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UPDATE 1-Russia's defence minister orders more weapons for Ukraine operation

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May 1 (Reuters) – Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu ordered more, and swifter, delivery of weapons for Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine, the Russian defence ministry said on Wednesday.

Russia, which calls its war in Ukraine a special military operation, now controls just under a fifth of Ukraine’s territory, the bulk seized during the first months of the war it launched in February 2022.

At a meeting with the top military command for Moscow’s fight in Ukraine, the chief of the general staff, Valery Gerasimov, who is in charge of the operation, delivered a report to Shoigu, the ministry said on the Telegram messaging app.

“To maintain the required pace of the offensive … it is necessary to increase the volume and quality of weapons and military equipment supplied to the troops, primarily weapons,” it cited Shoigu as saying in a statement posted on Telegram.

With Kyiv blaming lack of weapons, Russian forces have made nearly daily tactical advances in recent weeks along the frontline in Ukraine’s southeast.

Russia has taken about half a dozen villages in the Donetsk region, while firming up battlefield positions in the Kharkiv region.

Ukraine risks losing more ground if the West does not deliver weapons quickly, Kyiv’s top commander, Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi, warned on Sunday.

He was announcing the retreat of his troops from villages near Avdiivka, an eastern Ukrainian stronghold captured earlier this year by Russia. (Reporting by Lidia Kelly in Lisbon; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Clarence Fernandez)

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