Zelenskyy calls for action, not ‘lengthy discussions’ on Ukraine military aid after widespread Russian attack


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called Thursday for action in providing his country with military aid, especially air defense systems, after a night of Russian aerial attacks that the Ukrainian military said included 42 missiles and 40 drones.

“If Russian missiles and ‘Shahed’ drones continue to strike not only Ukraine but also the resolve of our allies, this will amount to a global license for terror,” Zelenskyy said on social media. “We need air defense systems and other defense assistance, not just turning a blind eye and having lengthy discussions.”

Zelenskyy said the latest attacks targeted the Kharkiv, Kyiv, Zaporizhzhia, Lviv and Odesa regions.

“Russian terrorists have once again targeted critical infrastructure,” Zelenskyy said.

Ukraine’s air force said the country’s air defenses shot down 39 of the 40 drones and destroyed 18 of the 42 missiles.

Ukrainian electrical grid operator Ukrenergo said Russian strikes damaged its facilities in five different regions.

Oleh Syniehubov, the regional governor in Kharkiv, said 10 missiles hit the city of Kharkiv, with Russian attacks targeting energy infrastructure knocking out power to more than 200,000 people.

Maksym Kozytskyi, the regional governor in Lviv, reported fires at a gas facility and an electricity substation as a result of the attacks.

The governor of Odesa, Oleh Kiper, also reported a fire at an energy facility from debris from downed drones.

Russia’s defense ministry reported Thursday thwarting a Ukrainian attack with 12 drones targeting multiple regions.

The Russian ministry said it destroyed three drones over Kursk, three over Tambov, two over Belgorod, two over Mordovia, and one each over Bryansk and Lipetsk.

Ukraine regularly targets areas close to the Ukraine-Russia border such as Belgorod and Bryansk. The strikes on Mordovia and Tambov are among the less common attacks that hit much deeper into Russian territory.

Peace conference

Switzerland said Wednesday it will host a high-level international conference in June aimed at ending Russia’s two-year war on Ukraine but acknowledged that Russia is unlikely to join the peace process.

The conference is set for June 15-16 at the lakeside Burgenstock resort near Lucerne and could draw top officials from dozens of countries. Swiss daily Neue Zürcher Zeitung reported that U.S. President Joe Biden, Ukraine’s key global supporter, may attend, but White House officials said no decision had been made about which U.S. officials may be there.

The conference follows a plan laid out in recent months by Zelenskyy and Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis. The top Swiss diplomat said more than 100 countries would be invited to the conference.

“The first country that we spoke with, after Ukraine, of course, was Russia, because a peace process cannot happen without Russia, even if it won’t be there for the first meeting,” Cassis told reporters.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned last week that any negotiations to end fighting in Ukraine could be successful only if Moscow’s interests are taken into account. He called the Swiss round of peace talks a Western ruse to rally broader international support for Kyiv.

Zelenskyy said in his daily address Wednesday that Ukraine must be able to defend its airspace, its land and its waterways as part of a just end to the war. “We have no right to make a mistake in any of these aspects,” he said. There needs to be “a clear position of the world regarding the just end of this war,” said the Ukrainian leader.__VOA News