June 18, 2024

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Volodymyr Zelensky says Russia could increase attacks on Ukraine

Volodymyr Zelensky says Russia could increase attacks on Ukraine

Comment on the photo, Thousands of people are said to have been evacuated from Kharkiv in just over a week

  • author, Catherine Armstrong
  • Role, BBC News

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia may increase its attacks in northeastern Ukraine after its recent gains near the city of Kharkiv.

Russian forces are trying to advance while superiorly armed Ukrainian forces are trying to reinforce the weak front line.

Zelensky acknowledged problems with military staffing and morale, saying a number of existing brigades were empty.

He also told Agence France-Presse news agency that the country’s air fleet was lacking and renewed calls for allies to send more air defense aircraft and fighter jets.

“Today we have about 25% of what we need to defend Ukraine,” Zelensky said about Ukraine’s air capabilities.

He added: “For Russia not to enjoy air superiority, our fleet must include between 120 and 130 modern aircraft.”

Russian forces recently began a summer offensive, seizing a number of villages on Ukraine’s northeastern border near Kharkiv – the country’s second-largest city.

Kharkiv Region Governor Oleg Senegubov said on Saturday that nearly 10,000 people had been forced to leave in just over a week.

He added: “The situation is under the control of the defenders of Ukraine.”

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk announced that his country will spend more than 2.3 billion euros (£1.9 billion) to fortify its eastern borders against “potential enemies.”

The borders include Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.

“There are a large number of brigades, existing brigades, and a large number of them are empty. We need to do this so that the men can rotate normally. Then their morale will improve.”

A new mobilization law aimed at addressing this problem came into effect on Saturday.

Under the new rules, the age for recruitment into the war was lowered from 27 to 25 years in an attempt to increase the number of recruits.

The flow of volunteers that Ukraine saw in the wake of Russia’s large-scale invasion in February 2022 has now dried up. Most of those who wanted to fight are either dead, wounded or still stuck at the front waiting to be relieved by new recruits.

In February, Zelensky announced that 31,000 Ukrainian soldiers were killed during the large-scale Russian invasion.

Usually, Ukrainian officials do not release casualty figures, and other estimates are much higher.