Ukraine says forces holding on to Severodonetsk are advancing in the south

  • Russia is focusing its efforts on the final cities of Luhansk occupied by Ukraine
  • Ukraine claims progress within the southern Kherson area
  • Separatist Donbass area sentences British, Moroccans to demise
  • Concern grows over meals disaster as Russia closes ports

Kyiv/SLOVENIA, Ukraine (Reuters) – Ukrainian forces claimed on Thursday they had been urgent forward with heavy avenue combating within the japanese metropolis of Severodonetsk, however mentioned their solely hope of turning the tide was extra artillery to offset Russia’s formidable firepower.

Within the south, Ukraine’s Protection Ministry mentioned it had captured new areas in a counter-attack in Kherson province, concentrating on the biggest swath of territory Russia has captured since its invasion in February.

The battle amid the ruins of the small industrial metropolis of Sievierodonetsk has change into one of many bloodiest of the struggle, as Russia focuses its energy on the invasion there. Either side say they inflicted heavy casualties.

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Sievierodonetsk and its twin metropolis Lysychansk on the alternative financial institution of the Siverskyi Donets are the final Ukrainian-controlled components of Luhansk Province, which Moscow is set to seize as considered one of its major struggle targets.

Ukrainian Safety Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov informed Reuters in an interview on Thursday that Russian forces had been concentrating all their power within the area.

“They don’t save their individuals,” he mentioned, “they solely ship males as cannon fodder.” They’re bombing our military day and night time.”

A court docket within the self-proclaimed Donetsk Folks’s Republic (DPR) was sentenced to demise Thursday by a court docket in japanese Ukraine, Russian information companies reported. Learn extra

avenue battle

In a uncommon replace from Sievierodonetsk, the commander of the Ukrainian Nationwide Guard’s battalion Svoboda, Petro Kosik, mentioned the Ukrainians are dragging the Russians into avenue combating to neutralize the Russian artillery benefit.

“Yesterday it was profitable for us – we launched a counterattack and in some areas we had been in a position to push them again a block or two. In different areas they pushed us again, however solely by a block or two,” he mentioned in a tv interview.

“Yesterday the occupiers suffered heavy losses – if day-after-day was like yesterday, then all this is able to quickly be over.”

However he mentioned his forces had been affected by a “catastrophic” lack of anti-battery artillery to fireside at Russian cannons, and that buying such weapons would change the battlefield.

“Even with out these methods, we’re sticking with it. There’s an order to maintain our positions and we’re conserving them. It is unbelievable what surgeons can do with out the suitable gear to save lots of troopers’ lives.”

On Thursday, the mayor of Severodonetsk, Oleksandr Stryuk, mentioned about 10,000 civilians had been nonetheless trapped inside the town, a couple of tenth of its pre-war inhabitants.

To the west of Sievierodonetsk, Russia is speeding from the north and south, making an attempt to nook Ukrainian forces within the Donbass area that features Luhansk and neighboring Donetsk province, shelling the Ukrainian-controlled cities on its approach with artillery.

In Soledar, a salt-mining city close to Bakhmut close to the entrance line, buildings had been blown up in pits.

The remaining residents, principally aged, had been sheltering in a crowded basement. Antonina, 65, ventured exterior to see her backyard. “We’re staying. We stay right here. We had been born right here,” she mentioned, crying. “When will all this finish?”

Kherson counterattack

Within the south, Moscow is making an attempt to impose its rule on a portion of occupied territory stretching throughout the Kherson and Zaporizhzhya areas, the place Russia-installed proxy authorities say they’re planning referendums to hitch Russia.

On Thursday, Ukraine’s Protection Ministry mentioned its forces had retaken some territory in a counter-offensive in Kherson.

She didn’t give particulars of the situation of the advance, however mentioned that the Russian forces “incurred losses in manpower and gear” and laid mines and erected barricades as they had been repelled.

Ukraine reported a counterattack in Kherson final week, claiming it had captured a bridgehead on the southern financial institution of the Inholets River that varieties the territory’s boundary, an assertion backed by the British Ministry of Protection this week. It was not potential to verify the scenario there.

1000’s have died and hundreds of thousands have fled since Moscow launched its “particular navy operation” to disarm and “discredit” its neighbor on February 24. Ukraine and its allies describe the invasion as an unjustified struggle of aggression.

Ukraine is likely one of the world’s largest exporters of grain and edible oil, and worldwide consideration in current weeks has targeted on the specter of worldwide famine seen as attributable to Russia’s blockade of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports.

“Tens of millions of individuals could starve if the Russian blockade of the Black Sea continues,” Zelensky mentioned on Thursday in televised remarks.

Moscow blames the meals disaster on Western sanctions that limit its grain exports. It says it is able to permit Ukrainian ports to open for export if Ukraine clears the mines and different circumstances are met. Kyiv calls such affords hole guarantees.

Turkey, a NATO powerhouse that has good relations with each Kyiv and Moscow, tried to mediate by internet hosting Russian Overseas Minister Sergei Lavrov for talks on Tuesday.

Russia can be making an attempt to promote grain from the captured areas in Ukraine, and the West calls Kyiv’s exercise and looting. Requested whether or not any settlement had been reached to promote grain from southern Ukraine to Turkey or a rustic within the Center East, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov mentioned: “Thus far no agreements have been reached, and work is continuous.”

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Extra reporting by Reuters workplaces; Written by Peter Graf, Alexandra Hudson; Enhancing by Mark Heinrich and Alex Richardson

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