Zelenskyy calls for more US aid, says defense is at ‘tipping point’

Kyiv, Ukraine (AP) – Ukraine’s president said his country’s defenses against the Russian invasion are at a “tipping point” and again urged the United States for more help, hours after Kremlin forces broke promises to add some of their forces reduce, had not complied operations.

Russian bombardment of areas around Kyiv and the northern city of Chernihiv, and increased attacks in other parts of the country, further undermined hopes of progress in ending the brutal war. According to the head of the Ukrainian delegation, David Arakhamia, talks between Ukraine and Russia should continue on Friday via video.

A delegation of Ukrainian lawmakers visited Washington on Wednesday to urge more U.S. aid, saying their nation needs more military equipment, more financial aid and tougher sanctions against Russia.

“We need to expel Russian soldiers from our country, and for that we need all kinds of weapons,” Ukrainian MP Anastasia Radina said at a press conference at the Ukrainian embassy.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed US President Joe Biden directly.

“If we really fight together for freedom and the defense of democracy, then we have the right to ask for help in this difficult turning point. Tanks, planes, artillery systems. Freedom should be armed no worse than tyranny,” Zelenskyy said in his late-night video address to the nation, delivered in the dark outside the dimly lit presidential offices in Kyiv. He thanked the US for an additional $500 million in aid announced Wednesday.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks from Kyiv, Ukraine on Wednesday evening, March 30, 2022.

Press Office of the President of Ukraine via Associated Press

There seemed little confidence that Russia and Ukraine would resolve the conflict any time soon, especially after the Russian military’s U-turn and recent attacks.

Russia on Tuesday said it would de-escalate operations near Kyiv and Chernihiv to “boost mutual trust and create conditions for further negotiations.” Zelenskyy and the West were skeptical. Soon after, Ukrainian officials reported that Russian shelling had hit houses, shops, libraries and other civilian facilities in or near those areas.

Russian troops also stepped up attacks on the Donbass region to the east and around the town of Izyum, which lies on a key route to the Donbass, after redeploying units from other areas, the Ukrainian side said.

Olexander Lomako, secretary of the Chernihiv City Council, said the Russian announcement turned out to be “a complete lie”.

“At night they did not decrease, but, conversely, increased the intensity of military action,” Lomako said.

A senior British intelligence official said Thursday that demoralized Russian soldiers in Ukraine were refusing to obey orders, sabotaged their own equipment and accidentally shot down their own planes.

Speaking in the Australian capital Canberra, Jeremy Fleming, head of electronic spy agency GCHQ, said President Vladimir Putin appeared to have “massively misjudged” the invasion, he said. Although Putin’s advisers seemed too scared to tell the truth, “the extent of these miscalculations must be perfectly clear to the regime,” he said.

“,”type”:”video”,”meta”:{“url”:”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77lz54s04Ks”,”type”:”video”,”version”:”1.0″,”title”:”Vladimir Putin is being lied to by his advisers, says GCHQ”,”author”:”The Telegraph”,”author_url”:”https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPgLNge0xqQHWM5B5EFH9Cg”,”provider_name”:”YouTube”,”description”:”Subscribe to The Telegraph with our special offer: just £1 for 3 months. Start your free trial now:\nhttps://www.telegraph.co.uk/customer/subscribe/digitalsub/3for1/?WT.mc_id=tmgoff_pvid_conversion-subscription_editorial-iniative_03-22_EGW-13_organic_youtube\n\nVladimir Putin’s advisers \”are afraid to tell him the truth\” about Russia’s rapidly faltering campaign in Ukraine, according to the head of GCHQ.\n\nIn his first public comments on the war, Sir Jeremy Fleming said Putin \”overestimated the abilities of his military to secure a rapid victory\”, more than five weeks after the invasion began.\n\nSir Jeremy, the director of the UK’s intelligence, cyber and security agency, used a speech in Australia to reveal that demoralised and undisciplined Russian soldiers were refusing to carry out orders, sabotaging their own equipment \”and even accidentally shooting down their own aircraft\”. \n\nRead more: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/03/30/vladimir-putin-lied-advisers-says-gchq/\n\nGet the latest headlines: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/\n\nTelegraph.co.uk and YouTube.com/TelegraphTV are websites of The Telegraph, the UK’s best-selling quality daily newspaper providing news and analysis on UK and world events, business, sport, lifestyle and culture.\n\n#GCHQ #Ukraine #Russia #Putin #War”,”thumbnail_url”:”https://i.ytimg.com/vi/77lz54s04Ks/maxresdefault.jpg”,”thumbnail_width”:1280,”thumbnail_height”:720,”cache_age”:86400,”options”:{“_start”:{“label”:”Start from”,”value”:””,”placeholder”:”ex.: 11, 1m10s”},”_end”:{“label”:”End on”,”value”:””,”placeholder”:”ex.: 11, 1m10s”},”_cc_load_policy”:{“label”:”Closed captions”,”value”:false},”click_to_play”:{“label”:”Hold load & play until clicked”,”value”:false}}},”fullBleed”:false,”flags”:[],”enhancements”:{},”options”:{“theme”:”news”,”device”:”desktop”,”editionInfo”:{“id”:”us”,”name”:”U.S.”,”link”:”https://www.huffpost.com”,”locale”:”en_US”},”slideshowAd”:{“scriptTags”:[],”otherHtml”:””},”slideshowEndCard”:{“scriptTags”:[{“attribs”:{},”scriptBody”:”\r\n (function(){\r\n var c = document.getElementById(‘taboola-endslate-thumbnails’);\r\n c.id += ‘-‘ + Math.round(Math.random()*1e16);\r\n \r\n var taboolaParams = {\r\n loader: \”//cdn.taboola.com/libtrc/aol-huffingtonpost/loader.js\”,\r\n mode: \”thumbnails-b\”,\r\n container: c.id,\r\n placement: \”Endslate Thumbnails\”,\r\n target_type: \”mix\”\r\n };\r\n \r\n if (typeof window.modulousQueue === \”function\”) {\r\n \twindow.modulousQueue.add(function(){ doTaboola(taboolaParams); });\r\n } else {\r\n \tdoTaboola(taboolaParams);\r\n }\r\n }());\r\n”}],”otherHtml”:”

