Ukraine braces for Russian ‘storm’ in east in run-up to EU meeting

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Ukraine acknowledged on Tuesday difficulties in fighting in its east as Russian forces regrouped after stepping up pressure and making advances on two cities ahead of an EU summit this week expected to welcome Kyiv’s bid to join the bloc.

The governor of the Luhansk region, scene of the heaviest Russian onslaughts in recent weeks, said Russian forces had launched a massive attack and gained some territory on Monday though it was relatively quiet overnight.

“It’s a calm before the storm,” the governor, Serhiy Gaidai, said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy had predicted Russia would step up attacks ahead of the EU summit on Thursday and Friday. He was defiant in a late Monday address to the nation, though referring to “difficult” fighting in Luhansk for Sievierodonetsk and its sister city, Lysychansk.

“We are defending Lysychansk, Sievierodonetsk, this whole area, the most difficult one. We have the most difficult fighting there,” he said. “But we have our strong guys and girls there.”

Gaidai stated Russian forces managed most of Sievierodonetsk, aside from the Azot chemical plant, the place greater than 500 civilians, together with 38 kids, have been sheltering for weeks. The street connecting Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk to the town of Bakhmut was underneath fixed shell fireplace, he stated.

Rodion Miroshnik, ambassador to Russia of the self-styled Luhansk Individuals’s Republic, stated its forces had been “shifting from the south in direction of Lysychansk” with firefights erupting in plenty of cities.

“The hours to return ought to deliver appreciable adjustments to the steadiness of forces within the space,” he stated on Telegram.


Russia despatched tens of hundreds of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24 in what it referred to as a “particular operation” to degrade its army capabilities and root out what it calls harmful nationalists.

It has additionally launched a regulation making the unfold of “knowingly faux” data or reporting that might discredit the Russian army an offense.

Dmitry Muratov, the co-winner of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize and editor of an unbiased Russian newspaper, auctioned off his Nobel medal for a report $103.5 million to help kids displaced by the conflict. His paper, fiercely vital of President Vladimir Putin, suspended operations in Russia in March after warnings over its protection of the conflict.

The conflict has entered a brutal attritional part in latest weeks, with Russian forces concentrating on Ukrainian-controlled components of the Donbas, which Russia claims on behalf of separatists.

In Odesa, Ukraine’s largest Black Sea port, which is blockaded by the Russian navy, a Russian missile destroyed a meals warehouse on Monday, Ukraine’s army stated.

America and its European allies have offered weapons and monetary help to Ukraine however averted direct involvement within the battle.

British army intelligence stated Ukraine forces claimed their first profitable use of Western-donated Harpoon anti-ship missiles, destroying a tug delivering weapons and personnel to a Russian held island within the Black Sea.

“Ukrainian coastal protection functionality has largely neutralized Russia’s capacity to determine sea management and challenge maritime drive within the north-western Black Sea,” it stated.


Some overseas residents have volunteered to battle for Ukraine.

On Monday, the Kremlin stated two Individuals detained in Ukraine had been mercenaries not lined by the Geneva conference who ought to face accountability for his or her actions.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov’s feedback had been the primary formal acknowledgment that the 2, recognized in U.S. experiences as Andy Huynh, 27, and Alexander Drueke, 39, had been being held.

A U.S. State Division spokesperson stated that they had been in contact with Russian authorities relating to any U.S. residents who might have been captured and referred to as on Russia and its proxies “to reside as much as their worldwide obligations” of their remedy of any captive.

This month, a separatist court docket sentenced two Britons and a Moroccan to dying after they had been caught combating for Ukraine.

Peskov additionally stated U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner, held in Russia for greater than two months, was being prosecuted for drug offenses and was not a hostage.

At the very least two Individuals have been killed within the conflict.

Worldwide concern has centered on attempting to revive Ukrainian exports of meals, now shut by a de facto Russian blockade. Ukraine is without doubt one of the world’s foremost sources of grain and meals oils, resulting in fears of worldwide shortages.

Russia blames the meals disaster on Western sanctions.

The conflict has additionally disrupted power markets, together with Russian shipments of oil and fuel to Europe, nonetheless the continent’s foremost supply of power and Russia’s major revenue supply. Russia says EU sanctions prevented it from restoring pipeline tools.

Russia threatened to retaliate in opposition to EU member Lithuania for banning transport of coal, metals, development supplies and superior expertise to Kaliningrad, a Russian outpost on the Baltic Sea surrounded by EU territory.

Russia’s overseas ministry summoned Lithuania’s high diplomat and demanded it reverse the “overtly hostile” transfer or Russia “reserves the correct to take actions to guard its nationwide pursuits.” Lithuania stated EU sanctions obliged it to implement the ban.

via Reuters

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