Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called for more “powerful weapons” from his allies ahead of his expected visit from US officials.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced this weekend that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin were set to visit Kyiv on Sunday to discuss Ukraine’s call for more powerful weapons.
He had earlier said talks with his US visitors would cover the “powerful, heavy weapons” Ukraine needed to retake territory and the pace of deliveries.
He also mentioned the importance of weapons coming quickly from the US and UK during a press conference on Saturday evening in an underground metro station, which was also a bomb shelter for local residents at the start of the invasion two months ago.
Speaking to Sky News’ Deborah Haynes, he said: “I don’t believe our partners won’t provide the weapons we need, which they have promised. They have no alternative.
“We have no other choice but to defend our land and get it back. What would the other choice be? It would be that we have no state and no people – this would just be a scorched land.
“This is the only alternative which I will take into account.”
He later added during the conference that he will discuss the “exact list of weapons” that Ukraine needs with his US visitors.
Mr Zelenskyy: “Tomorrow we will discuss this exact list of weapons that are essential for us and the pace of deliveries.
“We would like to have… powerful heavy weapons. As soon as we have (more weapons), as soon as there are enough of them, believe me, we will immediately retake this or that territory, which is temporarily occupied.”
What new weapons does Mr Zelenskyy want?
The US and NATO allies have shown readiness to supply heavier equipment and more advanced weapons systems.
Britain has also promised to send military vehicles and said it was considering supplying British tanks to Poland to free up Warsaw’s Russian-designed T-72s for Ukraine.
It comes after Mr Zelenskyy said Russia had already fired most of its missile arsenal at Ukraine.
He said: “Of course, they still have missiles left. Of course, they can still continue the missile terror against our people.
“But what they have already done is a powerful enough argument for the world to finally recognise Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism and the Russian army as a terrorist organisation.”
Russia has denied targeting civilians in its “special military operation”.
The Russian defence ministry said it used high-precision missiles to destroy a logistics terminal in Odesa containing weapons supplied by the United States and European nations.
The last big strike on or near Odesa was in early April.
What will Ukraine discuss with the US?
The White House has not confirmed any visit by Mr Blinken and Mr Austin to Ukraine.
The State Department and Pentagon have not made any comment, so the exact details of the meeting are not yet known.
Mr Zelenskyy spoke publicly again earlier today in an Easter video message from Kyiv’s 1,000-year-old Saint Sophia Cathedral.
He said that Ukraine would not be defeated by “wickedness” and prayed for “endurance to those who, unfortunately, would not see the return of their child from the front”.
Ukrainian presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak called for “a real Easter truce in Mariupol” on Twitter.
He said: “The place where our civilians and military are located is shelled with heavy air bombs and artillery.”
Capturing Mariupol, the site of biggest battle of the conflict, would link up pro-Russian separatists who control parts of the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk that make up the Donbas with the southern Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, which Moscow seized in 2014.