Ukraine pleads for more weapons as European leaders head for Kyiv

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Ukraine said it urgently needed more weapons to fend off Russian advances in the south and the east, an appeal aimed at the West as the leaders of Germany, France and Italy headed to Kyiv by night train for a visit on Thursday.

Russia has focused most of its firepower on the eastern city of Sievierodonetsk while also trying to consolidate control over southern territory encompassing the strategic city of Kherson, north of the Black Sea.

Ukrainian soldiers are fighting to retake ground in wheat fields and empty villages along a deserted motorway between the city of Mykolaiv and Russian-occupied Kherson.

Major-General Dmytro Marchenko, who leads Ukraine’s forces in Mykolaiv, said his troops could achieve victory over Russia if they are given the right weapons.

“It is clear that this will not end soon. But then again, if we are given all the weapons that we need, the counter-offensive could well be over by the end of the summer,” Marchenko told U.S.-backed broadcaster Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

Kherson fell to Russian forces in March, soon after Moscow invaded on Feb. 24 in what it describes as a “special military operation” to disarm and “denazify” Ukraine. Kyiv and its allies call this a baseless pretext for a war that his killed thousands and uprooted millions.