Thursday, December 01, 2022

Ukraine’s president says defense is at a ‘turning point’

KYIV, Ukraine ( Associated Press) — Ukraine’s president said his country’s defense against Russian aggression is at a “turning point” and again hours after the Kremlin’s military reneged on a pledge to withdraw parts of its Pressured the United States for more help. Operation.

Russian bombings in the vicinity of Kyiv and the northern city of Chernihiv, and intensified attacks elsewhere in the country, further undermined hopes of progress toward ending the brutal war., According to the head of the Ukrainian delegation, David Arkhamia, talks between Ukraine and Russia were set to resume by video on Friday.

A delegation of Ukrainian lawmakers visited Washington on Wednesday to push for more US aid and said their country needs more military equipment, more financial aid and tougher sanctions against Russia.

“We need to drive out Russian troops from our soil, and for this we need all possible weapons,” Ukrainian parliament member Anastasia Radina told a news conference at the Ukrainian embassy.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made the case directly to US President Joe Biden.

“If we are really fighting together to protect freedom and democracy, then we have a right to ask for help at this difficult juncture. Tanks, aircraft, artillery systems. Freedom must be armed no worse than tyranny,” Zelensky said in his nightly video address to the nation, which he delivered while standing in the dark outside the dimly lit presidential offices in Kyiv. He thanked the United States for the additional $500 million in aid announced Wednesday.

There was little confidence that Russia and Ukraine would soon settle the conflict, especially after the nearly face-off of the Russian military and its recent attacks.

Russia said on Tuesday it would reduce operations near Kyiv and Chernihiv in order to “increase mutual trust and create conditions for further talks”. Zelensky and West were skeptical. Soon after, Ukrainian officials reported that Russian shelling was hitting homes, shops, libraries and other civilian sites in or near those areas.

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The Ukrainian side said Russian troops intensified their attacks on the Donbass region in the east and around the city of Izium, which lies on an important route to the Donbass, after redeploying units from other regions.

Chernihiv city council secretary Alexander Lomako said the Russian announcement turned out to be a “complete lie”.

“In the night they did not decrease, but on the contrary increased the intensity of military action,” Lomaco said.

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A top British intelligence official said Thursday that frustrated Russian soldiers in Ukraine were refusing to fulfill orders and sabotaging their own equipment and accidentally shot down their own plane.

In a speech in the Australian capital Canberra, Jeremy Fleming, who heads the GCHQ electronic espionage agency, said President Vladimir Putin had clearly described the invasion as “largely wrong”, he said. Although Putin’s advisers were too afraid to speak the truth, “the extent of these wrong decisions should be clear to the regime,” he said.

US intelligence officials have given a similar assessment that Putin is being misinformed by his advisers about his military’s poor performance in Ukraine because they are too afraid to tell the truth.

According to the United Nations, five weeks into the invasion, which has killed thousands of people on both sides, the number of Ukrainians fleeing the country is more than 4 million, half of them children.

“I don’t know if we can still trust the Russians,” said Nikolay Nazarov, a refugee from Ukraine, pushing his father’s wheelchair as he crossed the border into Poland. “I think there will be further growth in eastern Ukraine. That’s why we can’t go back to Kharkiv.

Zelensky said the ongoing talks with Russia were only “words without specifics”. He said Ukraine was preparing for new attacks focused on the Donbass.

Zelensky also said that he had recalled Ukraine’s ambassadors to Georgia and Morocco, suggesting that he had not done enough to persuade those countries to support Ukraine and punish Russia for the invasion. .

“With all due respect, if there will be no weapons, there will be no sanctions, there will be no sanctions for Russian trade, please look for other work,” he said.

During talks in Istanbul on Tuesday, the hazy outlines of a possible peace deal surfaced when the Ukrainian delegation offered a framework under which the country would declare itself neutral – dropping its bid to join NATO, as did Moscow. have long demanded – guarantees from a bunch of other nations in exchange for security.

Top Russian officials reacted positively, with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov saying on Wednesday that Ukraine’s willingness to accept neutrality and look outside NATO for security represented “significant progress” according to Russian news agencies.

But those statements were followed by attacks.

The head of the Kyiv region’s military administration, Oleksandr Pavliuk, said Russian shells targeted residential areas and civilian infrastructure in the Buka, Brovry and Vishorod regions around the capital.

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Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said the army also targeted fuel depots in two cities in central Ukraine with long-range cruise missiles from the air. Russian forces attacked a Ukrainian special forces headquarters in the southern Mykolaiv region, he said, and two ammunition depots in the Donetsk region, in Donbass.

In southern Ukraine, a Russian missile destroyed a fuel depot in Dnipro, the country’s fourth largest city, regional officials said.

The US said that Russia had begun to resettle less than 20% of its troops that were deployed around Kyiv. Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said troops from there and some other areas began moving mostly north, and some moved into neighboring Belarus. Kirby said it appears Russia plans to resupply them and send them back to Ukraine, but it is unclear where.

The Ukrainian military said that some Russian air units are believed to have been withdrawn to Belarus.

In northern Ukraine, the Russian military took no offensive on Wednesday, focusing on reconnaissance and logistics, the general staff said in a statement. But there is hope that Russia may soon increase attacks to protect its troops as they are redeployed.

The Russians are also expected to try to blockade Chernihiv.

Top Russian military officials say their main goal now is the “liberation” of the Donbass, a predominantly Russian-speaking industrial heartland where Moscow-backed separatists have been battling Ukrainian forces since 2014.

Some analysts have suggested that the pledge to focus and de-escalate the Donbass may simply be an attempt to put a positive spin on reality: Moscow’s ground forces have been thwarted – and suffered heavy losses – to seize the capital. Is – and other cities.

In other developments:

The United Nations is investigating allegations that some residents of the southern city of Mariupol were forcibly moved to areas controlled by the Russian military or Russia.

Germany said Russia had reassured it that European companies would not have to pay in rubles for Russian gas, a possibility that raised fears that Russia could cut supplies. Also, Poland said it would end Russian oil imports by the end of this year.


Karamanau reported from Lviv, Ukraine. Associated Press journalists from around the world contributed to this report.


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