Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has again asked the United States for more support in its fight to repel the Russian invasion.

KIV, Ukraine – The President of Ukraine declared the defense of his country against the Russian invasion was at a “turning point” and again insisted on the United States for additional assistance hours after Kremlin forces dropped a promise to cut some of their operations.

Russia’s bombing of areas around Kyiv and the northern city of Chernihiv and intensification of attacks elsewhere in the country have further undermined hopes for progress in ending the bloody conflict. which escalated into a war of attrition. Citizens trapped in besieged cities have suffered some of the worst suffering, although both sides said Thursday they would try another evacuation from port city of Mariupol.

According to the head of the Ukrainian delegation David Arahami, talks between Ukraine and Russia were to resume on Friday by video.

A delegation of Ukrainian lawmakers visited Washington on Wednesday to seek more U.S. aid, saying their country needs more military equipment, more financial aid and tougher sanctions against Russia.

“We need to expel Russian soldiers from our land, and for this we need everything, all kinds of weapons,” – said Ukrainian MP Anastasia Radzina at a press conference at the Ukrainian Embassy.

The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky addressed this case directly to US President Joe Biden.

“If we really fight together for freedom and defend democracy, then we have the right to demand help at this difficult turning point. Tanks, planes, artillery systems. Freedom must be armed no worse than tyranny, ”Zelensky said in his nightly video address to the people, which he said while standing in the dark near the dimly lit presidential offices in Kyiv. He thanked the United States for the additional $ 500 million that was announced on Wednesday.

There seemed little faith that Russia and Ukraine would resolve the conflict soon, especially after the Russian military launched its latest attacks.

Russia stated this on Tuesday this will lead to de-escalation of operations near Kiev and Chernihiv to “increase mutual trust and create conditions for further negotiations.” Zelensky and the West were skeptical. Shortly afterwards, Ukrainian officials reported that Russian shelling hit homes, shops, libraries and other civilian facilities in or near the area.

The UK Ministry of Defense has also confirmed “significant Russian shelling and missile strikes” on Chernihiv.

On Thursday, it is said that “Russian troops continue to hold positions east and west of Kiev, despite the withdrawal of a limited number of units. Heavy fighting is likely to take place in the suburbs in the coming days. “

Russian troops have also stepped up attacks on the Donbass region in the east and around the city of Izyum, which lies on a key route to the Donbass, after redeploying units from other areas, the Ukrainian side said.

Secretary of the Chernihiv City Executive Committee Alexander Lamaka said that the Russian statement was “a complete lie.”

“At night, they did not decrease, but rather increased the intensity of hostilities,” Lamako said.

This was stated on Thursday by a senior British intelligence officer demoralized Russian soldiers in Ukraine refused to obey orders and sabotaged their own equipment and accidentally shot down their own plane.

In a speech in the Australian capital, Canberra, Jeremy Fleming, who heads the electronic spy agency GCHQ, said President Vladimir Putin apparently “greatly misjudged” the invasion, he said. Although Putin’s advisers seemed too afraid to tell the truth, “the mass of these misconceptions should be crystal clear to the regime,” he said.

American intelligence officers gave similar estimates that Putin is misinformed by advisers too intimidated to give honest assessments.

Five weeks after the invasion, which killed thousands, a number of Ukrainians fled the country exceeded a staggering 4 millionhalf of them are children, according to the United Nations.

“I don’t know if the Russians can still be trusted,” said Mykola Nazarov, a refugee from Ukraine, pushing his father’s wheelchair at a border crossing with Poland. “I think a bigger escalation will take place in eastern Ukraine. That’s why we can’t return to Kharkiv. “

Zelensky said that the continuation of negotiations with Russia is just “words without specifics”, saying that Ukraine is preparing for new concentrated strikes on Donbass.

Zelensky also said he had recalled the Ukrainian ambassadors to Georgia and Morocco, believing they had not done enough to persuade those countries to support Ukraine and punish Russia for the invasion.

“With all due respect, if there are no weapons, no sanctions, no restrictions for Russian business, then please look for another job,” he said.

During Tuesday’s talks in Istanbul, there seemed to be a faint outline of a possible peace deal, with the Ukrainian delegation proposing a framework in which the country would declare itself neutral – rejecting its NATO bid, as Moscow has long demanded – in exchange. on security guarantees from a group of other nations.

Top Russian officials have responded positively, with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov saying on Wednesday that Ukraine’s readiness to accept neutrality and seek security outside NATO is “significant progress”, according to Russian news agencies.

But these statements were accompanied by attacks.

The head of the military administration of the Kiev region Alexander Pavlyuk said that Russian shells shelled residential areas and civilian infrastructure in Bucha, Brovary and Vyshgorod districts around the capital.

A spokesman for Russia’s Defense Ministry, Major General Igor Kanashenko, said the military had also fired long-range cruise missiles at fuel depots in two central Ukrainian cities. Russian forces struck at the headquarters of the Ukrainian special forces in the south of the Nikolaev region, he said, and at two ammunition depots in the Donetsk region in the Donbass.

In southern Ukraine, a Russian missile destroyed a fuel depot in the Dnieper, the country’s fourth largest city, regional officials said.

The United States said Russia had begun relocating less than 20 percent of its troops stationed around Kiev. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said troops from there and some other areas began to move mostly to the north, and some entered neighboring Belarus. Kirby said it looked like Russia was planning to replenish their supplies and send them back to Ukraine, but it was not clear where.

The Ukrainian military said some Russian airborne units were believed to have moved to Belarus.

Senior Russian military officials say their main goal now is to “liberate” the Donbass, a predominantly Russian-speaking industrial center where Moscow-backed separatists have been fighting Ukrainian forces since 2014. Some analysts believe that the focus on Donbass and the promise of de-escalation may be just an attempt to positively correct the reality, as Moscow’s ground forces have threatened and suffered heavy losses.

The Russians are also expected to try to block Chernihiv.

Russian troops have been blocking Mariupol, a key port in the south, for several weeks. The city experienced some of the worst devastation of the war, and many attempts to implement safe evacuation corridors failed. Ukraine accused Russian forces last week of seizing bus drivers and rescuers heading to Mariupol.

The Russian military said it had pledged a localized ceasefire on the route from Mariupol to the Ukrainian-controlled city of Zaporizhia since Thursday morning.

Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Iryna Verashchuk said that Ukraine sends 45 buses to gather people. She said that the International Committee of the Red Cross acts as a mediator.

Similar evacuation efforts had been planned earlier and failed amid allegations of fighting on the route.

Civilians who managed to leave the city usually did so in private cars, but the number of cars left in Mariupol has shrunk and fuel supplies are low.

Russia also carried out its own evacuation from the territory it seized in Mariupol. Ukraine claims that Russia is sending its citizens to a “filtration camp” in separatist-controlled eastern Ukraine and then forcibly deporting people to Russia.

The UN is considering these allegations.

Karmanov reported from Lviv (Ukraine). Associated Press reporters around the world have contributed to this report.

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