March 22, 2023

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The International Red Cross team could not reach Mariupol and will try again tomorrow

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba (CNN)

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told CNN Friday that he believes the regrouping of Russian forces is happening because they “cannot bear the pressure” to continue an attack on Ukraine from three fronts.

Speaking to CNN’s Christian Amanpour, Kuleba said Moscow’s decision to reduce military activity on the Kyiv and Chernihiv fronts came at a time when “Ukrainian forces began to successfully expel them from villages and small towns in the siege of Kyiv. The reason they said this was because they felt they could not afford pressure and they cannot maintain the front line around Kyiv.”

Kuleba said it may be an indication that Russian President Vladimir Putin is becoming more realistic about his military strategy. “I think it has already become more realistic because I cannot imagine that the withdrawal of Russian forces from northern Ukraine was not his order,” the minister said.

“If we translate this last movement into human language, it literally means that I do not have enough strength to continue attacking Ukraine from three directions simultaneously. So I have to transfer part of my military strength to another direction to reinforce my army in that region.”

“Whatever his portrayal of reality, from the steps they take on the ground, I can conclude that he understands his strength, that he is not strong enough to continue attacking Ukraine from all angles, and that is clear now,” Kobyla added.

But the foreign minister also said he believed the withdrawal of Russian forces might be an attempt to strategically prepare for an attack on Ukraine’s Donbas region.

“We see that some of their military unions are again withdrawing to the territory of Belarus, but at the same time we hear consistent messages and also received intelligence that they still see Donbass as an outstanding fruit,” he said. CNN. “They need to regroup resources and prepare for the Battle of Donbass.”

On Friday, the Russian Defense Ministry said that two Ukrainian Mi-24 helicopters carried out an attack on fuel storage facility In southern Russia. When asked if Ukraine carried out the attack, Kuleba said he could not verify it.

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Asked by Amanpour if he was generally surprised by Ukraine’s military capability in the air, Kuleba said he “trusts the people of Ukraine, our armed forces and as foreign minister in our diplomacy. This is war. the means available to us within the framework of the existing international laws of war.”

We never tire of fighting for freedom, independence and values. So I hope people in the West don’t get tired of supporting us either.”

“The only fatigue they have noticed so far is the fatigue in the capitals trying not to avoid sanctions against Russia, but we are working with them and I hope I believe that we will help them overcome this fatigue,” Kuleba added.