Athens illuminated in the colours of Ukraine for Europe Day (PHOTOS)

Athens Ukraine Colours Europe Day Omonia Square Athens

As part of the celebration of Europe Day, the Municipality of Athens illuminated the fountain of Omonia and the Presidential Palace on Monday with the colours of the flag of Ukraine.

At the same time, the Greek Presidential Mansion was illuminated with the national colours of Ukraine.

“The illumination is the least proof of solidarity with the Ukrainian people that is fighting for its liberty, independence, the rule of law and the right for self-determination, the fundamental values of our civilisation,” noted the Presidency.

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Meanwhile, the Ukraine conflict is heavily affecting some of Russia’s most capable units, said the U.K.’s Defence Ministry in its daily intelligence update. It added that it will “take considerable time and expense for Russia to reconstitute its armed forces.”

“The conflict in Ukraine is taking a heavy toll on some of Russia’s most capable units and most advanced capabilities,” the ministry said in its update, posted on Twitter.

“It will take considerable time and expense for Russia to reconstitute its armed forces following this conflict,” it added.

At least one T-90M, Russia’s most advanced tank, has been destroyed in fighting, the update said.

“It will be particularly challenging to replace modernised and advanced equipment due to sanctions restricting Russia’s access to critical microelectronic components,” the ministry added.

For his part, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said evacuations will continue from the besieged coastal city of Mariupol amid sustained Russian shelling.

An estimated 200 people are thought to still be trapped in Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant, with little access to food or water.

Zelenskyy also told London think-tank Chatham House that any peace deal with Moscow would be dependent on Russian forces pulling back to their positions before the war, the BBC reported.

Zelenskyy said that was the minimum that Ukraine could accept, according to the report. He added that there could be no question of Russia holding on to territory it has taken since the invasion started.

“I was elected by the people of Ukraine as president of Ukraine, not as president of a mini Ukraine of some kind. This is a very important point,” he said, according to the BBC report.

Elsewhere, the Italian government froze a yacht with reported links to Russian President Vladimir Putin, blocking the vessel from leaving its port.

The Italian Finance Ministry said an investigation found “significant economic and business links” between the yacht’s beneficial owner and “prominent elements of the Russian government” and people sanctioned over Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea. Italy did not name Putin, but various reports have linked the Russian leader to the vessel.

The ownership of the yacht has “long been under the attention of the authorities,” the finance ministry said in a statement.

The Cayman Island-flagged superyacht Scheherazade extends nearly 460 feet and is currently moored in the Italian port of Marina di Carrara.

On the war front, a shopping mall and two hotels were among the buildings flattened in Odesa on Monday after coming under attack from Russian missiles, officials said.

The strikes involving three Kinzhal missiles, Russia’s new hypersonic missiles, were fired on the southern port city at around the same time as Vladimir Putin led grand celebrations in Moscow for Victory Day, commemorating Russia’s victory over Nazi Germany and the end of the Second World War.

The hypersonic missiles were fired from a plane and hit a “tourist infrastructure target”, said Sergey Bratchuk, spokesperson for the Odesa regional military administration.

Preliminary visuals from the site showed rescue workers sifting through piles of rubble even as smoke continued to emerge from the wreckage.

At least one person was killed and five were injured when a total of seven missiles hit a shopping centre and a depot, Ukraine‘s armed forces said on Facebook.

READ MORE: Russian Ambassador Sergey Andreev “murdered” on Victory Day.