The Ukrainian president, Volodímir Zelenski, has deepened this Tuesday in the idea that Ukraine will never be part of NATO. After days of demanding, without results, that the Atlantic Alliance impose a no-fly zone over the country and “close the skies” to prevent air strikes by the invading Russian forces, the Ukrainian leader has stressed that citizens are beginning to realize Realizing that the country depends on itself and the help of its allies, it has charged against the Atlantic Alliance and has warned that other countries may be the next to suffer Russian aggression. “Ukraine is not a member of NATO. We get it,” he has said. “For years we have heard about the so-called open door, but we have already heard that we must not enter. That is how it is and we must admit it”, Zelensky stressed in a videoconference meeting with the leaders of the member countries of the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF).
With the neutrality of Ukraine as one of the key points in Russia’s demands to negotiate a ceasefire in the ferocious invasion that Russian President Vladimir Putin launched 20 days ago, Zelensky’s message deepens a message that has already been slipping in recent weeks: that NATO “is not ready” for Ukraine.
With increasingly fierce attacks from the sky by Russian forces, which have targeted the destruction of Ukraine’s military and civilian infrastructure and are also attacking neighborhoods and residential areas, Zelensky has criticized NATO. “The most powerful alliance in the world seems hypnotized by Russia’s aggression,” said the Ukrainian leader, who has urged finding a solution to protect Ukrainian airspace. “We have put forward a proposal so that Ukraine alone can protect its airspace and its people. Those countries that have a common border with Russia should think about how to protect themselves and we are doing everything possible to obtain air defense and aircraft”, Zelensky insisted at the meeting in which nine leaders of the Baltic and Nordic countries, in addition to the Netherlands, participated. , and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Ukraine received the invitation to join the Atlantic Alliance —of which Spain is a member— in 2008, but since then it has not advanced in the process. The country needs reforms and the label of partner has not been even close to on the table. Yet in the rhetoric of the Kremlin — which has questioned the sovereignty of Ukraine, a country it believes is ruled by “Nazis and drug addicts” and also a “NATO aircraft carrier” — such membership is a “threat to Russia.”
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As attacks against Ukraine intensify, Zelensky, in another diplomatic marathon via videoconference, implored Canadian lawmakers to increase military support and help create a no-fly zone. “Please close the sky. All of you must do more to stop Russia and protect Ukraine and Europe. They are destroying everything,” he said in an emotional speech to the Canadian Parliament, in which he stressed that 97 minors have died since Putin launched what the Russian leader calls a “special military operation”.
The exodus of people fleeing the war continues to increase. It has already exceeded three million people, according to the United Nations. And as Russia hardens its attacks, especially against cities and towns, the flight is greater. This Tuesday, after several attacks in kyiv and in the surroundings of the capital, which Putin’s troops want to surround, the Ukrainian authorities have reported that in the attack on a school on Sunday in Mikolaiv, in the south of the country and a city A priority objective for the Kremlin in its offensive on the southern flank, seven people who were taking refuge in the school were killed.
The Russian Army is also continuing its campaign of infrastructure destruction. The dawn of this Tuesday has caused “massive damage” by bombing the airport of the city of Dnipro, said the governor of the region, Valentyn Reznichenko, who has not reported casualties.
Despite the bombing, Moscow is still failing to make rapid progress. Russian troops have carried out several limited attacks northwest of kyiv, unsuccessfully attempting to cross the Irpin River, according to the Institute for the Study of War. They are concentrating about 25 kilometers from the capital without launching an offensive from that flank, according to the security and defense consultant Rochan Consulting, which attributes this to a possible lack of troops.
Oleksii Arestovich, adviser to the President of Ukraine, has published a video in which he calculates that the hostilities will end “in early May”. It is, he has predicted, the moment when “Russia will run out of resources [humanos] to maintain the invasion. “I think that at the latest in early May we should have a peace agreement, maybe much sooner, we’ll see, I’m talking about the latest possible dates,” he said in the recording, reports the Reuters agency. Arestovich, considered Zelensky’s right-hand man, has also alluded to another “completely crazy” scenario: that Russia “sends new recruits [a Ucrania] after a month of training.
In the south, the Russians resumed their offensive from Kherson towards Mikolaiv on Monday. In its latest report, the UK Ministry of Defense warns of the possibility that Russia is organizing a referendum in Kherson, with some 300,000 inhabitants, to justify the proclamation of a “separatist republic”. This is what happened in 2014, with the annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea, and later in the Donbas region, with the self-proclamation of the “people’s republics” of Donetsk and Lugansk. The Kremlin recognized these two separatist entities as independent states on February 21, which served as a prelude to the war, which began three days later.
The Chechen leader, a brutal ally of Putin
The leader of the Russian region of Chechnya, Razmán Kadirov, assures in a video that he is in Ukraine. Kadirov – considered one of Putin’s most brutal allies – claims to be in Gostomel, an airport near kyiv seized by the Russians in the first days of the invasion.
In a recording broadcast through Telegram, the Chechen president appears in military uniform supervising maps and plans around a table with several soldiers. “The other day we were about 20 kilometers from you, the Nazis of kyiv, and now we are even closer,” he wrote in a message in which he takes up Putin’s rhetoric that the Russian offensive seeks to “denazify” Ukraine. The leader of the Chechen Republic, a member of the Russian Federation, in turn calls on the Ukrainian soldiers to surrender. “Or they will be finished,” he warns. “We will show them that Russian practice teaches war better than foreign theory and the recommendations of military advisers.”
This Tuesday, some 29,000 people left besieged towns through humanitarian corridors, according to the Ukrainian authorities. Most left the port city of Mariupol, one of the places where the human situation was already “apocalyptic” last week, according to the Red Cross. For 11 days, 200,000 of its almost half a million inhabitants have subsisted without running water, electricity and hardly any food. Some 2,000 private cars managed to leave the town on Tuesday, the City Council reported. Some 150,000 people have already fled through humanitarian corridors from besieged cities in Ukraine.
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