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Ukraine’s Zelensky thanks EU, US for arms aid

21.03.2023 12:15
Ukraine’s president has hailed a new European Union drive to supply ammunition to his country as “a strategic step” towards victory over Russia's invasion and also thanked the United States for a new arms package.
Volodymyr Zelensky.
Volodymyr Zelensky.PAP/EPA/Sergey Dolzhenko

Volodymyr Zelensky made the statement in a video address to the nation on Monday night.

The Ukrainian president said: “Our European partners have agreed on a joint plan to accelerate the supply of shells for our artillery. This decision is worth EUR 2 billion. It provides for both emergency supply and production of ammunition.”

Zelensky stated: “This is a strategic step. It gives us confidence in our unity, in the immutability of the movement towards victory over the terrorist state.”

He added: “A new defence package from the United States was also announced today. The amount is USD 350 million.”

He told Ukrainians: “These are rockets for HIMARS [high mobility artillery rocket systems], artillery shells and other ammunition - everything we really need to support our warriors.”

Russian cruise missiles destroyed in Crimea explosion: Ukraine

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s defence ministry has reported that an explosion in the northern Crimean city of Dzhankoi destroyed Russian cruise missiles intended for use by Moscow’s Black Sea fleet.

“The explosions continue the process of Russia’s demilitarisation and prepares the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea for de-occupation,” the Ukrainian defence ministry said on Monday, as quoted by The UK Defence Journal.

According to Kyiv, the Kalibr-KN cruise missiles, which were being transported by rail, had an operational range exceeding 2,500 km on land and 375 km at sea.

Meanwhile, Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s interior ministry, tweeted footage he said reportedly showed the train station area in Dzhankoi. 

It showed a single, loud and fiery explosion, which appeared to send a plume of smoke into the night sky, news outlets reported.

Ukraine acknowledged the blasts, but did not explicitly claim responsibility for the incident, The UK Defence Journal said. It added: “If verified, this would represent a rare action by Ukraine’s military in Crimea, an area occupied since 2014.”

Putin, Xi Jinping discuss ‘China’s peace plan for Ukraine’: Kremlin

The Kremlin said on Tuesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping had held a “thorough” exchange of views during their first day of talks, and discussed China’s peace plan for Ukraine, without giving further details, according to the Reuters news agency.

Xi arrived in Moscow on Monday on a three-day visit, with plans to present China as a global peacemaker ready to help resolve the Ukraine crisis, Reuters reported.

Zelensky-Xi phone call would be 'important move': Ukrainian deputy PM

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk discussed Ukraine’s relationship with China in an interview with Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper on Tuesday.

She said, as quoted by the UK’s The Guardian newspaper: “China traditionally pursues a foreign policy as an expert player. A state that moves on several levels with pragmatism and balance.”

She added: “I really don’t think Xi Jinping intends to embark on an open confrontation with the West to facilitate cooperation with Russia. Beijing does not want to risk economic sanctions and new tensions.”

Vereshchuk also said that a proposed phone call between Zelensky and Xi would be “an important move,” according to The Guardian.

Tuesday is day 391 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.


Source: PAP, president.gov.ua, The UK Defence Journal, The Guardian