US believes Ukraine can defeat Russia with ‘proper tools’

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Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. Photo: AFP/file
Protection Secretary Lloyd Austin. Picture: AFP/file  

KYIV: America believes Ukraine can win the struggle towards Russia if it has the “proper tools”, Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin stated Monday, following a landmark journey to Kyiv alongside Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

The go to comes because the struggle entered its third month, with 1000’s lifeless and tens of millions displaced. The battle has triggered an outburst of help from Western nations that has seen a deluge of weapons pour into Ukraine.

“Step one in successful is believing that you would be able to win. And they also consider that we will win,” Austin advised a gaggle of journalists after he and Blinken met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“We consider that we will win, they’ll win if they’ve the fitting tools, the fitting help.”

Austin went on to say that the US hoped the Russian army could be exhausted in Ukraine, stopping it from launching additional invasions sooner or later.

“We need to see Russia weakened to the diploma that it may’t do the sorts of issues that it has executed in invading Ukraine,” stated Austin.

For months, Zelensky has been begging for heavy weapons — together with artillery and fighter jets — from western nations, vowing his forces might flip the tide of the struggle with extra firepower.

The calls look like resonating, with a bunch of NATO nations pledging in latest days to offer a spread of heavy weapons and tools to Ukraine, regardless of protests from Moscow.

The US has been a number one donor of finance and weaponry to Ukraine and a key sponsor of sanctions concentrating on Russia, however had not but despatched any high officers to Kyiv, whereas a number of European leaders had travelled there to underscore their help.

Austin and Blinken stated US diplomats will start a gradual return to Ukraine this week and introduced $700 million (653 million euros) in extra army support.

– Name for talks –

The extremely delicate journey by two of President Joe Biden’s high cupboard members got here as preventing continued to rage in Ukraine, casting a protracted shadow over Easter celebrations within the largely Orthodox nation.

As Ukrainians marked a sombre Easter, with many braving bombardment for blessings, Russian forces confirmed no signal of easing their assaults.

5 civilians have been killed and one other 5 wounded in Donetsk on Sunday, the besieged japanese area’s Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko stated. Authorities additionally reported a demise in northeastern Kharkiv.

The day earlier than, a missile strike on the southern metropolis of Odessa left eight lifeless and a minimum of 18 wounded, in keeping with Zelensky, who stated 5 missiles hit the historic metropolis.

Russia’s defence ministry stated it had focused a serious depot stocking overseas weapons close to Odessa.

Zelensky accused Russia of being a terrorist state, one which has devastated the port metropolis of Mariupol with weeks of unrelenting bombardment.

And with 1000’s of its fighters and civilians in Mariupol going through more and more dire situations, Kyiv stated Sunday it had invited Moscow to talks close to the sprawling Azovstal metal plant, the place Ukrainian troopers are nonetheless holding out.

“We invited Russians to carry a particular spherical of talks on the spot, proper subsequent to the partitions of Azovstal,” the final Ukrainian stronghold within the strategic port, stated Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych.

There was no fast response from Russia. Its president, Vladimir Putin, had ordered his forces to not assault the plant, however the Ukrainians say the assaults proceed unabated.

– ‘Pause to avoid wasting lives’ –

On Sunday, the United Nations’ Ukraine disaster coordinator Amin Awad known as for an “fast cease” to preventing in Mariupol to permit trapped civilians to depart.

“The lives of tens of 1000’s, together with girls, youngsters and older folks, are at stake in Mariupol,” Awad stated in a press release.

“We want a pause in preventing proper now to avoid wasting lives.”

The decision got here a day after the newest try to evacuate civilians from Mariupol failed.

In a message posted on social media Sunday, Sviatoslav Palamar — deputy commander of the far-right Azov Regiment, which is sheltering in a warren of tunnels beneath the metal plant — stated Russian forces continued to rain down fireplace on Azovstal.

One other Ukrainian commander Sergey Volyna described the state of affairs within the advanced as “very troublesome” and reiterated requires the worldwide group to assist these remaining escape.

“We won’t have time to attend for a army resolution to the state of affairs, the state of affairs could be very essential. Very heated. I do not understand how a lot time we have now,” he stated in an interview.

Mariupol, which the Kremlin claims to have “liberated”, is pivotal to Russia’s struggle plans to forge a land bridge to Russian-occupied Crimea — and presumably past, so far as Moldova.

The most recent preventing adopted an announcement earlier this week from a senior Russian army officer, who stated Moscow aimed to take full management over the japanese Donbas area and southern Ukraine.

– Easter Sunday –

Whilst preventing raged on, Ukrainians took time to look at a solemn Orthodox Easter.

Close to the frontline within the japanese metropolis of Severodonetsk, Ukrainian troops had hidden their small inventory of provides, together with Easter treats, beneath a bridge after Russian mortar rounds struck in a single day.

Whereas others have fled the nation, some Ukrainians have stayed in place — both certain to the land, too previous or in poor health to journey, or just missing different choices.

“I need to work,” farmer Vassili Kushch, 63, stated within the village of Mala Tokmachka in southern Ukraine, standing close to rubble left by a bomb. “I haven’t got wherever else to go.”

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