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

Five weeks into the invasion that has left thousands dead on both sides, the number of Ukrainians fleeing the country has passed a staggering 4 million, half of them children, according to the United Nations.

Ukrainian refugees exit the border crossing in Medyka, southeastern Poland, March 30, 2022.
Ukrainian refugees exit the border crossing in Medyka, southeastern Poland, March 30, 2022.

Sergei Grits via Associated Press

“I don’t know if we can believe the Russians anymore,” said Nikolay Nazarov, a refugee from Ukraine, as he pushed his father’s wheelchair at a border crossing into Poland. “I think there will be another escalation in eastern Ukraine. That is why we cannot return to Kharkiv.”

Zelenskyy said the ongoing negotiations with Russia were just “words without details”. He said that Ukraine is preparing for concentrated new strikes on Donbass.

Zelenskyi also said he recalled Ukraine’s ambassadors to Georgia and Morocco, claiming they 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 guns, no sanctions, no restrictions on Russian business, then please look for another job,” he said.

During Tuesday’s talks in Istanbul, the faint outlines of a possible peace deal seemed to be emerging as the Ukrainian delegation offered a framework in which the country would declare itself neutral in return for security and drop its bid to join NATO, like Moscow it has long been demanding guarantees from a group of other nations.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, center, delivers a speech to welcome the delegations of Russia, the Left and Ukraine ahead of their talks in Istanbul March 29, 2022.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, center, delivers a speech to welcome the delegations of Russia, the Left and Ukraine ahead of their talks in Istanbul March 29, 2022.

Press Service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine via Associated Press

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

But these statements were followed by attacks.

Oleksandr Pavliuk, head of the military administration of the Kyiv region, said Russian shells hit residential areas and civilian infrastructure in the Bucha, Brovary and Vyshhorod regions around the capital.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said the military also attacked fuel depots in two cities in central Ukraine with long-range air-launched cruise missiles. Russian forces have attacked a headquarters of a Ukrainian special forces unit in the southern Mykolaiv region, he said, and two ammunition depots in the Donetsk region of the 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 Russia had begun to reposition less than 20% of its troops stationed around Kyiv. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said troops from there and some other zones began moving mainly north, with some going into neighboring Belarus. Kirby said Russia appears to be planning to resupply them and send them back to Ukraine, but it’s not clear where.

The Ukrainian military said some Russian airborne units are believed to have withdrawn to Belarus.

In northern Ukraine, Russian forces did not take any offensive action on Wednesday, focusing on reconnaissance and logistics, the general staff said in a statement. However, Russia is expected to step up attacks soon to protect its own troops as they reposition, it said.

The Russians are also expected to attempt to blockade Chernihiv.

Senior Russian military officials say their main goal now is to “liberate” Donbass, the predominantly Russian-speaking industrial center where Moscow-backed separatists have been battling Ukrainian forces since 2014.

Some analysts have suggested that the focus on Donbass and the promise of de-escalation may simply be an attempt to put a positive spin on reality: Moscow’s ground forces were thwarted in their attempt to seize the capital – suffering heavy casualties and others cities.

– The UN is investigating allegations that some residents of the besieged and devastated southern city of Mariupol were forcibly taken to areas controlled by Russian forces or into Russia itself.

– Germany said Russia had assured him European companies would not have to pay for Russian gas in rubles, a prospect that raised fears that Russia could cut supplies. Poland also said it would halt Russian oil imports by the end of the year.

Karmanau reported from Lemberg, Ukraine. Associated Press journalists around the world contributed to this report.

Follow AP’s coverage of the war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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