The 89th day of the war in Ukraine: Mr. Zelensky said the conflict was at a turning point

President Zelenskyy called for increased sanctions against Russia and increased aid to Ukraine after announcing the worst military casualty in three months of the conflict.

“Ukraine does not have much time. History is at a turning point. This is the moment that will decide whether violence can rule the world or not,” said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in an online address at the World Economic Forum ( WEF) of the Kremlin ) meeting in Switzerland on May 23.

Zelenskyy called on foreign business leaders to “completely withdraw from Russia and shift business activities to Ukraine” and asked for international help to end the blockade of ports bordering the Black Sea to allow exports of agricultural products in that country accelerate.

President Zelensky speaks online today at the WEF conference in Davos, Switzerland.  Photo: AFP.

President Zelensky speaks online today at the WEF conference in Davos, Switzerland. Photo: AFP.

The Ukrainian president also thanked for the military aid but insisted Kyiv needed more. “The conflict shows that the sooner help is valuable, the more valuable it is. Had we received 100% of our needs by February, tens of thousands of lives could have been saved. That’s why Ukraine needs any weapon it wants. “Requirements, rather than just supplying systems,” he said.

President Zelenskyy also announced that on May 17, 87 people were killed when Russian missiles hit a military base in Desna in northern Ukraine. This is the biggest fatality for the Ukrainian military in an airstrike after nearly three months of conflict with Russia.

The biggest casualty so far was a cruise missile attack on the International Security and Peace Center (IPSC) near the western Ukraine city of Lviv in mid-March, killing at least 35 people.

The Russian Defense Ministry has not commented on the information. The agency announced last week that it had hit a Ukrainian training base with long-range cruise missiles.

Russian soldiers clear bombs and mines at the Azovstal iron and steel factory in the southeastern city of Mariupol after Ukrainian forces holed up inside surrendered. “The task is very big, because both the enemy and we have laid mines all over the area. This work can take about two weeks,” said a Russian soldier.

At the Azovstal factory after being taken over by Russian forces

The underground tunnel system of the Azovstal plant in the video released by Russia on May 23. Video: Zvezda.

Lugansk Governor Serhiy Haidai said Russian forces were trying to “wipe out” the city of Severodonetsk, one of the last major strongholds in eastern Ukraine. “They try to break the line every day. The shelling takes place continuously, the Russian army uses the tactics of systematically destroying the earth and destroying the city,” he said.

After entering the Azovstal Iron and Steel Works and taking complete control of the city of Mariupol in south-eastern Ukraine, the Russian army began pushing its forces north to take complete control of Lugansk province, in which was the main target of Severodonetsk.

Russian forces have captured about 90% of Lugansk, one of the two provinces that make up the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine. The capture of Severodonetsk would give Russia full control of Lugansk province and provide a major stepping stone for a westward offensive aimed at Kramatorsk, where Ukraine’s Donbass regional military command is based.

The Russian Defense Ministry announced today that a Black Sea submarine fired a Kalibr cruise missile at the Malin station in northern Zhytomyr province, carrying weapons and equipment of the 10 in the Donbass region.

Video released on the same day shows a Russian Black Sea Fleet submarine firing at least four Kalibr cruise missiles at a target in Zhytomyr province. The Russian Defense Ministry did not provide details about the ship that carried out the missile attack.

The Russian Air Force fired rockets at four command posts and a communications center of Ukraine’s Northern Special Forces near Bakhmut in the eastern province of Donetsk, as well as at 48 concentration points of troops, equipment and six ammunition depots in the Donbass region. The Russian Defense Ministry also released video of the firing of the 2S5 Giatsint-S self-propelled howitzer, saying that this unit ambushed and destroyed many targets, including a Ukrainian artillery platoon operating three American-made M777 howitzers.

Overview of the battlefield in eastern Ukraine after almost three months of hostilities.  Graphic: Washington Post.

Overview of the battlefield in eastern Ukraine after almost three months of hostilities. Graphic: Washington Post.

Some Western military experts believe that Russia may soon run out of resources for offensive operations and turn to defending the areas it controls, while arms assistance can help Ukraine prepare its armed forces for the upcoming attacks.

“As the offensive in the east loses momentum, Russia needs to pursue a defensive strategy in Ukraine. This will present the Russian military with a new set of challenges,” said Mick Ryan, retired Australian general.

vu appendix (Corresponding Zvezda, Reuters)