· UN rights chief Volker Turk slammed the human cost of Russia's "senseless" year-old conflict in Ukraine and urged greater efforts to ensure justice for victims. Turk said the civilian toll was "unbearable," with his office verifying that at least 8,006 civilians had been killed and 13,287 injured up to February 15, though the real figures are much higher. READ MORE BELOW
· President Volodymyr Zelenskyy hailed Ukraine and its people for fighting back against Russia and vowed victory on the first anniversary of the conflict. "We endured. We were not defeated. And we will do everything to gain victory this year," Zelenskyy said.
· Ukraine's Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said his forces were making plans to push Russian troops out of the country. "A year ago, it was difficult for us to get serious weapons. Today, civilized countries see that you are the shield of Europe in the east," Reznikov told the armed forces, adding: "There will be a counteroffensive. We are working hard to prepare and secure it."
· China called for urgent peace talks as it released its plan to end the conflict in Ukraine, but Western powers quickly rebuffed the proposals while warning against Beijing's close ties to Moscow. The 12-point paper called for a "political settlement" of the crisis.
· China's foreign ministry said it is not aware of reports about talks between Russia and a Chinese company for the purchase of drones. "China on the export of military products has always held a cautious and responsible attitude, not selling military products to conflict areas or warring parties," ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin told a news briefing.
· Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki was in Kyiv on the first anniversary of Russia's offensive in Ukraine, the Polish government spokesman said. "A year after the beginning of the Russian warfare, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki went to Kyiv to give a clear and measurable signal of further support in defense of Ukraine against Russia," Piotr Muller tweeted.
· NATO declared itself "resolute" in its support of Ukraine and said "Russia's efforts to break the resolve of the brave people of Ukraine are failing." NATO also said that Russia must "immediately" end its "illegal war" which was impacting global food and energy supplies, and demanded Moscow answer for its "war crimes."
· Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev vowed his country would be victorious in its Ukraine offensive and was ready to fight until the Polish border to counter "threats." Speaking on Telegram, he said: "Victory will be achieved. This is why it is so important to reach all the goals of the special military operation. To push back the borders of the threats against our country as far as possible, even if this is to the borders of Poland".
· German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Russian President Vladimir Putin will not reach his aims in Ukraine. "The earlier the Russian president realizes that he will not reach his imperialistic goal, the bigger the chance that the war will end soon. Putin has it in his hands. He can end this war," said Scholz.
· President Emmanuel Macron reiterated France's support for Ukraine on the one-year anniversary of the conflict. "People of Ukraine, France stands by your side. To solidarity. To victory. To peace," Macron tweeted.
· The head of Russia's Wagner Group said his fighters had captured a village near Ukraine's eastern city of Bakhmut. Berkhivka "is entirely under our control," Yevgeny Prigozhin said in a statement released by his press service. AFP could not immediately verify the claim.
· The United Nations voted overwhelmingly to demand Russia immediately and unconditionally withdraw its troops from Ukraine. Ukraine earned strong backing in a nonbinding vote that saw 141 of the 193 UN members in support, seven opposed and 32, including China and India abstaining.
· The U.S. will send Ukraine a new military aid package worth $2 billion, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said on CNN. He did not give details of the types of armaments to be expected in the package.
· Poland is sending Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine, the first of 14 vehicles the government has promised, Bloomberg News reported. Polish Premier Mateusz Morawiecki would announce the delivery during his trip to Kyiv, Bloomberg said, citing an official familiar with the matter.
UN rights chief: 'It must end now'
UN rights chief Volker Turk slammed the human cost of Russia's "senseless" year-old conflict in Ukraine and urged greater efforts to ensure justice for victims.
Turk said the civilian toll was "unbearable," with his office verifying that at least 8,006 civilians had been killed and 13,287 injured up to February 15, although the real figures are much higher.
The United Nations' High Commissioner for Human Rights said attempts to establish accountability and justice for international law violations had to intensify.
"As we mark one year since Russia's war against Ukraine began, I deplore the terrible human cost of this senseless conflict," Turk said in a video statement.
"The toll on civilians is unbearable. Nearly 18 million people are in dire need of humanitarian assistance. Some 14 million people have been displaced from their homes."
He said most of those who remained in conflict-affected areas were older people who were reluctant or not able to leave, adding that children have seen their education halted by attacks on schools.
"Efforts to establish accountability and justice for violations of international law must intensify and deepen," Turk said.
"It is equally vital that victims can access reparations and the practical assistance they desperately need, without first having to wait for the outcomes of formal legal proceedings."
Turk said the conflict had resulted in higher food and fuel costs that had "deepened misery on a global scale." He declared: "It must end now."