The leaders of France, Germany, Italy, and Romania have met with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Kyiv to reassure Ukraine of Europe’s solidarity within the face of Moscow’s aggression as combating raged within the Donbas, the place Russian forces continued to step up their assault on the important thing metropolis of Syevyerodonetsk.
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French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis shook palms with Zelenskiy on June 16 earlier than beginning talks believed to be centered round Ukraine’s repeated pleas for extra superior heavy weapons that might assist its beleaguered forces stave off the Russian onslaught within the east.
Ukraine has criticized France, Germany and, to a lesser extent Italy, for alleged hesitations of their help for Kyiv, accusing them of being sluggish to ship weapons.
The go to comes a day earlier than the European Fee is slated to launch its evaluation of Ukraine’s software for European Union membership. Within the face of Russia’s unprovoked invasion, Kyiv has been pushing for a fast-track course of to membership.
The 4 leaders, who traveled to Kyiv by practice, earlier walked via the ruins of the Kyiv suburb of Irpin, the scene of heavy combating firstly of the invasion.
Russian troops have been accused of committing struggle crimes in Irpin.
“Irpin, like Bucha, has turn out to be an emblem of the unimaginable cruelty of the Russian struggle, of mindless violence,” Scholz mentioned on Twitter. “The brutal destruction of this metropolis is a warning: this struggle should finish.”
Draghi, surrounded by the wreckage, mentioned: “They destroyed kindergartens, they destroyed playgrounds. Every thing will likely be rebuilt,” he promised. “We are going to rebuild all the pieces.”
In response to the EU leaders’ go to, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned in opposition to new Western weapons provides to Ukraine.
“I want to hope that the leaders of those three states and the president of Romania is not going to solely give attention to supporting Ukraine by additional pumping Ukraine with weapons,” Peskov informed reporters.
On the battlefield, the top of Ukraine’s army mentioned Russia had concentrated its fundamental strike forces within the north of the Luhansk area and that they have been attempting to assault concurrently in 9 instructions.
“The fierce wrestle for Luhansk area continues,” Valeriy Zaluzhny, commander-in-chief of the armed forces, mentioned in a web based message. The Russians have been utilizing plane, rocket-propelled grenades, and artillery, Zaluzhny added.
Combating for Syevyerodonetsk has raged for weeks as Russia advances within the Donbas area. Capturing Syevyerodonetsk — the biggest metropolis in Luhansk nonetheless underneath Ukrainian management — would enable Moscow’s forces to advance on Slovyansk and Kramatorsk additional west.
The British Protection Ministry mentioned in its each day intelligence bulletin early on June 16 that, whereas the state of affairs continues to be extraordinarily troublesome for the defenders of Syevyerodonetsk, Ukraine has most likely managed to withdraw a big proportion of its fight troops who have been initially holding the city.
The British intelligence additionally pointed to the seemingly difficulties Russia has in replenishing its troops fallen on the battleground.
“As claimed by the Ukrainian authorities, some Russian Battalion Tactical Teams (BTGs) — usually established at round 600 to 800 personnel — have been in a position to muster as few as 30 troopers,” the bulletin mentioned.
It added that Moscow’s benefit in numbers of tanks and artillery turns into much less related within the urban-warfare setting, slowing the Russian forces’ advance.
U.S. Normal Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Employees, mentioned on June 15 that regardless of Russian forces outnumbering and outgunning the Ukrainian forces within the Donbas area, Russian consolidation of their management in jap Ukraine was “not a achieved deal.”
Milley, quoted by CNN, mentioned “the numbers clearly favor the Russians.” However he added, “There aren’t any inevitabilities in struggle. Conflict takes many, many turns. So I wouldn’t say it’s an inevitability.”
The United Nations has warned that some 12,000 civilians stay trapped in Syevyerodonetsk with important provides working out, and lots of of them are sheltering in bunkers beneath town’s Azot chemical plant.
“The shortage of water and sanitation is a giant fear. It is an enormous concern for us as a result of folks can’t survive for lengthy with out water,” UN Humanitarian Affairs workplace spokesman Saviano Abreu informed the BBC, including that meals and medical provides have been additionally working out within the metropolis.
Russia had informed Ukrainian defenders holed up within the Azot chemical plant within the metropolis to surrender their “mindless resistance and lay down arms” early on June 15, promising a humanitarian hall for the civilians sheltering within the plant along with the fighters.
Kyiv has ignored the ultimatum.
The USA on June 15 introduced extra weapons packages for Ukraine valued at round $1 billion.
U.S. President Joe Biden mentioned he knowledgeable Zelenskiy in regards to the help in a cellphone name.
The weapons packages embody 18 howitzers, 36,000 rounds of ammunition for them, two Harpoon coastal protection programs, artillery rockets, safe radios, 1000’s of night-vision units, and funding for coaching, the Pentagon mentioned.
Zelenskiy has referred to as each for extra heavy weapons and additional EU sanctions in opposition to Russia.
With reporting by Reuters, AP, BBC, CNN, and AFP