However he acknowledged that their numbers were not enough to defeat Russia’s occupation of the country. Although Russian forces failed to capture the capital, Kyiv, and the northeastern city of Kharkiv, they occupied the cities of Kherson and Mariupol in southern and southeastern Ukraine.
Bloody fighting continues in eastern Ukraine, which the United States believes is part of Moscow’s strategy to echo the 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in a move to unify large parts of the country and deploy pro-Russian leaders.
“We want to give everything back, and Russia doesn’t want to give anything back,” Zelensky said in an interview. “And that is what will happen in the end.”
His comments come as the Russian offensive fails and military leaders are revising their tactics by firing on commanders and increasingly relying on artillery and long-range weapons after losing thousands of troops.
Russia’s chances of victory fade
Even as analysts and experts see Russian President Vladimir Putin’s long-term intentions as sustainable, the attack on Ukraine, especially in the eastern Donbass and Luhansk regions, where Russian troops are concentrated, continues to take a proper toll.
Zelensky said Sunday that 100 soldiers were killed every day before the severely damaged.
The southern port city of Severodonetsk – one of the last major cities in the eastern province of Luhansk still under Kiev’s control – has emerged as the latest flashpoint in hostilities.
Regional authorities have called for the evacuation of thousands of people in the once-100,000-strong city as heavy shelling continues and after Russian forces destroyed a bridge used to evict and distribute aid on Saturday.
Serhi Haidai, Governor of Luhansk Region, “If they destroy one more bridge, unfortunately the city will be completely cut off.”
Ukraine’s human rights ombudsman, Lyudmila Denisova, warned in a post on the Telegram messaging app that Severodonetsk was becoming “a new marijuana” – another southern port city that had been cut off from basic necessities by civilians months after the bombing.
Russia claims Mariupol is in full control of Ukraine after it ended its defense last week at a steel plant where civilians and fighters have been held for weeks.
The mayor of Mariupol, where the plant is located, warned that the city was “on the brink of an infectious disease outbreak” due to the war.
Many residents of the city have no access to water or an efficient sewerage system, Vadim Boychenko said in a message posted in the Telegram on Saturday, adding that summer rains could spread the disease from shallow graves dug quickly to supply water.
Zelensky expressed hope for the fate of hundreds of Ukrainian troops at the plant, which has strengthened the possibility of future talks with Russia.
“I said at the time of the bombing that there would be no talks with Russia if they destroyed the people of Azovstal. Today we see that they have found a way to keep these people alive, “said Zelensky The interview aired on Saturday.
“Time changes things,” he added. “There are different situations. It depends on the time. “
On a surprise visit, Polish President Andrzej Duda addressed the Ukrainian parliament in Kiev on Sunday, the first personal appearance of a foreign leader since the start of the war. He reiterated Poland’s support for Ukraine and called on Russia to withdraw.
“Only Ukraine has the right to decide its future,” Duda said, according to a translation. “The international community must demand that Russia stop its aggression and give up Ukraine altogether.”
After granting the rights of millions of Ukrainian citizens who have sought refuge in Poland since the Russian invasion on February 24, Zelensky promised more rights to Polish citizens through a new Polish law.
“This is an unprecedented decision to give our citizens, who have been forced to flee to Poland due to Russian aggression, almost the same rights and opportunities as Polish citizens. Legal accommodation, employment, education, healthcare and social benefits,” Zelensky said in a statement. According to a text.
Meanwhile, the United States is stepping up its support for Ukraine after President Biden signed a $ 40 billion package of new military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine on Saturday.
Breaking US military aid to Ukraine
Zelensky said further military assistance to Ukraine would help the country reopen its ports and ease pressure on global food prices after fighting a ban on exports of grain and other agricultural products.
Military and State Department officials are considering sending special forces to secure the newly opened embassy in Kiev, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday.
A U.S. official confirmed the talks but insisted the idea was only preliminary.
“We are in close contact with our State Department colleagues about the potential security requirements that they have now resumed operations at the Kiev embassy, but no decision has been made – and no specific proposal has been debated – about the return of senior US military members to Ukraine.” For whatever purpose, “said Pentagon spokesman John Kirby.
A delegation of U.S. diplomats will be in The Hague from Sunday to Wednesday to discuss with allies “our response to the atrocities in Ukraine” and other conflicts and “efforts to bring perpetrators of atrocities to justice,” the State Department said in a press release.
Ukrainian authorities have placed three Russian soldiers on trial for war crimes, and the Biden administration is backing the Ukrainian prosecutor general’s move to investigate Russia’s involvement in the war.
Ukraine’s First Lady, Olena Zelenska, in a rare joint appearance with her husband, described in detail the damage done by the attack on her family in a pre-recorded television interview. She said she had rarely seen her husband since the war began and joked that the interview was on TV as “a date”.
“Our family is as fragmented as any other Ukrainian family,” Zelenska said, later pushing back an interviewer who suggested that her husband be removed from her.
“No one is taking my husband away from me, not even fighting,” Zelenska replied.
Christine Armario, John Hudson, Annabel Chapman, Victoria Bisset and Brian Pitts contributed to this report.