Ukraine’s foreign minister said an upcoming battle against Russian forces in the east will be similar to World War II-era combat, when he asked NATO allies to provide more weapons in “days instead of weeks”.
As the Russian army prepares for an offensive in the Donbass region, Dmytro Kuleba warned that Moscow would commit even more atrocities against civilians if Kiev’s troops did not receive Western artillery, jets and air defense systems.
“Either you help us now – and I’m talking days, not weeks – or your help will come too late and many people will die, many civilians will lose their homes, many villages will be destroyed. Precisely because that help came too late,” Mr Kuleba told reporters yesterday.
He was referring to the brutal torture and execution of hundreds of civilians by Russian troops as they pulled out of Kyiv.
“The Struggle for Donbass [in eastern Ukraine] will remind you of the Second World War, with large-scale operations, maneuvers, the participation of thousands of tanks, armored vehicles, aircraft, artillery. Russia has its plan, we have ours,” he added.
“I have no doubts that Ukraine will have [the] Weapons necessary for fighting. The question is the time frame. This discussion is not about the list of weapons.”
Turkish mediators said yesterday Russian war crimes in towns like Bucha near Kyiv could derail peace talks.
“Developments on the ground, images coming from Bucha and now from some other places make it difficult for negotiations to continue,” Ibrahim Kalin, an adviser to the Turkish president, told the Financial Times.
Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, said Ukraine had presented Moscow with a draft peace plan that included “unacceptable” elements such as the status of Crimea, which Moscow annexed in 2014, and which was raised at a meeting between President Putin and President Zelensky.
The draft also said Ukraine could hold military exercises with foreign countries without Russia’s permission, which Moscow wants to ban.
It came as trains evacuating residents from eastern Ukraine were halted in Slavyansk and Kramatorsk and a senior US general said the battle in eastern Ukraine would be crucial as it was uncertain which side would win.
“Down in the south-east, down around the Donbass, in the Donetsk region, there is still a significant battle ahead where the Russians intend to rally troops and continue their attack,” Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, told the US Legislature. “I think it’s an open question at the moment how this will end.”
Russia is understood to be hoping to encircle Ukrainian forces to the east and inflict heavy casualties on some of its best-trained troops to prevent them returning to defend Kyiv, Odessa and other key cities.
This, in turn, could lead to renewed Russian attempts to seize the Ukrainian capital, a plan abandoned after Kiev’s troops put up stiff resistance.
Western officials believe that eastern Ukraine will be pivotal in deciding the outcome of the war. A Ukrainian victory in Donbass, which would depend on Western allies quickly delivering additional arms, would raise the prospect of the Russians eventually being driven out of the country. But defeat would leave southern and central Ukraine open to a swift takeover by Russian forces.
Telegraph Media Group Limited 
https://www.independent.ie/world-news/europe/battle-of-donbas-will-be-like-world-war-ii-combat-ukraines-foreign-minister-warns-41532275.html “The battle in Donbass will be like the battle of World War II,” warns the Foreign Minister of Ukraine