Ukraine's deputy foreign minister thanked allies for their military aid to Ukraine thus far, but also emphasized the country's need for even more help to defeat Russia. Andriy Melnyk called on Ukraine’s partners to "cross all artificial red lines" and devote 1% of GDP to supply weapons to Ukraine.
“Our allies have to comprehend the scale of this war," the deputy minister said in a conversation with Ukrainian media Friday. "The support needs to be 10 times bigger right now."
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On the ground: The situation in the eastern Ukrainian cities of Avdiivka and Marinka “remains very difficult," with Kyiv's troops holding off constant Russian attacks, Ukrainian military spokesperson Oleksii Dmytrashkivskyi said Saturday. Russian forces have “stormed” Ukrainian positions 24 times in the area during the last day, Dmytrashkivskyi said. He claimed the assaults were “not successful” and Moscow's troops have retreated each time.
Meanwhile, in the eastern city of Bakhmut, Russia's regular forces and fighters from the Wagner private military company are also launching nonstop assaults, according to Ukrainian commanders on the front lines.
Expelled diplomats: Russia’s foreign ministry said Saturday it has decided to expel German diplomats from Russia in what it called a tit-for-tat move, after the ministry claimed German authorities decided to further expel Russian diplomatic employees in Germany. More than 20 German diplomats are being expelled, Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said in an interview on the Zvezda TV Telegram channel Saturday.
Belgorod bomb: Around 3,000 people in the Russian city of Belgorod were evacuated Saturday after a bomb was found near the area where a Russian warplane dropped an explosive late Thursday, Russian state media TASS reported, citing local emergency services. The evacuees cleared out of 17 residential buildings as explosives specialists assessed the ammunition found Saturday, according to TASS. Officials eventually said there was no danger of explosion.