2 Years Later, Ukraine's Troops Are 'Sitting Here With Nothing'

Zelensky welcomes Western leaders to mark anniversary of Russian invasion
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 24, 2024 8:30 AM CST
Zelensky Welcomes Western Brass for War's 2nd Anniversary
People attend a rally to demand the release of Ukrainian prisoners of war in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Saturday. Ukraine is marking two years since Russia's full-scale invasion with a somber mood hanging over the country. On the battlefield, Ukrainian troops are running low on ammunition as they hope for further...   (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed Western leaders to Kyiv on Saturday to mark the second anniversary of Russia's full-scale invasion, as Ukrainian forces run low on ammunition and weapons, and foreign aid hangs in the balance. Zelensky posted a video from the Hostomel Airport, along with Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, as well as European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. "Two years ago, here, we met enemy landing forces with fire; two years later, we meet our friends and our partners here," Zelensky said at the airport just outside of Kyiv, which Russian paratroopers unsuccessfully tried to seize in the first days of the war, per the AP. The Western leaders arrived shortly after a Russian drone attack struck a residential building in the southern city of Odesa, killing at least one.

Three women also sustained severe burns in the attack on a residential building Friday evening, regional Gov. Oleh Kiper wrote on his social media account. Rescue services combed through the rubble looking for survivors. Italy, which holds the rotating presidency of the Group of Seven leading economies, announced that the G7 will meet virtually on Saturday with Zelensky and would adopt a joint statement on Ukraine. "More than ever, we stand firmly by Ukraine," von der Leyen said in a post on X. "Financially, economically, militarily, morally. Until the country is finally free." On the front line in the eastern Donetsk region, Ukrainian soldiers pleaded for ammunition. "When the enemy comes in, a lot of our guys die. ... We are sitting here with nothing," said Volodymyr, 27, a senior officer in an artillery battery.

A somber mood hangs over Ukraine as the war against Russia enters its third year and Kyiv's troops face mounting challenges on the front line amid dwindling ammunition supplies and personnel challenges. Its troops recently withdrew from the strategic eastern city of Avdiivka, handing Moscow one of its biggest victories. Russia still controls roughly a quarter of the country after Ukraine failed to make major breakthroughs with its summertime counteroffensive. Meanwhile, millions of Ukrainians are living in precarious circumstances in the crossfire of battles, and many others face constant struggles under Russian occupation. In the US Congress, Republicans have stalled $60 billion in military aid for Kyiv, desperately needed in the short term. The EU recently approved a $54 billion aid package for Ukraine meant to support Ukraine's economy, despite resistance from Hungary. More here.

(More Russia-Ukraine war stories.)

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