terms of destroyed buildings, destroyed bridges, that kind of infrastructure," Zander said.

Zander said that in Kyiv, a semblance of normality had returned, but once a person left the capital and went to the outskirts of the city and saw the places like Bucha and Hostomel, "you can really see what the war did to these locations and to the people living there."

Zander said what stood out for him was the experience of the Ukrainian people.

"Ukrainians that are fighting every day, the experience of the Ukrainians that are going through so much and showing so much resilience."

Dealing with the aftermath of the civilian attack on Dnipro

Wagner Group leader claims capture of village near Bakhmut

The head of Russian private military company, the Wagner group, said that his forces had captured a village near the eastern city of Bakhmut.

Yevgeny Prigozhin said in a statement released by his own media service that Berkhivka "is entirely under our control."

The claim cannot be independently verified.

There has been fierce fighting in the region for months, with Russian forces focusing their attention on the strategically important city.

'2023 will be the year of our victory' — Zelenskyy

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Friday that there will be a victory for the people of Ukraine this year.

Zelenskyy said in a Twitter post that on February 24, one year ago, millions of Ukrainians made a choice.

"Not a white flag, but the blue and yellow one. Not fleeing but facing. Resisting and fighting," Zelenskyy said in a tweet posted with a video showing snapshots of the trauma Ukrainians have faced, but also the staunch level of resistance.

"It was a year of pain, sorrow, faith and unity," Zelenskyy said and concluded his message by saying: "We know that 2023 will be the year of our victory!"

Nervous calm in Kyiv, one year since Russian invasion

DW Correspondent Fanny Facsar was in Kyiv one year ago and witnessed the scenes of a city bracing itself for war. Facsar told DW TV's Sarah Kelly that it was an altogether different scene on the streets of Kyiv on Friday morning.

"I remember one year ago people really were packing up, scared, trying to leave and Ukrainian military vehicles rolling here through the city. Today, I see a lot of people just actually headed to work and traffic is building up, because a lot of people have moved back to the capital."

Facsar said that some Ukrainians living in the capital didn't want to be constantly reminded of the anniversary because of the blood that has been shed in so many parts of the country.

"People are nervous today, but its not like it was a year ago," Facsar said.

G7 leaders set to announce more support for Ukraine

The G7 leading industrialized economies planned to unveil a new package of sanctions against Russia during a meeting hosted by Japan on Friday.

White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Thursday the leaders will discuss "how we continue supporting Ukraine" and ways to increase pressure on Russia.

According to Jean-Pierre, the sanctions will include Russian banks, technology and defense sectors, and will impact both people and companies involved in the conflict.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was set to join the meeting via video call.

Ahead of the meeting Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said the G7 will call on countries to refrain from sending military aid to Russia.

"In view of the military support for Russia by third countries that has been pointed out, the G7 intends to call for such support to cease," Kishida told reporters, hours before Japan chairs the online summit.

China presents paper on ending the war

China has called for a cease-fire and the start of talks as part of its 12-point peace plan to resolve the war in Ukraine through political means.

"Dialogue and negotiations are the only feasible solution to the Ukraine crisis," the paper said.

"All parties must stay rational and exercise restraint, avoid fanning the flames and aggravating tensions, and prevent the crisis from deteriorating further or even spiraling out of control," the document added.

Beijing also said it opposes unilateral sanctions and maximum pressure cannot solve the issue and "they only create new problems."

China's top diplomat Wang Yi met Russian President Vladimir Putin during his visit to Moscow on Wednesday, although it wasn't clear if the plan was discussed.

Ukraine called the position paper "a good sign" and said it expects China to be more active in its support of Ukraine.

Destroyed Russian tank displayed in front of embassy in Berlin

A destroyed T-72 was parked opposite the Russian Embassy in Berlin to mark a year since President Vladimir Putin's military invaded Ukraine.

The Russian tank was brought from Ukraine through Poland on the back of a flatbed truck by the German Story Bunker museum.

"We want to put their junk back in front of the terrorists. They have murdered, looted, displaced millions of people, and they just keep going every day," Wieland Giebel curator at the museum, said.

The wreckage of a Russian tank on display outside the country's embassy in Berlin.
A destroyed T-72 tank was brought all the way from the outskirts of Kyiv in Ukraine to put on display outside Russia's Embassy in the German capital BerlinImage: Julius-Christian Schreiner/dpa/picture alliance

An anti-tank mine destroyed the tank in the first days of the war in the Battle of Kyiv near the village of Dmytrivka, near Bucha.

The museum first proposed the idea in June last year but had to fight a court battle to get clearance. 

It will be outside the embassy throughout the weekend.

UN approves resolution calling for Russia to leave Ukraine

A vast majority of UN General Assembly members on Thursday voted in favor of a motion put forward by Germany calling for peace in Ukraine as soon as possible.

There were 141 votes in favor and 32 abstentions. Six countries joined Russia to vote no - Belarus, North Korea, Eritrea, Mali, Nicaragua, and Syria.

The resolution calls for Russia to end hostilities in Ukraine and withdraw its forces.

Baerbock: 'Every one of us here today has the opportunity to contribute to this peace plan'

General Assembly resolutions are not binding and carry mainly symbolic weight at the United Nations. However, unlike the Security Council, Russia cannot unilaterally veto them.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said the vote was more evidence that not only the West backs his country.

"This vote defies the argument that the global south does not stand on Ukraine's side," Kuleba said. "Many countries representing Latin America, Africa, Asia voted in favor."

ab,kb,lo/rt, jsi (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)