Zelenskiy braces for ‘hard battle’, UK’s Johnson visits with aid
Ukraine is prepared for a tough fight with Russian forces amassing east of the country. President Volodymyr Zilenskiy stated that Saturday. Boris Johnson, British Prime Minister, paid him a visit to offer financial and military assistance.
Johnson was the latest foreign leader who visited Kyiv following the withdrawal of Russian forces from the areas to the north and east of the capital a little over a week ago. He was not announced previously.
The Ukrainian leader met with Karl Nehammer, Austrian Chancellor, in Kyiv earlier in the day. He warned in a joint news conference, that although the threat to the capital is now under control, it is still gaining ground in the east.
Zelenskiy stated that “Yes, (Russian), forces are gathering in (the east) Ukraine”.
“This will be a difficult battle, but we believe in the fight and our victory. Zelenskiy stated that we are prepared to fight simultaneously and to find diplomatic ways to end this war.
After the withdrawal of Kyiv from certain areas, sirens were heard in eastern Ukraine.
Ukrainian officials have called on civilians living in the east to leave. Officials in Ukraine said Friday that more than 50 people were killed by a missile strike at a Kramatorsk train station in Donetsk Region. This was where thousands had been trying to flee.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began Feb. 24, forced nearly a quarter of 44 million people to flee their homes. It also turned many cities into rubble and injured or killed thousands.
International condemnation has risen over the civilian casualties, particularly in Bucha, which was north of Kyiv and was occupied by Russian troops until last week.
Bohdan Zubchuk (a community policeman in the village) said that he will never forget what he saw and will carry it with him for the rest of his life.
Russia denies that civilians were targeted in a “special operation” it called to demilitarize and “denazify its southern neighbour. This is a pretext for war that the West and Ukraine have rejected.
Johnson tweeted that Zelenskiy was his meeting to discuss a package for financial and military assistance to demonstrate “our commitment to his struggle against Russia’s barbaric campaign.”
Friday’s missile attack on Kramatorsk station, a refuge for refugees from the east, left bloodied clothes, toys, and luggage scattered across the platform.
Oleksander Honcharenko (City Mayor), estimated that 4,000 people were there at the time. He said Saturday that the death count had risen to 52.
Russia’s defence ministry denies responsibility. It stated in a statement that the missiles that hit the station were fired by Ukraine’s military. Also, Russia’s armed forces did not have targets in Kramatorsk Friday.
Russian state television called the attack a “bloody provocation by Ukraine.”
A senior defence official in Washington stated that the United States refused to accept the Russian denials and believed Russian forces had used a short-range missile to attack the United States.
Honcharenko stated that he expects only 50,000 to 60,000 Kramatorsk’s 220,000 inhabitants to stay within the next week as people flee violence.
According to the Ukrainian military, Moscow is planning a push to take full control of Donbas regions in Donetsk/Luhansk which have been held partly by Moscow-backed separatists from 2014.
According to the British Defence Ministry, air attacks will likely increase in the east and south as Russia attempts to build a land bridge between Crimea (which Moscow annexed in 2014) and the Donbas. However, Ukrainian forces are blocking the advance.
Russia’s military claimed on Saturday that it had destroyed an ammunition depot at Myrhorod Air Base, central-eastern Ukraine.
FOREIGN LEADERS VISITJohnson and Nehammer visited Ukraine one day after Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, made a visit to underline the West’s support for Zelenskiy.
Von der Leyen stated that the European Commission would pledge 1 billion euros for Ukraine and other countries that receive refugees fleeing war.
She stated earlier that Russian forces may have attempted to commit war crimes in Ukraine by attacking civilians. However, she suggested that lawyers should investigate the allegations.
On Friday, a forensics team started exhuming a mass burial site containing bodies of civilians killed by Russians.
The Kremlin repeatedly denied war crimes accusations and called the allegations that its forces executed civilians at Bucha a “monstrous fabrication”.
It was evident that Kyiv is returning to some level of normality after the recent visits by foreign leaders as well as an announcement from Italy that it will reopen its Kyiv embassy later in the month.
Many Ukrainians are also returning to the capital. There are now cafes and restaurants that have reopened.
Friday’s EU summit saw some divisions dissolve to approve new, sweeping sanctions against Russia. These include bans on imports of coal, wood, chemicals, and other products. So far, Russia has not imported oil or gas.
Zelenskiy called on the West to do more Friday. He said that he understands the financial consequences of sanctions for countries that impose them at the news conference with Nehammer.
“Nevertheless, there is a country that doesn’t fear these important decisions. He said that he was aware of Austria’s support on this issue and called for weapons from “our allies”.