Russia-Ukraine live updates | Russians focus firepower to seize 2 villages in east Ukraine

Amid the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, an important Ukrainian city of Severodonetsk was recently bombed under ‘massive’ Russian bombing. According to reports, despite fierce resistance from the underprivileged Ukrainian army, Moscow troops have been pounding eastern Ukraine for weeks and advancing slowly. As Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces tighten their grip on the strategically important city of Severodonetsk in the Donbas, its sister city, Lysychansk, is now under heavier bombing.

According to news agency AFPMoscow is trying to capture a vast eastern part of the country after being pushed back from Kiev and other parts of Ukraine following their invasion in February.

Meanwhile, amid the crisis, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Wednesday that Ukraine and Russia are a long way from ending the war through negotiations. He added that Putin mistakenly believed he could dictate the terms for peace.

Kiev

Russians focus firepower to capture 2 villages in eastern Ukraine

The Russian army expanded its territory in eastern Ukraine on Thursday, capturing two villages and vying for control of a major highway in an offensive that could cut supply lines and encircle a number of Ukrainian troops on the front lines, British and Ukrainian troops said. army chiefs.

The British Ministry of Defense said Ukrainian troops had withdrawn from some areas near the city of Lysychansk, the last major battleground in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine, to avoid being surrounded as Russian reinforcements arrive. and concentrated their firepower in the area. †

The Ukrainian General Staff said Russian forces have captured the villages of Loskutivka and Rai-Oleksandrivka and attempted to take Syrotyne outside Sievierodonetsk.

For weeks, Russian troops have shelled Sievierodonetsk, the administrative center of the Luhansk region, with artillery and airstrikes and fought the Ukrainian army door-to-door. Ukrainian troops are still trapped at the Azot chemical plant on the outskirts of the city, which is also home to about 500 civilians.

The Russians also launched their offensive on Lysychansk, which lies on a steep riverbank opposite Sievierodonetsk.

The British Ministry of Defense noted in its intelligence assessment on Thursday that Russian forces have likely advanced more than three miles (three miles) toward the southern approaches to Lysychansk since Sunday.

“Some Ukrainian units have withdrawn, probably to avoid being surrounded,” the statement said.

“Russia’s improved performance in this sector is likely the result of recent unit reinforcements and heavy concentration of fire.” The Ukrainian military said the Russians were also on their way to overtake the hills overlooking a highway connecting Lysychansk to Bakhmut, in the southwest, in an attempt to cut supply lines from Ukrainian troops.

After failing to take the Ukrainian capital in the early stages of the invasion on February 24, Russian forces have shifted focus to Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartland, Donbas, where Ukrainian forces have been fighting Moscow-backed separatists since 2014. fought.

The Russian military currently controls about 95% of the Luhansk region and about half of the adjacent Donetsk region of Donbas.

other developments

A Ukrainian politician and TV personality says an online pitch to help Ukraine buy three offensive drones has already raised $10.4 million — in just 24 hours.

Serhiy Prytula praised “amazing” support among Ukrainians after his charitable foundation called for $15 million the day before to purchase the Bayraktar drones like those Ukrainian forces have already used to defend against Russian invaders.

He tweeted: “$4.6m to go. The People’s Bayraktar project is already a nationwide crowdfunding. Let’s make it international!” † AP

Kiev

EU debates Ukraine’s candidacy as Russia makes life ‘hell’ in the east

EU leaders will meet in Brussels on Thursday to discuss calls to formally grant war-torn Ukraine “candidate status” to join the bloc as Russian troops advance slowly in the eastern Donbas region despite fierce resistance of the Kiev army.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he had held a “telephone marathon” on behalf of his country ahead of the meeting, advocating for 11 European leaders on Wednesday alone.

“We are preparing for the historic decision of the European Council. There are only a few hours left,” he said in his daily speech. AFP

Kiev

At least two solar oil tanks hit in Russian missile attack on Mykolaiv

According to photos released by the local emergency service on Thursday, at least two sunflower oil tanks at a terminal in Ukraine’s Black Sea port of Mykolaiv were seriously damaged in a Russian missile attack.

The city is one of the main Black Sea ports in Ukraine that has been closed since Russia invaded the country on February 24.

The photos show a smoking tank, the top part of which has been blown off by the explosion. The adjacent reservoir, black with fire, was also severely damaged.

The local emergency service has not given a name for the terminal.- Reuters

Beijing

China says Ukraine crisis has raised alarm for humanity

The conflict in Ukraine has “sounded an alarm signal to humanity,” Chinese leader Xi Jinping said on Wednesday, as China continues to maintain a position of neutrality while backing its ally Russia.

China has refused to criticize or even refer to Russia’s war in Ukraine as an invasion out of deference to Moscow, while also condemning US-led sanctions against Russia and accusing the West of provoking Moscow.

“The crisis in Ukraine has once again raised the alarm for humanity. Countries will certainly run into security problems if they put blind faith in their strong position, expand military alliances and seek their own security at the expense of others,” the official Xinhua News Agency quoted Mr Xi as saying. AP

Berlin

Ukraine, Russia still ‘far from’ peace talks, says German Chancellor Scholz

Ukraine and Russia are still a long way from ending the war through negotiations, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Wednesday, adding that President Vladimir Putin still mistakenly believed he could dictate the terms for peace.

The German chancellor also said Ukraine needed huge financial aid to rebuild after the devastation wrought by the Russian invasion, adding that the reconstruction would be a “task for generations”. AFP

Moscow

Pro-Russian troops ‘near encirclement’ important Ukrainian city

Pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine on Wednesday claimed they were close to Ukrainian forces defending the twin cities of Lysychansk and Severodonetsk, the site of fierce weeks of fighting.

An officer of the separatist army of Luhansk – a pro-Russian breakaway region in eastern Ukraine – said their troops surrounded Ukrainian forces in the villages of Hirsk and Zolote, a day after taking the neighboring village of Toshkivka.

The three settlements are located a few kilometers outside of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk, which Moscow’s forces have been trying to capture for weeks. AFP

Ukraine

Ordinary Ukrainians who resist the invasion of Russia are my role models: Zelensky

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Wednesday that his role models were ordinary Ukrainians who resisted invading Russian forces and he compared Russia to the fictional archvillain Lord Voldemort in the “Harry Potter” books.

Mr. Zelensky, dressed in a military uniform, answered questions from students at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy via a video link.

When asked by a student who his role models were, Mr. Zelensky: “The people of Ukraine… and there are a lot of them.”- Reuters

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