Day 574 of the Invasion of Ukraine: NATO’s Stoltenberg calls for more Air Defense Systems
Day 574 of the invasion of Ukraine. Summary of key events in the last 24 hours:
- A fire broke out near an airport and an oil depot in the Russian resort of Sochi
- A refinery in the Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk was hit by a Russian drone attack
- Olaf Scholz warned against a "peace on paper" in Ukraine
- Stoltenberg at the UN: Ukraine urgently needs air defense systems
- Zelensky in a fiery UN speech: “Russia is weaponizing food and energy. Children are being abducted”
- The Polish President: Ukraine should not forget that we are helping them
- Kim Jong-un was given a grand welcome upon his return to Pyongyang from Russia
A fire broke out near an airport and an oil depot in the Russian resort of Sochi
A fire broke out early this morning near the airport and not far from an oil depot in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia's RIA news agency reported, as quoted by Reuters.
It is unclear what caused the fire.
Mash, a Russian news channel on the Telegram app, posted a video showing a tall column of smoke rising over the city. The media reported that before the fire broke out, explosions were heard.
Reuters could not verify the credibility of the reports.
Early this morning, an explosion occurred at the airport in Sochi, Russia. A fuel tank caught fire after. Very likely the work of Ukrainian drones. pic.twitter.com/aYYgTzVLTl— NOELREPORTS ???????? ???????? (@NOELreports) September 20, 2023
A refinery in the Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk was hit by a Russian drone attack
A refinery in the Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk was hit last night by Russian drone strikes, local authorities said, as quoted by DPA.
"There was a fire. The emergency services are working on the spot," Dmytro Lunin, the military governor of the Poltava Oblast, wrote on Telegram.
Kremenchuk is an industrial city that has been shelled several times since the beginning of the invasion because of its strategic importance as an oil processing center. The refinery has also come under attack, and last summer a shopping mall in the city was hit by a Russian missile, killing 20 people.
Last night, Russia attacked Ukraine with 24 drones aimed at the northern and central parts of the country, the General Staff in Kyiv reported. Seventeen of the drones were shot down, the army said in a statement, adding that they were destroyed in Sumy, Poltava, Kirovohrad and Dnipropetrovsk Oblasts.
Olaf Scholz warned against a "peace on paper" in Ukraine
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz warned at the UN against a fraudulent peace in Ukraine. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg pointed out that Ukraine urgently needs air defense.
Olaf Scholz supported international efforts to achieve peace in Ukraine in his speech at the United Nations.
"At the same time, we must beware of false solutions that represent peace only on paper," warned Scholz. "Because peace without freedom is called oppression. Peace without justice is called dictatorship. Moscow must finally understand that," Scholz said, again calling on Russian President Vladimir Putin to end the war.
In the speech, the federal chancellor also called for reform of the UN Security Council, which has been blocked for a long time, to give greater representation to Africa, Asia and Latin America.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told Reuters on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly that Ukraine urgently needs air defenses and that the Western military bloc should also focus on maintaining the weapons already delivered. Stoltenberg said the war - launched by Russia against its neighbor and a former Soviet republic that now wants to integrate with the West - was a "war of attrition" but not a stalemate as the Ukrainian counter-offensive was making progress:
"Ukraine needs many different types of support. There is an urgent need for air defense, not only new systems, but also ammunition, maintenance, spare parts. We see air defenses saving lives every day in Ukraine, and we need to maintain these systems."
Stoltenberg at the UN: Ukraine urgently needs air defense systems
“Ukraine urgently needs air defense systems, including ammunition, spare parts and support for the systems that the Ukrainian military already has”, said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, quoted by Reuters.
Stoltenberg said the war, now in its second year, was a "war of attrition" but not at a "stalemate" given the progress Ukraine had made in its counteroffensive to retake territory that began in June. occupied by Russian forces.
"If we want an end to the war, if we want a just and lasting peace, military support for Ukraine is the right way," Stoltenberg said in New York, where he attended the annual session of the UN General Assembly. "Ukraine needs many and different types of support," he added.
“The country has an urgent need for air defense, the NATO Secretary General pointed out. Not only new systems, but also ammunition, maintenance, spare parts. We see that every day in Ukraine air defense saves the lives of many people and we must support Ukraine's air defense systems”, said Stoltenberg.
Earlier yesterday, a senior US State Department official said strengthening Ukraine's air defense systems is key, including protecting critical infrastructure as winter approaches.
