War In Ukraine: Russian Strike Kills Four, Zelensky Gets More Weapons From UK

A hospital in Avdiivka, on the front line in eastern Ukraine, was hit by Russian rocket fire on Monday, killing four people.

New Russian strikes. Four people were killed on Monday May 15 in Avdiivka, on the front line in eastern Ukraine, in a hospital hit by Russian rocket fire. At the same time, Volodymyr Zelensky was getting increased military support from London with long-range drones in preparation for a counter-offensive against Russian forces.

“The Russians attacked the city with rockets this morning, hitting the hospital,” Ukrainian governor of the Donetsk region, Pavlo Kyrylenko, announced in a message on Telegram.

He also called on the population to evacuate the place. The governor’s message is accompanied by several photos, where we see a partially collapsed building.

The announcement comes as Kyiv claimed the “first success” of its assault around Bakhmout (east), where the Ukrainian army claims to be advancing to defend the city, the epicenter of the fighting for several months and today mainly controlled by the Russians. On Sunday, Kyiv had already sworn to have captured “more than 10 enemy positions north and south of the suburb of Bakhmout”, after claiming on Friday to have recaptured two kilometers in the area.

Conversely, Russia says for its part that it is advancing within this city itself, which it has been trying tirelessly to conquer since last summer, at the cost of significant losses and without success at this stage. Observers doubt the strategic significance of conquering this city for Moscow, but it would allow the Kremlin to post a victory after several humiliating setbacks.

On the spot, the paramilitary group Wagner is supported by the regular Russian army, although its leader, the businessman Evguéni Prigojine, regularly accuses the military hierarchy of not giving enough ammunition to his men to be able to conquer Bakhmout.

“Hundreds” of Attack Drones

This first breakthrough claimed by Ukraine in its Donbass region comes at a time when President Zelensky is touring several European chancelleries to demand more weapons and military equipment for his men. After Rome, Berlin and Paris, he met Prime Minister Rishi Sunak near London.

The British government has promised the delivery to Kyiv, “in the coming months”, of “hundreds” of anti-aircraft missiles and long-range attack drones (200 kilometers). These will be added to the Storm Shadow cruise missiles promised last week by London, a first for this type of armament that Ukraine has been asking for months to hit targets far behind the front line. Moscow has already claimed to have shot down one of these missiles.

The increase in British aid will cause “even more destruction” but will have “no significant impact on the course” of the conflict, warned the spokesman for the Russian presidency, Dmitry Peskov. But Rishi Sunak countered that British aid was for the long term, including for “the security arrangements” needed once Ukraine regained its territory. He also assured that London would play a “key role” in the “coalition” that Kyiv wants to bring together to deliver fighter planes, so far without success.

“I think it will happen very soon, you will learn from the decisions that I think are very important,” said Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday, saying he was “very optimistic”. No European capital has so far come forward to provide such planes to Kyiv, but London will already be training Ukrainian pilots this summer.

On Sunday, Zelensky had received France’s renewed commitment in Paris, particularly in the field of light armored vehicles, which are particularly useful on the battlefield. “In the coming weeks, France will train and equip several battalions with dozens of armored vehicles and light tanks, including AMX-10 RCs,” according to a joint statement.

Chinese Envoy to Kyiv

On the German side, after German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s delays in delivering weapons, Berlin announced a new package of military aid to Ukraine worth 2.7 billion euros, including in particular dozens of tanks, armored vehicles, drones surveillance and four new Iris-T air defense systems.

Also on the diplomatic front, Chinese envoy Li Hui, the special representative for Eurasian affairs in charge of discussing the settlement of the war in Ukraine, will visit Kyiv on Tuesday and Wednesday, according to a senior Ukrainian government official.

This trip is part of a larger tour also including Poland, France, Germany and Russia, where Li Hui is to discuss “a political settlement of the Ukrainian crisis”, according to Beijing.

This article is originally published on liberation.fr

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