Ukraine: Three crucial developments to watch this weekend

Ukraine: Russian senator admits to massive military losses

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NATO Secretary General Jens Stollenberg has warned “the days to come are likely to be worse” and urged President Putin to withdraw his troops from the embattled country. As the crisis develops at lightning speed, what developments should you be watching for this weekend?

NATO involvement

NATO nations have been warned by Eastern European countries that a “full-scale defence mission” mission may be needed.

Lithuania, Latvia, the Czech Republic and Romania made the plea ahead of a crucial NATO meeting on Friday.

If approved, this could mean extra troops from Western European nations – including Britain – being deployed to the eastern arm of NATO that borders Russia.

Latvian foreign minister Edgars Rinkēvičs said: “It’s time to go from a deterrence mission on the eastern flank to a full-scale defence mission.

“We need to discuss more assets, more troops.”

READ MORE: Vladimir Putin’s eerie foreshadowing of Ukraine conflict

Mariupol may fall

The southern city of Mariupol may be the next city to fall to Russian control, following the fall of Kherson.

Kherson, strategically located in southern Ukraine at the mouth of the Dneiper River’s exit into the Black Sea, was the first significant urban centre to fall since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.

In Mariupol, remaining residents are currently without water or electricity as the situation becomes worse.

Mayor Vadym Boychenko said: “We are simply being destroyed.”

Deputy Mayor Sergei Orlov said the city had faced 40-hours of continuous bombing from Russian forces and was now surrounded.

He also said civilians, including children, were being deliberately targeted.

Mr Orlov continued: They use all the weapons they have – they use bombs, they use rockets… everything they have.

“He (Putin) does not see any difference, and his target is hospitals, schools, kindergartens, civil buildings.”

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Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

Russia’s shelling of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant caused an international crisis late on Thursday evening when the plant was temporarily on fire due to Russian attacks.

Russia has now seized control of the plant, but what it plans to do with the site is not exactly clear.

China was among the first to ask the International Atomic Energy Agency to take immediate steps to ensure the safety of nuclear facilities in Ukraine amid the Russian invasion.

It follows on from Russia seizing the defunct Chernobyl plant earlier in the conflict.

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