On Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused the West of cowardice, while another top official claimed Russia was attempting to divide the country into North and South Korea-style divisions.
Zelenskyy made an irritated request for fighter aircraft and tanks to assist in the defense of his country against invading Russian soldiers. Russia now claims its main goal is to take control of the eastern Donbas area, a reversal from its earlier, more broad goals, but one that is creating concerns about a split Ukraine.
Zelenskyy lashed out at the West’s “ping-pong about who and how should hand over jets” and other weapons while Russian missile attacks kill and trap civilians, speaking after US President Joe Biden said in a scathing speech that Russian President Vladimir Putin could not stay in power — words the White House immediately sought to downplay.
“Today, I spoke with Mariupol’s defenders. I’m always in touch with them. In a video speech, Zelenskyy praised the beleaguered southern city’s “amazing determination, gallantry, and toughness.” “If only those who have been pondering how to hand over dozens of aircraft and tanks for 31 days had a fraction of their fortitude.”
On Sunday, Zelenskyy told independent Russian media that his administration was considering declaring neutrality and offered Russia security assurances, reiterating previous claims. He stated that this would entail maintaining Ukraine nuclear-free.
He told reporters that when Russian soldiers leave, the subject of neutrality – and deciding to stay out of NATO – should be addressed to Ukrainian citizens in a referendum. He predicted that a vote will be held within a few months of the military departing.
Russia promptly halted the publication of the interview. The prohibition was imposed by Roskomnadzor, Moscow’s communications regulator, who warned that action might be taken against participating Russian media outlets, including “international media outlets operating as foreign agents.”
Despite the fact that the interview was released internationally, Russia-based sites appeared to follow the embargo.
In response, Zelenskyy stated that Moscow was terrified of a brief dialogue with journalists. According to the Ukrainian news agency RBK Ukraina, he stated, “It would be amusing if it wasn’t so awful.”
Attendees at the Academy Awards event in Los Angeles stood quiet for 30 seconds to show their solidarity for Ukraine. Some wore blue and gold ribbons, which are the colors of the Ukrainian flag. Sean Penn attempted unsuccessfully to get Zelenskyy, a former actor, to speak at the event.
In many ways, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has come to a halt. Its plan to swiftly encircle Kyiv and compel its capitulation has failed due to tenacious Ukrainian resistance, which has been strengthened by armaments supplied by the US and other Western allies.
Moscow claims to be concentrating its efforts on regaining control of the whole eastern Donbas area, which has been under the authority of Russia-backed rebels since 2014. On Friday, a senior Russian military official stated that troops from other regions of the nation were being transferred to the east.
Since the rebellion started in Luhansk and nearby Donetsk shortly after Moscow invaded Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, Russia has backed separatist fighters. In discussions with Ukraine, Moscow has insisted that Kyiv recognize Donetsk and Luhansk’s independence.
Ukraine’s military intelligence chief, Kyrylo Budanov, accused Russia of attempting to split Ukraine in two, drawing parallels with North and South Korea.
“The invaders will attempt to unite the seized areas into a single quasi-state structure and pit it against an independent Ukraine,” Budanov warned in a Defense Ministry statement. He warned that Ukrainian guerilla fighting would undermine such ambitions.
Davyd Arakhamia, a Ukrainian envoy in talks with Russia to end the war, said in a Facebook post that the two countries will meet in Turkey starting Monday. The Russians, on the other hand, stated that the discussions will begin on Tuesday. The two parties have met before, but no agreement has been achieved.
“Sovereignty and territorial integrity” would be Ukraine’s top priority at the negotiations, Zelenskyy said in his evening speech.
“We’re hoping for peace as soon as possible,” he stated. “A face-to-face contact in Turkey is both an opportunity and a need.”
Zelenskyy also signed a bill prohibiting reporting on unannounced or unapproved military troop and equipment movements. Journalists who break the law face jail sentences ranging from three to eight years. The regulation makes no distinction between Ukrainian and international journalists.
Ukraine claims that the West needs give fighter planes, not simply missiles and other military hardware, to beat Russia. A plan to send Polish jets to Ukraine via the US was shelved due to NATO fears about being pushed into direct combat.
Zelenskyy accused Western leaders of being “afraid to avoid this disaster” in his sharp statements. Afraid to just make a choice.”
A priest in the western city of Lviv, which had been hit by missiles the day before, repeated his call. Despite claims that it intended to push the fight eastward, the aircraft attack demonstrated that Moscow is prepared to strike anyplace in Ukraine.
“When diplomacy fails, we need military help,” said the Rev. Yuri Vaskiv, who said his Greek Catholic church was being avoided by scared parishioners.
Residents of a community sifted through the rubble of Russia’s continuous assaults on the way to Kyiv. Locals in Byshiv, some 35 kilometers from Kyiv, went inside houses that had been blown open and damaged by shelling to recover anything they could, including books, shelves, and framed portraits.
Svetlana Grybovska, standing in what used to be a kindergarten classroom, claimed that far too many children had been harmed.
“It’s not right,” Grybovska told Sky News in the United Kingdom. “Children are innocent of all charges.”
Russia reported that a fuel storage and a defense factory in Lyiv, near the Polish border, were targeted by air-launched cruise missiles. According to Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, a spokesperson for the Russian Defense Ministry, another strike with sea-launched missiles hit a facility in Plesetske, just west of Kyiv, where Ukraine kept air defense systems.
Back-to-back Russian airstrikes jolted the city, which has become a safe haven for an estimated 200,000 refugees fleeing devastated towns and cities. Lviv, which has mostly avoided shelling, has also served as a transit point for the majority of the 3.8 million Ukrainian refugees who have fled since Russia invaded on Feb. 24.
Ukrainian firemen in Kharkiv dug through concrete and other rubble with axes and chainsaws on Sunday, looking for casualties of a Russian military attack on the regional government building. According to a fireman, one body was discovered on Saturday. At least six people were killed in the March 1 raid, which was the first time Russian forces struck Kharkiv’s central district, which previously housed 1.5 million people.
A rocket strike damaged an oil site in Volyn’s far northern territory on Sunday night.
In addition to the millions of individuals who have fled Ukraine, the invasion has displaced more than 10 million people, or over a quarter of the country’s population. Thousands of people are estimated to have died as a result of the conflict.
In an interview with Russian media on Sunday, Zelenskyy also stated that he meets with his men and their families on a regular basis and that he has offered his troops in Mariupol the option of leaving the city.
“‘We can’t,’ they responded. “There are injured individuals, and we will not abandon them,” Zelenskyy stated. “In addition, they stated, ‘We will not abandon the deceased.'”
According to Zelenskyy, bodies of both Ukrainians and Russians lie uncollected on Mariupol’s streets and sidewalks.