Ukrainian soldiers fighting to hold off a Russian push on the small eastern city of Bakhmut pleaded on Friday for more weapons from the outside world, as Western leaders met in Munich to assess the year-long war shaking Europe.
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* Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy told the conference it was “obvious” Ukraine would not be the last stop of President Vladimir Putin’s invasion, and that it was vital the West did not delay arms deliveries to help repel Russian forces.
* French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday appeared to toughen his stance towards Moscow, urging allies to step up military support for Ukraine to help it push back Russia’s invasion since now was not the time for dialog with Moscow.
* The Kremlin on Friday accused the United States of inciting Ukraine to escalate the war by condoning attacks on Crimea, warning that Washington was now directly involved in the conflict because “crazy people” had dreams of defeating Russia.
* The United States will directly warn companies against evading U.S. sanctions imposed on Russia over the war in Ukraine, Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo told Reuters on Friday, as Washington seeks to further squeeze Russia’s economy.
* Russia asked the U.N. Security Council to seek an independent inquiry into September attacks on the Nord Stream gas pipelines, connecting Russia and Germany, according to a draft resolution seen by Reuters on Friday.
* The Russian mercenary company Wagner Group has suffered more than 30,000 casualties since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, with about 9,000 of those fighters killed in action, the White House said on Friday.
* The International Monetary Fund said on Friday it reached a staff-level agreement with Ukraine, setting the stage for talks on a full loan program that would support Kyiv’s economy and its bid to join the European Union.
* The U.S. sanctions authority has launched in inquiry into Raiffeisen Bank International over its business related to Russia, the Austrian lender told Reuters on Friday, increasing scrutiny on the bank that plays a critical role in the Russian economy.
* Negotiations will start in a week on extending a U.N.-backed initiative that has enabled Ukraine to export grain from ports blockaded by Russia after its invasion, a senior Ukrainian official said on Friday.
“He wants us to be dead,” Zelenskiy told actor Sean Penn hours after Putin’s invasion began a year ago, as seen in Penn’s film “Superpower,” which debuted on Friday. “He hates Ukraine. He hates us.” (Compiled by Mark Heinrich and William Mallard)