UN votes overwhelmingly to demand Russia withdraw from Ukraine

UNITED NATIONS, United States – The United Nations voted overwhelmingly Thursday to demand Russia "immediately" and "unconditionally" withdraw its troops from Ukraine, marking the one-year anniversary of the war with a call for a "just and lasting" peace.

In the UN General Assembly, 141 members voted in favor of the resolution, which reaffirms support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, seven

opposed it, and 32 abstained, including China and India.

Ukraine will prevail

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday expressed confidence in his country's victory over invading Russian.

Since the war started, Western leaders have rushed to support Kyiv, and G7 ministers discussed new sanctions on Russia Thursday, while the White House said Washington would announce "sweeping" new measures.

Zelensky vowed to keep up the fight as Ukraine prepared to mark one year since the invasion on Friday.

"We have not broken down, we have overcome many ordeals and we will prevail," Zelensky said on social media.

"We will hold to account all those who brought this evil, this war to our land."

In the capital Kyiv, which saw Russian troops at its doorstep at the start of the

invasion last February and which has suffered relentless attacks since,

residents remained defiant.

'Sweeping' sanctions on Russia

The United States will announce "sweeping" new economic sanctions against

Russia and more support for Ukraine on Friday, a year after President Vladimir

Putin ordered the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, the White House said.

"The United States will implement sweeping sanctions against key sectors that

generate revenue for Putin," Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told

reporters Thursday.

Ukraine will dominate a virtual summit of the G7 countries Friday -- Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States -- that will also be joined by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

"Leaders will discuss how we continue supporting Ukraine," Jean-Pierre said.

However, she would not say whether the new US measures would be mirrored by the G7 partners.

Among specific targets of the sanctions will be banks and entities that help Moscow evade the waves of sanctions already imposed in the wake of its February 24, 2022 invasion.

The United States will target Russian banks and the defense industry, as well as

"actors in third party countries that are attempting to backfill and evade

our sanctions," Jean-Pierre said.

"We will also announce new economic energy and security assistance to help the Ukrainians continue to succeed, protect the people from Russian aggression and enable the Ukrainian government to provide basic services such as electricity and heat," she said.

G7 allies

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will on Friday tell G7 allies they must increase aid to Kyiv faster to give Ukraine a "decisive" battlefield advantage, a

statement issued by his office said.

"For Ukraine to win this war –- and to accelerate that day -– they must gain a

decisive advantage on the battlefield... Instead of an incremental approach, we

need to move faster on artillery, armor, and air defense," he is expected

to say in a virtual meeting a year on from Russia's invasion.

The UK is due to hold a minute's silence at 11:00 am (1100 GMT) to mark the first anniversary of the conflict.

Sunak will join military personnel in observing the national moment of reflection at his Downing Street office, a statement said.

Alongside the Ukrainian ambassador to the UK, Vadym Prystaiko, he will also host Ukrainian armed forces personnel and representatives of 10 nations supporting the government's program to provide them with extra military training.

Sunak and his wife, Akshata Murty, will also hang a blue and yellow wreath on

the door to his office at No 10 Downing Street, the statement added.

Russia claims Ukraine preparing 'invasion' of Transnistria

Russia on Thursday claimed Ukraine was ramping up efforts to invade Transnistria, Moldova's Moscow-backed separatist region, and pledged a "response".

The Russian defense ministry's statement was released on the eve of the one-year anniversary of Moscow's offensive in Ukraine.

Since the launch of the full-scale assault against Ukraine a year ago, the Kremlin has been accused of raising tensions in Transnistria to destabilize Ukraine and Moldova.

"The Kyiv regime has stepped up preparations for the invasion of the Transnistrian Moldavian Republic," the statement said.

The defense ministry claimed the "invasion" would be launched "in

response to an alleged offensive by Russian troops from the territory of


The Russian defense ministry claimed that Ukrainian troops were massing at the border with Moldova's breakaway region.

"The implementation of the planned provocation by the Ukrainian authorities poses a direct threat to the Russian peacekeeping contingent legally deployed in Transnistria," Moscow said.

War crimes

Russian President Vladimir Putin's trial before the International Criminal Court (ICC) is "a possibility," French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said

Thursday on the eve of the first anniversary of Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

"We are working with the ICC and the entire international community so that there is no impunity for the authors and those responsible for the war," Colonna

told French daily Le Parisien.

Colonna pointed out that the ICC could follow the chain of responsibility back "up to the highest level" and had already indicted heads of state.

"I can't predict that will be the case for Vladimir Putin, but it's a possibility

if the facts and responsibilities are established," she said.

France is preparing to send a second mobile DNA analysis laboratory to Ukraine to collect evidence for future trials for war crimes, a French diplomatic source

told journalists.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has proposed the establishment of a UN-backed special court to put Russia's top officials on trial over the war.