May 22, 2024

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Ukraine presses for the liberation of all lands from Russia, calls for Western weapons

Ukraine presses for the liberation of all lands from Russia, calls for Western weapons

  • Ukraine recaptured dozens of towns early
  • Many Russian troops left Ukraine fleeing – US official
  • Zelensky demands anti-aircraft systems from the West

Ukraine vowed on Tuesday to liberate all of its territory after expelling Russian forces in the country’s northeast and raising flags over battle-ravaged towns, and called on the West to speed up arms deliveries to back it up. dramatic progress.

Since Moscow abandoned its main stronghold in northeastern Ukraine on Saturday, in its worst defeat since the early days of the war, Ukrainian forces have retaken control of dozens of towns in a stunning shift in battlefield momentum.

Speaking in Balaklia, an important military supply center that Ukrainian forces seized late last week, Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said 150,000 people have been liberated from Russian rule in the region. She spoke in the central square, where the Ukrainian flags were raised.

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She told Reuters earlier that fighting is still raging elsewhere in the northeastern Kharkiv region, saying that Ukrainian forces are making good progress because they have been very conservative and the planning process is good.

“The goal is to liberate the Kharkiv region and beyond – all the territories occupied by the Russian Federation,” she said on the road to Balaklia, 74 kilometers southeast of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city.

In a village northwest of Balaklia, resident Tetiana Sinovoz had tears in her eyes as she explained how Ukrainian forces liberated them from seven months of occupation.

“We thought there would be no village, but we went out and the village was complete!” She said in front of what she said was the only building destroyed in what looked like a brutal battle, the school occupied by the Russians.

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On the trees on the road to the village and a cement factory there were battle scars, and there were abandoned Russian vehicles, including a military truck with its windshield smashed.

In a video address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the West should speed up delivery of weapons systems, calling on Ukraine’s allies to “strengthen cooperation to defeat Russian terrorism.”

His Foreign Ministry singled out Germany, saying in unusually blunt language that it was disappointing that Berlin did not provide Leopard tanks and Mardier infantry fighting vehicles.

On Monday, German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht refused to send tanks “unilaterally”. Some saw these statements as leaving open the possibility that Berlin could do so as part of a pan-European consortium.

The German Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Since the Russian invasion on February 24, Washington and its allies have supplied Ukraine with billions of dollars in weapons that Kyiv says have helped limit Moscow’s gains. Russian forces control about a fifth of the country in the south and east. Ukraine is now on the offensive in both regions.

Maliar said Ukrainian forces are consolidating their gains by checking out subversive groups. The military said Russian forces were shelling parts of the Kharkiv region retaken by Ukraine and attacking further south in the Donetsk region, which Moscow is trying to capture for separatist proxies.

The report of the Ukrainian General Staff said that Ukraine repelled the attacks of the Donetsk region, while Denis Pushilin, the president of the separatist Donetsk People’s Republic, said that its forces were repelling the Ukrainian attacks and that he believed the situation would improve.

Reuters was not immediately able to verify the battlefield reports.

A senior US military official said earlier that Russia had largely given up territory near Kharkiv in the northeast and had withdrawn many of its forces across the border. Read more

A video released by Ukrainian border guards showed what it said were Ukrainian soldiers liberating the town of Vovchansk near the country’s border with Russia, burning flags and tore down a poster that read “We are one with Russia”.

LUHANSK NEXT?

A Moscow-based diplomat said progress in the Kharkiv region was encouraging but expressed caution about the next steps.

“We shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves,” said the diplomat, who asked not to be identified. The diplomat said the main questions were whether Ukrainian forces would be able to move into the Luhansk region, adjacent to Kharkiv, and the impact on Russian morale in the south, where Ukraine’s progress has so far been slow.

Serhiy Gaidai, the Ukrainian governor of the Luhansk region, which was controlled by Moscow, said he expected a major Ukrainian offensive there.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said on Monday that Ukrainian forces have made “significant progress” with Western support to ensure they have the equipment they need. Read more

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Zelensky said Ukraine has reclaimed about 6,000 square kilometers (2,400 square miles) of land, double what officials said on Sunday. The area of ​​​​the territory of Ukraine is about 600,000 square kilometers, which is approximately equal to the combined area of ​​the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Another former conflict in the soviet

Fighting broke out between two former Soviet republics on Monday, raising fears of another conflict. Azerbaijan, backed by Turkey, and Russia’s ally Armenia, blamed each other for the border clashes, and both reported losses.

It was not clear if there was any connection between the fighting and the conflict in Ukraine. The Kremlin said Putin was trying to end the clashes, asserting his influence in the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict dating back to the 1990s.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also said there had been no discussion of a national mobilization within Russia to boost the operation in Ukraine, which he said would continue until it achieved its goals.

Peskov told reporters that nationalist online commentators’ criticism of the Russian leadership demanding mobilization is an example of “pluralism,” adding that Russians as a whole continue to support Putin.

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Additional reporting by Pavel Politiuk, Olgas Oyzov, Aleksandar Vasovich, Miranda Murray and other Reuters reporters. Writing by Philippa Fletcher; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.