32nd day of war in Ukraine: Zelensky urges NATO to send planes, tanks

President Zelensky on March 26 called on the West to provide planes, tanks and missile defense systems to Ukraine to deal with Russia.

In a video address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that “heavy weapons that can protect European freedom are now covered in dust in warehouses”, adding that Ukrainian forces were unable to shoot down the plane. Russia with a machine gun.

“What are NATO doing? What are they waiting for? It’s been 31 days. We’re only asking for 1% of NATO planes and tanks, nothing more,” he said.

Western countries have so far supplied Ukraine with anti-tank missiles, man-portable air defense missiles and small arms and protective equipment, but have not sent armored vehicles or aircraft.

Earlier this month, Poland proposed the transfer of MiG-29 fighters to Ukraine through the US. However, the US rejected this plan, fearing that it could escalate tensions, leading to direct conflict with Russia.

The Pentagon explained that fighter aid would not change the course of the war, and said that anti-tank weapons and man-portable air defense missiles were the most suitable aid weapons for Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a video released on March 20. Photo: AP.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a video released on March 20. Photo: AP.

The head of Ukraine’s defense intelligence service, Kyrylo Budanov, wrote on social media today that Russia could impose a boundary between the areas controlled by Moscow and Kiev to “divide Ukraine into two regions like South Korea”. and North Korea”. He added that this tactic could be the result of Russia’s “unability to control Kiev”.

Theoretically, the two Koreas remain in a state of war after the 1950-53 conflict ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty. The demarcation line between South Korea and North Korea is an area 4 km wide and 248 km long known as the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).

Russia has not commented on Budanov’s comments.

A column of smoke rises from the site of an air strike in Lviv, western Ukraine, on March 26. Photo: AFP.
A column of smoke rises from the site of an air strike in Lviv, western Ukraine, on March 26. Photo: AFP.

Russia on March 27 announced the destruction of the S-300 missile depot near Kiev. “The high-precision long-range cruise missile destroyed the missile stockpile for the S-300 and Buk medium-range air defense systems in the village of Plesetskoye, about 30 kilometers west of the Ukrainian capital Kiev. north,” said Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov.

General Konashenkov also said that Russian forces had carried out two air strikes with air-launched cruise missiles, targeting the western city of Lviv, near the Ukraine-Poland border, destroying a fuel depot and a facility military logistics.

Ukraine said two air strikes on Lviv took place two hours apart and injured at least five people.

Ukraine’s Interior Ministry adviser Vadym Denysenko said today that in addition to fuel depots, Russia has also begun destroying Ukraine’s food storage centers, which means that Kiev will have to disperse these stockpiles in the near future.

The leader of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic, Leonid Pasechnik, said on March 27 that the region could hold a referendum on the possibility of joining Russia.

Reacting to this statement, Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko said: “All fake referendums in the temporarily occupied territories are invalid and have no legal validity.”

Russia has not yet commented.

The two breakaway regions of Donetsk and Lugansk, collectively known as the Donbass region, broke away from Ukrainian government control in 2014 and declared themselves independent “people’s republics”. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree recognizing the independence of these two regions on February 21.

Ukraine announced that it had counter-attacked and recaptured several villages controlled by Russian forces, including east of Kharkov and northwest of Mariupol.

The Ukrainian military also said that after more than 30 days of fierce fighting near Kiev, some Russian units are retreating through the Chernobyl area to return to Belarus to regroup. Belarus, a close ally of Russia, serves as a base for Russian troops, missiles and aircraft during the military campaign in Ukraine.