International

Zelensky: ‘Situation in Donbas is extremely difficult’

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday said the status of the Donbas region of the country is “extremely difficult” after months of Russian attacks in the area. 

In a speech marking three months since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began, Zelensky said “all the strength” of the Russian army has been concentrated on the region with the goal to “destroy everything there.” 

Russian-backed separatists have fought Ukrainian forces in the Luhansk and Donetsk provinces, part of the Donbas, since 2014. United Kingdom intelligence reported earlier on Tuesday that the Russian military is specifically trying to encircle three cities in and around Luhansk, but they are facing stiff Ukrainian resistance. 

Russia has turned its attention toward the Donbas region as the full-scale invasion in Ukraine lingered longer than Russian President Vladimir Putin originally planned and Russian forces failed to capture cities in western Ukraine, including the capital Kyiv. 

In his speech, Zelensky emphasized the successes of Ukrainian defenses, saying they surpassed Russia and the world’s expectations for how long they could block the Russian invasion. He said intercepts of Russian conversations on the war reveal that the war does not make sense for Russia to continue, but Ukrainians need to continue their resistance to overcome Russia’s advantage in weapons and other equipment. 

Zelensky said he is grateful to Ukraine’s allies for the assistance they have provided, but the longer the war goes on, the greater the costs will be to Ukraine and the rest of the world. He said other countries sending weapons to Ukraine is the “best investment” in keeping stability throughout the world. 

He added that Ukrainian leaders are working to ensure it receives “security guarantees” for after the war. Head of the President’s Office Andriy Yermak and former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen are leading a group of defense and diplomacy experts in an international advisory group to create a “format of guarantees that will really work,” he said.

Tags Donbas Russia Ukraine Vladimir Putin Volodymyr Zelensky Volodymyr Zelensky

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