The war in Ukraine has entered its 100th day, as President Volodymyr Zelenskyy admits that Russia now controls about 20% of the country.
Mr Zelenskyy was speaking to the parliament in Luxembourg when he said that the area controlled by Russia was larger than Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg combined, adding that “tens of thousands” of people have died in the war so far.
“This is what it means, in fact, to characterise this war as full-scale, and this is why we are calling the world for their support,” he said.
“If we win this war, all Europeans will be able to continue enjoying their freedom.”
“But if this one person who wants to destroy any freedom in Ukraine and Europe prevails, then dark times will come for everyone on the continent,” he added, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Having failed to take the Ukrainian capital Kyiv earlier in the war, Russia has been focusing on the southeastern Donbas region, which includes Donetsk and Luhansk, where it has been backing separatist fighters since 2014.
Donetsk governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said on Thursday that three civilians were killed there, and nine people were injured.
Mr Kyrylenko said Russian forces are also trying to advance towards the cities of Kramatorsk and Sloviansk in Donetsk.
The strategically-important city of Severodonetsk in Luhansk is largely in ruins after days of intense fighting and, if that and the nearby city of Lysychansk fall, Russia will control all of the province.
• UN aid chief Martin Griffiths will meet officials in Moscow to discuss how grain and other food can be exported from Ukraine. Russia has been blocking Ukraine’s ports, worsening a global food crisis
• UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace promised an unspecified number of M270 launchers for Ukraine
• 243 children have been killed in the war, 446 have been wounded and 139 are missing, Mr Zelenskyy said, adding that 200,000 children are among the Ukrainians who have been forcefully taken to Russia
• European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said it’s in the European Union’s strategic interest but also “our moral duty” to help Ukraine join the 30-nation bloc
In his nightly address, Mr Zelenskyy said: “The entire temporarily-occupied territory of our state is now a complete disaster zone, for which Russia bears full responsibility.”
But he said he was expecting more weapons from allies, with recent contributions from the US and Sweden.
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The Kremlin has warned that the new $700m weapons package promised by the US is adding “fuel to the fire”.
The package includes an advanced rocket system with a range of up to 50 miles, but US President Joe Biden has said Ukraine has promised not to use it on targets in Russia.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “Pumping weapons into Ukraine does not change all the parameters of the special operation.”