- Russian forces have stepped up attacks on the main eastern city
- The Ukrainians may retreat but will not give up the city – the governor
- Ukraine is about to publish a ‘book of convicts’ describing war crimes
- Turkey, Russia urge UN to allow Ukrainian grain exports
Kiev / Slovenesk, Ukraine, June 8 (Reuters) – Ukrainian forces returned to the industrial city of Siverodonetsk on Wednesday in the face of heavy Russian offensive, the regional governor said. The bloody wars of war.
Russia has concentrated its troops and gunfire in the small eastern city in recent weeks to defend the surrounding province on behalf of separatist proxies. Ukraine has vowed to fight there as much as possible, saying the war will help shape the future course of the war.
After announcing a surprise counter-attack last week, the governor of the surrounding Luhansk region said on Wednesday afternoon that most of the city was back in Russian hands.
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“… our (forces) are now again controlling only the suburbs of the city, but the fighting is still going on,” Sergei Kaitoi told RBC-Ukrainian media.
He said in an online post that Ukrainian forces still controlled all of Lyczynsk, a small twin town on the west bank of the Shivarsky Donets River, but that Russian forces were wreaking havoc on residential buildings there.
Ukrainian Defense Ministry spokesman Oleksandr Modusyanik said Russian forces had 10 times more equipment than Ukrainian troops in some areas of Siverodonetsk. Ukraine has urged its Western allies to expedite arms supplies, saying the situation could get worse if Russia breaks its borders in the east.
“The path to peace lies in heavy weapons,” Mikhail Podoliak, a Ukrainian negotiator and presidential adviser, said on Twitter, reiterating that war could spread to the EU if Russia is not defeated in Ukraine.
Reuters was unable to independently verify the ground conditions in Sverdlovsk.
Moscow claims to be engaged in a “special military operation” to disarm and “reduce” its neighbors. Ukraine and its allies claim that Moscow has launched an unprovoked war of aggression, killing thousands of civilians and leveling cities. UN figures show that more than 7 million people have crossed the border into Ukraine since Russia’s invasion on February 24.
‘God Saved Me’
Luhansk and the neighboring province of Donetsk form the Donbass, which has been claimed by Moscow since 2014 on behalf of Moscow’s representatives who hold the eastern part of the region. Moscow is trying to encircle Ukrainian forces in areas they still hold.
To the west of Sverdlovskaya in Slovenesk, one of the main Donbass cities in Ukrainian hands, women with small children lined up to collect aid, while other residents carried buckets of water throughout the city.
Most of the residents fled, but officials say about 24,000 people are staying in the city in the wake of an expected offensive that Russian forces will reunite in the north.
Albina Petrovna, 85, described the moment her building was trapped in an attack, which shattered her windows and destroyed her balcony.
“The broken glass fell on me, but God saved me, I have scratches everywhere …” she said.
Russia has turned its attention to the Donbass since its forces were defeated on the outskirts of Kiev in March.
In the last 24 hours, two people have been killed in the Luhansk region, four in the Kharkiv region and others injured, according to the office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zhelensky.
In Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, residents were clearing debris from a shelling attack the previous day. Ukraine pushed Russian forces out of the city’s suburbs last month, but Russia still attacks from time to time.
CCTV footage The missile struck a shopping mall that included a supermarket late Tuesday, scattering debris and supplies. Scenes shot from the drone showed a gap in the roof of the large building.
“The support pillars were completely destroyed,” said Svitlana Tulina, manager of the supermarket, who said no one was injured in the attack.
Fear of grain
Ukraine is one of the world’s largest grain exporters, and Western nations accuse Russia of creating the risk of creating a global famine by besieging Ukraine’s Black Sea ports. Moscow blames Western sanctions for food shortages
Turkish broker is trying to negotiate the opening of Ukrainian Black Sea ports. Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu hosted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and said the deal would be possible with UN support for ports through further talks. read more
Ukrainian ports could be opened, but Lavrov said Ukraine would have to demine them first. Ukraine has rejected Russia’s promises as “empty words” and said Russian attacks on farmland and farmland in the south would exacerbate the crisis.
Vitaliy Kim, governor of the Mykolaiv region, whose Russian warships destroyed warehouses at one of Ukraine’s largest agricultural terminals, told Reuters that Moscow was trying to scare the world into complying with its terms. read more
The Kremlin previously quoted Russian President Vladimir Putin as saying that Western barriers to Russian grain markets should be removed. read more
Further raising the stakes, the Russian-established administration in the occupied territory of Zaporizhia in southern Ukraine said it planned to hold a referendum on joining Russia later this year. And Russian-established authorities in the western Kherson province have announced similar plans.
Some lawmakers from Russia’s ruling United Russia party have suggested that Donbass join Russia. The region has not yet announced a referendum, but the head of the Donetsk province, Denis Bush, changed its government on Wednesday, citing the need to increase “integration processes.”
Ukraine and its Western allies consider the planned referendum in the occupied territories to be illegal and prove that Russia’s real motive is regional aggression. read more
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Additional report by Tom Balmforth, Natalia Zinets, David Ljunggren and Reuters bureaux; Written by Himani Sarkar, Gareth Jones and Filippa Fletcher; Editing by Michael Perry, Peter Groff and Alex Richardson
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