Russia Ukraine News: Ukraine asks for more help as it holds back Russians in the East

On Friday, Ukrainian officials pleaded for more help from the West, including faster deliveries of artillery and battlefield rocket systems, to hold back Russian forces at a critical moment in the battle on the ‘is.

Heavy fighting was still reported in Sievierodonetsk, the small eastern town that became the center of Russia’s advance and the site of one of the bloodiest battles in a war that has increased financial and physical hardship in 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 official said. United Nations food agency.

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 last month after being pulverized by the Russian headquarters.

In a video-linked speech at a democracy conference in Copenhagen, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy pleaded for his country to be accepted as part of the West, with binding guarantees for its protection.

“The European Union can take a historic step which will prove that words about the Ukrainian people belonging to the European family are not just words, and therefore not meaningless,” he said, calling on the EU to accept Ukraine’s request. as a candidate for membership.

Ukrainian officials say the war in the east has become mostly an artillery battle, in which they are being beaten down severely by Moscow. The tide could only be turned if the West kept its promises to send more and better artillery, including rocket systems that Washington and others have promised.

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

“It all depends now on what (the West) gives us,” Skibitsky said. “Ukraine has one artillery piece against 10-15 Russian artillery pieces. Our Western partners have given us about 10% of what they have.”

Russia has concentrated its forces in a battle for the city of Sievierodonetsk, hoping to capture all of the territory of the eastern province of Luhansk, which it demands Ukraine cede to the separatists along with the neighboring province of Donetsk.

Ukrainian troops have largely withdrawn from the city’s residential areas but have not yielded their foothold on the eastern bank of the Siverskiy Donets River, and have so far thwarted Russian efforts to encircle them. Both sides say they inflicted massive casualties in the battle for the city.

Russian forces are also pushing north and south into the surrounding areas in an attempt to encircle the Ukrainians, but so far they have made only limited progress. Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said the Russians were still trying to test Ukrainian defenses along the river.

The Ukrainian mayor of Mariupol, which now operates outside the southern port which is fully Russian-controlled after a nearly three-month siege, said thousands more could die of cholera.

Russian occupation forces had failed to properly dispose of bodies strewn across 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. This is unfortunately the assessment of our doctors. That the war which has taken more than 20,000 inhabitants, … unfortunately, with these epidemics of infection, will make thousands additional Mariupolites.”

President Vladimir Putin launched 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.

Russian forces were defeated in March on the outskirts of the capital Kyiv and later pushed back from the second-largest city of Kharkiv, but retain control of a swath of the east and south. They focus on the east, an area known as Donbass, comprising the provinces of Luhansk and Donetsk, where they have supported a revolt by separatist proxies since 2014.

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,” he tweeted. Zelenskiy’s assistant, Mykhailo Podolyak.

Christi C. Elwood