Ukraine demands more weapons as it holds off Russians in east

  • Zelenskiy wants action ‘not just words’ on EU membership
  • Ukraine seeks more artillery for the battle in the East
  • According to the UN, millions of people around the world could suffer from chronic hunger
  • Fears thousands of people could die of cholera in Mariupol

KYIV, Ukraine, June 10 (Reuters) – Ukrainian officials on Friday called for more help from the West, including faster arms deliveries to repel better-armed Russian forces at a critical juncture in the battle in the east .

Heavy fighting was still reported in Sievierodonetsk, the small eastern town that became the center of Russia’s advance and one of the bloodiest flashpoints in a war that has increased financial and physical hardship around the world. .

Chronic hunger could affect up to 19 million more people worldwide over the next year due to reduced wheat and other food exports from Ukraine and Russia, the government said. United Nations food agency.

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In Ukraine, officials said they were concerned about the spread of deadly cholera and dysentery in the southern city of Mariupol, where tens of thousands of civilians live in ruins captured by Russian troops last month after an implacable siege.

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

“The European Union can take a historic step that will prove that words about the Ukrainian people belonging to the European family are not just words,” he said, asking the European Union to accept the Ukraine as a candidate for membership.

Visiting the city of Lviv in western Ukraine, German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said Germany would help build trauma centers for the injured, donating prostheses and by deploying doctors, because Ukraine needed “just as urgent humanitarian aid as… our military support”.

But with the war in the east now mainly an artillery battle in which Kyiv is severely outmatched by Moscow, Ukrainian officials say the tide could only be reversed if the West keeps its promises to send weapons more and better, including rocket systems that Washington and others have promised.

“It’s an artillery war now,” Vadym Skibitsky, Ukraine’s deputy military intelligence chief, told Britain’s Guardian newspaper.

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


Russia has concentrated its forces in a battle for Sievierodonetsk, hoping to seize all the territory of the eastern province of Lugansk, which it demands Ukraine cede to the separatists along with the neighboring province of Donetsk – a region known as Donbass where she has supported a revolt by separatist proxies since 2014.

Ukrainian troops largely withdrew from the city’s residential areas but did not yield their foothold on the eastern bank of the Siverskiy Donets River. Russian forces are also pushing from the north and south in an attempt to encircle the Ukrainians, but have so far made limited progress.

Both sides say they inflicted massive casualties in the battle for the city.

The Ukrainian mayor of Russian-controlled Mariupol, which now operates outside the southern port after a nearly three-month siege in which thousands were killed, said thousands more could die there. sickness.

Russian occupation forces had failed to properly dispose of the bodies in the city, which were rotting in the heat and rain, contaminating the water supply, Vadym Boichenko said.

“There is an epidemic of dysentery and cholera… (which) will cause thousands more victims,” he said.

President Vladimir Putin launched what he calls his “special military operation” in Ukraine in February, saying its aim was to disarm and “denazify” Russia’s neighbour. Kyiv and its allies call it an unprovoked war of aggression to capture territory.

Ukraine said a speech by Putin on Thursday – which drew a parallel between what he described as a new quest to reclaim Russian lands and the historic achievements of Tsar Peter the Great – proved that the Moscow’s objective was conquest.

“Putin’s confessions of land seizures and his comparison with Peter the Great prove that there was no ‘conflict’, only the bloody seizure of the country under contrived pretexts of popular genocide,” tweeted l Zelenskiy’s assistant, Mykhailo Podolyak.

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Additional reports by Reuters offices; Written by Peter Graff and John Stonestreet; Editing by Philippa Fletcher and Edmund Blair

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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