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Ukraine updates: Zelenskyy pleads to West after Odesa attack

Published March 3, 2024last updated March 3, 2024

Ukraine's president has renewed his call for international aid, saying the delay in weapons is costing lives. Meanwhile, Germany's defense minister has accused Russia of waging an "information war." DW has the latest.

Rescue workers remove body of resident from damaged apartment building in Odesa, Ukraine
Zelenskyy described the attack in Odesa carried out by Iranian-made Shahed drones as 'terrorism'Image: REUTERS
Skip next section What you need to know

What you need to know

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged allies to swiftly deliver defense systems and weapons following a deadly Russian strike on Odesa.

Zelenskyy said "internal political games or disputes" in partner countries are limiting Ukraine's defense.  

Meanwhile, German opposition lawmaker Alexander Dobrindt has called for Chancellor Olaf Scholz to answer before parliament over leaked Bundeswehr talks on Ukraine.

An audio recording, which was published by Russia, features a 38-minute long conversation between four German officers discussing how Ukrainian forces could potentially use German-made Taurus missiles on the battlefield.  

Here's a look at the latest developments in Russia's war on Ukraine for Sunday, March 3.

Skip next section Russian casualties in February highest since war's start: UK
March 3, 2024

Russian casualties in February highest since war's start: UK

The average daily number of Russian troops killed and wounded in the war in Ukraine during the month of February was the highest since the war started two years ago, the British Ministry of Defence said on Sunday.

In its daily update on the war, the ministry reported 983 casualties per day last month.

"The increase in the daily average almost certainly reflects Russia's commitment to mass and attritional warfare," the ministry said on X, the social media platform previously known as Twitter.

"Although costly in terms of human life, the resulting effect has increased the pressure on Ukraine's positions across the front line."

The ministry estimated that around 355,000 personnel have likely been "killed and wounded" among Russian troops since the start of the war.

Skip next section Russia waging 'information war' on Germany, Pistorius says
March 3, 2024

Russia waging 'information war' on Germany, Pistorius says

Moscow was waging an "information war" against Germany by intercepting and releasing a sensitive discussion among high-ranking Bundeswehr military officers concerning Ukraine, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said.

Reacting to the leak for the first time on Sunday, Pistorius accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of seeking to sow disunity and create divisions within Germany.

"It is about using this recording to destabilize and unsettle us," the German minister said, adding that he "hoped that Putin will not succeed."

The head of Russian state broadcaster RT, Margarita Simonyan, released a 38-minute audio recording of four officers discussing the possibility of sending Taurus missiles to Ukraine late on Friday. On Saturday, the Defense Ministry in Berlin said it believed the audio was genuine and that the conversation had been wiretapped.

"The incident is much more than just the interception and publication of a conversation ... It is part of an information war that Putin is waging," the defense minister said.

He added that he had yet to receive any information about further leaks that might have been intercepted by Moscow. He said the results of an internal investigation were expected early next week.

Pistorius pointed out that one of the issues being looked at was whether the right platform was chosen for the meeting. The conversation reportedly took place on the Webex communication platform. 

German Defence Minister: 'It's about splitting our domestic politics apart'

Skip next section Death toll from Odesa apartment strike rises to 11
March 3, 2024

Death toll from Odesa apartment strike rises to 11

Officials in Ukraine say that 11 people have now been confirmed to have died following the Russian drone strike that hit an apartment building in the southern port city of Odesa.

Regional governor Oleh Kiper said the bodies of an 8-month-old baby and her mother were recovered from the rubble of the destroyed residential building on Sunday.

"A mother tried to cover her eight-month-old baby with her body. They were found in a tight embrace," said the Ukrainian emergency services on Telegram.

Authorities reported the dead included at least four children, including two babies. The death toll was likely to rise as there were still people unaccounted for.

The building was hit in an overnight strike between Friday and Saturday, causing extensive damage to the structure.

The Ukrainian Armed Forces reported that the Odesa region was attacked by eight Russian drones, seven of which were shot down by air defenses. Across the country, air defenses shot down 14 of 17 drones launched against Ukraine, the armed forces said.

