The first Polish Leopard tanks have arrived in Ukraine, with the prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, confirming that four tanks had been delivered. “Poland and Europe stand by your side. We will definitely not leave you, we will support Ukraine until complete victory over Russia,” he said, standing alongside the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, during his visit to Kyiv to mark the the first anniversary of the Russian invasion.
Zelenskiy has declared victory to be inevitable as his country marked the anniversary of the moment it was invaded by Russian troops. In a national address earlier on Friday, Zelenskiy told Ukrainians they had been proven invincible over “a year of pain, sorrow, faith and unity”.
The US has announced that it will offer over $10bn in assistance to Ukraine. The secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said that the funds are crucial to Ukraine and ensure that the Ukrainian government can continue to meet “the critical needs of its citizens, including healthcare, education and emergency services”.
Washington has also announced an additional package of security assistance for Ukraine. In a statement, the Biden administration said it would include “several new unmanned aerial systems (UAS), counter-unmanned aerial systems (C-UAS) equipment to strengthen Ukraine’s air defences … and electronic warfare detection equipment to bolster Ukraine’s ability to repel Russia’s aggression”.
Sweden will send up to 10 Leopard tanks and anti-aircraft systems to Ukraine, the prime minister, Ulf Kristersson, and defence minister, Pål Jonson, said. “The Swedish tanks reinforce the Leopard 2 contribution that other European countries make. Coordination of support is ongoing with international partners donating Leopard 2 or other tanks,” the government said.
Canada will provide additional military support to Ukraine, prime minister, Justin Trudeau, announced. He said Canada will provide four additional Leopard 2 main battle tanks. The additional tanks will bring up the total number of tanks provided by Canada to eight.
The European Union has promised additional support for millions of Ukrainian refugees who have fled their country since Russia’s invasion. The EU Commission vice-president, Margaritis Schinas, said “as far as [refugees from] Ukraine are concerned, the figures are stable. If it happens, we are ready, but it doesn’t seem to be the case for the time being”, referring to a potential increase in refugees.
The US Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, pledged American solidarity with Ukraine. “One year ago, Vladimir Putin committed his greatest mistake by underestimating the resolve of Ukraine. Since then, we have seen bravery, patriotism and valour personified by President Zelenskiy and the Ukrainian people,” the Democrat said.
The Group of Seven has announced a range of further economic, military and financial sanctions against Russia. It promised measures against Russian diamond exports, warning that third countries that help Russia evade sanctions would face “severe costs”. The G7 is understood to be setting up an “enforcement coordination mechanism” to stop evasion of its sanctions already imposed.
The UK said it was banning the export of every item Russia has been found using on the battlefield to date, a list covering hundreds of goods, including aircraft parts, radio equipment and electronic components. The British government is also imposing sanctions on senior executives at Russia’s state-owned nuclear power company Rosatom, who Ukraine says are complicit in the seizure and forced nationality change of the staff of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and their children.
A “people’s court” has endorsed an indictment against Putin for the crime of aggression and called for his arrest. After a week of hearings in The Hague, a panel of three international legal experts issued the order and called on the international community “to take every step necessary to ensure that a court with legal powers issues an indictment against Putin and takes appropriate measures to arrest the perpetrator and put him on trial in an official Ukraine tribunal as soon as possible”, AP reported.
Zelenskiy has welcomed some elements of a Chinese proposal for a ceasefire in Russia’s war on Ukraine. China’s government called for peace talks while urging all parties to avoid nuclear escalation and end attacks on civilians. “China has shown its thoughts. I believe that the fact that China started talking about Ukraine is not bad,” Zelenskiy said.
Russia appreciated China’s plan to resolve the conflict in Ukraine and was open to achieving the goals of what it calls its “special military operation” through political and diplomatic means, foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said. However, this would also mean recognising “new territorital realities” in Ukraine, Zakharova said, referring to Russia’s unilateral annexation of four Ukrainian regions – Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia – as well as of Crimea.