Wed, 29 Nov 2023

Zelenskyy Describes Visit to the West as 'Very Productive'

Voice of America
25 Sep 2023, 10:36 GMT+10

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy described his visit to the U.S. and Canada this week as "very productive."

In his nightly video address on Sunday, Zelenskyy said Ukraine secured defense aid from Washington and Ottawa respectively.

He said the U.S. committed a defense package to Ukraine, including "artillery, necessary shells, HIMARS munitions, air defense missiles, additional air defense systems, tactical vehicles and more," while Canada offered long-term defense support "worth half-a-billion U.S. dollars."

Zelenskyy also called "historic" a decision by the U.S. to "jointly produce weapons and defense systems, in particular, air defense."

The Ukrainian president said Ukraine's collaboration with the U.S. will help create a much more powerful defense industry for his county and bolster Ukraine's economy.

"Protection for our cities. Enterprises, new jobs for both our peoples - for Ukrainians and Americans. We have a clear perspective of a new resilience of Ukraine that will prevent the recurrence of Russian aggression - this is what we have already agreed on," he said.

Zelenskyy expressed gratitude to both the Biden administration and the American people who value freedom and support Ukraine.

Airstrikes

Russian airstrikes killed two people and wounded many others Sunday, in southern Ukraine's Kherson province, the region's Governor Oleksandr Prokudin reported.

Russian forces struck residences in the city of Beryslav, killing a woman and wounding three people, including a police officer, he said.

Another airstrike killed a 67-year-old man in the village of Lvove, Prokudin said.

Both communities are in the Ukrainian part of the Kherson region on the western bank of the Dnipro River.

The Russians regularly shell cities and villages, including the city of Kherson, from across the river.

This handout picture taken and released by Ukraine's Emergency Service on Sept. 19, 2023, shows firefighters extinguishing a fire in a warehouse after Russian shelling in Kherson, Ukraine. Russian troops again pounded the Kherson region on Sunday. This handout picture taken and released by Ukraine's Emergency Service on Sept. 19, 2023, shows firefighters extinguishing a fire in a warehouse after Russian shelling in Kherson, Ukraine. Russian troops again pounded the Kherson region on Sunday.

In Russia, a Ukrainian drone struck an administrative building in the city of Kursk and "insignificantly damaged" the roof, regional Gov. Roman Starovoit reported.

Unconfirmed media reports both in Russia and Ukraine said the building housed the offices of the Kursk branch of Russia's main security agency, the Federal Security Service, also known as the FSB.

The drone strike Sunday took place as residents commemorated the anniversary of the regional capital's founding. No casualties were reported in Russia.

There was no immediate comment from the Ukrainian authorities, who usually don't acknowledge responsibility for attacks on Russian territory.

Ukrainian abducted children

Out of 19,500 Ukrainian children abducted by the Russians, only approximately 380 children have been returned to Ukraine, said Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska in an interview Sunday on the CBS show "Face the Nation."

"These are kids. Sometimes they do not fully understand what's going on. They are easy to manipulate," she said. "Almost all children we managed to return to Ukraine told us they were told no one cares about them in Ukraine and that no one is looking for them."

Zelenska said that Russia is uprooting these children, preparing them for adoption in the territory of the Russian Federation. She said that older children have some understanding of the situation, but small children are "susceptible to Russian disinformation."

During Ukraine's address at the U.N. General Assembly last week, Zelenska said, "We proposed to develop a new system of joint effort that would make Russia return Ukrainian children to their country."

Ukraine grain

A second shipment of Ukrainian wheat reached Turkey Sunday, according to Agence France-Presse. Russia had threatened to attack vessels headed to or from Ukraine. Ukraine, however, is now testing shipping waters controlled by NATO members Bulgaria and Romania. The Palau-flagged ship, Aroyat, is headed to Egypt.

Cargo ship Aroyat, carrying Ukrainian grain, transits the Bosphorus in Istanbul, Turkey, Sept. 24, 2023. Cargo ship Aroyat, carrying Ukrainian grain, transits the Bosphorus in Istanbul, Turkey, Sept. 24, 2023.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov asserted Saturday that the Black Sea Grain Initiative allowing safe passage for Ukrainian exports will not be revived, noting that Moscow left the Black Sea Grain Initiative because promises made to Russia had not been fulfilled.

Lavrov also castigated a 10-point peace plan proposed by Ukraine, saying both were "not realistic."

Lavrov addressed the U.N. General Assembly at the annual gathering of world leaders at U.N. headquarters in New York last week. With a note of global diplomacy, Ukraine and its Western allies did too, seeking to rally support for Kyiv on its defensive war against Russian aggression.

During his speech at the U.N General Assembly, Zelenskyy accused Russia of weaponizing food, energy and even children against Ukraine and "the international rules-based order" at large.

U.S. President Joe Biden struck a similar note, while urging world leaders to keep up support for Ukraine. "If we allow Ukraine to be carved up, is the independence of any nation secure?" he said.

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

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