Home Europe Ukraine Loses More Villages, Zelenskyy visits Riyadh

Ukraine Loses More Villages, Zelenskyy visits Riyadh

ukraine, saudi arabia, zelenskyy

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy arrives in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Feb.27, 2024. (Photo by Saudi Press Agency)

Ukrainian forces have withdrawn from two more villages near the eastern town of Advikka, which was captured by Russian troops earlier this month. Ukrainian military spokesperson Dmytro Lykhoviy said troops withdrew from the villages of Severne and Stepove on Tuesday. This follows a retreat from the eastern village of Lastochkyne on Monday.

The Russian defence ministry too announced that its forces now “occupied more advantageous lines and positions” in the area, and had now targeted three other settlements nearby. The capture of Avdiivka in Donetsk Oblast is seen as Russia’s most significant win since it seized the war-devastated city of Bakhmut in May last year.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as well his defence minister Rustan Umerov have squarely blamed delays in Western financial and military aid for the recent losses of troops and territory in the eastern front. President Zelenskyy, who recently claimed that 31,000 Ukrainian soldiers and a large number of civilians had been killed since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his “special Military operations” in Ukraine two years ago, made fervent appeals for more Western aid and support at the Munich Security conclave on February 17, noting that his generals faced acute shortages of weapons and spares due to delayed supplies.

While an US aid package estimated at over $60 billion pledged by President Joe Biden is stuck pending Congressional approval, other aid pledged by European nations like France and Germany too are unlikely to reach before the end of the year.

The latest losses come as NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg categorically denied plans to deploy troops in Ukraine, as hinted at by French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday. This followed a blunt warning by Moscow Tuesday that any such move would make escalation ‘inevitable.” The US, UK, Italy, Germany and Poland too have denied any plans to send troops to Ukraine.

“President Biden has been clear that the US will not send troops to fight in Ukraine,” National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said on Tuesday.

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Meanwhile, President Zelenskyy, after an unexpected trip to Saudi Arabia on Monday, said he had a “meaningful and candid” conversation with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and that plans for a peace summit in Switzerland later this year as well as “economic and technological cooperation” were discussed. Reports said he had also sought the Saudi ruler’s help for the return of prisoners of war from Russia.

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