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Zelenskyy warns against Russia's and Iran's coordinated 'terror' attacks
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Zelenskyy warns against Russia’s and Iran’s coordinated ‘terror’ attacks

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Sunday decried Iran’s drone strikes on Israel, saying the “obvious collaboration” between Russia and Iran in “spreading terror” must be met with “a resolute and united response from the world.”

“Iran’s actions threaten the entire region and the world, just as Russia’s actions threaten a larger conflict,” Zelenskyy wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

Zelenskyy linked Israel’s situation to Ukraine by saying that like Israel, Ukraine has been attacked by Iranian-made Shahed drones and missiles.

“We in Ukraine know very well the horror of similar attacks by Russia, which uses the same ‘Shahed’ drones and Russian missiles, the same tactics of mass air strikes,” he wrote.

A coordinated Western response intercepted most of the 300 drones and missiles that Iran launched against Israel Saturday, prompting many Ukrainians to criticize Western allies for not displaying the same decisive and wide-reaching support for Ukraine they showed for Israel.

Zelenskyy said that only “tangible assistance” can protect Ukraine from missiles and drones — and urged the release of U.S. war aid for Ukraine that has long been blocked by Congress.

“It is critical that the United States Congress make the necessary decisions to strengthen America’s allies at this critical time,” he said.

The Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based research group, warned that further delays in U.S. military assistance would increasingly undermine Ukraine’s capacity to repel Russian advances.

Patriot air defense systems, military training

As Kyiv awaits the desperately needed U.S. aid that is stuck in Congress, Germany announced Saturday it would deliver a Patriot air defense system to Ukraine, its third so far, citing “massive and ongoing Russian airstrikes.”

Zelenskyy thanked German Chancellor Olaf Scholz for “a real manifestation of support for Ukraine at a critical time for us.”

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks on the phone with Germany's Chancellor Olaf Scholz, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, April 13, 2024. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via Reuters)

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks on the phone with Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, April 13, 2024. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via Reuters)

The German chancellor said in a post on X, formerly Twitter, that he had discussed the “massive” Russian air attacks on civilian energy infrastructure with Zelenskyy on Saturday, and that Berlin will “stand unbreakably by Ukraine’s side.”

The Ukrainian military also is hampered by the lack of adequate training it requires to improve its capabilities of operating “military equipment and Western weapons,” Ukraine’s commander-in-chief, Oleksandr Syrskyi, noted.

Ukraine’s European allies are engaged in a training push for Kyiv’s forces.

French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu said Friday that future Ukrainian fighter pilots likely to fly American F-16 aircraft were receiving their initial training in the south of France.

Other countries including Denmark, the Netherlands and Romania are helping Ukraine to train its pilots.

Some Ukrainians, after receiving initial training in Britain, are now undergoing “advanced training” in an undisclosed location to learn how to fly fighter jets, according to a military source.

On the ground

At least five people died across Ukraine Sunday from Russian and Ukrainian attacks. One man was killed by a Russian drone striking his truck in the Sumy region, the local prosecutor’s office said. In Kharkiv, officials recovered the bodies of a 61-year-old woman and 68-year-old man killed by a Russian strike Saturday.

In the Russian-occupied Kherson region, two civilians were killed Sunday, according to Moscow-installed leader Vladimir Saldo. Ukrainian drones were also reported in Russia’s Krasnodar and Belgorod regions and over the Black Sea, the Russian defense ministry said.

Russian troops are making significant gains in Ukraine’s eastern region near the Russian-occupied industrial town of Avdiivka, Syrskyi said Saturday on his Telegram channel.

“The situation on the eastern front has deteriorated significantly in recent days,” he said, adding that the Russian army intensified its offensive along several stretches of the more 1,000-kilometer-long front line after the presidential elections in Russia last month.
Warmer, drier weather also is playing a factor in Russia’s surging offensive, allowing its heavy vehicles to move quickly across the drying terrain.

Russia’s defense ministry announced its troops had “liberated” the village of Pervomaiske in the Donetsk region, about 11 kilometers west of the largely destroyed town of Avdiivka, which Russia captured in mid-February.

Ukraine has not confirmed the loss of Pervomaiske, and its army asserted Friday that it had repelled attacks on the village.

In a Telegram update Saturday, the Russian military said Moscow’s forces also had taken Bohdanivka, another eastern village close to the city of Bakhmut — known for its bloody siege and subsequent capture by Russian forces nine months ago.

Shortly afterward, Ukraine’s defense ministry denied that Bohdanivka had been captured and said “intense fighting” there is ongoing.

Ukraine has also said the situation around the eastern front-line city of Chasiv Yar, west of Bakhmut, remains “difficult and tense” with the area under “constant fire.”

Syrskyi acknowledged that Russian forces have been “actively attacking” Ukrainian positions in three areas of the eastern Donetsk region, near the cities of Lyman, Bakhmut and Pokrovsk. He said Ukraine was planning to “strengthen the most problematic defense areas with electronic warfare and air defense.”

Russia has an advantage in firepower and personnel over Ukraine, which is running low on ammunition, to increase attacks across eastern Ukraine. Additionally, Russian forces are increasingly using satellite-guided gliding bombs that allow planes to drop them from a safe distance and overwhelm Ukrainian forces.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters, The Associated Press and Agence France-Presse.