Polish President Speech to Kyiv Parliament during Battle of Donbas

Kyiv, UKRAINE (AP) – Russia launched an offensive in eastern Ukraine on Sunday as the Polish president visited Kyiv to support EU aspirations.

Parliamentarians applauded President Andrzej Duda for expressing gratitude for the honor of speaking at “the heart of a free, independent and democratic Ukraine”. Duda received even more applause for saying that Ukraine does not have to obey the terms laid down by Russian President Vladimir Putin to end the conflict.

“Unfortunately, there are uneasy voices in Europe demanding that Ukraine succumb to Putin’s demands,” he said. “I want to be clear. Only Ukraine has the right to decide its own future. Only Ukraine has the right to decide for itself.”

Duda’s second visit to Kyiv since April came while Russian and Ukrainian forces battled along a 551 km (342 mi) wedge in the industrial center of eastern Kyiv.

After declaring complete control of the huge seaside steel mill, which was the last defensive fortress of the port city of Mariupol, Russia has sought to expand the territory held by Moscow-backed separatists in the area known as Donbas, with artillery and missiles. started attacking. From 2014.

To strengthen defenses, Ukraine’s parliament decided on Sunday to extend martial law and military mobilization for a third time until 23 August.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky emphasized that the 27-member EU must expedite its request to join the European Union (EU) as soon as possible due to the invasion. A potential candidate for Ukraine will be discussed at a summit in Brussels in late June.

France’s European minister, Clement Beaune, told Radio J on Sunday that it would take “a long time” for Ukraine to become a member of the European Union.

“We have to be honest,” he said. “It would be a lie to say that Ukraine will join the EU in six months or one or two years.”

But Poland is stepping up its efforts to persuade other EU member states to be more reluctant to accept the war-ravaged country as a bloc. Zelensky said Duda’s visit meant a “historical union” between Ukraine, which declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, and Poland, which ended communist rule two years ago.

“It’s a really historic opportunity not to lose the strong relationship that was built through blood and Russian aggression,” Zelensky said. “All of this is in order not to lose the country and not lose the people.”

Poland has welcomed millions of Ukrainian refugees and has become a gateway for Western humanitarian aid and weapons into Ukraine. It is also a stopover for some foreign fighters, including those from Belarus, who have volunteered to fight the Russian army.

“Despite the terrible crimes and great suffering that the Ukrainian people face every day, the Russian invaders have not brought you down. they failed at it. And I deeply believe that they will never succeed,” Duda told Ukrainian legislature Verkhovna Rada.

Duda also worked to unite the United States and the West in President Joe Biden’s support of Ukraine and sanctions on Moscow.

“Kyiv is a place that clearly sees the need for more America in Europe, both militarily and economically,” said Duda, a right-wing populist leader who clearly favored former President Donald Trump over Biden during 2020. election.

On the battlefield, Russia has recently been advancing slowly at Donbas. Efforts to capture Sievierodonetsk, a major Ukrainian-controlled city in Luhansk Province, which together with Donetsk Province make up Donbas, have intensified efforts. Ukrainian forces said on Sunday that Russian forces had not succeeded in an attack on Oleksandrivka, a village outside Sievierodonetsk.

Luhansk Governor Serhii Haidai said the city’s only hospital has only three doctors and supplies that can be used for 10 days.

In the General Staff’s morning report, Russia also said it was preparing to resume the offensive against Slovaksk, Donetsk Oblast. The city is important to Russia’s goal of occupying all of eastern Ukraine and has been heavily battled last month after Moscow troops retreated from Kyiv. .

An explosion on Sunday in the Russian-owned city of Enerhodar, 281 kilometers (174 miles) northwest of Mariupol, injured a Moscow-nominated mayor at home, Ukrainian and Russian news agency reported. Ukraine’s Union News Agency said the bomb was set by a “local faction” that injured Andrei Shevchuk, 48, who lives near the Zaporizia nuclear power plant, Europe’s largest and employs many Enerhodar residents.

Concerns over their fate and their future grew when Russia claimed to have taken captive some 2,500 Ukrainian fighters at the Mariupol Works, facing the rest of the town’s rest of the devastated city, where there are now fears of more than 20,000 deaths.

Relatives of the warriors begged for their rights as prisoners of war and eventually returned to Ukraine. Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereschchuk said on Saturday that Ukraine will fight for the return of all of them.

Complete seizure of the Azovstal steel mill, a symbol of Ukrainian strength. In a war that began almost three months earlier, on February 24, Putin gave him the victory he was longing for.

Denis Pushilin, the self-proclaimed head of the pro-Kremlin republic of the Donetsk People’s Republic, has sworn that the Ukrainian fighters at the factory will face trial. He did not give details, but said there were foreigners among them.

The Ukrainian government did not comment on Russia’s claims of occupation of Azoftal. The Ukrainian military has told the fighters that the mission has been completed and can come out. It described their extraction as withdrawal, not mass surrender.

Mariupol Mayor Vadim Boychenko has warned that the city is facing a health and sanitation “catastrophe” due to the breakdown of its sewage system as well as mass burials in shallow pits. Of the 450,000 who lived in Mariupol before the war, about 100,000 remain.

As Russia takes control of the city, Ukrainian authorities will likely face delays in documenting alleged Russian atrocities there, including bombings on maternity hospitals and theaters that have been covered up by hundreds of civilians.

Meanwhile, a Ukrainian court is due to give a verdict on a Russian soldier who was first tried on charges of war crimes on the 11th. A 21-year-old sergeant who pleaded guilty to shooting a Ukrainian man in the head with a gun in a village in the northeastern Sumi region on February 28 could face life in prison if convicted.

Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova said that 41 Russian soldiers had been charged with war crimes, including bombing civilian infrastructure, killing civilians, rape and looting. Her office said it was investigating more than 10,700 potential war crimes involving more than 600 suspects, including Russian soldiers and government officials.

Reported Becatorus from Donetsk. Contributed by AP reporter Yuras Karmanau from Lviv, Andrea Rosa from Kharkiv, and AP staff around the world.

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