Day 88 of hostilities: Ukraine does not declare any concessions to Russia

Ukraine refuses a ceasefire or territorial concessions to Moscow, while Russia ramps up its offensive in the east and south of the country.

Kiev’s stance has grown tougher in recent weeks as Russia’s advance in eastern Ukraine has been halted and officials fear it may be forced to sacrifice territory in exchange for peace.

“The conflict must end with Ukraine fully restore territorial integrity and sovereignty,” said Andriy Yermak, Ukraine’s president’s chief of staff, in a Twitter post on March 22.

Mykhailo Podolyak, Zelenskyy’s top negotiator and adviser, also on May 21 dismissed the possibility of Ukraine making territorial concessions and calls for an immediate ceasefire, saying it means the Russian military should remain in areas it controls become what Kyiv cannot accept.

“Russian forces must leave the country and then the peace process can resume,” Podolyak said in an interview with Reuters. Concessions will backfire because Russia will use this time to come back stronger, he stressed.

Polish President Andrzej Duda on the same day show a supportive attitude Ukraine, said that the international community must demand the complete withdrawal of Russian troops and that “if Ukraine gives up even one inch of territory for economic reasons or political ambitions, it will be a heavy blow not only for Ukraine, but also for Ukraine.” will be the entire western world”.

“Only Ukraine has the right to decide its future,” he told parliament.

A Ukrainian soldier on the Donbass battlefield in April Photo: Reuters.

A Ukrainian soldier on the Donbass battlefield in April Photo: Reuters.

In his speech at the same parliamentary session, the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy continued to call for it impose economic sanctions stronger for Moscow. “Half measures should not be used where aggression needs to be prevented,” he said.

Immediately after the President of Ukraine and his Polish counterpart finished their speeches, an air raid siren sounded in Kyiv as a reminder that the conflict is still going on, even if the battlefield is hundreds of kilometers away.

Russia should think about it Exchange of prisoners of the Ukrainian Azov Battalion for Viktor Medvedchuka pro-Moscow Ukrainian tycoon, was arrested by Kyiv in March.

“The Russian government will examine this possibility,” the news agency said RIA Novosti quoted Leonid Slutsky, a senior member of Russia’s negotiating delegation in Ukraine, at a May 21 news conference in the breakaway city of Donetsk in southeastern Ukraine.

Businessman Medvedchuk, 67, and leader of the Opposition for Life of Ukraine party, is said to have made his fortune thanks to Russian oil and close ties to the Kremlin. Forbes magazine estimates that Medvedchuk is worth around $620 million.

Medvedchuk’s party pursued a pro-Moscow agenda before he was charged with treason in May 2021 for selling military secrets to Russia at Moscow’s request and for exploiting natural resources in Crimea. Medvedchuk denied wrongdoing and was placed under house arrest before fleeing in February, just days after Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine.

Medvedchuk was arrested by Ukrainian security services last month after a special operation. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy then suggested exchanging Medvedchuk for Ukrainian prisoners of war captured by Russia.

The Russian military announced on May 20 that all 2,439 soldiers of the Azov Battalion at the Azovstal Steel Plant in the city of Mariupol surrendered, while Kyiv has not confirmed the number.

Andrei Shevchik, who was appointed mayor of the northwestern Ukrainian city of Enerhodar by Russia after taking control of it, is get special care After an explosion here the news agency RIA Novosti reported by Russia on May 22nd.

“We have accurate information that the self-proclaimed head of the ‘People’s Administration’ Shevchik and his bodyguards were injured in an explosion,” said Dmytro Orlov, who Ukrainian authorities still recognize as the city’s mayor, in a Telegram post.

He said Shevchik was taken to the Moscow-controlled city of Melitopol for treatment for his injuries, where he will temporarily take over as mayor.

Before the conflict, Enerhodar had about 50,000 inhabitants. Many of the residents work at two power plants adjacent to the city, one of which is Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, Zaporizhia.

The Russian Defense Ministry announced today that its forces have carried out airstrikes and shelling targets Ukraine’s command center, army and ammunition depot Donbass and area Mykolayiv in the south.

Major General Igor Konashenkov, spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, said that the rockets fired from the plane hit three command bases, 13 concentration areas of troops and military equipment of Ukraine and four ammunition magazines in the pharmacy in Donbass.

In the Mykolaiv region, Russian missiles hit a mobile anti-drone system near the settlement of Hanivka, about 100 kilometers northeast of the city of Mykolaiv.

“Missiles and artillery hit 583 areas where Ukrainian troops and military equipment are concentrated, 41 checkpoints, 76 artillery and mortar units in firing positions, including three Grad batteries. , as well as a Ukrainian electronic warfare station Bukovel near the settlement of Hannivka, region Mykolaiv,” he said.

Since the launch of a special military operation in Ukraine on February 24, Russia has destroyed 174 aircraft, 125 helicopters, 977 drones, 317 anti-aircraft missile systems, 3,198 tanks and other equipment, other armored fighting vehicles and 408 enemy missiles, Major General Konashenkov added.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in a video address on the night of May 21.  Photo: Office of the President of Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in a video address on the night of May 21. Picture: Office of the President of Ukraine.

In a video released on the night of May 21, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy admitted: “The situation in Donbass is extremely difficult‘ as the Russian military stepped up attacks on the city of Sloviansk in Donetsk Oblast and the city of Severodonetsk in Luhansk Oblast in recent days.

Zelenskyi previously said that the strength of Ukraine’s military is now almost six times what it was when Russia launched a military operation in late February.

“We need an army of more than 250,000 or 260,000 men, but only about 120,000” are ready to fight in Ukraine before Russia begins the operation. “Now it’s 700,000. Now everyone sees the results of 700,000 people fighting.”

Defense Minister of Ukraine Oleksiy Reznikov earlier this week assessed that the war with Russia has entered a protracted phase while Moscow prepares for a long-term military campaign to take full control of the Donbass region.

A senior Pentagon official said on condition of anonymity that Russian forces are now fighting in smaller groups in eastern Ukraine, rather than attacking with large battalion-level units as before, to counter the logistical, organizational structure on the battlefield.

Outline of the battlefield in eastern Ukraine after almost three months of war.  Click on the image to see details.

Outline of the battlefield in eastern Ukraine after almost three months of war. Click on the image to see details.

Vu Hoang (Corresponding Reuters, AFP, CNN)