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Ukraine requests additional arms as cholera spreads in Mariupol

Image: Reuters Berita 24 English -  Ukraine begged with Western nations for expedited delivery of weapons as better-armed Russian forces bom...

Image: Reuters

Berita 24 English -  Ukraine begged with Western nations for expedited delivery of weapons as better-armed Russian forces bombarded the country's eastern region, as well as for humanitarian aid to stem the spread of fatal diseases.

Further intense fighting was reported in Sievierodonetsk, the little city that has become the epicentre of Russia's push in eastern Ukraine and one of the worst flashpoints in a war that is now into its fourth month.

According to Ukrainian officials, the fight in the east, where Russia is concentrating its efforts, is now predominately an artillery struggle in which Kiev is vastly outgunned. This means that the tide of events can only be reversed if Washington and others deliver on their pledges to supply more and better weapons, especially rocket systems.

"This is now an artillery war," Ukraine's deputy head of military intelligence told the British daily The Guardian.

"Everything now depends on (the West's) gifts. Ukraine has one artillery piece compared to 10 to 15 for Russia.

Der Spiegel reported on Friday that Germany plans to revise its rules on arms exports to make it easier to arm democracies like Ukraine. Germany has been one of the largest suppliers of arms since Russia's invasion, but has been criticised for being slow to supply Ukraine with the heavy weapons it claims it needs.

The mayor of Mariupol, a city reduced to rubble by a Russian siege, stated that the city's sanitation facilities were damaged and corpses were decomposing in the streets.

"There is a dysentery and cholera outbreak," Vadym Boichenko said on national television. "The battle, which claimed the lives of more than 20,000 Mariupolites, will, sadly, claim the lives of thousands more," he warned, adding that bodies have contaminated some wells.

Boichenko urged the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross to develop a humanitarian corridor that would permit remaining people to flee the city, which is now under Russian authority.

In a picture of the war's broader effects, the U.N. food agency reported that reduced exports of wheat and other food commodities from Ukraine and Russia might cause up to 19 million additional people worldwide to suffer from chronic hunger over the next year.


Russia intends to conquer the entirety of the eastern region of Luhansk, which it insists Ukraine hand to separatists along with Donetsk. The two provinces comprise the Donbas region, in which Moscow has supported a separatist proxy revolt since 2014.

To this goal, the Kremlin has concentrated its forces on a struggle for Luhansk's Sievierodonetsk.

The majority of Ukrainian forces have withdrawn from the city's residential sections, although they have not abandoned their position on the east bank of the Siverskyi Donets River. Russian soldiers are also advancing from the north and south in an effort to encircle the Ukrainians, but their advance has been restricted.

Ukraine's army command reported on Saturday that Russian troops had seized positions in two settlements near Sievierodonetsk, while the governor of Luhansk, Serhiy Gaidai, stated that Russian forces controlled "the majority" of the city.

Gaidai reported that the main road from Bakhmut to Lysychansk/Sievierodonetsk was under regular shelling, although positions had not shifted.

According to the British Ministry of Defense, the Russians have not advanced south of Sievierodonsk.

"Intense street-to-street fighting is occurring, and both sides are likely incurring heavy fatalities," the ministry stated in a Twitter intelligence report.

Ukraine said that Russia has regrouped soldiers and replenished weapons and fuel supplies in preparation for offensives in the Donetsk area cities of Sloviansk and Siversk.


President Volodymyr Zelenskiy stated that Russia was attempting to "conquer every city in the Donbas."

He stated in his nightly address, "Sievierodonetsk, Lysychansk, Bakhmut, Sloviansk, and numerous others." All of these ruins were previously prosperous towns.

Both sides claim to have caused numerous casualties. Reuters was unable to immediately confirm reports from the battlefield.

Oleksiy Arestovych, a consultant to Zelenskiy, estimated that the Russian army loses five to six times as many soldiers on average as the Ukrainian side.

Arestovych said affirmatively in a social media interview when asked if this indicated that the Ukrainian army had lost up to 10,000 soldiers in the first 100 days of the war.

On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin initiated his "special military operation" in Ukraine, stating that his goal was to disarm and "denazify" Russia's neighbour. Kyiv and its supporters refer to it as an unprovoked invasion of territory.

According to the prosecutor general of Ukraine, French weapons experts are assisting their Ukrainian colleagues in collecting evidence of alleged Russian war crimes in the northern Chernihiv region. Russia denies civilian targeting.

Saturday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin reaffirmed the United States' commitment to the region in response to Russia's activities.

"The invasion of Ukraine by Russia is what happens when oppressors disregard the laws that protect us all," Austin told a Singaporean security gathering. It is a glimpse of a hypothetical world of chaos and conflict in which none of us would choose to reside.

At 08:00 GMT, Zelenskiy is slated to deliver a virtual address to the conference.

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