Ukraine said Moscow’s troops were attacking at points along the whole length of the 1,000km front line, as its president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, began a diplomatic mission to secure more support for Kyiv from countries of the so-called Global South.
“The operational situation in the east remains difficult. The enemy continually conducts offensive operations along the entire front,” Oleksandr Syrskyi, commander of Ukraine’s ground forces, said after meeting senior officers in the area on Sunday.
“Together, we made the required decisions and took measures to ensure the stability of our defence, the preservation of the lives of our soldiers and the rational use of ammunition,” he added, amid concerns over slowing deliveries of arms from western allies.
Mr Zelenskiy landed in Argentina on Sunday for the inauguration of right-wing populist Javier Milei as its new president, and held talks en route and upon arrival in South America as he bids to counter intense Russian lobbying on the continent.
Mr Zelenskiy’s office said he made a stopover in the west African country of Cape Verde, where he met its prime minister Ulisses Correia e Silva and thanked him “for supporting Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity” and discussed Kyiv’s efforts to ship grain to Africa despite a partial Russian naval blockade of the Black Sea.
In Buenos Aires, Mr Zelenskiy met separately with Paraguayan president Santiago Pena, his Uruguayan counterpart Luis Lacalle Pou and Ecuador’s head of state Daniel Noboa. He asked them all to support his peace initiative to end the war with Russia, discussed a possible Ukraine-Latin America summit and invited them to visit Kyiv.
“The support and strong united voice of Latin American countries that stand with the people of Ukraine in our fight for freedom and democracy is very important for us,” Mr Zelenskiy said, nearly 22 months into a full-scale Russian invasion that has killed tens of thousands of people, displaced millions and devastated the Ukrainian economy.
While other prominent right-wing populists, such as Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban, have been reluctant to condemn Moscow and support Ukraine, Mr Milei campaigned on a pro-US foreign policy and criticised the authoritarian regimes of Russia and China.
Mr Zelenskiy was quick to congratulate Mr Milei after his election victory last month and said his “clear support” for Kyiv had been “well-noticed and appreciated by Ukrainians”. Mr Milei suggested that Argentina host a summit between Ukraine and Latin America.
Mr Zelenskiy is trying to counter Russia’s portrayal of its invasion of Ukraine as a defensive reaction to US aggression on its borders – a false narrative that seeks to play on widespread anti-American and anti-colonial feeling in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Ukraine is also eager to broaden its alliances around the world, as US funding continues to be paralysed by partisan quarrels in congress, and European Union political and financial support could be derailed by Mr Orban at a summit of the bloc’s leaders next week.
Mr Orban is also expected to attend Mr Milei’s inauguration, and Ukrainian media report that Mr Zelenskiy would like to hold talks with him in Argentina.
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