ISSN 2330-717X

Ukraine Rules Out Ceding Land To Russia

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(RFE/RL) — As battles raged in the east and south of Ukraine, the war-torn country’s foreign minister ruled out ceding any territory to Russia should peace talks ever resume and he made clear that no such negotiations were taking place.

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“The objective of Ukraine in this war…is to liberate our territories, to restore our territorial integrity and full sovereignty in the east and south of Ukraine,” Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told a briefing on July 13.

“This is the end point of our negotiating position.”

Russia has taken control of wide swathes of Ukrainian territory in the south along the Black Sea coast and in the eastern Luhansk and Donetsk provinces that make up the Donbas region.

Russia in 2014 also captured and illegally annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and has backed separatists occupying parts of Luhansk and Donetsk provinces since that time.

Russian and Ukrainian military delegations are meeting this week in Turkey to discuss exports of wheat and grain from Ukrainian territory that have been blocked because of the war, but Kuleba made clear there are no broader negotiations.

“Currently there are no [peace] talks between Russia and Ukraine because of Russia’s position and its continued aggression against our country,” Kuleba said.

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On the battlefield, Russian forces are focusing on several small towns on the approaches to the larger cities of Slovyansk and Kramatorsk in Donetsk Province as they continue their drive to capture all of Ukraine’s Donbas heartland in the east of the country, a British intelligence report states.

The remarks come amid unconfirmed reports on July 13 that Ukrainian forces have struck back in neighboring Luhansk Province — which was previously captured by Russian troops — possibly using rocket systems newly provided by the United States.

Russian forces have turned their focus on capturing all of the Donbas region, made up of the Donetsk and Luhansk provinces, after they failed to take the capital, Kyiv, in the early days of the war. Ukrainian officials report massive Russian shelling on cities and towns throughout the region.

In the eastern town of Chasiv Yar, the head of the Donetsk regional military administration said the number of people killed in an air strike over the weekend on an apartment block had risen to 45.

Ukrainian officials called the shelling “a war crime,” part of Russian forces’ relentless attack on civilian areas. Moscow denies it has targeted civilians, despite video evidence and the widespread destruction of Ukrainian cities since the February 24 invasion of the country.

Ukraine has said that Russian forces are using the shelling as a preparation for a new ground offensive in Donetsk Province, particularly in the Bakhmut and Siversky areas and around Slovyansk and Kramatorsk.

The British Defense Ministry in its daily intelligence briefing said the Kremlin’s troops were nearing the towns of Siversky and Dolyna, with the urban areas of Slovyansk and Kramatorsk “the principal objectives for this phase of operation.”

British intelligence also said anti-Russian sentiment in the occupied parts of Ukraine has led to Russian and pro-Russian officials being targeted, noting that the Russian-appointed administration in Velykiy Burluk acknowledged one of its mayors was killed on July 11 in a car bombing.

In Luhansk Province, Andrei Marochko, an official for the Russia-backed separatist group that calls itself the Luhansk People’s Republic, said the Ukrainian military had used U.S.-supplied high-mobility artillery rocket systems (HIMARS) to hit several settlements in the region.

This comes a day after Ukrainian forces hit what they said was an ammunition depot in the southern town of Nova Kakhovka, about 55 kilometers east of the key Black Sea port city of Kherson. Russian officials said civilian sites were hit in the attack.

The claims could not be independently verified.

The Ukrainian government has not commented on whether the newly acquired HIMARS were used in any attack.

The strike on Nova Kakhovka followed statements by the Ukrainian military that it was preparing a massive counterattack in the south to recapture territory while Russian forces were occupied with action in eastern regions.

Elsewhere, the military delegations from Russia and Ukraine had begun talks in Istanbul on July 13, brokered by the UN and Turkey, in an attempt to break a crucial impasse over grain exports that has helped send global food prices soaring.

While higher prices have caused hardships in most developed nations, many poorer countries, such as those in much of Africa, have been hit by crippling food shortages.

Diplomats have said a plan being discussed includes having Ukrainian vessels guiding grain ships in and out through port waters that its forces have mined to prevent a feared amphibious assault by Russian troops.

The plan would also entail Russia agreeing to a truce while shipments move, and Turkey — with UN help — would inspect ships to allay Russian fears of weapons smuggling.

RFE RL

RFE/RL journalists report the news in 21 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established.

One thought on “Ukraine Rules Out Ceding Land To Russia

  • July 14, 2022 at 6:49 pm
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    There are parts of Ukraine that would rather be with Russia rather then with the Bandera loving Azov charachters. The eastern and southern Ukraine are in this category. Other parts of Ukraine like Kharkov region would rather be with Russia.

    Reply

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