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In his first extended remarks about the war since the invasion began, Putin said Saturday that international sanctions against Moscow put “the future of Ukrainian statehood” at risk and are “a means of fighting against Russia,” like a “declaration of war.”
Ukrainian officials accused Russia of breaching a temporary truce in the southern cities of Mariupol and Volnovakha — meant to allow people to flee the battle zone — less than three hours after both sides were supposed to have ceased fire.
Russia’s relentless assault has put parts of Ukraine under siege, with basic necessities undeliverable and Ukrainians prevented from leaving. Besieged areas needed the cease-fire to restore basic services such as electricity, heat and tap water, Ukrainian officials said, and to bring in medical supplies that Russia’s blockades have cut off. The lack of necessities is compounding what local leaders have called a humanitarian “catastrophe.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke directly with U.S. lawmakers Saturday, pleading with them to support Ukraine’s call for “control of the skies” to fend off Russian airstrikes.