Russia will bomb any country if Putin gets arrested, says ally; EU leaders endorse Ukraine ammunition deal

Any attempt to arrest Vladimir Putin would be a declaration of war against Russia, the president’s ally Dmitry Medvedev said after the ICC put out a warrant for the Russian leader over alleged war crimes. Meanwhile, EU leaders have endorsed a plan for sending Ukraine 1 million rounds of artillery ammunition within the next 12 months.

New Delhi,UPDATED: Mar 24, 2023 07:56 IST

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during an awarding ceremony of the Presidential Prize for Young Cultural Workers and the Presidential Prize in Literature and Art for Children and Youth in the Kremlin in Moscow (Photo: AP/File)

By India Today World Desk: Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ally Dmitry Medvedev has said any attempt to arrest Putin would be a declaration of war against Russia. His remarks came days after the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant on Friday, accusing Putin of war crimes, of illegally deporting hundreds of children from Ukraine, The Independent reported.

European Union leaders endorsed a plan for sending Ukraine 1 million rounds of artillery ammunition within the next 12 months to help the country counter Russia’s invasion forces, the AP reported.

Ukraine’s troops will soon launch a counterassault as Russia’s huge winter offensive weakens without capturing the eastern city of Bakhmut, top ground forces commander told Reuters.

Ukrainian officials said its air defenses have intercepted two cruise missiles fired at the Odesa region. It’s the second time this week that Kh-59 missiles have been fired at the Odesa region.

Here are the top developments in the Russia-Ukraine war:

  • Putin’s ally Dmitry Medvedev has warned that Russia will bomb any country if any attempts are made to arrest the Russian President. “What would that be? It would be a declaration of war on the Russian Federation,” he said in a video posted on Telegram, the Independent reported.

  • Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has urged Europe to increase and speed up its supply of weapons to his country and also to impose additional sanctions on Russia. European Union (EU) foreign and defence ministers have approved the plan for a fast-track purchasing procedure earlier this week, AP reported. Zelenskyy thanked leaders for the initiative earlier during a video call.

  • However, two nations Hungary and Bulgaria said they would not participate in getting ammunition to Ukraine. While Hungary cited its commitment to peace, Bulgaria also ruled out the delivery of shells as long as a caretaker government remains in charge in the country. Bulgaria said it will support European diplomatic efforts to restore peace.

    Last month, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said the EU was partly to blame for prolonging Russia’s war in Ukraine by sanctioning Russia and supplying Ukraine with money and weapons, rather than seeking to negotiate peace with Moscow.

  • With Russia’s attacks on Bakhmut decreasing, Ukraine forces are planning a counter-offensive. Russia’s Wagner mercenaries “are losing considerable strength and are running out of steam”, Kyiv’s ground forces commander Oleksandr Syrskyi said in a social media post, the Reuters reported.

    Ukrainian military analyst Oleh Zhdanov said in his assessment that Russian troops are now moving towards south to the town of Avdiivka. Moscow’s forces have become more active in areas to the north in the Kharkiv and Luhansk regions as well as central Zaporizhzhia and southern Kherson regions, he said.

  • Ukraine said it mistakenly reported Russian retreat in Kherson after Moscow slammed Kyiv for the report. The Ukrainian military quickly retracted its claim that Russian forces had withdrawn from a strategic town in Ukraine’s southern Kherson region Thursday, as Moscow-backed leaders mocked Kyiv over the report, CNN reported.

  • The Russian Foreign Ministry again condemned Finland’s bid to join NATO, calling it “unbalanced” and “counterproductive” in comments reported by state news agency RIA Novosti on Thursday. “We understand that the United States of America and a number of its allies are behind this political campaign,” foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said.

    Meanwhile, Spain is expected to send its first shipment of modern battle tanks to Ukraine by the end of next week, once officials have completed final firing tests in the field, the Spanish Defense Ministry said in a statement on Thursday, CNN reported.

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