Ukraine seeks ‘bold’ action from West as deadly Russian strikes continue

France to seek ‘Olympic truce’ for all conflicts during summer Games in Paris

Ukraine said Russian shelling killed at least six civilians in the east and fighting in Donetsk region was intensifying, as France proposed an “Olympic truce” to halt all international conflicts when Paris hosts the Games this summer.

Four people were killed in the Kyiv-held town of Siversk in the partly occupied Donetsk region, and at least two were killed and four injured when a bomb hit the village of Lukyantsi in neighbouring Kharkiv province, Ukrainian officials said on Monday.

“The Russians want to kill as many of our people as possible, and the only way to protect oneself is to evacuate to safer regions of Ukraine,” said Donetsk governor Vadym Filashkin.

Ukraine said Russia attacked it last week with nearly 700 bombs, more than 80 missiles and almost 130 Iranian-made “Shahed” drones, at a time when Ukrainian air defence ammunition is dwindling due to a months-long freeze on US military aid.


“Assistance to Ukraine is still limited, and the Russian state still has access to critical components needed to produce missiles and drones. Each missile targeting Ukraine contains at least dozens of components – electronics, chips – supplied by companies from other countries,” said Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Days after the US, Britain, France and Jordan shot down missiles and drones fired by Iran at Israel, Mr Zelenskiy said the world had seen “what real defence is ... And the whole world saw that Israel was not alone in this defence.”

“And when Ukraine says that its allies should not turn a blind eye to Russian missiles and drones, it means action is needed – bold action,” he added.

“And the fact that sanctions against Russia are still being circumvented, and that we in Ukraine have been waiting for months for a vital support package – that we are still waiting for a vote in Congress – shows that the terrorists’ confidence has been on the rise for months as well.”

Mike Johnson, republican speaker of the US House of Representatives, has for two months refused to call a vote on a $95 billion (€89 billion) military aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan. He now says he is keen to send fresh support to Israel, but supplies for Kyiv are still opposed by supporters of former president Donald Trump.

Mr Zelenskiy said the situation was “getting harder” for Ukrainian troops in Donetsk, after Oleksandr Syrskyi, the commander of Ukraine’s military, said Moscow had ordered its forces to take the town of Chasiv Yar before Russia’s May 9th Victory Day holiday.

French president Emmanuel Macron said he hoped wars in Ukraine, Gaza and Sudan would pause during the Paris Olympics in July and August.

“We will do everything to have an Olympic truce, we will work on it ... The Games are also a time for diplomacy, for peace,” he told French television.

“It is something on which I will actually try to engage many of our partners,” he added, noting that he would seek support from Chinese president Xi Jinping when he visits Paris in early May.

Daniel McLaughlin

Daniel McLaughlin

Daniel McLaughlin is a contributor to The Irish Times from central and eastern Europe