As Zelensky arrives at the UN to seek support, Russian drones strike Lviv | Albiseyler

As Zelensky arrives at the UN to seek support, Russian drones strike Lviv

KYIV — As Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi prepared to address the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, Russian forces launched a nighttime missile and drone strike that hit cities as far west as Lviv, where authorities said a humanitarian aid warehouse was destroyed.

Zelenskyy arrived in New York on Monday as his forces continue a helpful counter-offensive against Russian occupiers occupying large swaths of territory in the south and east. The General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to condemn the invasion and demand respect for Ukraine’s borders, but the Kremlin ignored calls to withdraw its troops.

At last year’s general meeting, Zelenskiy remained in Kyiv and addressed the gathering via video. At the time, his army was engaged in a much more successful, lightning-quick operation that pushed Russian troops out of the northeastern region of Kharkiv.

Zelensky’s personal attendance this year, followed by meetings with Congress and the White House later this week, reflects an urgent need to garner global support as Western backers of Ukraine fear the slow pace of a counteroffensive. A comedian and actor by profession, Zelenskyj has demonstrated tremendous persuasiveness on the world stage.

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Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said in a statement to The Washington Post that preceded Zelensky’s visit to the United Nations and the United States that his country had no better advocate.

“I’ve seen him at many international events and meetings, and I know he has a type of superpower, the ability to really convince people in person,” said Kuleba, who also traveled to New York.

Zelenskyy was also scheduled to attend a meeting of the UN Security Council and “hold a number of important bilateral talks,” Kuleba said, without giving further details. Zelenskyy said he would “present some very concrete steps” that the UN can take “to consolidate the principle of territorial integrity”.

“We are now at a critical moment in time as Ukraine continues to advance on the battlefield,” Kuleba said, “and it is important to maintain and strengthen global support for Ukraine.”

Despite Kiev’s claims of small and steady territorial gains, fears have grown in the West that the war could escalate into a protracted conflict, possibly lasting years. Such a scenario would potentially benefit Russia, which has a much larger military and a larger population from which to draw troops. It could also have serious economic implications internationally.

Despite Russia’s flagrant invasion of its neighbor, the deaths of thousands of soldiers and civilians, and accusations of war crimes against Russian soldiers, some countries in Asia, Africa, and South America have been reluctant to enforce Western sanctions against Russia for fear of disrupting their economic and diplomatic ties with Moscow.

In the United States, some US lawmakers, particularly Republicans in the House of Representatives, question the high cost of continued economic and military aid to Ukraine, estimated at $73 billion worldwide.

On Thursday, Zelenskyy will travel to Washington to meet with President Biden – his second meeting at the White House since the Russian invasion in February 2022 – as well as the leaders of the Senate and Congress and other top officials.

But Ukrainian forces are making slow progress and are suffering heavy casualties in their counteroffensive, launched earlier this summer, as they advance on fortified Russian positions through heavily mined fields.

Last week, Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Ukrainian troops had just “30 to 45 days” before rain and freezing weather halted fighting until next year, although Ukrainian officials say there will be no fighting. stop in winter.

US intelligence officials also predicted that during this time, Ukraine would not reach the city of Melitopol, one of the key targets of this year’s counteroffensive.

On Monday, officials said Kiev troops had liberated the eastern Ukrainian village of Klishcivka, located near the town of Bakhmut, which could provide a foothold for further advances. However, the news, while positive, also underscored the slow pace of Ukrainian troops’ progress.

The situation on the battlefield contrasts with that last December, when Zelenskiy made his previous trip to the US, which included a joint speech in Congress. After that, Ukrainian forces recently liberated Kherson in the south, the only regional capital that Russian forces managed to capture.

The Ukrainian Air Force said on Tuesday that Russian forces fired 30 self-destructing drones and one ballistic missile at targets across Ukraine overnight.

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More than half of the drones were directed at the western Lviv region, the head of the local regional administration, Maksym Kozycky, said on social networks. Three warehouses were hit in the city of Lviv, including one belonging to Caritas-Spes Ukraine, a Roman Catholic humanitarian organization that is part of the Caritas Europa federation.

Charity staff “were not injured”, the organization said in a statement, but “the warehouse was burnt to the ground with everything inside”. However, one person was killed when another warehouse was struck, local officials said.

Denise Brown, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Ukraine, said in a statement that she “condemned in the strongest terms” the attack on the Caritas-Spes warehouse, which destroyed 300 tons of humanitarian aid.

“Attacks on humanitarian aid escalated over the course of the year and ultimately hit those suffering the dire consequences of war,” Brown said.

Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi said the Lviv region had “practically no military facilities” and was used primarily as a manufacturing center and a center for humanitarian operations.

“Most likely (the Russians) get satisfaction from causing pain,” he said.

Isabelle Khurshudyan in Lviv and Kostiantyn Khudov in Kyiv contributed to this report.

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