VOLODYMYR Zelensky vowed Ukraine would not give an inch to Russia in a powerful speech yesterday as his country’s army was stretched to breaking point.
He called for supplies of more heavy weapons to help drive President Vladimir Putin’s forces out of occupied areas to bring peace to Ukraine and the wider world.
It came as Russia, for the first time, began to attack new targets in the southern city of Zaporizhzhia where a shopping centre and residential district were targeted. One person was killed and three injured.
Bombardments continued in beleaguered Donbas in the east from five different directions. The cities of Bakhmut and Kramatorsk were hit.
And in Severodonetsk Ukrainian troops are fighting a battle dubbed The New Mariupol after the blitzed port town.
They control the main highway but it is a target for Russia and yesterday Ukrainian military officials promised “large-scale counter-attacks”.
US combat medic Dallas Anthony Case, just back from training Ukrainian forces there, said shelling was “constant”.
Russia is also targeting neighbouring city Lysychansk and in recent days has taken some settlements, forcing Ukrainians into retreat.
President Zelensky vowed Russia must quit all occupied areas, listing Kherson, Melitopol, Enerhodar and Mariupol before stating that the ejection would encompass “all other cities and communities where they are still pretending to be the owners”.
In a plea for arms, he said: “The longer this war lasts, the greater will be the price of protecting freedom not only for Ukraine, but also for the whole free world.
“Therefore the supply of heavy weapons to Ukraine — MLRS (multiple rocket launchers), tanks, and other weapons — is the best investment in maintaining stability.”
He said a “great deal of time and extraordinary strength” were needed “to thwart Russia’s advantage in weapons and equipment”.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian MP Anastasia Radina said Germany’s promise to send anti-aircraft tanks to Ukraine by July was too slow.
She said: “For us, July is like, ‘what?’ Let me put it like this: Let’s ask a mother who is forced to sit in a basement with her newborn child who has no baby formula. How far from now is July for her?”
Putin, meanwhile, met wounded Russian soldiers in a Moscow hospital for the first time yesterday.