Ukraine declares heavy loss to Russia, Biden hopes in Poland

SIVERSK/WARSAW (Reuters) – US President Joe Biden is due in Poland on Monday ahead of the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine, saying Russian forces are suffering heavy losses.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Sunday evening that Russia had suffered “extraordinarily heavy” losses near the town of Vuhladar in the eastern region of Donbass, which Moscow said it had captured in September.

Volodymyr Zelensky said in his daily address, “The situation is very complex. And we are fighting. We are killing the invaders and inflicting exceptionally heavy losses on Russia.”

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Saturday that its forces had captured Haryankivka, a village in the eastern Kharkiv region north of the most active part of the front, around Bakhmut.

On Monday, the Ukrainian General Staff said that its forces “repelled Russian attacks in the areas of the village of Haryanikivka” but that the Russians continued to fire heavily into the area.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Sunday that he and Joe Biden would discuss the possibility of increasing the US military presence in Poland and making it more permanent.

Joe Biden, who has to be in Poland until Wednesday, said last June that the United States would set up a new permanent military headquarters in Poland in response to Russian threats.

During this visit, the US President is expected to meet his counterpart Andrzej Duda and allies from Eastern Europe. According to the White House, he will talk about the situation in Ukraine, but does not intend to go there.

Ukrainian officials urged members of the US Congress on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference this weekend to pressure Joe Biden’s administration to send F-16 fighter jets to Kiev.

The US President last month rejected Ukraine’s request for a shipment of F-16s made by Lockheed-Martin.

US officials said on Sunday that the United States should focus on providing weapons that can be used immediately on the battlefield, rather than requiring fighter jets to undergo lengthy training. However, he did not rule out the supply of F-16s.

“Discussions will continue in the weeks and months ahead,” Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador to the United Nations, told CNN.

(Reporting by Yiming Wu, Olena Harmsch, Alexander Vasovic, Guy Faulconbridge, Andrew Gray, Jonathan Lande and Andreas Reinke, with contributions by Phil Stewart in Washington, Writing by Stephen Coates; French version by Kate Enstringer)

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