Some military analysts say Ukraine may find it difficult to maintain momentum on the battlefield as cold and wet weather sets in. However, according to Stoltenberg, the fighting may continue in the fall and winter. "What we have to do is support the Ukrainians, and it's up to them what decisions they make on the ground," Stoltenberg said. The war of attrition is turning into a war of logistics, the NATO Secretary General stated.
Zelensky in a fiery UN speech: “Russia is weaponizing food and energy. Children are being abducted”
In a rousing speech at the United Nations on Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky lashed out at Russia, accusing it of “weaponizing” food and energy and attacking children during the war in Ukraine reported the New York Post.
Zelensky framed Russia’s war on his country as an attack on the “international order” and urged the world leaders to “act united to defeat the aggressor”
“Let unity decide everything openly,” Zelensky said. “While Russia is pushing the world to the final war, Ukraine is doing everything to ensure that after Russian aggression no one in the world will dare to attack any nation.”.
“Weaponization must be restrained, war crimes must be punished, deported people must come back home and the occupier must return to their own land. We must be united,” he said, to spirited applause.
Zelensky had begun his speech slamming Russia for “weaponizing food, energy and attacks on children against Ukraine”.
“We know the names of tens of thousands of children…kidnapped by Russia in the occupied territories of Ukraine and later deported. The International Criminal Court issued international arrest warrants for Putin for this crime. We are trying to get children back home but as time goes by…what will happen to them?” he asked.
He added, “For the first time in modern history, we have a real chance to end the aggression on the terms of the nation that was attacked. And this is a real chance for every nation… to have the same outcome if attacked”.
In an apparent reference to the death of Wagner Group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, Zelensky said, “Evil cannot be trusted”.
The embattled leader took the stage hours after US President Biden, who also urged international unity against Russia’s offensive.
Addressing the 78th UNGA session, Biden reaffirmed Washington's support for Ukraine and said that the US, with its allies and partners around the world, will continue to stand with the "brave people of Ukraine" in defending their sovereignty and territorial integrity.
More than 140 world leaders are meeting to discuss the pressing world issues at the 78th session of the ongoing United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York City.
Notably, US President Joe Biden is the only representative among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council who is attending the UNGA.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky attended the General Assembly for the first time since Russia launched a full-scale invasion of his nation in February 2022.
One of the most anticipated annual UN events, the General Debate, provides a platform for leaders to discuss topics of worldwide concern in 15-minute statements. While speakers at the General Debate are free to discuss whatever they like, each year's event is framed by a broad theme, according to Al Jazeera.
This year, the theme is “Rebuilding trust and reigniting global solidarity”.
The Polish President: Ukraine should not forget that we are helping them
“Ukraine must not forget that it receives aid from Poland”, Polish President Andrzej Duda said yesterday amid the deepening dispute between the countries regarding the import of agricultural products, Reuters reported.
Although Poland remains a staunch supporter of Ukraine against the Russian invasion, the two countries are at odds over Poland's recent extension of a ban on Ukrainian grain imports, which Warsaw says is necessary to protect its farmers.
"It would be good for Ukraine not to forget that it receives aid from us and not to forget that we are also a transit country for it," Andrzej Duda told journalists in New York after addressing the UN General Assembly.
Poland, Slovakia and Hungary announced restrictions on imports from Ukraine on Friday after the European Commission decided not to extend a ban on sales to Ukraine's five EU neighbors, which include Bulgaria and Romania. The ban was imposed after the countries faced a flood of cheap imports from Ukraine as Kyiv struggled to get grain elsewhere.
While Ukraine called for "constructive dialogue" yesterday, a spokesman for the World Trade Organization confirmed that Kyiv had taken the first step in the trade dispute by filing a complaint with the international body.
Duda said that if Ukraine files a complaint, Poland will explain the situation to the tribunal. He emphasized that the ban applies to the import, but not to the transit of Ukrainian grain.
"There are business circles that have interests in Ukraine and would like to sell the grain as quickly as possible and at the lowest possible price. We must protect ourselves from this," noted the president of Poland. "I would compare it to something like a drowning person... A drowning person is extremely dangerous because he can drag you to the depths... he can just drown the rescuer," he added.
Kim Jong-un was given a grand welcome upon his return to Pyongyang from Russia
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was given a grand welcome on his return to Pyongyang after a visit to Russia.
During his week-long tour of the Russian Far East, Kim met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, with whom he discussed establishing closer bilateral cooperation in the military and other fields.
At the train station in Pyongyang, as he disembarked from his armored train, Kim received a guard of honor. An official statement by North Korea's state news agency said the leader was in good health after the historic meetings. However, his visit to Russia caused concern in Japan and South Korea.
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