KYIV, Ukraine (TBEN) — Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy will each seek key allies on Thursday, trying to bolster their efforts in a war whose fortunes have tilted to Ukraine in recent days.
In the old Samarkand in Uzbekistan, Putin hoped to break his international isolation and further strengthen his ties with Chinese President Xi Jinping in a geopolitical alliance that is increasingly seen as a powerful counterweight to the Western powers.
According to the Russian president’s foreign affairs adviser, Putin and Xi would meet one on one and talk about Ukraine.
In Kiev, Zelenskyy shrugged off a traffic accident the previous night, which left him with no serious injuries, officials said. On the agenda was a meeting with the head of the European Union, Ursula von der Leyen, who once again showed his full commitment to Ukraine’s cause.
Von der Leyen said she would discuss “how we can bring our economies and people closer together as Ukraine moves towards joining” the bloc, which is likely still years away, even in the best of circumstances.
While Russian forces are increasingly pushed back to the border in some areas, Russia is still striking from behind the front lines. It fired rockets at the reservoir dam near Zelenskyy’s birthplace, Kryvyi Rih, and forced local authorities into emergency operations to ensure there was no threat to the population.
Kryvyi Rih’s head, Oleksandr Vilkul, said on Thursday that officials blew up two dams to help the river flow and the added levels had begun to decline. The authorities are continuing their search and rescue efforts. He didn’t work out.
The attack so close to its roots infuriated Zelenskyy, saying the attacks had no military value.
“In fact, hitting hundreds of thousands of ordinary citizens is another reason Russia will lose,” he said late in his late night speech on Wednesday.
Zelensky himself remained in a good mood, saying late Wednesday that nearly 400 settlements had been recaptured in less than a week of fighting.
“It was an unprecedented move by our warriors – Ukrainians again managed to do what many thought was impossible,” he said.
Zelenskyy is expected to ask for more Western military equipment that has been essential to powering the counteroffensive, and to demand even tougher sanctions against Moscow as the war continues into its seventh month.
Despite Ukraine’s newfound strength on the battlefield and the initial rumble of criticism at home, Putin remains steadfast in his determination to fully subjugate Ukraine, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said.
After a phone call with Putin earlier this week, Scholz said that “unfortunately I cannot say that there has been a realization that this was a mistake to start this war.”
“There is no indication that new attitudes are emerging there now,” he added.
Follow TBEN war coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine