LVIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has accused the West of cowardice as his country fought for a month to fight back against the Russian military. He angrily called on fighter jets and tanks to support Ukrainian resistance to the invaders.
Mr. Zelensky made the announcement after US President Joe Biden said in a speech that Russian President Vladimir Putin cannot remain in power. The White House immediately tried to downplay these words.
The Ukrainian president on Sunday denounced “the West’s ping-pong over who and how to hand over planes” and other weapons as Russian missile attacks cause casualties and ensnare civilians.
“Today I spoke with those who defend Mariupol. I am in constant contact with them. Their determination, heroism and resilience are amazing,” Zelenskiy said in the video, referring to the besieged southern city that has endured some of the greatest hardships and horrors of the war.
“If only those who spent 31 days thinking about how to surrender dozens of planes and tanks had 1% courage,” he dropped, leaving the rest of the sentence hanging by a thread to show his annoyance at the requested help.
Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States Oksana Markarova was more subtle when she was interviewed on NBC’s Meet the Press program, emphasizing that it was not her country that heard President Biden “loud and loud.”
“Now we all have to stop Putin while he is still focused on Ukraine, because this war is not only about Ukraine. This is an attack on democracy,” she said.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues for 32 days. The goal of Russian forces to quickly encircle the capital Kyiv and force it to surrender has failed in the face of fierce Ukrainian resistance, backed by arms from the United States and other Western allies.
For its part, the British Ministry of Defense said it observed attempts by Russian troops to encircle Ukrainian forces opposite two separatist, pro-Russian areas in the east of the country, which would cut off this part of the Ukrainian army from the enemy. the rest of the country.
Moscow covets the disputed Donbas, which has been partly controlled by pro-Russian separatists since 2014.
Leonid Pasechnik, leader of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic, said on Sunday he plans to hold a referendum on joining Russia “as soon as possible.”
Russia has supported separatist rebels in Luhansk and the neighboring region of Donetsk since an insurgency broke out there shortly after Moscow annexed the Crimean peninsula in 2014. During negotiations with Ukraine, Moscow demanded that Kyiv recognize the independence of Donetsk and Lugansk.
The head of military intelligence of Ukraine, Kirill Budanov, accused Russia of seeking to divide Ukraine into two parts, like North and South Korea.
“They will try to unite the occupied territories into a single quasi-state structure and oppose them to independent Ukraine,” Budanov said in a statement released by the Defense Ministry. He predicted that Ukrainian fighters would thwart such plans.
Ukraine says that to defeat Russia, the West must provide fighter jets, not just missiles and other military equipment. A proposal to send Polish aircraft to Ukraine via the United States was rejected amid NATO fears of being embroiled in direct hostilities with Russia.
In his speech, Zelenskiy accused Western governments of being “afraid to just make a decision.”
“Who is responsible for the Euro-Atlantic community? Is it Moscow again, thanks to scare tactics?” – he asked.
“Our partners should step up assistance to Ukraine,” Zelensky said.
Meanwhile, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov confirmed that Russia used aerial cruise missiles to strike a fuel depot and defense plant in Lvov, about 75 kilometers from the Polish border. Another sea-launched missile strike destroyed a warehouse in Plesetsky, west of Kyiv, where Ukraine had stored anti-aircraft missiles, he said.
The smell of chemicals lingered in Lviv on Sunday as firefighters pointed their hoses at the blaze and black smoke billowed from oil storage tanks.
Security guard Yaroslav Prokopiv claims he saw three rockets destroy two oil tanks.
These Russian airstrikes rocked the city, which has become a haven for some 200,000 people fleeing the bombed areas. Lviv, which largely escaped the bombing, was also the route for most of the 3.8 million refugees who fled Ukraine after Russia’s February 24 invasion.
In his latest video, President Zelenskiy angrily warns Moscow that he is sowing a deep hatred of Russia among Ukrainians.
“You are doing everything to make our people leave the Russian language themselves, since it will henceforth be associated with your explosions, your murders and your crimes,” Mr. Zelensky said.
Along with the millions who fled Ukraine, the invasion displaced more than 10 million people from their homes, almost a quarter of Ukraine’s population. It is reported that thousands of civilians were killed.
As the Russian advance on Kyiv ground to a halt, fighting raged on the outskirts, and rocket fire from the city rocked St. Sophia Cathedral, a 1,000-year-old UNESCO World Heritage Site at the heart of Ukrainian national and spiritual identity.
The engineer and local leader Vadim Kirilenko pointed to the golden domes of the cathedral. He said the top cross in the center of the church collapsed a month before World War II broke out.
“The cross on the left fell a month before this war,” he said.