Russia forced to merge depleted forces, UK says; Lavrov claims West will fight until ‘the last Ukrainian’. Follow our live updates – CNBC

Lavrov claims West will fight until ‘the last Ukrainian’

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov made another string of assertions in an interview with Chinese state media agency Xinhua, published Saturday morning.

Lavrov claimed that NATO was interfering with a political settlement in Ukraine and that the West intended to fight until “the last Ukrainian,” according to an NBC News translation.

He also claimed the Ukraine conflict “contributes to the process of freeing the world from the neo-colonial oppression of the West.”

—Matt Clinch

‘We will not give up’: UN chief tells Ukrainians

The United Nations will not give up, but will “redouble its efforts to save lives and reduce human suffering,” Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a Twitter post on Friday.

The UN chief said he was “moved by the resilience and bravery of the people of Ukraine. My message to them is simple: We will not give up.”

“In this war, as in all wars, the civilians always pay the highest price,” he said.

“I was moved by the resilience and bravery of the people of Ukraine. My message to them is simple: We will not give up,” tweeted UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, after he returned from a visit to Ukraine earlier this week, where he visited the Kyiv suburbs of Borodianka, Bucha and Irpin.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Guterres has just returned from the war-torn country, where he visited the Kyiv suburbs of Borodianka, Bucha and Irpin nine weeks after Russia began its illegal and unprovoked war.

“When we see this horrendous site, it makes me feel how important it is [to have] a thorough investigation and accountability,” he said Thursday, when he was in Bucha — where horrific photos of mass graves and executed civilians strewn in the streets sparked a global outrage.

“The war is an absurdity in the 21st century. The war is evil,” he said during his visit to Ukraine, where he also met President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Russia has been forced to merge ‘depleted and disparate’ forces in Ukraine, UK says

Russia faces “considerable challenges” in its war against Ukraine, including shortcomings in its tactical co-ordination and weakened morale, the U.K. Defence Ministry said. In this photo taken in April 2022, volunteers are seen cleaning up the rubble from a building in Kyiv hit by a Russian missile attack.

Sopa Images | Lightrocket | Getty Images

Russia continues to face “considerable challenges” in its war against Ukraine, the U.K. Defence Ministry said.

“It has been forced to merge and redeploy depleted and disparate units from the failed advances in north-east Ukraine. Many of these units are likely suffering from weakened morale,” the ministry said on Twitter.

“Shortcomings in Russian tactical co-ordination remain. A lack of unit-level skills and inconsistent air support have left Russia unable to fully leverage its combat mass, despite localised improvements,” said the latest British intelligence report.

In a bid to fix problems that have constrained its advances, Moscow is trying to concentrate combat power geographically, shorten its supply lines and simplify command and control, the report said.

Joanna Tan

U.S. and Canadian troops are training Ukrainian soldiers in Europe, Pentagon says

Canada has given heavy artillery to Ukrainian forces including M-777 howitzers similar to this one.

Lennart Preiss | Getty Images

U.S. troops in Germany have started training Ukrainian soldiers on the use of heavy weapons to defend their country against Russian attacks, the Pentagon said Friday.

“These efforts build on the initial artillery training that Ukraine’s forces already have received elsewhere and also includes training on radar systems and armored vehicles that have been recently announced as part of security assistance packages,” Press Secretary John F. Kirby said.

This week, President Joe Biden called on Congress to authorize as much as $33 billion in humanitarian and military aid to Kyiv in its fight against Moscow’s attacks.

Canada has given heavy artillery to Ukrainian forces, including M-777 howitzers and anti-armor ammunition, the Canadian government said last week.

Canadian service members are training Ukrainians on the M-777 howitzer in Europe, Kirby added, citing Canadian Defense Minister Anita Anand.

Joanna Tan

Russia says it’s not at war with NATO, blames alliance for war in Ukraine

Russia’s foreign minister says Moscow does not consider itself at war with NATO.

In an interview with Saudi Arabia’s Al-Arabiya TV channel, Sergei Lavrov said: “Unfortunately, NATO, it seems, considers itself to be at war with Russia.”

“NATO and European Union leaders, many of them, in England, in the United States, Poland, France, Germany and of course European Union chief diplomat Josep Borrell, they bluntly, publicly and consistently say, ‘Putin must fail, Russia must be defeated,'” he told the network.

“When you use this terminology,” he said, “I believe you think that you are at war with the person who you want to be defeated.”

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says Moscow is not at war with NATO, but that NATO sees itself as being at war with the Kremlin.

Dimitar Dilkoff | Afp | Getty Images

Lavrov — who has been sanctioned by the U.S., U.K. and Europe for his role in the war — reportedly said his country’s “special operation” in Ukraine is “a response to what NATO was doing in Ukraine to prepare this country for a very aggressive posture against the Russian Federation.”

He told Al-Arabiya that Ukraine was given arms that can reach Russian territory, and that military bases were being built, including on the Sea of Azov — where the battle for the besieged port city of Mariupol continues today.

Russian forces have largely destroyed the city of Mariupol, though Moscow falsely claims that it doesn’t target civilian areas.

Lavrov claimed many military exercises held on Ukrainian territory “were conducted under NATO auspices, and most of these exercises were designed against the [interests] of the Russian Federation, so the purpose of this operation is to make sure that those plans do not materialize.”

Joanna Tan

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Russia forced to merge depleted forces, UK says; Lavrov claims West will fight until ‘the last Ukrainian’. Follow our live updates – CNBC

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