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Ukraine prepares for Russian attack, calls for more support According to Reuters

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© Reuters. Residents carry their belongings near buildings destroyed during the Ukraine-Russia conflict, in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine April 10, 2022. REUTERS / Alexander Ermochenko

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(Fix typos in dateline)

By Maria Starkova

LVIV, Ukraine (Reuters) – Ukraine’s armed forces braced on Monday for a fresh Russian offensive as powerful explosions rocked cities to the south and east, while the leader Austrian leaders are scheduled to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin and call for an end to the conflict.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy continues his tireless campaign to garner international support and rally his countrymen, warning next week will be critical and tense.

“Russia will be even more afraid. It will be afraid of losing. It will be afraid that the truth will have to be acknowledged,” Zelenskiy said in a video speech late at night.

“The Russian army will turn to even bigger operations in the east of our state. They can use more missiles against us, even more bombs. But we are preparing for the attacks. their actions. We will respond.”

Air raid sirens sounded across Ukraine early Monday.

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said: “There is a possibility that the enemy will continue to attack the transport infrastructure in Ukraine to destroy or disable them.

Russian forces are continuing their offensive to establish full control over the southern city of Mariupol, seeking to attack an iron and steel plant and seaport, it added.

Russia may also carry out provocative actions in the Transnistria region of the Republic of Moldova to accuse Ukraine of aggression against a neighboring country, the general staff said, without providing evidence.

Serhiy Gaidai, governor of the Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine, said infrastructure including food stores had been targeted by Russian “informers” without providing evidence. Reuters could not confirm the claims.

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer said he would meet Mr Putin on Monday in Moscow in the Russian leader’s first face-to-face meeting with his European Union counterpart since Russia’s invasion began on the 24th. February.

“We are militarily neutral, but (have) a clear stance on Russia’s war of aggression against #Ukraine,” Nehammer wrote of Austria on Twitter (NYSE:) https://twitter.com/karlnehammer /status/1513193093784297476. “It has to stop! It needs humanitarian corridors, ceasefire & a full investigation into war crimes.”

The Russian invasion forced about a quarter of Ukraine’s 44 million people to flee their homes, turned cities into ruins, and killed or injured thousands.

Not capturing any major cities, but Ukraine says Moscow is concentrating its forces in the east for a major offensive and urges people to flee.

Ukrainian media on Sunday reported that a series of loud explosions were heard in the cities of Kharkiv, northeastern Ukraine, and Mykolaiv, near the Black Sea, in the south of the country.

Earlier, the missile destroyed the airport in the city of Dnipro, said Valentyn Reznichenko, governor of the central Dnipropetrovsk region.

The Russian Defense Ministry said that a high-precision missile destroyed the headquarters of the Ukrainian Dnipro battalion in the town of Zvonetsky.

Reuters could not immediately confirm the reports.

WEAPON Appears

Since Russia’s invasion, Zelenskiy has called on Western powers to provide more defense help, and punished Moscow with tougher sanctions, including an embargo on its energy exports.

US national security adviser Jake Sullivan told ABC News: “We’re going to give Ukraine the weapons it needs to fight back against the Russians to prevent them from taking more cities and towns.”

Zelenskiy said he has confidence in his armed forces but “unfortunately I don’t have confidence that we will get everything we need” from the United States.

“They have to arm Ukraine as if they were protecting themselves and their people,” Zelenskiy said in an interview that aired on CBS’s “60 Minutes” channel. “They need to understand this. If we don’t accelerate, it will be very difficult for us to withstand this pressure.”

Earlier, Zelenskiy said on Twitter that he had spoken by phone with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz about additional sanctions, as well as further defense and financial support for his country. Zelenskiy also discussed with Ukrainian officials Kyiv’s proposal for a new EU sanctions package, his office said.

The EU on Friday banned imports of Russian coal, among other products, but has not touched on oil and gas imports from Russia.

CIVIL DEATH

The increase in civilian casualties has prompted widespread international condemnation and new sanctions.

Ludmila Zabaluk, head of the Dmytriv Village Department, north of the capital Kyiv, said dozens of civilian bodies had been found in the area.

“More than 50 people have died. They shoot them from close range. There was a car where a 17-year-old was burned down, leaving only bones. One woman had her head blown off. A little further, a man lying near his car was burned alive.

Reuters could not immediately confirm the reports.

Moscow has denied accusations of war crimes by Ukraine and Western countries. It has repeatedly denied targeting civilians in what it calls a “special operation” to demilitarize and “demilitarize” its southern neighbour. Ukraine and Western nations have dismissed this as an unfounded excuse for war.

The World Bank on Sunday forecast the war would cut Ukraine’s economic output by 45% this year, with half of businesses closed, grain exports mostly cut off due to the Russian navy. The blockade and destruction made economic activity in many areas impossible.

The bank forecasts that Russia’s GDP will shrink by 11.2% this year due to Western sanctions.

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