Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has formally ruled out talks with Russia following its illegal annexation of Ukrainian territories.

Zelenskyy’s decree released Tuesday declares that holding negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin has become impossible after his decision to annex four regions of Ukraine. The decree enacted a decision by Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council to bolster Ukrainian defenses and seek more weapons from the country’s Western allies in response to Moscow’s move.

Russia’s upper house of parliament on Tuesday ratified the treaties that make the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions of Ukraine part of Russia. Putin is expected to sign their official adhesion later in the day, completing the annexation.

The Kremlin responded to Zelenskyy by saying that it will wait for Ukraine to sit down for talks on ending the conflict, noting that it may not happen until a new Ukrainian president takes office.


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ANKARA, Turkey — Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Yevhen Perebyinis has called for the deployment of more weapons from Western allies to Ukraine following the partial mobilization of reserve troops announcement by Russia.

In a video address to a conference in Turkey’s capital on Russia’s war against Ukraine on Tuesday, Perebyinis said the additional weapons would not lead to an escalation but help to end the war sooner.

“We need additional long-range artillery and ammunition, combat aircrafts, and armed vehicles to continue the liberation of the occupied territories,” the deputy minister said. “We need anti-aircraft and anti-missile defense systems to secure our civilians and critical infrastructure from the terrorist attacks on the Russian forces.”

Perebyinis said: “such assistance doesn’t lead to escalation; it will only bring the end of the war closer. The sooner Ukraine receives weapons, the sooner the war will be over and more lives of Ukrainians will be saved.”

Western weapons have helped Ukraine launch a counterattack that has forced a Russian retreat from some previously conquered terrain.


KYIV, Ukraine — The city council of Kyiv says it is providing evacuation centers with potassium iodine pills in preparation for a possible nuclear strike on the capital, Ukraine’s largest city.

Potassium iodine pills can help block the absorption of harmful radiation by the thyroid gland if taken just before or immediately after exposure to nuclear radiation.

The pills will be distributed to residents in areas contaminated by nuclear radiation if there is a need to evacuate, the city council said in a statement.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that he would “use all the means at our disposal” to win the war while his ground forces retreat from a Ukrainian counterattack.


KYIV, Ukraine — Tesla CEO Elon Musk has proposed his own peace plan for Ukraine that would include a redo of referendums in Russian-occupied regions, triggering a wave of criticism from Ukrainians including President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Musk argued Monday that Russia should be allowed to keep Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula that it annexed in 2014 and that Ukraine adopt a neutral status, dropping its bid to join NATO. The tech billionaire also argued that the four Ukrainian regions that Russia has just moved to annex following Kremlin-orchestrated “referendums” denounced by the West as a sham should hold repeat votes organized by the United Nations.

Musk launched a Twitter poll to ask whether those regions should remain part of Ukraine or become part of Russia.

In a sarcastic response, Zelenskyy suggested a Twitter poll of his own: “Which Elon Musk do you like more? “One who supports Ukraine” or “One who supports Russia.”

And Andrii Melnyk, the outgoing Ukrainian ambassador to Germany, responded to Musk’s proposal with a four-letter word.

Musk replied to Zelenskyy that “I still very much support Ukraine, but am convinced that massive escalation of the war will cause great harm to Ukraine and possibly the world.”


WASHINGTON — Ukrainian troops are making “substantial gains” in both the east and south of the country, the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War says.

In the east, the institute said, Ukrainian forces pushing from Lyman in the Donetsk region may have gone as far as the border of neighboring Luhansk as they advance eastward toward the city of Kreminna.

The gains in the east and on the southern front around Kherson are noteworthy because Russian troops there “were previously considered to be among Russia’s premier conventional fighting forces,” the institute said.


MOSCOW — The upper house of the Russian parliament has ratified the treaties with four Ukrainian regions to absorb them into Russia.

The Federation Council voted quickly Tuesday to endorse the treaties making the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions part of Russia. The vote came a day after the lower house endorsed the pacts following the Kremlin-orchestrated “referendums” in the four regions that Ukraine and the West have rejected as a sham.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is now expected to quickly sign the ratification treaties to complete the process of absorbing the regions even as intense fighting is raging in those areas.

The move by Russia is seen as an escalation of its war effort since it could interpret attacks by Ukrainian forces in those areas as aggressions on its own territory.


KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s presidential office says that at least five civilians have been killed and another 10 have been wounded in the latest Russian shelling.

It said Tuesday that one person was killed when Russian missiles struck Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city. A doctor was killed and two nurses were also wounded when Russian shelling hit a hospital in the Kharkiv region.

The southern city of Nikopol across the Dnieper River from the Russia-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant came under intense shelling that damaged more than 30 houses, a school and several stores. The shelling interrupted water supplies and led to partial blackouts.


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