‘We must defend Odesa’: Zelenskyy speaks with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak

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KYIV: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Saturday said that he held a phone conversation with the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on defending Odesa following the daily attempts by Russia to destroy Odesa’s historic centre.

Zelenskyy took to his official Twitter account and said, “Had a phone call with Prime Minister of the United Kingdom @RishiSunak. Spoke about Russia’s daily attempts to destroy Odesa’s historic centre and port infrastructure. We must defend Odesa.”

Yesterday, the Russian missile strikes that killed at least one and injured many, destroyed a famous Orthodox cathedral in the southern Ukrainian port city of Odesa, reported CNN on Monday.

The largest church structure in Odesa is the Transfiguration Cathedral. It was consecrated in 1809 and later demolished in 1936 during the Soviet era. However, when Ukraine became an independent nation, the structure underwent a reconstruction.

In the latest wave of attacks on Odesa, several other historic buildings have also been destroyed.

Zelenskyy further discussed the need to strengthen its defense cooperation and the urgent need to continue the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

“Ukraine urgently needs to strengthen its air defense to protect its historical heritage and continue the Black Sea Grain Initiative. We discussed our further defense cooperation, the course of Ukrainian offensive operations. I outlined the current defense needs of Ukraine,” Zelenskyy tweeted.

The agreement that had permitted Ukraine to export grain from its Black Sea ports a year ago, despite the war, to help alleviate a global food crisis, was terminated last week by Moscow, which claimed that the requirements for the extension had been disregarded.

Zelenskyy further said in his tweet, “Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and I noted the adoption by the G7 of the Joint Declaration of Support for Ukraine at the NATO Summit in Vilnius and the subsequent accession of other countries to it. We also coordinated future steps to fill it with concrete security guarantees on a bilateral basis.”

During a telephonic conversation with NATO Secretary General Jen Stoltenberg on July 22, Zelenskyy discussed the implementation of the agreements reached during the Vilnius summit and further actions regarding the integration of Ukraine into NATO. (ANI)

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