Zelensky on deoccupation of territories: 'We will wait for appropriate weapons to save our people'
31 May, 2022

During a press conference on May 31, President Volodymyr Zelensky stated that Ukraine is not tied to certain dates of deoccupation of its lands and will wait for the transfer of the necessary weapons to save people's lives.

"Our plans are clear: we will deoccupy all our territory, which belongs to us historically and in accordance with international law. These are our plans. As for the plans of the [occupiers]: June 1, July, September — whatever, we do not care what the plans are in Russia," said Zelensky when asked about the alleged order of the Russian president to capture the entire Luhansk Oblast by June.

The Ukrainian leader noted that the situation in eastern Ukraine is currently difficult due to the fact that the Ukrainian military lacks the necessary weapons.

"We are not attached to the dates of deoccupation, we are attached to the people. If our deoccupation operations in a region involve tens of thousands of our [people] dying, we will wait for the right weapons to save our people as much as possible. It is they that will deoccupy the territory. Because these territories without living Ukrainians are, to be honest, are not a priority for us,"  Zelensky said.

Supply of weapons to Ukraine

The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden plans to provide Ukraine with advanced, long-range rocket systems as part of a new military aid package.

According to media reports, among the weapons that can be transferred are the MLRS and the American HIMARS High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems. Both systems are capable of performing the role of both missile systems of volley fire (MLRS), and Tactical Ballistic Missile System (TBMS) with a range of up to 300 kilometers.

According to Politico, the Biden administration is considering providing launchers only with ammunition that allows them to be used as MLRS. The range of these munitions is from 30 to 70 kilometers. Biden himself also said that the United States will not send missiles that can reach deep into Russia.

At the same time, The Wall Street Journal, citing United States officials, writes about missiles capable of hitting targets at a distance of more than 40 miles (approximately 64 kilometers).

Why does Ukraine need such weapons?

The President's Office called on Western partners to provide Ukraine with American MLRS so that the Armed Forces can unblock the Black Sea and prevent a global food crisis.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba stated that the number of heavy weapons is the only factor where Russia surpasses Ukraine: "Without artillery, without MLRS, we will not be able to drive them back. If you really care about Ukraine, if you want Ukraine to deoccupy its territories, send us the MLRS as soon as possible."