Zelensky Says Talks With Russia Near Collapse; battle continues in the east

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Friday that there was a high risk of ending peace talks with Moscowas US lawmakers vowed to move quickly on a plan to send up to $33 billion to help kyiv resist the attack.

The Secretary General of the UN, Antonio GuterresHe said during a visit to kyiv on Thursday that there were intense discussions to evacuate civilians from the steelworks in Mariupol, which is under heavy Russian attack as part of an offensive in the south and east.

One of the fighters holed up in the town, one of the main targets of the Russian invasion, told Reuters the comments gave him hope that hundreds of civilians trapped with them at the plant for weeks would be evacuated after many failed attempts.

The office of Zelensky he had said an operation to remove civilians from the plant was planned on Friday, but there was no sign of an evacuation by nightfall. He later expressed pessimism about the prospect of continuing peace talks with Russia, blaming public anger over what he said were atrocities committed by Russian troops.

“The (Ukrainian) people want to kill them. When there is such an attitude, it is difficult to talk about things,” Interfax quoted him as telling Polish journalists.

The Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei LavrovHe accused kyiv of changing its position under what he said were orders from the United States and Britain.

Zelensky praised President Joe Biden’s aid offer on Thursday, which amounts to nearly 10 times the aid that Washington has sent since the war began on February 24. Moscow calls the war a special military operation.

The Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, He said lawmakers hoped to pass the $33 billion aid package “as soon as possible.”

After last month’s failed assault on kyiv in northern Ukraine, Russia is now seeking to fully capture two eastern provinces known as the Dombas.

Ukraine has acknowledged that it has lost control of some towns and villages in the region since the assault began last week, but says progress by Moscow they have come at an enormous cost to a Russian force already worn down by its earlier defeat near the capital.

“We have serious losses, but those of the Russians are much greater (…) They have colossal losses,” said the presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych.

Western officials said Russia had been suffering fewer casualties after descaling its invasion, but the numbers were still “quite high”, while the British Defense Ministry claimed Russian gains had been limited and came at a “cost”. significant”.

Ukrainian officials said that Russia was attacking the entire front line in the eastern region of Donetsk using rockets, artillery, mortar bombs and planes to prevent the Ukrainians from regrouping, but a US official said the offensive appeared to be delayed.

In the south of UkraineThe Army said the Russians “continued to regroup, increasing fire efficiency and improving positions.”

deeper engagement

By pledging tens of billions of dollars in aid to Ukraine, Biden has dramatically increased the share of USA in the conflict.

The United States and its allies are now sending heavy weapons, including artillery, which, according to Washington, is intended not only to repel Russia’s attack, but also to weaken its armed forces so that it can no longer threaten its neighbors.

“We need this bill to support Ukraine in their fight for freedom,” Biden said. “It’s not cheap, but giving in to aggression is going to be more expensive.”

Although the proposed US aid amounts to more than 20% of Ukraine’s GDP in 2020, the world Bank estimates that the war will reduce more than 45% of Ukrainian GDP this year and affect growth in other parts of the world.

President Vladimir Putin this week threatened unspecified retaliation for Western arms deliveries to Ukraine, while his Foreign Minister Lavrov warned of a threat of nuclear war. Lavrov said on Friday that Russia did not consider itself at war with the NATOa step back from previous comments.

dead journalist

US-backed radio station Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), one of the main Russian-language news sources outside Kremlin control, reported that the body of producer Vira Hyrych was found after the Thursday’s missile attack destroyed the top two floors of a residential building.

“He was going to bed when a Russian ballistic missile hit his apartment in downtown Kyiv. The barbarism of Russia is incomprehensible,” Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko said.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said its long-range, high-precision missiles had destroyed the production facilities of a rocket plant in kyiv. An official American confirmed that the attack was aimed at military production, without saying whether the target was destroyed.

Russia previously said that a diesel submarine in the Black Sea had attacked military targets with Kalibr cruise missiles, the first reported attack from a submarine.

The bloodiest fighting and worst humanitarian catastrophe of the war has occurred in Mariupol, an eastern port reduced to a wasteland by two months of Russian bombardment and siege. Ukraine it claims that 100,000 civilians remain in the city, mostly occupied by Russia.


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