Volodymyr Zelenskyy has asked the international community to supply Ukraine with more arms and impose tougher sanctions on Russia, as the country’s military warned that Moscow was preparing an offensive in the eastern Donbass region.
Ukrainian forces said Russian troops were regrouping to seize areas in the two administrative regions that separatists have partially occupied since a Moscow-backed uprising in 2014.
“The main efforts of the occupiers are focused on preparing an aggressive operation in eastern Ukraine aimed at gaining complete control over the territory of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions,” the General Staff of the Armed Forces said on Thursday Russian troops retreated from the suburbs of Kyiv and the north of the country in recent days.
Ukrainian military authorities on Wednesday called on residents of Donetsk and Luhansk and parts of the northeastern Kharkiv region. leaving “while they still had the chance.”
said Zelensky no longer deliver weapons and tightening sanctions against Russia would mean giving Moscow “permission” to intensify its offensive.
“If there isn’t a really useful package of sanctions against Russia, if there aren’t really necessary supplies of arms for us, the arms we’ve asked for many times. . . this will look like permission for Russia, permission to go further,” he said in a late-night address. “Like permission to start a new bloody wave in Donbass.”
Zelenskyi also asked individual Russians to call for an end to the war as President Vladimir Putin’s invasion entered its seventh week.
“In demanding peace, it is better to lose something, to face the Russian machine of oppression, than to be equated with Nazis for the rest of your life,” he said.
Ukraine’s warning of an imminent offensive came as NATO foreign policy chiefs were due to meet in Brussels for a second day. Alliance members have been supplying Ukraine with anti-tank missiles, drones and other defensive weapons, but have rejected Kiev’s request that one be imposed no-fly zone over the country over concerns it might risk embroiling Russia in a major war.
The US this week approved $100 million in security aid for Ukraine to buy Javelin anti-tank systems, and the Czech Republic was revealed to have done so Supply of tanks and infantry battles Vehicles.
Washington also imposed his heaviest sanctions on Sberbank, Russia’s largest financial institution, and Alfa-Bank, its largest private bank, on Wednesday, adding further economic pressure on Moscow.
Calls to strengthen Ukraine’s defenses and tighten sanctions against Russia have multiplied this week afterwards Evidence of atrocities surfaced carried out by Russian troops before withdrawing from the outskirts of Kyiv.
Ukrainian troops, government officials and journalists found hundreds of decomposing bodies of civilians, some suggesting they had been tortured, and heard reports of mass killings, rapes and other human rights abuses from surviving residents.
Russia has denied the allegations and State media accuse Ukraine to fake the murders, including by employing actors.
US President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron and other leaders have called for an investigation into Russian officials responsible for so-called war crimes.
The UN General Assembly is scheduled to vote Thursday on whether to exclude Russia from its Human Rights Council.
Follow John Reed on Twitter: @JohnReedwrites
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https://www.ft.com/content/35c35c0a-b625-4ee9-915e-616d82ff020f Zelenskyy calls for more military aid as Ukraine warns of a new offensive