Russian forces launched a deadly attack on a city in eastern Ukraine on Saturday morning, as President Volodymyr Zelenskyy the 500 has become a powerful symbol of his country’s resistance to the invasion.
At least six civilians were killed and five others wounded when Russian forces shelled a residential area in the city of Lyman around 10 a.m., Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said said on twitter, He added that rescue efforts were continuing.
The morning’s attack was a grim reminder of the toll the 500-day war took on Ukraine. Mr Zelenskyy paid tribute to those who have lost their lives on Saturday, using the backdrop of Snake Island to underscore the determination of Ukrainians.
At the start of the war in February, an audio recording captured Ukrainian border guards on the island, 20 miles off the coast of Odessa, defying orders from a Russian warship to surrender while uttering memorable profanities that became a battle cry , immortalized on postage stamps and on billboards across the country.
In the video released on Saturday, Mr. Zelenskyy paid tribute to the “heroes” who fought for Snake Island, calling the battle that finally forced Russian troops to withdraw last June as “one of the most important” since the all-out invasion.
“Even though this is a small piece of land in the middle of our Black Sea, it is great proof that Ukraine will retake every part of its territory,” Mr. Zelenskyy said said in the video, It showed him climbing off a boat across a rocky landscape to lay blue and yellow flowers at a memorial.
It wasn’t immediately clear when the video was shot: Ukraine’s leader was on a tour of NATO countries this week to rally support for his country’s entry into the alliance ahead of a summit next week.
The war changed Ukraine’s relationship with the world, gave added impetus to its efforts to join NATO and turned Mr. Zelenskyy into a diplomatic juggernaut. He used global attention to help Ukraine demand billions in military aid to repel Russian invaders, and recently launched a much-anticipated counteroffensive to retake occupied territories – a campaign that is under intense scrutiny.
Kyiv sees NATO membership as the ultimate guarantee of its security; His application to join the alliance was made in September against the background of the large-scale invasion of Russia.
While Mr Zelenskyy has acknowledged that Ukraine will not join NATO any time soon, as such a move would force the mutual defense alliance into direct military conflict with Russia, he has repeatedly urged its members to set a timetable for accession. In recent months, he has expressed hope that next week’s summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, could bring clarity.
Just days before the meeting, Mr Zelenskyy launched a diplomatic offensive to push through his case. He traveled to Bulgaria and the Czech Republic on Thursday and then to Slovakia and Turkey on Friday, where he met with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
In a televised press conference early Saturday morning in Istanbul after his meeting with Mr Zelenskyy, Mr Erdogan said that “Ukraine undoubtedly deserves NATO membership.”
But President Biden, who is due to attend the summit next week during a trip to Europe, told CNN in an interview due to air on Sunday that Ukraine’s admission to NATO will most likely have to wait until after the war.
“I don’t think there is a consensus in NATO on whether or not to include Ukraine in the NATO family right now, at this moment, in the middle of the war,” Mr. Biden said, according to an excerpt published by CNN.
At the same time, Mr. Biden defended what he said was a “very difficult” decision to supply Ukraine with cluster munitions, which are banned by many of America’s closest allies and are known to cause serious injuries months or even years after the fighting has ended .
Ultimately, the President concluded that depriving Ukraine of arms would leave it defenseless against Russia. He said it was a temporary step to hold Ukraine back until production of conventional artillery shells could be ramped up.
“Ukrainians are running out of ammunition,” Mr. Biden said in an interview with CNN.
For about a month, Ukrainian forces have been beginning their counteroffensive, a slow and bloody attack aimed at driving Russian forces out of the south and east of the country.
Though bolstered by training and sophisticated new weaponry from Western allies, Kiev’s armed forces have met with little success, and the fierce fighting has left Ukraine with an undisclosed number of casualties and some of its latest tanks and armored vehicles.
As the counteroffensive rages, Russian forces continue to fire missiles and launch drones at Ukrainian towns and villages far from the front lines.
On Saturday morning, Ukraine’s Air Force said it intercepted five Iranian-made attack drones overnight – but others evaded air defenses and hit “industrial and infrastructure objects” in two regions of the country.
According to the regional military administration, one man was injured when drones hit the central Ukrainian city of Kryvyi Rih. A statement on messaging app Telegram said a farm had been hit, sparking fires that also destroyed equipment and several warehouses.
Local officials also reported artillery strikes in the Kharkiv region of northeastern Ukraine and the Kherson region of southern Ukraine, which was under relentless Russian bombardment.
On the eve of the 500th day, the United Nations announced it had confirmed the deaths of more than 9,000 civilians – including more than 500 children – since the full-scale invasion, calling it a “dark milestone” in a war that ” goes on”. taking a terrible toll.” It warned that the actual death toll was likely to be much higher.