Ukraine has ruled out a ceasefire or concessions to Moscow as Russia intensifies an offensive in the eastern Donbas region.
Russia is waging a major offensive in Luhansk, one of two provinces in Donbas. Russian-backed separatists already controlled swathes of territory in Luhansk before the invasion, with Moscow now attempting to seize the last remaining Ukrainian-held territory in the Donbas region.
“The situation in Donbas is extremely difficult,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly video address.
The Russian army was trying to attack the cities of Sloviansk and Sievierodonetsk, but Ukrainian forces were attempting to deter their advance, Mr Zelensky said.
“Every day that our defenders take away from these offensive plans of Russia, disrupting them, is a concrete contribution to the approach of the main day,” he said.
“The desired day that we are all looking forward to and fighting for: Victory Day.”
Mr Zelensky’s adviser Mykhailo Podolyak ruled out agreeing to a ceasefire and said Kyiv would not accept any deal with Moscow that involved ceding territory.
He said making concessions would backfire on Ukraine because Russia would hit back harder after any break in fighting.
“The war will not stop (after concessions). It will just be put on pause for some time,” Mr Podolyak, Ukraine’s lead negotiator, told Reuters in an interview.
“They’ll start a new offensive, even more bloody and large-scale.”
Calls for an immediate ceasefire emerged from US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi.
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