VOLODYMYR Zelenskyy has accused the West of lacking courage as his country fights Russia’s invasion, making a plea for fighter jets and tanks to sustain a defence in a conflict that has ground into a war of attrition.

After US President Joe Biden met senior Ukrainian officials in Poland on Saturday, Zelensky lashed out at the West’s “ping-pong about who and how should hand over jets and other defensive weapons to us” while Russian missile attacks kill and trap civilians.

“I’ve talked to the defenders of Mariupol today. I’m in constant contact with them. Their determination, heroism and firmness are astonishing,” the Ukrainian President said in a video address early on Sunday, referring to the besieged southern city that has suffered some of the war’s greatest deprivations and horrors.

“If only those who have been thinking for 31 days on how to hand over dozens of jets and tanks had 1% of their courage.”

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, now in its 32nd day, has stalled in many areas, faltering in the face of Ukrainian resistance bolstered by weapons from the US and other western allies.

Western military aid has so far not included fighter jets. A proposal to transfer Polish planes to Ukraine via the US was scrapped amid Nato concerns about getting drawn into conflict with Russia.

“So who is in charge of the Euro-Atlantic community? Is it still Moscow, thanks to its scare tactics?” Zelensky said. “Our partners must step up their aid to Ukraine.”

The UK Ministry of Defence said on Sunday that the battlefield across northern Ukraine remains largely static as local counterattacks hamper Russian attempts to reorganise their forces.

The MoD said Russian troops looked to be trying to encircle Ukrainian forces directly facing the separatist regions in the country’s east.

Moscow has claimed that its focus is on wresting Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region from Ukrainian control. The region has been partially controlled by Russia-backed separatists since 2014.

A high-ranking Russian military official said on Friday that troops were being redirected to the east from other parts of the country.

Despite those assertions, Russian rockets struck the western city of Lviv on Saturday while Biden visited neighbouring Poland, serving as a reminder that Moscow is willing to strike anywhere in Ukraine.

Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said on Sunday that it used air-launched cruise missiles to hit a fuel depot and a defence plant in Lviv.

He said another strike with sea-launched missiles destroyed a depot with air defence missiles in Plesetske, just west of Ukraine’s capital Kyiv.

The strikes came as Biden wrapped up a visit to Poland, where he met Ukraine’s foreign and defence ministers, visited US troops and saw refugees from the war.

Before leaving, he delivered a forceful condemnation of Russia President Vladimir Putin, saying: “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.”

The White House quickly clarified that he was not calling for an immediate change in government in Moscow, but Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denounced the remark, saying: “It’s not up to the president of the US and not up to the Americans to decide who will remain in power in Russia.”

Early on Sunday, a chemical smell still lingered in the air as firefighters in Lviv, about 45 miles from the Polish border, sprayed water on a burned section of an oil facility hit in the Russian attack.

Russia’s back-to-back air strikes shook the city that has become a haven for an estimated 200,000 people who have fled bombarded towns and cities.

Lviv also has been a way-station for most of the 3.8 million refugees who have left Ukraine since Russia invaded on February 24.

The city had been largely spared since the invasion began, although missiles struck an aircraft repair facility near the main airport a week ago.

In his video address, Zelensky warned Moscow that it was sowing a deep hatred for Russia among the Ukrainian people, as constant artillery barrages and aerial bombings are reducing cities to rubble, killing civilians and driving others into shelters, leaving them to scrounge for food and water to survive.

“You are doing everything so that our people themselves leave the Russian language, because the Russian language will now be associated only with you, with your explosions and murders, your crimes,” he said.

Russian authorities have blocked the website of German newspaper Bild, part of their efforts to control the message on Ukraine.

Bild says it has been putting Russian-language reports on Russia’s war in Ukraine and its slide toward “totalitarian dictatorship” on its website, and parts of its live video broadcasts have been subtitled in Russian.

Bild editor-in-chief Johannes Boie said the decision to block its website in Russia “confirms us in our journalistic work for democracy, freedom and human rights”.