Kyiv seeks more weapons as fighting intensifies in the east
Ukraine on Friday battled Russian troops trying to pierce its lines in the east and northeast before Kyiv takes delivery of tanks from its western allies, saying the fighting showed it needed more weapons to repel the invaders.
Kyiv said fierce battles were underway, a day after at least 11 people were killed in missile and drone strikes which were widely seen in Ukraine as a response to the promises by important allies to send tanks.
After weeks of wrangling, Germany and the US this week said they would send Ukraine dozens of modern tanks to help push back Russian forces, opening the way for others to follow suit.
Poland gave Ukraine a further boost on Friday by promising an additional 60 tanks on top of 14 German-made Leopard 2 tanks it had already pledged. Russia said the US was “pumping weapons into Ukraine”, which Moscow says does Washington’s bidding, and chided President Joe Biden, saying he held the key to ending the conflict but had not used it.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked allies for their support but renewed calls for tougher sanctions on Moscow and more weapons in the twelfth month of the war.
“This evil, this Russian aggression can and should be stopped only with adequate weapons. The terrorist state will not understand anything else,” Zelensky said in his nightly television address on Thursday.
Hours after he spoke, Ukrainian officials reported fierce battles in the northeast and east of the country, the scene of some of the heaviest combat since Russia’s invasion on February 24 last year.
“Fierce fighting continues along the front lines,” said Oleh Synehubov, governor of the northeastern region of Kharkiv, adding that Ukrainian forces were holding out.
Millions of Ukrainians faced electricity shortages after Thursday’s missile and drone strikes, the latest to target energy facilities and deprive people of heat, light and water.
CIA, FBI sites blocked
Russia tightened its own moves against western entities, with communications regulator Roskomnadzor saying it had blocked the websites of the CIA and FBI, accusing the two US agencies of spreading false information.