Ukraine appeals for help, Russia wants to divide the country

LVIV, Ukraine – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday accused the West of cowardice, while another top official said Russia was trying to divide the country into two, like North and South Korea.

U.S. President Joe Biden said in a scattered speech that Russian President Vladimir Putin could not stay in power – words that the White House wanted to immediately cut short – that Zelensky attacked Ping-Punk in the West over “who and how jets should be delivered.” And other weapons when Russian missile strikes kill and intercept civilians.

“I spoke to Mariupol’s defenders today. I keep in touch with them all the time. Their determination, heroism and perseverance are amazing, “Zelensky said in a video address, referring to the besieged southern city that suffered the greatest deprivation and horror of the war. “Those who have been thinking for 31 days how to hand over dozens of jets and tanks have 1% of their courage.”

Russia’s aggression in Ukraine has stopped in many areas. The goal of quickly encircling the capital, Kiev, and forcing it to surrender has failed against the hardline Ukrainian resistance – armed by the United States and other Western allies.

Zelensky on Sunday signed into law a law prohibiting reports on the movement of troops and equipment that have not been declared or approved by the military. Violators can face up to three to eight years in prison. The law does not differentiate between Ukrainian and foreign journalists.

Britain’s defense ministry says Russian troops are trying to encircle Ukrainian forces facing two separatist-controlled areas in the east of the country. It would cut off most of Ukraine’s military from the rest of the country.

Moscow has claimed that its focus is on occupying the entire eastern Donbass region, which has been partly controlled by Russia-backed separatists since 2014. A senior Russian military official said Friday that troops from other parts of the country were being redirected earlier.

Russia has supported separatist rebels in Luhansk and neighboring Donetsk since Moscow began occupying the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine. In talks with Ukraine, Moscow has demanded that Kiev recognize the independence of Donetsk and Luhansk.

The head of Ukraine’s military intelligence, Kirillo Budanov, has accused Russia of dividing Ukraine, comparing it to North and South Korea.

“Occupiers will try to pull the occupied territories into a single semi-state structure and create it against an independent Ukraine,” Budanov said in a statement issued by the Defense Ministry. He predicted that the Ukrainian guerrilla warfare would derail such a plan.

David Arakhamia, a representative of Ukraine in talks with Russia on ending the war, said in a Facebook post that the countries would meet in Turkey from Monday. However, the Russians announced that the talks would begin on Tuesday. The two sides have met before without reaching an agreement.

Zelensky, reiterating his earlier statement, told independent Russian journalists on Sunday that his government would consider declaring neutrality and guaranteeing security to Russia. That would include keeping Ukraine free of nuclear weapons, he said.

Ukraine has said that in order to defeat Russia, the West must supply fighter jets, not just missiles and other military equipment. A proposal to transfer Polish aircraft to Ukraine via the United States was rejected amid NATO concerns about direct involvement in the war.

In his subtle remarks, Zelensky accused Western governments of being “afraid to prevent this tragedy.” I’m afraid to make a simple decision. “

His appeal was echoed Sunday by a priest in the western city of Lviv, who had been hit by a rocket the day before. The aerial attack illustrates that Moscow, despite its desire to move the war to the east, is willing to attack anywhere in Ukraine.

“When diplomacy doesn’t work, we need military assistance,” said Reverend Yuri Vasquev, who said frightened Parisians were staying away from his Greek Catholic Church.

Russia’s Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov confirmed that Russia had used live-powered cruise missiles to hit a live fuel depot and a defense center about 45 miles (75 kilometers) from the Polish border. He said another attack with a missile launched from the sea destroyed a depot in Plesetsk, just west of Kiev, where Ukraine stored anti-aircraft missiles.

On Sunday night, a rocket attack hit an oil base in the far northwest of Volin, about 120 kilometers (75 miles) north of the capital, Lutsk, Lviv.

A chemical odor lingered on Sunday’s live while firefighters were training hoses over the fire and spilled black smoke from an oil storage tank that had been damaged in the attack.

Russia’s retaliatory airstrikes have shaken the city, which has become a haven for an estimated 200,000 people who have fled the bombed towns and cities. Lviv, which survived the bombing, has also been a haven for most of the 3.8 million refugees fleeing Ukraine since the February 24 invasion of Russia.

Olana Ukrenets, a 34-year-old information technology professional, said she could not believe she had to hide again after fleeing the northeastern city of Kharkiv, one of the most bombed cities. A.

“We were on one side of the road and it looked the other way,” he said. “We have seen the fire. I said to my friend, ‘What is this?’ Then we hear an explosion and the sound of broken glass. “

In his video address, Zelensky angrily warned Moscow that it was sowing deep hatred for Russia among Ukrainians.

“You are doing everything to make our people leave the Russian language on their own, because the Russian language will now only be associated with you, your explosion and murder, your crime,” Zelensky said.

In addition to the millions who have fled Ukraine, the aggression has displaced more than 10 million people from their homes, about a quarter of Ukraine’s population. Thousands of civilians are thought to have been killed.

Russia’s advance on Kiev has stalled, fighting is raging in the suburbs, and a missile blast in the city has destroyed St. Sophia Cathedral, a 1,000-year-old UNESCO World Heritage Site that is Ukraine’s spiritual and national center. Identity

Vadim Kirilenko, an engineer and conservator who was the church’s most senior manager, said a nearby strike “would not be a point of return for our landmark because it is so fragile and risky.”

Pointing to the cathedral’s golden dome, Kirilenko said the cross at the center collapsed a month before World War II began.

“The cross on the left fell a month before this war,” he said.

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Kharkiv’s Andrea Rosa, Kiev’s Nebi Kena, Lviv’s Kara Anna and Associated Press journalists from around the world contributed to this report.

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