Ukraine war entering 'protracted phase': Defence minister tells NATO, EU
Ukraine's defence minister Oleksiy Reznikov said that the ongoing war in his country is entering a protracted phase.
In his speech to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg and European Union defence ministers, Reznikov said on Tuesday, "Russia is preparing for a long-term military operation."
Reznikov added that Russian forces are currently building fortifications in the Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions to move to defence if necessary.
The defence minister also pointed out in his speech on Tuesday that the main efforts of the Kremlin were focused on, “encircling and destroying groups of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in Donetsk and Lugansk regions, creating and maintaining a land corridor from Russia to Crimea, and completing the occupation of southern Ukraine.”
He called on Ukraine's Western allies to for more coordination in arms deliveries to the country.
Oleksiy Reznikov's comments come as Russia is trying to take full control of the east and south of Ukraine, a report by news agency AFP said on Tuesday. Just a few days back, a United States defence official had said that Russia was two weeks behind schedule in its invasion of the east and south of Ukraine.
On Monday, at least ten people were killed in Russian shelling in Severodonetsk in the east of Ukraine, the Lugansk region governor Sergiy Gaiday said on Monday. Severodonetsk, which has been almost surrounded by Moscow, was being shelled "without stopping," Gaiday added.
Meanwhile, in the southern city of Melitopol, which was occupied by Moscow since the early days of the war, Ukrainian guerrilla fighters have killed several high-ranking Russian officers, news agency AP reported citing the regional administration.
The regional administration added occupiers were trying to conceal the situation but Russian forces were more actively checking private cars in the city on Tuesday, most likely looking for guerrillas.
(With inputs from AP, AFP)
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