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Railway station atrocities show Ukraine needs more military support against Russia: activists

WASHINGTON — The United States and other allies are not doing enough to stop Russian attacks on Ukraine, a group of prominent Ukrainian activists said Friday, hours after a massacre in a crowded station.

Activists were gathered in Washington to meet with US lawmakers and the Biden administration when they learned that a Russian rocket strike had hit the Kramatorsk station in eastern Ukraine. Officials to say at least 50 civilians were killed, including five children.

“All we need now is to arm our army and territorial defense units to prevent more backyard graves of innocent people, to prevent more gang rapes, to prevent more missiles don’t hit train stations,” said Daria Kaleniuk, executive director of the nonprofit Anti-Corruption Action Center. “There is no alternative but to fight.”

Hanna Hopko, a former Ukrainian parliament member who now heads the International Center for Ukrainian Victory advocacy group, said Friday’s attack on civilians “showed that the war on Ukraine is not a war. only by [Russian President Vladimir Putin]… this demonstrates that this is, according to the classification of the United Nations, a genocide.

Ahead of a meeting at the White House on Friday morning and after numerous meetings on Capitol Hill, the Ukrainian delegation met with reporters from the German Marshall Fund think tank to deliver a strong message: They appreciate the international support but believe it is still insufficient. .

Washington was too slow to realize Ukraine could resist the Russian invasion launched in February, assuming Moscow’s much larger army would triumph within days, Kaleniuk said. Instead, the Ukrainian army and everyday civilians prevented Russian troops from capturing the Ukrainian capital of kyiv and targets like the strategic port of Mariupol, preventing the Russians from consolidating their control in the areas they captured.

But Russia’s determination to hurt Ukrainians is increasingly clear and alarming, according to Maria Berlinska, another member of the group who co-founded an organization for female Ukrainian army veterans.

Berlinska pointed to a recent shift in Russia’s narrative of the invasion in its state media: an increasing focus on mass punishment for Ukraine that observers of Russian politics to have also Underline in the last days.

“Before that, Putin stressed, ‘Our main enemy is America…we would like to have a common state with the Ukrainians,'” Berlinska said. “Right now it’s: ‘We would like to kill them all, it doesn’t matter: children or old people, doctors or teachers, skin color, traditional family or LGBT’.

A photo from April 8, 2022 shows a train car after a rocket attack at a train station in Kramatorsk, eastern Ukraine, which was used for civilian evacuations.

FADEL SENNA via Getty Images

As Russia has withdrawn from some Ukrainian cities, journalists, rights groups and officials have uncovered evidence that Russian forces are committing atrocities against civilians, including executions and grated.

Kaleniuk said US aid to Ukraine should include additional anti-missile capabilities and that Americans should realize that millions of aid already approved will support countries other than Ukraine, such as Poland, and restock Stockpiles of American weapons to replace those sent to the Ukrainians.

The Ukrainian delegation wants President Joe Biden to send jets, drones that can reach targets at medium and long range, and more armored vehicles and ammunition. The Ukrainians also said Ukrainian forces needed quick training to use the latest US weapons rather than having to rely on Soviet-era materials. And they blasted what they described as bureaucratic delays in shipping that are inappropriate in an emergency.

The Senate unanimously approved a bill this week allowing the Pentagon to loan or lease US military equipment to Ukraine and neighboring countries. The legislation would remove the usual requirements for this process to expedite assistance. But the House of Representatives has yet to take up the proposal and is now on a two-week recess.

On Friday, the Biden administration and NATO ally Slovakia revealed a plan to send an air defense system to Ukraine, with Slovakia receiving a US system to replace the Soviet version it is giving to kyiv.

“Now is not the time to be complacent,” Biden said in a statement about the move. “As the Russian military repositions itself for the next phase of this war, I have directed my administration to continue to spare no effort to identify and provide the Ukrainian military with the advanced weaponry capabilities it needs. to defend his country.

The UK is also preparing a new package of missile systems and vehicles for Ukraine, British ministers have said noted this week.

With Russia now focused on capturing much of eastern Ukraine, it could become increasingly difficult to resupply Ukrainian forces fighting there from western Ukraine, where the foreign military aid is entering the country, Kaleniuk said.

“It’s still possible” right now, Berlinska said. “And as soon as we are given serious weapons, we will win this war.”

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