Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday said Russian troops were preparing for new attacks in eastern Ukraine after tens of thousands of citizens have already been killed in the city of Mariupol, according to the leader, as Russia shift focus to a new region after failing to take the Ukrainian capital and other large cities in the north.
Zelensky told South Korea’s national assembly in a video address Monday thousands of Russian troops were preparing for new attacks in the east, according to Reuters.
The Ukrainian leader said Russia had “completely destroyed” the southeastern city of Mariupol and left “at least tens of thousands” of citizens dead, as he called on South Korea to provide Ukraine with military equipment, according to Agence France Presse.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Russian state television on Monday the Kremlin decided “there would be no pause” in its military operations for the next round of peace talks after Russia “became convinced that the Ukrainians were not planning to reciprocate,” according to Reuters.
“The Russians completely destroyed Mariupol and burned it to ashes. At least tens of thousands of Mariupol citizens must have been killed,” Zelensky said, according to AFP.
Ukrainian officials in recent days have said Russia is shifting its offensive front away from Ukraine’s biggest cities to the east, urging citizens to evacuate the areas. More than 4.5 million Ukrainians have fled the country since the start of the war in February, the United Nations said on Sunday. Satellite images from a U.S. technology firm Maxar apparently showed an 8-mile-long stretch of Russian military vehicles heading through eastern Ukraine on Friday after moving south, according to multiple outlets. The images came the same day as a Russian missile strike on Kramatorsk railway station in the east left at least 50 people dead, including five children, drawing widespread criticism from leaders around the world. In a video address on Sunday, Zelensky said the country was “preparing” for “even larger operations” from Russian troops in the east, according to ABC News. Russia on Saturday reportedly named a new general, Aleksandr Dvornikov, who has been accused of targeting civilian neighborhoods in Syria, in a move that could lead to a “continuation of what we’ve already seen on the ground in Ukraine,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Fox News Sunday.