Ukraine Needs Improved Defense Against Russian Aerial Bombs, Zelenskiy Says

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy made a plea on May 22 for upgraded defense systems to protect Ukrainian cities against guided bombs, which have been used by Russian forces to hit Ukrainian energy infrastructure.

Zelenskiy said the need for improved air defense systems was discussed at a special meeting on Ukrainian arms production and countermeasures against Russian guided aerial bombs.

“This is a challenging topic, and while we see some good progress on electronic warfare, drones, and the missile program, there is still a lot of work to be done to counter Russian bombs,” he said in a summary posted at his website.

He said Ukraine needs systems and tactics that will allow it to protect its troop positions and cities and other communities from the bombs, which he said are the “main instrument of Russian terror and the advance of the occupier.”

Zelenskiy’s comments came after a Russian air attack on Kharkiv injured at least nine people and set fire to a residential building, local officials said.

“One of the guided aerial bombs, according to preliminary data, hit a cafe. It is very close to a multistory residential building,” Serhiy Bolvinov, the head of the investigative department of the regional police, told Ukrainian television.

Zelenskiy said earlier this month that Russia used more than 3,200 guided bombs against Ukrainian targets in April. Russia has increasingly resorted to these bombs, which are directed to a target by a guidance system, have great destructive potential, and pose fewer risks to air crews delivering them.

Commenting on the situation at the front, Zelenskiy said border issues are receiving maximum attention not only in the Kharkiv region but also in the Sumy region.

The areas of the main battles have not changed and remain primarily Pokrovsk and other areas in the Donetsk region and in the area around Kupyansk in the Kharkiv region.

The Ukrainian Air Force said earlier on May 22 that its air defenses shot down all 24 drones launched by Russia at targets on Ukraine’s territory early in the say.

“The drones were destroyed over the Mykolayiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhya, Donetsk, Sumy, and Odesa regions,” the air force command said in a statement.

Separately, the Sumy city council said power lines and water pipes were damaged by falling drone debris and that the power supply to the city was disrupted. It said work was already under way to restore water and electricity to the city’s inhabitants.

Zelenskiy also announced in his address that four more countries — Albania, Austria, Chile, and Mozambique — had agreed to attend a peace summit in Switzerland in June. The aim of the meeting is to create a broad front to oblige Russia to agree to a peace settlement under the terms of the UN Charter.

“Russian aggression has tried to turn the UN Charter into a museum exhibit,” Zelenskiy said. “Our peace summit…can restore the full effectiveness and full protection of the UN Charter to every nation.”

Zelenskiy’s peace plan calls for the withdrawal of all Russian forces and the restoration of Ukraine’s 1991 borders.

Russia, which rejects the plan, has not been invited to the summit and has dismissed any discussion of the conflict without its participation as pointless.

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