Skip next section Russia says 38 Ukrainian drones shot down over Crimea
March 3, 2024

Russia says 38 Ukrainian drones shot down over Crimea

Russia said early Sunday that a drone strike involving multiple UAV's was intercepted over Crimea.

The Russian defence ministry said in a post on the Telegram messaging service that air defense systems shot down 38 drones it said had been launched by Kyiv, over occupied Crimea.

It didn't say whether there had been any damage or casualties.

There had been posts on Ukrainian and Russian social media of explosions in the port of Feodosia.

Russia, which annexed Crimea in 2014, fortified the peninsula in the years that followed, setting up several additional naval and air bases in the area where its Black Sea fleet has long been based.

That fleet has used its HQ in the closed port city of Sevastopol to launch long-range attacks on targets in Ukraine since the 2022 invasion.

Kyiv has increased air and sea attacks on Russian targets in the region, hitting Russian ships and naval facilities among others.

Skip next section Moscow, China agree that Russia must be present at Ukraine talks — Russian Foreign Ministry
March 3, 2024

Moscow, China agree that Russia must be present at Ukraine talks — Russian Foreign Ministry

The Russian Foreign Ministry says that Moscow and Beijing agree that it is impossible to discuss a settlement to the conflict in Ukraine without Russia's presence.

The ministry released the statement following talks between Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Galuzin and Chinese special representative for Eurasian affairs Li Hui in Moscow.

Li is also set to visit Poland, Ukraine and Germany.

"A very engaged and thorough exchange of views took place on the topic of the Ukrainian crisis," the ministry said.

"It was stated that any discussion of a political and diplomatic settlement is impossible without the participation of Russia and taking into account its interests in the security sphere," it said.

China has repeatedly called for a political settlement to the war in Ukraine, while criticizing Western sanctions on Moscow.

Skip next section German opposition lawmaker calls for inquiry over leaked Bundeswehr talks
March 3, 2024

German opposition lawmaker calls for inquiry over leaked Bundeswehr talks

A senior member of Germany's Bavaria-based opposition conservative CSU party, Alexander Dobrindt, has called for Chancellor Olaf Scholz to answer before parliament over the leaking of confidential conversations between high-ranking Bundeswehr officers on the war in Ukraine.

He said that the establishment of an investigative committee also "cannot be ruled out."

Germany probes Russian tapping of Ukraine talks

Dobrindt told the news magazine Der Spiegel that it was "strange" that security discussions were "obviously being overheard by the Russians."

He said that it was possible that Scholz had justified his opposition to the delivery of Taurus missiles to Ukraine on a "misrepresentation" of the situation.

Scholz has ruled out providing Kyiv with the long-range missiles, arguing that it could drag Germany directly into the war.

Skip next section Zelenskyy urges swifter arms deliveries after Odesa attack
March 3, 2024

Zelenskyy urges swifter arms deliveries after Odesa attack

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged Western countries to deliver missile defense systems and weapons to Kyiv in his nightly video address.

His address came after Russian drone debris hit an apartment block in Ukraine's southern port city of Odesa, killing several people.

Damaged apartment building after drone strike in Odesa, Ukraine
An apartment building in the southwestern Ukrainian city of Odesa was damaged in a Russian drone strikeImage: Ukrainian Emergency Service Office/AP Photo/picture alliance

"Such attacks by Shahed drones have no military sense and cannot have any," he said. "This is terrorism aimed solely at destroying lives, solely at intimidating people."

"The world knows what can be opposed to terrorism. The world has enough missile defense systems, systems to protect against Shahed drones and missiles," he added.

"And delaying the supply of weapons to Ukraine, missile defense systems to protect our people leads, unfortunately, to such losses, to the fact that the list of children whose lives Russia takes away constantly grows."

"Ukraine asked for nothing more than necessary to protect lives," he said. "When lives are lost, and partners are simply playing internal political games or disputes that limit our defense, it's impossible to understand. It's unacceptable. And it will be impossible to forget — the world will remember this."

Zelenskyy's comments come as a comprehensive US aid package for Ukraine remains stalled in the US House of Representatives.  

sdi/wd (Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa)