A month since Russia launched its shock invasion, Ukraine’s leader Thursday demanded NATO “save” his shattered country with all-out military aid to let its armed forces turn their dogged defense into attack.
After relentless Russian bombardment of Ukrainian cities, the vast scale of civilian suffering was made stark as the UN said more than half of all Ukraine’s children have been driven from their homes.
“A month of heroic resistance. A month of the darkest suffering,” he told the leaders including US President Joe Biden, at the first of three Brussels summits that were tightening the sanctions screws on Russia.
Long-range Russian strikes on the eastern city of Kharkiv killed at least six civilians and wounded more than a dozens, Ukrainian authorities said.
Britain’s ITV network showed footage of the incendiary weapons — which cause horrific burns — dropping in a white haze overnight on the commuter town of Irpin near Kyiv.
– ‘Big mistake’ –
Ahead of the summits of NATO, the G7 and the European Union, he said: “At these three summits we will see: Who is a friend, who is a partner, and who betrayed us for money.”
The United States said the allies could add anti-ship missiles to Ukraine’s arsenal. It announced an extra $1 billion in humanitarian aid, and offered to take in up to 100,000 refugees.
Amateur footage showed plumes of black smoke billowing from a large gray vessel docked next to cranes, after what the Ukraine navy said was the strike, which AFP could not independently confirm.
“He has underestimated the strength of the Ukrainian people, the bravery of the Ukrainian people and their armed forces.”
Zelensky’s appeal came one month to the day after Russian armored vehicles rolled over the border, igniting a conflict that is feared to have killed thousands of Ukrainian civilians, along with thousands more soldiers on both sides.
The month of war has displaced 4.3 million children — more than half of Ukraine’s estimated child population of 7.5 million, according to the UN children’s agency Unicef.
UN figures show that nearly 3.7 million Ukrainians including 1.8 million children have fled abroad, and more are now displaced inside Ukraine after harrowing journeys out of cities like Mariupol.
Ukraine’s foreign ministry tweeted that Moscow had “launched a new phase of terror against Mariupol” by forcibly deporting about 6,000 residents to Russian camps.
“It’s hard, it’s very hard,” sobbed the 37-year-old, who works for a tourism organization which is now bereft of tourists.
Experts say Russia’s once-vaunted military has been bogged down by dogged resistance, logistic problems and low morale, and has turned to long-range bombardment in the hope of breaking Ukrainian resolve.
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said on Wednesday that “almost all of Irpin is already under the control of Ukrainian soldiers” after battles with Russian troops.
– Tarnishing Russian gold –
But while the Moscow Stock Exchange partially reopened for the first time since the invasion, the G7 summit in Brussels vowed new action to destabilize Russia’s tottering economy.
“The more we do that now, the more pressure we apply now, particularly on things like gold… I believe the more we can shorten the war, shorten the slaughter in Ukraine,” Britain’s Johnson said.
But Putin’s regime has introduced draconian censorship laws to prevent independently verified news about what it calls a “special military operation.”
“There’s going to have to be a further, massive scaling up of assistance within Ukraine in the coming weeks,” said Michael Ryan, emergences director for the World Health Organization.
Originally published as Ukraine demands unlimited NATO aid against Russia’s month-old war