Ukrainian President Volodmyr Zelensky said on Friday that there was a great risk that peace talks with Russia would be terminated, and US lawmakers pledged to move quickly with a project to send up to $33 billion. (R$164 billion) to help Kiev continue to resist the attack from Moscow.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres said during a visit to Kiev on Thursday (28) that there were intense discussions underway to evacuate civilians from the Mariupol steelworks which is under heavy attack by Russia as part of its offensive in southern and eastern Ukraine.
One of the soldiers trapped in the city, which is a major target of the Russian invasion, told Reuters Guterres’ comments gave him hope that hundreds of civilians locked in the steel mill for weeks would be evacuated after many unsuccessful attempts.
Zelensky’s office said there was an operation planned to remove civilians from the steelworks on Friday, but there was no sign of a withdrawal as night fell. He later expressed pessimism at the prospect of continuing peace talks with Russia, blaming public anger at what he said were atrocities by Russian soldiers.
“The people [ucraniano] want to kill them. When there is this kind of attitude, it is difficult to talk about things,” he told Polish journalists, according to Interfax.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused Kiev of changing its stance on, he said, orders from the United States and the United Kingdom.
Zelenski praised US President Joe Biden’s bid for aid on Thursday, which equates to nearly 10 times the aid Washington has sent so far since the invasion began on February 24. Moscow says the war is a “special military operation”.
US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said lawmakers hope to pass a $33 billion aid package “as soon as possible.”
After failing in an attack on Kiev in northern Ukraine last month, Russia is now trying to seize two eastern provinces known as the Donbass. By pledging tens of billions of dollars in aid to Ukraine, Biden has dramatically increased US involvement in the conflict.
The United States and its allies are now sending in heavy weapons, including artillery, with the aim, according to Washington, of not only fending off Russia’s attack, but weakening its armed forces so that it cannot threaten its neighbor again.
The Russian President, Vladimir Putin, this week threatened unspecified retaliation against the West for sending weapons to Ukraine, and Foreign Minister Lavrov warned of the threat of nuclear war. Lavrov said on Friday that Russia does not consider it to be at war with NATO, a retreat from his earlier comments.
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