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As battle looms in eastern Ukraine, Austrian leader meets with Putin – SABC News

Russian forces shelled targets in eastern Ukraine with rockets and artillery on Sunday as the Austrian leader scheduled a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Washington vowed to give Ukraine “the weapons it needs” to defend itself against a new one to defend Russian offensive.

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer said he will meet with Putin in Moscow on Monday for the Russian leader’s first face-to-face meeting with a European Union counterpart since the Russian invasion began on February 24.

“We are militarily neutral, (have) but a clear position on the Russian war of aggression against #Ukraine,” wrote Nehammer about Austria on Twitter. “That has to stop! It needs humanitarian corridors, a ceasefire and a full investigation into war crimes.”

Nehammer met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Saturday – the same day as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who vowed to supply Ukraine with 120 armored vehicles and anti-ship missile systems.

Russia has not taken any major cities since its invasion began on February 24, but Ukraine says it has rallied its forces in the east for a full-scale attack, urging people to flee.

Russian forces fired rockets at Ukraine’s Luhansk and Dnipropetrovsk regions on Sunday, officials said. Rockets completely destroyed the airport in the city of Dnipro, said Valentyn Reznichenko, governor of the central Dnipropetrovsk region.

The Russian Defense Ministry said high-precision missiles destroyed the headquarters of Ukraine’s Dnipro Battalion in the city of Zvonetsky.

Reuters could not immediately confirm the reports.

GUN COMPLAINT

Since Russia invaded, Zelenskyy has called on Western powers to provide more defense aid and punish Moscow with tougher sanctions, including embargoes on Russian energy exports.

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told ABC News, “We will get Ukraine the weapons it needs to push back the Russians and stop them from taking more cities and towns.”

In excerpts from an interview with CBS’ 60 Minutes, Zelenskyy said he had confidence in his own armed forces, but “unfortunately, I don’t have confidence that we’ll get everything we need” from the United States.

Zelenskyj previously said on Twitter that he had spoken to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz about additional sanctions and more defense and financial support for his country. Zelenskyi was also discussing Kiev’s proposals for a new package of EU sanctions with Ukrainian officials, his office said.

In a video address late Saturday, Zelenskyy reiterated his call for a total ban on Russian energy products and more arms for Ukraine.

Among other things, the EU banned coal imports from Russia on Friday, but has not yet touched on oil and gas imports from Russia.

Increasing civilian casualties have prompted widespread international condemnation and new sanctions.

A grave containing at least two civilian bodies was found in the village of Buzova, near Kyiv, said Taras Didych, head of the Dmytrivka community to which Buzova belongs in the country.

Sullivan said Sunday he expects Russia’s newly appointed general to oversee Ukraine, Aleksandr Dvornikov, to authorize more brutality against Ukraine’s civilian population. He gave no evidence.

Moscow has denied war crimes allegations by Ukraine and western countries.

Moscow has repeatedly denied targeting civilians as part of a so-called “special operation” to demilitarize and “denazify” its southern neighbor. Ukraine and western nations have dismissed this as an unfounded pretext for war.

The Russian invasion has displaced about a quarter of Ukraine’s 44 million people from their homes, reduced cities to rubble and killed or injured thousands.

The World Bank predicted on Sunday that the war would slump Ukraine’s economic output by a staggering 45% this year, as half of its businesses would shut down, grain exports would be largely cut off by the Russian naval blockade and the destruction hampered economic activity in many areas would make impossible.

The bank forecast that Russia’s GDP would also contract by 11.2% this year, amid punitive Western measures.

HEAVY FIRE

Some towns in the east were heavily shelled and tens of thousands of people could not be evacuated.

Calls by Ukrainian officials for civilians to flee gained urgency after a rocket attack on Friday in the Donetsk region city of Kramatorsk hit a train station packed with people trying to leave.

Ukrainian officials said Sunday the strike’s death toll rose to 57, while 109 were injured. Russia has denied responsibility, saying the missiles used in the attack were only used by the Ukrainian military.

Reuters could not verify the details of the attack.

Residents of the Luhansk region had nine trains to get off on Sunday, region governor Serhiy Gaidai wrote via the Telegram news service.

Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said 2,824 people were evacuated through humanitarian corridors on Sunday, including 213 from Mariupol, which has been under siege for weeks.

As battle looms in eastern Ukraine, Austrian leader meets with Putin – SABC News

Source link As battle looms in eastern Ukraine, Austrian leader meets with Putin – SABC News

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