Volodymyr Zelensky admitted on Friday that Russia was slowing down the Ukrainian counter-offensive, blaming the "slowness" of Western arms deliveries, and called for long-range weapons as well as new sanctions against Moscow.
The Ukrainian president also stressed that time was against Ukraine, with Russia banking on a Republican victory in the 2024 presidential election to weaken American support for kyiv.
He again called for more guns, longer range, and faster. And sanctions against Moscow.
“The longer it takes, the more people suffer (...) If we are not in the sky and Russia is there, they stop us from the sky. They stop our counter-offensive,” he said. he said, at a conference in Kiev.
According to him, "the processes are becoming more complicated and slower when it comes to economic sanctions against Moscow or the supply of weapons" from the West.
Ukraine has complained in particular for months about the slowness of negotiations on the delivery of F-16 fighters. Several dozen of these American aircraft will ultimately be delivered by European countries, but the crews must now be trained for months.
The Ukrainian counter-offensive launched in June came up against powerful defense lines built by the Russians, including minefields and anti-tank traps.
However, a breakthrough has emerged in recent weeks in the south, which could allow the Ukrainian army to advance to cut Russian lines of communication between the north and Crimea, one of its objectives.
“Despite the fierce resistance of the enemy, our soldiers continue to advance,” Ukrainian Army Commander-in-Chief Valery Zaluzhny told Allied Commander NATO Operations in Europe by telephone. American General Christopher Cavoli.
American Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who was in kyiv on Wednesday and Thursday, judged the “significant progress” of the offensive “very, very encouraging”.
He promised $1 billion in new aid. Washington also confirmed the supply of depleted uranium shells to give “momentum” to the offensive.
Russian leaders are “counting on the US elections” in 2024 for a drop in this support in the event of a Republican victory, Volodymyr Zelensky warned on Friday, observing that there were “voices within the Republican Party who say that support for Ukraine must be reduced".
Furthermore, Russia continued its bombing of Ukrainian cities. Ukraine mourned the death of four people on Friday.
Three civilians were killed in Odradokamianka in the southern Kherson region, according to Ukrainian Interior Minister Igor Klymenko.
In Kryvyï Rig, the hometown of President Volodymyr Zelensky in the south of the country, a bombing hit an administrative building killing a police officer, according to emergency services.
kyiv has also denounced the local elections organized by Moscow in the regions that came under its control, and which it claims to have annexed in the same way as Crimea in 2014.
“The pseudo-elections carried out by Russia in the temporarily occupied territories are worthless,” stressed the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, denouncing a “gross violation” of its sovereignty.
On Telegram, the Ukrainian mayor in exile of Melitopol (occupied zone of Zaporizhya) reported "two powerful explosions" at the secondary school in Berdiansk, on the shores of the Sea of Azov, where "the enemy had located one of the polling stations.
France condemned on Friday "the organization by Russia of sham elections on Ukrainian territory, and in particular in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, as well as in the regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhia and Kherson".
These "so-called elections" are "devoid of any legitimacy and are held in territories that Russia occupies illegally" continued in a press release the French diplomacy, which "will not recognize the results".
Ukraine's Crimean peninsula, along with the city of Sevastopol, was annexed by Russia in 2014 after a referendum that almost the entire international community refused to recognize. The four regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhia and Kherson suffered the same fate - referendum and annexation - in 2022.
Across the Atlantic, American billionaire Elon Musk claimed on
“We have received an urgent request from the” Ukrainian authorities to activate Internet access in the Black Sea via “our Starlink satellite”, deployed in Ukraine shortly after the invasion, Mr Musk claimed on X, saying he refused on the grounds that his company would then have been “complicit in a major act of war”.
According to an extract from a biography whose good pages appeared in the American press, Mr. Musk did not in fact refuse to activate but ordered to deactivate, after contact with a Russian diplomat, Starlink coverage in the area, frustrating a marine drone operation already underway.
Mikhaïlo Podoliak, one of President Zelensky's main advisers, reacted by estimating that the price paid for this "cocktail of ignorance and big egos" was counted in "killed children".
09/08/2023 22:14:51 - Kiev (Ukraine) (AFP) © 2023 AFP