KYIV – Russian soldiers blasted Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region on Saturday (30 April), but failed to take three target areas, according to Ukraine’s military, while Moscow said Western sanctions against Russia and weaponry shipments to Ukraine were obstructing peace talks.
The Russians were attempting to take Lyman in Donetsk, as well as Sievierodonetsk and Popasna in Luhansk, according to the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces in a daily update. “Unsuccessful – the fight continues,” it said.
In remarks released early Saturday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated that eliminating Western sanctions on Russia was part of the peace discussions, which he described as arduous but ongoing daily via video link.
Since the Russian invasion began on February 24, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has stressed that sanctions must be tightened and cannot be part of negotiations. He claimed on Friday that the negotiations were at risk of failing due to Russia’s “playbook for murdering people.”
Ukraine accuses Russian forces of atrocities in previously seized territories around the capital, Kyiv. Moscow disputes the allegations.
If the US and other NATO countries were sincerely interested in settling the Ukrainian situation, Lavrov added, they should stop delivering arms to Kyiv.
Bipartisan support has been shown in Washington for US President Joe Biden’s proposed US$33 billion aid package for Ukraine, which includes US$20 billion for weaponry. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Friday that she hoped Congress will adopt the bill as quickly as possible.