Zelensky pleads for more air defence to protect against Russian strikes: 'No time to rest'

The news comes as the war rages on following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has seen huge amounts of lands seized by Russian forces in the east of the country. Western arms have started to make an impact on Russian advances, forcing Moscow to resort to older and less accurate long-range missiles to pound Ukrainian towns and cities.

Now the Ukrainian President has called for western aid in combating the relentless bombardment by long-range Russian missiles.

Mr Zelensky told the Washington Post he highly commended the arrival of the HIMARS missile systems which have pushed back Russian ground troops and destroyed multiple ammunition dumps.

However, he has appealed for more air defences, which both the US and Germany have vowed to supply, but have yet to deliver on.

Mr Zelensky said the number of artillery shells Ukraine fires daily has increased from around 1,000-2,000 to 6,000.

He said Russia used to fire 12,000 shells a day, but that number is decreasing amid shortages.

In addition, he revealed that at the peak of fighting Ukraine was losing up to 200 troops a day, but daily fatalities had now fallen to about 30.

He went on to say a ceasefire with Russia which does not allow Ukraine to reclaim occupied territory is unacceptable.

Speaking of the need to stop Russia from resting and regrouping, Mr Zelensky added: “Freezing the conflict with the Russian Federation means a pause that gives the Russian Federation a break for rest.”

Russia in the meantime has been forced to become creative in their assault on Ukraine.

Huge losses of equipment and personnel have seen Moscow turn to using air defence weapons to strike ground targets.

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Reports have emerged the Kremlin has ordered S-300 air missiles to be used in targeting ground targets, which although unusual, can be done due to the technology.

The British Ministry of Defence (MoD) said on the issue: “Russia has increased its use of air defence missiles in a secondary ground attack mode because of critical shortages of dedicated ground-attack missiles.”

Vitaly Kim, the governor of Mykolaiv said; “They put GPS on them to shoot at the ground, it is not accurate because of this.”

Meanwhile, Russia’s defence ministry said on Friday that its forces had destroyed four US-supplied HIMARS in Ukraine this month.

A daily briefing said that between July 5 and 20, “four launchers and one reloading vehicle for the US-made multiple launch rocket systems (Himars) were destroyed”.

Kyiv rejected Moscow’s claim, which could not be independently verified, calling them “fakes” designed to undermine the West’s support for Ukraine.

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Ukraine has hailed the arrival of the eight Himars as a potential game-changer, as it desperately calls for more military support to fend off the Russian invasion – now about to enter its sixth month.

The latest British intelligence report on the conflict says: “In the last 48 hours, heavy fighting has been taking place as Ukrainian forces have continued their offensive against Russian forces in Kherson Oblast, west of the River Dnipro.

“Russia is likely attempting to slow the Ukrainian attack using artillery fire along the natural barrier of the Ingulets River, a tributary of the Dnipro.

“Simultaneously, the supply lines of the Russian force west of the Dnipro are increasingly at risk.

“Additional Ukrainian strikes have caused further damage to the key Antonivsky Bridge, though Russia has conducted temporary repairs.

“As of 22 July 2022, it was almost certainly open to some traffic.

“The Russian army prioritises maintaining its military bridging capability, but any attempt to construct a crossing of the Dnipro would be a very high-risk operation.”

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