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Zelenskyy unveiled ambitious fortifications plans and Ukrainian film won Oscar 2024 - Monday brief

Zelenskyy unveiled ambitious fortifications plans and Ukrainian film won Oscar 2024 - Monday brief Collage by RBC-Ukraine

Yesterday, on March 11, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke about large-scale plans for fortifications in Ukraine. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian film 20 Days in Mariupol by Mstyslav Chernov won the Oscar 2024 for Best Documentary Feature.

RBC-Ukraine has gathered the main news for March 11.

Russia's war against Ukraine: The latest news

Zelenskyy unveils ambitious fortification plans

On March 11, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy held a meeting of the Staff of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief. In particular, the situation at the front and fortifications were discussed, according to the President's post on Telegram.

"Staff meeting. Detailed reports from the command on the situation on the battlefield. Reports from the Chief of the Army Oleksandr Syrskyi, Chief of the General Staff Anatolii Bargylevych, and local commanders. Kupiansk, Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka, Maryinka, Southern directions, marine operations," he says.

In addition, the meeting heard reports from Defense Minister Rustem Umerov and the head of the Ministry of Strategic Industry, Oleksandr Kamyshin, on the supply of everything necessary for the frontline.

"The actual and future supply of shells, missiles, and other weapons. Our production. Another important topic is fortifications," Zelenskyy says.

He notes that Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal had presented a report on the pace of construction of new defense lines.

"The defense of three 2,000-kilometer-long lanes is a large-scale task, but the pace is good now. I am counting on a timely completion," the President adds.

Ukrainian film won Oscar 2024

20 Days in Mariupol by Mstyslav Chernov won the Oscar 2024 for Best Documentary Feature. This is the first film award for Ukraine in the entire history of the ceremony, according to the broadcast of the awards ceremony.

During his speech, Chernov said, "I wish I had never made this film."

"I wish to be able to exchange this to Russia never attacking Ukraine, never occupying our cities. I wish to give all the recognition to Russia not killing tens of thousands of my fellow Ukrainians," he said.

"So, thank you all. Thanks to Ukraine! Glory to Ukraine!" the director added.

The entire audience applauded Chernov standing up.

Situation much improved, Ukraine halts Russia's advance, Zelenskyy states

Ukrainian defenders managed to stop the advance of Russian occupiers. The situation has become much better, says President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy in an interview with BFM TV.

According to the head of state, the situation on the front line is much better than in the last three months.

"We faced difficulties due to a lack of artillery ammunition, an air blockade, Russian long-range weapons, and the high density of Russian drones," Zelenskyy says

He notes that "Russia's offensive has been stopped," and its army "is in the process of losing a large number of vital forces."

But Zelenskyy warns that such statements may lose their relevance "in a month or a week" if our country does not receive sufficient assistance.

Ukraine is now closer to NATO membership than ever before, Stoltenberg

Ukraine is now closer to NATO membership than ever before. This demonstrates a strategic mistake of the Kremlin's leader, Vladimir Putin, which he made by invading the country, says NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at Sweden's flag-raising ceremony near the Alliance headquarters.

"Ukraine will become a NATO ally. The question is not 'if,' but 'when,'" he said.

According to the NATO Secretary General, Ukraine is now closer to membership than ever before, and this also demonstrates a big strategic mistake made by Russian President Vladimir Putin when he invaded Ukraine.

"Because, as you remember, his purpose was to deny Ukraine to move towards NATO and EU. But also he demanded that NATO should make a declaration, sign a treaty with Russia that there should be no further NATO enlargement with any country in Europe. And now he has received the exact opposite. He wanted less NATO but getting more NATO, more NATO military presence in the eastern part of our Alliance. Finland and Sweden are full members, and Ukraine is closer to NATO membership than ever before," he stated.

US aid to Ukraine cannot resume without Congress's decision, Biden says

The United States will be unable to resume aid to Ukraine unless Congress allocates funds for it, according to the US budget proposal for the 2025 fiscal year presented by President Joe Biden.

In the budget, the head of the American state reiterated his call to immediately allocate funds for assistance to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan.

Biden reminded that he requested $92 billion from Congress last year for national security needs, which included funds for Ukraine. The request would also allow for significant investments in the American defense industrial base, helping to create and preserve jobs in dozens of states across America.

"Absent congressional action on this emergency request, the United States will not be able to continue to provide support to Ukraine to meet their battlefield needs as they defend against Russian attacks every day, provide urgently needed military support to allies and partners, make critical DIB investments, or sustain life-saving assistance and development in some of the world's most vulnerable areas," the president emphasized.

According to him, the budget proposal for the 2025 fiscal year cannot address the critical support problem for Ukraine, which requires a decision by Congress.

Swedish flag raised at NATO headquarters in Brussels

The Swedish flag was hoisted outside NATO headquarters in Brussels on March 11, in a ceremony attended by NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, citing the ceremony's broadcast.

"This is a historic day. We welcome Sweden into NATO, at a critical time for our shared security. In a moment, we will raise the Swedish flag here at the NATO Headquarters and across the whole Alliance for the first time. Thirty-two flags flying together. They represent thirty-two nations working for a common purpose: To protect one billion people. Prevent war. And preserve peace. Sweden's membership makes NATO stronger, Sweden safer, and all of us more secure. Sweden brings high-end capabilities, first-class military forces, and spends more than 2 percent of GDP on defense," said the NATO Secretary-General.