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Ukraine Reports Ammunition Shortage

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy welcomes European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen before a meeting, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine June 11, 2022.

A Ukrainian official said their army is running out of ammunition in its battles with Russian forces. In the Mykolaiv region near the frontline in the south of the country, the regional governor called for urgent international military assistance.

“Russia's army is more powerful, they have a lot of artillery and ammo. For now, this is a war of artillery... and we are out of ammo,” Vitaliy Kim said. “The help of Europe and America is very, very important.”

Ukraine is in talks with other countries about providing more weapons. Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, said in a tweet Saturday he had spoken with his Polish counterpart, Zbigniew Rau, to discuss future deliveries of heavy weapons. Kuleba said the two also discussed placing another round of EU sanctions on Russia.

On the battlefield, fierce fighting continued in the Donbas region as Ukraine’s military launched several counterattacks in the Russian-occupied Kherson region in the south.

In the capital, Kyiv, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen made a unannounced visit meeting with Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, to discuss the country’s restoration, and efforts toward European Union membership.

“I will take stock of the joint work needed for reconstruction and of the progress made by Ukraine on its European path,” she said in a Twitter post. The European Commission chief said her executive will soon finalize its opinion on whether Ukraine should be a candidate to join the EU.

“The discussions Saturday will enable us to finalize our assessment by the end of next week,” she told President Zelenskyy. Zelenskyy said Saturday his country would “definitely prevail in this war that Russia has started, speaking from an undisclosed location in Kyiv.

In an address meant for delegates at the Shangri-La Dialogue Asia security summit being held in Singapore, Zelenskyy said Ukraine is struggling to continue supplying food due to the conflict and that some parts of the world are facing “an acute and severe food crisis and famine” because of the Russian blockade.

At the conference, the U.S. defense secretary called Saturday for more international support for Ukraine, saying Russia’s aggression had wider implications for national sovereignty and the global order. Lloyd Austin expressed concern the world might begin to turn its attention away from Russia’s war on Ukraine.

“It’s what happens when big powers decide that their imperial appetites matter more than the rights of their peaceful neighbors,” Austin said. “It’s a preview of a possible world of chaos and turmoil that none of us would want to live in,” Secretary Austin told the defense ministers at the Shangri-La Dialogue.

Ukrainian officials are increasingly worried support from the West will trail off as its allies suffer “war fatigue.”

They fear Russia could take advantage of that to pressure Ukraine into compromise, something Zelenskyy has resisted, saying Ukraine would pursue its own terms for peace.

“The fatigue is growing, people want some kind of outcome [that is beneficial] for themselves, and we want [another] outcome for ourselves,” he said.

“It is obvious that Russia is determined to wear down the West and is now building its strategy on the assumption that Western countries will get tired and gradually begin to change their militant rhetoric to a more accommodating one,” said Volodymyr Fesenko, political analyst with the Penta Center research group in an interview with The Associated Press.

Meanwhile, authorities in the Moscow-occupied city of Kherson in southern Ukraine handed out Russian passports to local residents Saturday for the first time, Russia's TASS reported. The state-run news agency said 23 Kherson residents received a Russian passport at a ceremony through a "simplified procedure" facilitated by a decree signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in May.

"All our Kherson residents want to obtain a passport and [Russian] citizenship as soon as possible," the regional administration's pro-Moscow chief, Vladimir Saldo, was quoted as saying by TASS.

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.