Russia's war on Ukraine latest: Zelenskiy, Sunak agree assistance must come fast

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak spoke with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, and the two agreed on the importance of the international community speeding up assistance for Ukraine, Sunak’s office said. POWER OUTAGE IN ODESA

* A serious accident at a high-voltage substation has caused widespread power outages in and around Ukraine’s southern port city of Odesa, Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said on Saturday. DIPLOMACY, SANCTIONS

* Ukrainians will fight “for as long as we can” to hold the “fortress” city of Bakhmut, Zelenskiy vowed as he hosted European Union leaders on Friday to discuss further sanctions on Russia and Kyiv’s prospects for joining the EU. * The EU offered strong support for Ukraine at the Kyiv summit on Friday but set “no rigid timelines” for its accession to the bloc. Zelenskiy had hoped the EU would put Ukraine on a rapid road to membership.

* The United States warned Turkey in recent days about the export to Russia of chemicals, microchips and other products that can be used in Moscow’s war effort in Ukraine, and it could move to punish Turkish companies or banks contravening sanctions. * China said mutual political trust with Russia has deepened further after Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu met with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Russia.

* Western economies agreed price caps on Friday on Russian diesel and other refined petroleum products that U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said would build on a crude oil cap set in December and further limit Russian oil revenues while keeping global energy markets supplied. * The EU’s next package of sanctions against Russia will hit the trade and technology that support Moscow’s war against Ukraine, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Friday.

* Canada imposed sanctions on Friday on 38 individuals and 16 entities it said were “complicit in peddling Russian disinformation and propaganda”, prompting a quick promise of retaliation from Moscow. * The United States imposed sanctions on Friday on the board of directors of Iranian drone maker Paravar Pars, with the Treasury Department saying Iranian drones were being used by Russia to attack Ukraine’s critical infrastructure.

ARMS * Portugal will send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, Prime Minister Antonio Costa said, without specifying how many.

* A $2.2 billion U.S. military aid package to Ukraine includes a new rocket, the Ground Launched Small Diameter Bomb, that would double the country’s strike range, the Pentagon said on Friday. * France said on Friday that it and Italy have completed technical talks for the joint delivery of a SAMP/T-MAMBA air defence system, the only European-made system that can intercept ballistic missiles, to Ukraine in the spring.

* Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said the supply of more advanced U.S. weaponry to Ukraine will only trigger more retaliatory strikes from Russia, up to the extent of Russia’s nuclear doctrine. CONFLICT

* Ukraine and Russia traded almost 200 prisoners of war in a swap announced separately by both sides on Saturday, with the bodies of two British volunteers also being sent back to Ukraine. * Germany has collected evidence of war crimes in Ukraine, the country’s prosecutor general said in a newspaper interview published on Saturday, adding that he saw a need for a judicial process at international level.

* Ukraine unveiled a criminal case on Friday against the boss of Russia’s Wagner mercenary company, promising to track down and prosecute the company’s fighters who try to flee abroad. (Compiled by William Mallard, William Maclean and Frances Kerry)

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)