As Ukraine is expected to launch a counteroffensive against the Russian troops occupying parts of his country, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the military is establishing new fighting units.
“We are actively preparing new brigades and units that will show themselves on the front,” he said in his daily video address on Friday. He said his meetings with the general staff were about providing all the means to liberate Ukraine from Russian occupation.
“Everyone in Ukraine must understand that the main task of the state is the de-occupation of our territories, the return of our lands and our people from Russian captivity,” he said, adding that state resources would be spent primarily on this. “The front line is priority number one.”
At the same time, he thanked Western partners meeting in Germany on Friday for helping Ukraine defend itself. “I thank those partners whose determination is fully in line with the actual situation and needs on the battlefield,” Zelenskyy said.
Ukraine has been fighting off Russia’s invasion and occupation for nearly 14 months and is largely dependent on Western support for military equipment. On Friday, the Western allies met at the US Ramstein Air Base to discuss further aid.
Latvia announced the delivery of weapons to Ukraine following talks at Ramstein on further Western military aid to the country under attack from Russia.
According to Latvian Defense Ministry, all Stinger anti-aircraft missiles still in Latvia’s armed forces are to be handed over to Ukraine. In addition, more intensive training of Ukrainian soldiers is to take place in Latvia, a statement said.
“Latvia has responded to Ukraine’s request for the delivery of air defense systems and decided to provide Ukraine with all the Stinger systems we have left. We will do our best to deliver them as soon as possible,” Defense Minister Inara Murniece said. She did not provide further details, such as the number of units or a timetable.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has warned of a nuclear accident due to the increasing hostilities around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine.
“I saw clear signs of military preparations in the area when I visited the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant three weeks ago,” IAEA Director Rafael Grossi said on Friday, according to a statement from the agency.
Since then, the nuclear experts stationed on site have repeatedly registered explosions in the immediate vicinity of the plant, Grossi added. He was “deeply concerned” about the current situation.
The power plant was occupied by Russian troops shortly after the start of the Russian invasion 14 months ago. The Zaporizhzhia region is considered one of the possible directions of the Ukrainian counteroffensive.