the situation in the east is tense, the French were urged to leave the country

Shelling and shelling in eastern Ukraine is intensifying, Gulliver Cragg, a correspondent for France 24, testified on Saturday, as Russian President Vladimir Putin began “strategic” military exercises using “ballistics and cruise” missiles.

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  • 22:15: Emmanuel Macron and Vladimir Zelensky spoke by phone

The French President spoke on Saturday evening with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky by phone. “I informed Emmanuel Macron about the worsening situation on the front line, about our losses, about the shelling…,” the President of Ukraine explained on Twitter.

Volodymyr Zelensky “declared his desire not to respond to provocations along the line of contact,” the French presidency said for its part, citing “last efforts” to “prevent a major conflict in Ukraine.”

>> Read also: “Ukraine wants peace,” President Volodymyr Zelensky assures

  • 9:50 pm: All indications are that Russia is “planning a full attack” on Ukraine, says NATO chief

“All signs point to Russia planning a full-scale attack on Ukraine,” NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said in an interview with the German ARD channel. “We all agree that the risk of an attack is very high,” he added.

  • 21:10: NATO moves its personnel in Ukraine from Kyiv to Lvov and Brussels

NATO has relocated its personnel present in Ukraine from Kyiv to Lvov, to the west of the country and to Brussels to ensure their safety, an Alliance official told AFP.

“The safety of our employees is of paramount importance, which is why employees have been transferred to Lviv and Brussels. NATO offices in Ukraine continue to operate,” the NATO spokesman said, without providing any details about the personnel.

  • 19:30: OSCE monitors report 1,500 ceasefire violations in eastern Ukraine

OSCE monitors recorded more than 1,500 violations of the truce, which was supposed to be in place on the front in eastern Ukraine in 24 hours, they said in a statement, which is a record this year.

From Thursday evening to Friday evening, monitors recorded 591 violations in the Donetsk region and 975 in the Luhansk region, partly held by pro-Russian separatists fighting against Kyiv.

  • 18:20: EU coordinates delivery of humanitarian aid to Ukraine

The European Union (EU) has announced that it is coordinating the delivery of humanitarian aid to Ukraine, facilitating the airlift of medical supplies and protective equipment requested by Kiev.

This assistance, provided by Member States, “aims to support Ukraine’s efforts to prepare for all possible scenarios,” the European Commission said in a statement.

  • 17:30: Shells explode near the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, on the move on the front line

Mortar shells exploded near the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Denis Monastyrsky, when he was heading to the front line in the east of the country, no one was injured. He was leaving the trenches separating Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists after giving an interview to international media.

  • 17:10: Two Ukrainian soldiers killed in eastern Ukraine, Kyiv reports

Two Ukrainian soldiers were killed Saturday on the front lines with pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, according to a new Ukrainian army report.

These are the first deaths of Ukrainian servicemen in more than a month. Four soldiers were also wounded and hospitalized, the army said in a statement accusing separatists of 70 violations of a truce that should have been in effect.

  • 15:45: France recommends its citizens to leave Ukraine

Following Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States, France advised its citizens to leave Ukraine and called on those in the most vulnerable areas in the country’s east to remove them “without delay”.

“All French citizens whose stay in Ukraine does not have a good reason are advised to leave the country,” French diplomacy stresses in an updated travel advice on Saturday. Those in “Kharkov, Luhansk and Donetsk regions” as well as in the Dniprovsky district are “urged to leave these areas without delay,” she adds.

  • 15:10: Germany urges its citizens to leave Ukraine “urgently”

“We warn against any travel to Ukraine,” the German Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Saturday, urging German citizens “who are there” to leave the country without delay.

For its part, the German airline Lufthansa announced the suspension of flights to Kyiv and Odessa from Monday.

  • 13:30: shelling intensifies in eastern Ukraine

“This Saturday marks a new and rather serious escalation of tension along the entire front line,” testifies our correspondent in Ukraine, Gulliver Cragg.

“Shots have been intensifying since early morning,” he added, citing witnesses.

  • 12:24 p.m.: ‘ballistic and cruise’ missiles launched during Russian military exercise

The Kremlin said Russian strategic exercises led by Vladimir Putin at the height of the Russian-Western crisis over Ukraine included launches of “ballistic and cruise missiles.”

