KYIV, June 2 (Reuters) – Russian forces tightened their grip on an industrial Ukrainian city as part of their drive to control the eastern Donbas region and targeted rail links used to ferry in weapons from Kyiv’s Western allies as the war approaches its 100th day on Friday.
Russia has accused the United States of adding “fuel to the fire” after President Joe Biden announced a $700 million weapons package for Ukraine that will include advanced rocket systems with a range of up to 80 km (50 miles).
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy told a forum in Slovakia on Thursday that Kyiv was grateful for the military aid it has received but added: “Weapons supplies should be stepped up … (to) ensure an inflection point in this confrontation.” read more
The Biden administration said Ukraine had promised it would not use the rocket systems to hit targets inside Russia. Biden hopes extending Ukraine’s artillery reach will help push Russia to negotiate an end to a war in which thousands of people have been killed, cities and towns flattened and more than six million people forced to flee the country.
“Ukraine needs weapons to liberate Ukrainian territory that Russia has temporarily occupied. We are not fighting on Russian territory, we are interested in our sovereignty and territorial integrity,” said Andriy Yermak, Zelenskiy’s chief of staff, shrugging off Moscow’s criticism of the U.S. decision.
Moscow has said it regards Ukrainian infrastructure used to bring in Western arms as a legitimate target in what it calls its “special military operation” to disarm Ukraine and rid it of ultra-nationalists the Kremlin says threaten Russian security.