Zelensky asks for weapons while civilian brigades feel “abandoned”

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Donbas fighters criticize themselves with less arsenal than Russia, outnumbered and without special training

Since the Russian invasion began on February 24, Ukraine has fostered an image of military “invulnerability” with strong resistance from its troops, but volunteers are criticizing a facet that Volodymyr Zelensky’s government is failing to bring to light. And it is that these fighters fighting in the Donbas feel “abandoned”, Commander Serhi Lapko and his lieutenant Vitaly Khrus confirm to the newspaper ‘The Washington Post’. Outnumbered, with no special training and with a smaller arsenal, his company of the 5th Separate Rifle Battalion has drastically reduced its ranks, from 120 men to 54.

With the onset of the war, they joined the territorial forces. They were given AK-47 rifles and training that lasted barely “half an hour.” Then they were ordered to go to Lviv, then south, and then to Luhansk. “When we got here, they told us we were going to get into the third line of defense, but we got to the zero line, the front line,” Lapko said.

The fighters criticized their situation, the same one denounced by at least two other brigades. “Food is delivered every day, except for bombings,” Khrus explained. When air strikes shut down supply chains for 48 hours, the company had to make do with one potato a day. “The situation is manageable but difficult,” the lieutenant emphasized. They also denounced Moscow’s use of phosphorus bombs, which is prohibited under international law. “It explodes at a height of 30 to 50 meters, descends slowly and burns everything,” Khrus explained. You know what we have against it? A glass of water and a cloth to cover your mouth!’ criticized Lapko.

Because of this kind of situation, Zelensky again asked the West to send an arsenal. “How long have we been fighting to provide Ukraine with all the necessary weapons to change the nature of the struggle, speed up movement and drive out the occupiers? All weapons, including multiple rocket launchers,” the president shouted. His adviser, Mikhail Podoliak, urged the same, posting a video on Twitter about the operation of a Russian flamethrower system. “Some partners are hesitant to provide the necessary weapons for fear of an escalation. Climbing? Russia is already using the heaviest non-nuclear weapons against Ukrainians and forcing people to burn alive.”

Zelensky also stressed that the current Russian offensive in Donbas could leave the region “deserted”. “They want to burn Popasna, Bakhmut, Liman, Lisichansk, Severodonetsk to ashes. Such as Volnovacha and Mariupol.” At the same time, the Kremlin army fired three rockets at Dnipropetrovsk. One of the shells hit the base of the National Guard of Dnipro, killing 10 and injuring 35.

The head of Dnipro’s territorial defense, Gennadii Korban, pointed out that the situation is deteriorating: Russia is intensifying its offensive and the region is surrounded by three fronts. Likewise, nearly two-thirds of Severodonetsk’s perimeter is occupied by the invaders. The city, which has been engulfed in flames for three days by constant bombing, “is held down thanks to the superhuman efforts of Ukrainian soldiers,” said the area’s governor, Oleksandr Striuk.

On the other hand, about 70 bodies were found under the rubble of a building in Mariupol this Friday. The bodies will be buried in a mass grave in Stari Crimea, the city council warned. The residents said they could not be identified given the condition of the bodies.

Source: La Verdad

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