“The tasks outlined during the exercises of the strategic deterrence forces have been fully completed, all missiles have reached their goals,” the message says.

  • 11:54 am: Russian troops ‘preparing to strike’ on Ukraine

Russian troops amassed on the border with Ukraine are “turning around” and “preparing to strike” at the country, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said during a visit to Lithuania.

“They are deploying and preparing to strike,” the US official said, adding that the Russian military is “moving into the right positions to be able to strike.”

  • 11:50 am: Putin launches ‘strategic’ military exercises

Russian President Vladimir Putin has launched “strategic” military exercises with ballistic missile launches, the Kremlin announced, as tensions in the Russia-Western crisis over Ukraine reached their peak.

Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov, quoted by Russian news agencies RIA Novosti and Interfax, said the exercise had begun and Vladimir Putin was following it with his colleague and Belarusian ally Alexander Lukashenko.

  • 10:26 am: State of emergency declared in Russian region due to influx of refugees

A state of emergency has been declared in the Russian region bordering Ukraine due to an influx of refugees from the separatist regions of eastern Ukraine, who ordered the evacuation of civilians.

“Given the increase in arriving people, it seems appropriate for us to introduce a state of emergency,” said the governor of the Rostov region, Vasily Golubev, who was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying.

  • 8:53 am: Ukrainian soldier killed in shelling, Kyiv reports

A Ukrainian soldier has died in clashes with Moscow-backed separatists in the country’s east, the Ukrainian military said.

“As a result of shelling with shrapnel, a Ukrainian serviceman was mortally wounded,” the military command of eastern Ukraine said.

  • 8 hour 39: The President of Ukraine saved the trip to Munich

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will continue his planned trip to the Munich conference, his cabinet said despite fears of a Russian attack.

The situation in the country’s east “remains completely under control,” the Ukrainian president said, adding that Volodymyr Zelensky’s plans had not changed. She did not refer to US President Joe Biden, who asked the day before whether President Zelensky should leave Ukraine under these circumstances.

  • 8 hour 17: Lugansk separatist leader in turn announces general mobilization

A pro-Russian separatist leader in Luhansk, in eastern Ukraine, has announced a general mobilization, following in the footsteps of the Donetsk separatist leader, as fears of a Russian attack gather momentum.

“I decree on general mobilization on the territory of the Luhansk People’s Republic,” reads the decree signed by Leonid Passechnik.

  • 7:15 am: Call for “general mobilization” in Donetsk region

Pro-Russian separatist leader in Donetsk region announces “general mobilization”.

“I urge my comrades-reservists to come to the military registration and enlistment offices. Today I signed a decree on general mobilization,” Denis Pushilin said in a video message.

  • 4 am: Putin watches military exercises

Russian President Vladimir Putin will take part in large-scale military maneuvers and missile tests on Saturday, risking further escalation.

The Kremlin still denies any intention of attacking its neighbor, but is demanding Russian security guarantees, such as a NATO withdrawal from Eastern Europe, which the West refuses.

  • 2:16 am: ‘Surge’ in ceasefire violations

Observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said they were seeing a “surge” in ceasefire violations in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian forces have competed since 2014.

The OSCE reported 222 ceasefire violations on Thursday along the line of contact in the Donetsk region held by pro-Russian separatists, including 135 “explosions”, compared to 189 on Wednesday and 24 on Tuesday.

In Luhansk region, another city in eastern Ukraine held by pro-Russian separatists, the organization recorded 648 violations, including 519 “explosions,” up from 402 on Wednesday and 129 on Tuesday.

The OSCE, an organization to which Russia and the United States belong, deployed an observation mission in Ukraine in 2014, after the annexation of Crimea by Moscow and the outbreak of conflict between the people of Kiev and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

  • 2:41:40 am % of Russian forces in attack positions

A Pentagon spokesman said more than 40% of Russian forces concentrated on Ukraine’s borders are now in offensive position, noting that the Russian-led phase of destabilization of the country has “begun.”

The United States, which currently estimates more than 150,000 Russian troops are stationed in northern, eastern and southern Ukraine, has been monitoring the movement of Russian troops to the border since Wednesday, a U.S. Department of Defense official who asked not to be named said.

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