War in Ukraine: Zelensky returns home with “powerful new weapons”

“For the front (…) return home with new and powerful weapons,” said Mr. Zelensky announced in a video message to his fellow citizens after completing his three-day tour of the United Kingdom, where he also received an anti-aircraft flight. Expressed optimism about missiles and future fighter jet deliveries. His French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, said on Monday evening that he had “opened the door” to training Ukrainian pilots “from now on”.

After Rome, Berlin and Paris, the British leg of Mr Zelensky’s European tour came, with what the Ukrainian army said was the “first success” of a flanking offensive in Baghmouth, a city in the central eastern region that has been fighting for months. Russians.

But the time for a massive counteroffensive had not yet come, and Volodymyr Zelensky was relaxed during the day, repeating that Kiev “needs more time” when Rishi Sunak received him near London.

On the ground, the strikes again caused civilian casualties in the east: four people died in Avdiivka, a front-line town near Donetsk, and two more in a village in the Kharkiv region, according to officials.

Ukrainian emergency services announced “massive” Russian strikes on Kherson (south), where several apartment buildings were hit. Three people, including a 14-year-old girl, were injured in blasts in Nikopol area (centre).

In the United Kingdom, the government has promised to deliver “hundreds” of anti-aircraft missiles and long-range attack drones (200 kilometers) to Kiev “in the coming months”. These will be added to the Storm Shadow cruise missiles pledged by London last week, the type of weapon Ukraine has been demanding for months to hit targets behind the front line.

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The Russian military claimed to have already shot down one of these machines.

Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov assured that the reinforcement of British aid would cause “further destruction” but “will not have a significant impact on the course” of the conflict.

But British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak insisted that British aid was long-term and that London would play a “key role” in the “coalition” that Kiev wants to win to provide it with fighter jets.

“I think it will happen very soon, and you will be informed of the decisions that I think are very important,” Volodymyr Zelensky said on Monday, adding that he was “very optimistic.”

No European country has yet offered to provide such planes to Kyiv, but the United Kingdom will already train Ukrainian pilots this summer.

On Monday evening, Emmanuel Macron, during an interview on the TF1 channel, declared that the door was “open to training” for Ukrainian “pilots now” and “with many European countries that are ready for this”. On the other hand, he refused to mention the delivery of fighter jets to Kiev, except as “a theoretical discussion” at this point.

On Sunday, Mr. Zelensky received France’s continued commitment, particularly in the field of armored vehicles and light tanks AMX-10, which Paris said in the joint declaration would provide “dozens” more copies.

In Berlin, President Olaf Scholz announced a new package of military aid to Ukraine worth 2.7 billion euros, notably including dozens of tanks, other armored vehicles, surveillance drones and four new Iris-de-van air defense systems.

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According to John Kirby, a spokesman for the National Security Council, the United States on Monday warned Iran and Russia for its role.

He specifically cited Moscow’s willingness to acquire more sophisticated Iranian drones than those offered so far.

He added that the US would announce new sanctions “in the coming days” against companies or individuals involved in these transactions.

At the diplomatic level, Chinese Ambassador Li Hui, the special envoy for Eurasian affairs responsible for discussing the resolution of the situation in Ukraine, will visit Kiev on Tuesday and Wednesday, a senior Ukrainian government official announced.

Unlike most major world powers, China has never publicly condemned Moscow’s military intervention in Ukraine.

South Africa, which has been accused by the US of supplying arms to Russia, has sent its army chief, Lawrence Mapatha, to Moscow for a “goodwill visit”.

In Kiev, in addition, in the presence of members of the AFP administration, a tribute was paid to Arman Zoldin, the journalist of the agency, who was killed by an explosion near Pakmoud (East). The non-governmental organization Reporters Without Borders announced on the occasion that it had filed a new complaint at the International Criminal Court for “war crimes” including the death of Arman Sold.

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