KYIV (Dispatches) -- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Tuesday that Kyiv would not settle for a battlefield stalemate with Russia and that it aimed to regain control of all its territory occupied by Moscow.
“We have already lost too many people to simply cede our territory,” he said by video link at an event hosted by FT Live, in which he added that a stalemate was “not an option” for Kyiv. “We have to achieve a full deoccupation of our entire territory,” Zelensky said.
Kyiv has previously said that Russian forces now occupy about 20% of Ukrainian territory, including swathes of its east and south.
“We are not going to humiliate anyone, we are going to respond in kind,” Zelensky said, when asked about French President Emmanuel Macron’s call not to “humiliate” Russia in order to keep the door open to a diplomatic solution.
Ukraine hopes that Western deliveries of longer-range weaponry, including U.S. HIMARS and Britain’s M270 artillery rocket systems, could help to push Russian troops back.
Moscow has focused its efforts on the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, together known as the Donbas, after its forces were defeated on the outskirts of Kyiv in March and pushed back from the second biggest city Kharkiv last month. read more
Street fighting between Ukrainian and Russian troops raged in the battle for the industrial city of Sievierodonetsk as Moscow’s forces pushed to conquer Ukraine’s eastern Donbas.
Which side had the upper hand was unclear, with “the situation changing from hour to hour,” Oleksandr Stryuk, head of administration in Sievierodonetsk, said on television.
The city has become the main target of the Russian offensive in the Donbas - comprising Luhansk and Donetsk provinces - as the Kremlin’s invasion grinds on in a war of attrition that has seen cities laid waste by artillery barrages.
“In the city, fierce street fighting continues,” Zelensky said in his nightly video address on Monday. “The Russian army is trying to deploy additional forces towards Donbas.”
The province’s governor Serhiy Gaidai said earlier on Monday the situation had worsened after Ukrainian defenders had pushed back the Russians over the weekend as they seemed close to victory.