Selenskyj appeals to allies after deadly attacks


Lerato Khumalo

Once again people are dying in Russian air strikes in Ukraine, and once again President Zelenskyj is calling for more help to protect his countrymen. The situation on the battlefield is also difficult.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is asking allies for more air defense systems for his country. He referred to the recent Russian missile attack on the city of Dnipro, in which five people were killed and over 50 others injured. Residential buildings and a hospital are also said to have been damaged.

“There were also rocket attacks on our other regions, guided bombs on Kharkiv and our front lines,” said Zelenskyy yesterday in his evening video address. According to Ukrainian sources, 14 people were injured in the attack on a suburb of Kharkiv.

To defend against these attacks, his country’s army needs more weapons, said Zelensky. “We can only stop all this with more air defense systems, only with more long-range attacks on the bases and air bases of Russian terrorists.”

There are currently four Patriot air defense systems in use in Ukraine. Two of them were provided by Germany. Zelensky recently estimated that his country will need at least six more Patriot systems. Ukraine hopes that a decision will be made on this at the NATO summit next week.

The Ukrainian president has also repeatedly asked allies for permission to use the supplied Western weapons against targets deep within Russian territory – such as military airports. “We are actively discussing all of this with our partners at all levels,” said the head of state.

So far, the Ukrainian military has only been allowed to use heavy weapons in the frontline area and east of Kharkiv in the border area with Russia because the allies are concerned about too extensive involvement in the war with Russia. For attacks deep in the Russian hinterland, Ukraine uses drones, which do not have as much explosive power as cruise missiles or rockets.

The area around the eastern Ukrainian city of Pokrovsk in the Donetsk region is currently the focus of front-line events. According to the 47th mechanized brigade of the Ukrainian armed forces deployed there, Russian troops are trying to break through the Ukrainian defense lines. The Russian military is relying primarily on massed infantry attacks supported by combat drones, said brigade spokeswoman Anastasia Blishchik on television.

“The fact that we have hardly seen any armored vehicles on the battlefield for a month is at least unique, since they (the Russians) have run out of these weapons,” said Blishchik. Reconnaissance drones showed “huge graveyards” of destroyed armored vehicles. That is why the Russian side is trying to dominate the fighting with strong infantry forces.

According to the General Staff in Kiev, the Russian military is trying to “increase the rate of fire” in the region around Pokrovsk. Accordingly, the defense lines are being strengthened and more ammunition is being brought to this section of the front.

The warring parties also engaged in heavy fighting around Chasiv Yar, a few kilometers west of the city of Bakhmut, which was captured by the Russian army. According to Ukrainian military officials, Russian ground troops there repeatedly tried to penetrate the Ukrainian positions under the protective umbrella of so-called kamikaze drones and artillery. The current situation on the front cannot be assessed independently.