Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has vowed to do everything to defeat Russia this year, as the first Leopard tanks arrived in Ukraine on the anniversary of Europe's largest conflict since World War II.

Street protests took place in many European capitals against the Russian action in Ukraine, to mark the anniversary, and fresh US sanctions targeted Russian banks, military industry and semiconductor access.

Meanwhile, the Group of Seven industrialised nations threatened embargo busters with "severe costs".

Poland sent the German-made tanks to help Ukraine repel Russian troops and send a "clear and measurable signal of further support", said Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who was visiting Kyiv.

Poland will send more tanks soon, Mr Morawiecki said, also offering to train Ukrainian pilots to fly F16 jets, as Western allies underlined their unwavering support.

Russia remained defiant, former president Dmitry Medvedev insisting that his country was ready to push its offensive "to the borders of Poland".

Tensions were also building on Ukraine's border with Moldova, as Russia claimed Kyiv was plotting to invade the breakaway region of Transnistria and promised to respond.

Moldova denied any threat from Ukraine.

Mr Zelensky said he was planning to meet China's President Xi Jinping after the release of Beijing's 12-point position paper, which included a call for peace talks and for the respect of all territorial sovereignty.

He noted that Beijing's paper appeared to show "there is respect for our territorial integrity, security issues".

Earlier, he said in a statement that Ukraine "will do everything to gain victory this year".

The EU agreed a new round of sanctions on Russia, the bloc's Swedish presidency announced.

The package - the 10th the EU has imposed since Russia's invasion - contains, it said, "targeted restricted measures against individuals and entities supporting the war, spreading propaganda or delivering drones used by Russia in the war."

'Spirit is strong'

A year ago to the day, Russian President Vladimir Putin stunned the world by sending troops across the border, a move seen as punishment for Kyiv's pivot to the West.

The war has devastated swathes of Ukraine, displaced millions, turned Russia into a pariah in the West and, according to Western sources, caused more than 150,000 casualties on each side.

Demonstrators protesting Moscow's aggression marched in cities across Europe to mark the invasion anniversary.

In Berlin, activists placed a Russian tank wreck in front of the Russian embassy.

Crowds fell silent for a minute from Tallinn to London while key buildings across Europe were draped or lit up in the blue and yellow colours of the Ukrainian flag.

A year ago, Russian troops sought to rapidly install a pro-Moscow regime in Ukraine but failed to conquer Kyiv and subsequently suffered defeats in northeastern and southern Ukraine.

Since October, Russia has pummelled Ukraine's energy infrastructure, causing power shortages for millions over winter.

In a recent Ukrainian poll, nearly one in five said they had lost a loved one in the war.

Despite the daily trials, many Ukrainians refuse to be cowed.

The Eiffel Tower is illuminated in the blue and yellow colours of Ukraine's flag
The Eiffel Tower is illuminated in the blue and yellow colours of Ukraine's flag

'Living hell'

The West, which has imposed increasingly stringent sanctions on Russia and boosted humanitarian aid and arms supplies for Ukraine, unveiled more help on Friday.

The United States announced sweeping sanctions aimed not just at Russia but also "over 200 individuals and entities" across Europe, Asia and the Middle East supporting Moscow's war.

After a video-call, G7 allies warned that "third-countries or other international actors who seek to evade or undermine our measures" must "cease providing material support to Russia's war, or face severe costs".

The new aid package from Washington came days after President Joe Biden arrived in Kyiv on a historic visit and pledged new arms deliveries.

Along with contributions from Sweden and Portugal, Germany said it had managed to cobble together a battalion of modern Leopard 2 tanks for Ukraine.

The World Bank announced an extra $2.5 billion for Ukraine, to support essential services and core government functions.

On Friday, after a minute's silence at the UN Security Council, Secretary General Antonio Guterres denounced Russia's military action, saying it had made life for Ukrainians a "living hell".

Russia's invasion was "a blatant violation of the United Nations Charter and international law," he added.

Read more: 'We are not alone' - Ukraine marks one year since the start of the Russian invasion

China's position paper

Key players China and India abstained from yesterday's UN vote.

China has sought to position itself as a neutral party while maintaining close ties with Russia.

Responding to Beijing's new position paper, Moscow said it "highly values" China's contribution but insisted that any conflict settlement must recognise Russia's control over four Ukrainian regions it annexed.

Western countries gave China's plan a muted reception. German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said it was "still doubtful" Beijing sincerely wanted to play a constructive role in seeking peace.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said Beijing simply "doesn't have much credibility because they have not been able to condemn the illegal invasion of Ukraine".

The United Nations welcomed China's position paper on Ukraine as an important contribution.

"I think the call on the need to avoid the use of nuclear weapons is particularly important," Mr Guterres's spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.