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A senior figure in the Russian separatist group, the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), on Tuesday urged Moscow to send ballistic missiles to counter Ukrainian artillery strikes.
DPR People’s Militia spokesman Eduard Basurin told Russian media that DPR forces need more land and air ammunition like the Iskander missile system – which is a short-range ballistic missile .
RUSSIAN-UKRAINE WAR: DEADLY FIGHT IN DONBAS “ONE OF THE MOST BRUTUAL BATTLE… FOR EUROPE”, SAYS ZELENSKYY
Basurin said he was making the comments publicly rather than through military channels to ensure that Moscow “is careful” to help its support forces “to take out enemy artillery in the area.”
The call comes as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has issued similar pleas for help from Western allies as he seeks to push Russian forces out of Ukrainian-occupied territory.
Zelenskyy said the Donetsk and Luhansk regions are seeing some of the most brutal fighting in history “in Europe and for Europe” as the war nears its fourth month.
Russia claimed great advances in the Donbass, but Ukrainian forces prevented them from taking full control of the eastern regions.
Moscow appeared to be making some gains in the Luhansk region on Tuesday after Russian forces destroyed the last remaining bridge over the Siverskyi Donets River near the disputed city of Sievierodonetsk – blocking immediate access to western Ukraine for the resistance forces in the city.
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Reports have surfaced in recent weeks suggesting that Russia has been unable to effectively replenish its military needs as it seeks to gain “full control” over eastern and southern Ukraine.
The Kyiv Defense Ministry said last week that Russian forces relied on 1,950 Soviet-era mines to continue their fight in the southern Kherson region.
Britain’s Ministry of Defense confirmed on Tuesday that Russia intends to increase its defense budget by $10 billion to $12 billion, but it is unclear whether Moscow can pull this off.
“Funding from the Russian government is allowing the country’s defense industrial base to be slowly mobilized to meet the demands placed on it by the war in Ukraine,” Britain’s Ministry of Defense said on Tuesday.
But the ministry also noted that Moscow could face an uphill battle to increase its defense budget following tough international sanctions.
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“Russian production of high-quality optics and advanced electronics likely remains troubled and could undermine its efforts to replace equipment lost in Ukraine,” the ministry added.
Zelenskyy argued on Tuesday that an increase in aid was more important than ever to counter the Russian occupation and to “prevent stagnation at the front”.