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Zelensky says no ceasefire without recovering land lost to Russia

Russia and Ukraine each signed 'mirror' landmark deals on Friday to reopen Ukrainian Black Sea ports for grain exports
Published 23 Jul, 2022 03:08pm
<p>Zelensky says no ceasefire without recovering land lost to Russia
Source: Reuters</p>

Zelensky says no ceasefire without recovering land lost to Russia Source: Reuters

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said a ceasefire with Russia without reclaiming lost territories would only prolong the war, but it has $10b of grain ready to export following deals made to allow Port operations.

Zelensky warned that a ceasefire that allowed Russia to keep Ukrainian territories seized since the invasion began in February would only encourage an even wider conflict, giving Moscow an opportunity to replenish and rearm for the next round.

Zelensky made the statements in an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Friday.

“Society believes that all the territories must be liberated first, and then we can negotiate about what to do and how we could live in the centuries ahead,” he said.

“A more pressing need is air-defence systems that could prevent Russia from raining long-range missiles on otherwise peaceful cities hundreds of miles from the front lines.

Zelensky said US-supplied high mobility artillery rocket systems (HIMARS) had been helping the Ukrainian fighters, but they needed more weaponry.

“The Western supplies of HIMARS, while making a material difference, are much lower than what Ukraine needs to turn the tide.”

Zelensky: Ukraine has $10b of grain ready to export

Russia and Ukraine each signed ‘mirror’ landmark deals on Friday to reopen Ukrainian Black Sea ports for grain exports, raising hopes an international food crisis aggravated by the Russian invasion could be eased.

However, representatives from the two countries declined to sit at the same table and avoided shaking hands at the agreement ceremony in Istanbul, reflecting wider enmity.

Russia and Ukraine are major global wheat suppliers, and Moscow’s 24 February invasion of its neighbour sent food prices soaring, stoking a global food crisis the World Food Programme says has pushed some 47 million people into “acute hunger.”

Ukraine had about $10 billion worth of grain available for sale in the wake of the deal, and would also have the chance to sell the current harvest, Zelensky said on Friday.

“This is another demonstration that Ukraine can withstand the war.”

The deal was brokered by the United Nations and Turkey.

“Diplomatic concessions to Moscow might stabilise the markets somewhat, but would only provide a temporary respite and boomerang in the future,” Zelensky said.

“There may be some provocations on the part of Russia, attempts to discredit Ukrainian and international efforts… but we trust the United Nations.”

The United States said it would hold Russia accountable on the deal, and called out China for stockpiling grain that could be used for global humanitarian needs.

The United States also wanted to see China help combat the global food crisis, James O’Brien, head of the US State Department’s Office of Sanctions Coordination, told reporters.

“We would like to see it act like the great power that it is and provide more grain to the poor people around the world,” he said.

“China has been a very active buyer of grain and it is stockpiling grain… at a time when hundreds of millions of people are entering the catastrophic phase of food insecurity.”

Divide over whether new HIMARS systems hit by Russian forces

Russia’s defence ministry says its forces destroyed four US-supplied high mobility artillery rocket systems (HIMARS) in Ukraine earlier this month, a claim denied by both Kyiv and Washington.

Between 5 to 20 July, “four launchers and one reloading vehicle for the US-made multiple launch rocket systems (HIMARS) were destroyed,” it said in a daily briefing on Friday.

Kyiv rejected Moscow’s claims, calling them “fakes” designed to undermine the West’s support for Ukraine.

A US official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the reports of any HIMARS being destroyed were not true.

Reuters could not verify battlefield reports.

Kyiv had hailed the arrival of eight HIMARS in Ukraine as a possible game changer for the course of the war, about to enter its sixth month.

The advanced weapons are more precise and offer a longer range than other artillery systems, allowing Kyiv to strike Russian targets and weapons depots further behind the front lines.

Moscow had accused the West of dragging out the conflict by supplying Kyiv with more arms.

It said the supply of longer-range weapons justified Russia’s attempts to expand control over more Ukrainian territory, beyond the eastern Donbas region, for its own protection.

On 6 July, just days after the first HIMARS arrived in Ukraine, Russia’s defence ministry said it had destroyed two of them, releasing a video of the alleged strike.

Ukraine rejected Russia’s claims and said it was using the US-supplied arms to inflict “devastating blows” on Russian forces.

Serhiy Leshchenko, an adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky’s chief of staff, said on Friday that Ukraine continued to use HIMARS to “cause numerous losses to the aggressor state.”

“Russia is trying to stop the supply of weapons from the West and intimidate Ukraine’s allies with the fictional power of Russia’s armed forces,” he said in a media briefing.

This week Kyiv used HIMARS to strike a crucial bridge across the Dnipro river in Russian-controlled parts of the southern Kherson region, punching huge holes in the asphalt and prompting local Russian-installed officials to warn it could be completely destroyed if the attacks continued.

On Wednesday the United States said it planned to send four more HIMARS to Ukraine in its latest package of military support.

It’s latest package promised to Ukraine would provide about $270 million of support, including more drones.

On Friday a White House spokesman said the possibility of sending US-made fighter jets to Ukraine was being explored.



Volodymyr Zelenskyy

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