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Ukrainian minister calls for unrestricted arms deliveries from West

Published March 08,2024

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba issued an urgent appeal on Friday to the country's western allies to supply arms of all kinds without restrictions.

"We are extremely grateful for what you have done for Ukraine. But the strategy of dripping aid to Ukraine drop by drop doesn't work anymore," Kuleba said in Vilnius following a meeting with the foreign ministers of France and the Baltic republics.

"What is required is an unrestricted and timely supply of all types of weapons and ammunition to ensure that Ukraine beats Russia, and the war in Europe does not spill over. We have to accept as a new reality that the era of peace in Europe is over," he added.

He pointed to remarks by Emmanuel Macron in Paris last week in which the French President did not rule out the deployment of French ground troops to Ukraine. Macron's remarks were rejected by other NATO members.

The foreign ministers of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania backed Kuleba's remarks.

"We must draw red lines for Russia, not for ourselves. In order to prevent Russia from winning and finally to open the way for Ukraine's victory, we can't rule out any form of support for Ukraine," conference host Gabrielius Landsbergis of Lithuania said.

The Baltic republics have been among Ukraine's staunchest backers since the Russian invasion in February 2022.

The governor of the Belgorod region in southern Russia, Vyacheslav Gladkov, reported on Friday that two people in the village of Rozhdestvenka three kilometres from the border with Ukraine had been killed in a Ukrainian aerial drone attack.

Another person had been injured, he posted on Telegram.

While there is no fighting on the ground in the area, the Ukrainian side comes under almost daily Russian artillery attack. The Ukrainians also report penetration by Russian saboteurs across the border.

Gladkov said the Belgorod region had come under repeated drone attack on Friday. Russian air defences had downed five drones, he said.

In Kiev, President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a decree releasing conscripts who were drafted before the start of the war after more than two years on the front line.

The soldiers will be rotated from active service into the reserves in April and May. The decree, which was published in Kiev on Thursday evening, did not specify how many soldiers would be affected. Their military service was extended when Russia launched its invasion.

In Germany, Ukrainian doctors were undergoing training in the care of patients suffering from burns. The two-day workshop focused on care in the first 48 hours.

The 16 participants practised so-called "relief cuts" on the skins of pigs. They also learnt how to assess the severity of burn wounds using models. Germany needed to assist Ukraine as far as possible, Health Ministry state secretary Thomas Steffen said.

Doctors at the hospital where the training was conducted said that German doctors would learn a lot from the experience of their Ukrainian colleagues. The knowledge was important for the German military as well.

While serious burn wounds were relatively rare in civilian life, around 10% of those injured in Ukraine had burn wounds, they said.