Ukraine calls for more weapons as it repels the Russians in the east

  • Zelensky wants action ‘not just talk’ on EU membership
  • Ukraine seeks more artillery for battle in the east
  • The United Nations says millions around the world may suffer from chronic hunger
  • Fear that thousands of cholera may die in Mariupol

Kyiv, Ukraine (Reuters) – Ukrainian officials called on the West on Friday for more help, including speeding up arms deliveries to better repel armed Russian forces at a critical time in the battle in the east.

Heavy fighting continues to be reported in Severodonetsk, the small eastern city that has become the focus of Russia’s advance and one of the bloodiest flashpoints of the war that has added to financial and physical hardship around the world.

Chronic hunger could afflict up to 19 million additional people globally over the next year due to reduced exports of wheat and other food commodities from Ukraine and Russia, the United Nations food agency said.

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Inside Ukraine, officials said they are concerned about the spread of deadly cholera and dysentery in the southern city of Mariupol, where tens of thousands of civilians live under the rubble captured by Russian forces last month after a relentless siege.

President Volodymyr Zelensky, in a speech via video link to a conference in Copenhagen, called for Ukraine to be accepted as part of the West with binding guarantees of its protection.

“The EU can take a historic step that proves that words about the people of Ukraine belonging to the European family are not just words,” he said, calling on the EU to accept Ukraine as a candidate for membership.

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German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, while visiting the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, said Germany would help build trauma centers for the wounded, donate prosthetic limbs and deploy doctors, because Ukraine needed “urgent humanitarian aid like … our military support.”

But since the war in the east is now essentially an artillery battle in which Moscow is firmly ahead of Kyiv, Ukrainian officials say the tide can only be reversed if the West delivers on its promises of more and better weapons, including missile systems used by Washington and others. I promised.

“This is an artillery war now,” Vadim Skipetsky, deputy head of Ukraine’s military intelligence, told Britain’s Guardian newspaper.

“It all depends now on what (the West) gives us. Ukraine has one to 10 to 15 Russian artillery pieces.”

dead bodies polluted water

Russia has concentrated its forces in the battle for Sievierodonetsk, hoping to capture the entire territory of the eastern Luhansk Province, and is demanding the ceding of Ukraine to the separatists along with the neighboring Donetsk Province – an area known as Donbass where it supported a rebellion by separatist proxies. since 2014.

Ukrainian troops largely withdrew from the residential areas of the city, but did not leave a foothold on the eastern bank of the Seversky Donets. Russian forces are also pressing from the north and south to try to encircle the Ukrainians, but have made limited progress so far.

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Both sides say they inflicted heavy losses in the battle for control of the city.

The mayor of Ukraine’s Russian-controlled Mariupol, now operating out of the southern port after nearly three months of a blockade that killed thousands, said thousands could die there of disease.

Vadim Boychenko said that the Russian occupation forces failed to properly dispose of the corpses in the city, which were rotting due to hot weather and rain, polluting the water supply.

“There is an outbreak of dysentery and cholera… (which) will kill thousands of mariopolis,” he said.

President Vladimir Putin launched what he called his “special military operation” in Ukraine in February, claiming its goal was to disarm and “discredit” the Russian neighbor. Kyiv and its allies describe it as an aggressive, unjustified war to seize territory.

Ukraine said Putin’s speech on Thursday – which compared what he described as a new drive to reclaim Russian lands with the historical achievements of Czar Peter the Great – proved Moscow’s goal was invasion.

“Putin’s recognition of the land confiscation and his comparison with Peter the Great proves that there was no ‘conflict’, only the bloody seizure of the country under fabricated pretexts of genocide of the people,” Zelensky aide Mikhailo Podolyak wrote on Twitter.

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Additional reporting by Reuters offices; Writing by Peter Graf and John Stonestreet; Editing by Philippa Fletcher and Edmund Blair

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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