Ukraine readies for 'relentless defense' of Kyiv
13 March 2022, 02:36 pm | Updated: 07 December 2023, 01:05 pm
Ukraine prepared Sunday for a "relentless defense" of Kyiv as the capital faced possible encirclement by advancing Russian forces who have also kept up a bombardment of the besieged southern port city of Mariupol.
In a video address posted on social media late Saturday night, President Volodymyr Zelensky said nevertheless the Russians did not have the strength or spirit to conquer Ukraine.
"The Russian invaders cannot conquer us. They do not have such strength. They do not have such spirit. They are holding only on violence. Only on terror. Only on weapons, which they have a lot," he said.
A convoy of humanitarian aid headed for Mariupol had been blocked at a Russian checkpoint, but it was hoped it could reach the city Sunday, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said.
The strategic port, in particular, is facing what Ukraine says is a "humanitarian catastrophe," with more than 1,500 civilians killed.
Attempts to evacuate hundreds of thousands of civilians have repeatedly failed.
"Mariupol is still surrounded, that which they cannot have by war, [the Russians] want to have by hunger and despair. Since they cannot bring down the Ukrainian army, they target the population," a French military source said.
A top Russian officer described the situation in stark language.
"Unfortunately, the humanitarian situation in Ukraine is continuing to deteriorate rapidly, and in some cities, it has reached catastrophic proportions," said the head of the Russian National Defense Control Center, Mikhail Mizintsev.
In his video address, Zelensky appealed for more aid.
"I keep reiterating to our allies and friends abroad; they have to keep doing more for our country, for Ukrainians and Ukraine. Because it is not only for Ukraine, but it is for all of Europe," he said.
Category : International