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Russia striking Ukrainian railway infrastructure as it awaits US arms, Zelenskyy warns Russia seizing the initiative

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The United States has approved a long-delayed $61 billion military assistance package to Ukraine which comprises air defense systems, artillery ammunition, armored vehicles, and other weapons
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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said that Russia seized the initiative on the battlefield while Ukraine awaited the weapons supplies.

Even as the US has cleared the first tranche of the $61 billion military aid package to Ukraine, the arms and ammunition will take some time to arrive in Ukraine. During this time, Russia is seeking to batter the Ukrainian transport infrastructure that would make it difficult to take deliveries of these Western supplies, according to reports.

A Ukrainian source told the AFP news agency that Russia has been deliberately targeting the Ukrainian railway infrastructure in recent days to “paralyse deliveries and movement of military cargo” ahead of a major Russian assault.

“These are standard steps ahead of an offensive,” said the source.

Zelenskyy said that Russia wants to capture the strategic town of Chasiv Yar in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region by May 9. The date marks the Russian celebrations of its victory in the World War II. Last week, Russia had claimed victory at a key village near this town.

‘Russia hitting stations indiscriminately, we can still move forward’

In a video meeting with Ukraine’s international supporters, Zelenskyy on Friday said that Russia was hitting railway stations “indiscriminately” and dubbed the attacks “very primitive”.

Zelenskyy further said that while Russia had seized the initiative when the US weapons supplies were delayed because of deadlock in the House of Representatives, Ukraine can still move forward.

“While we were waiting for a decision on the American support, the Russian army managed to seize the initiative on the battlefield…We can still now not only stabilise the front, but also move forward, achieving our Ukrainian goals in the war,” said Zelenskyy, as per the AFP.

Zelenskyy was further quoted as saying that Ukraine needs “sufficient and timely support”.

Zelenskyy further said, “Predatory regimes like Russia’s are rapidly increasing their appetite for aggression. When they succeed in one part of the world, it creates problems in many other places. Aggression spreads when not stopped.”

Zelenskyy also pressed the partners to provide Ukraine with more air defence systems to counter Russian aerial assaults.

“This year, Russian jets (have) already used more than 9,000 guided aerial bombs against Ukraine and we need the ability to shoot down the air combat aircraft so that they do not approach our positions and borders,” said Zelensky, as per Reuters.

Russia steps up attacks on railway infrastructure

The Ukrainian state-run railway company, Ukrzaliznytsia, said that three railway staffers were killed and four were injured in a Russian attack in the eastern region’s Donetsk province, according to AFP.

The report said that 10 civilians were also injured in a separate attack at Balakliya in the Kharkiv.

Russia has attacked critical infrastructure of Ukraine, such as railways and power stations, since the beginning of the war.

On its part, Russia on Friday said it strikes targeted “Western weapons and military equipment” being transported by railways, as per the report.

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