Ukrainian forces appeared close to losing Wednesday to the strategic city of Severodonetsk in Donbass, witnessing the advance of the Russian military in the east of the country, where Ukrainians are awaiting the arrival of “more advanced” missile systems announced by Washington.
After 98 days of war, Russian forces are now “70% under the control of Severodonetsk,” Sergei Kaitoi, the governor of the region of the Donbass Basin, announced on Wednesday in his Telegram channel.
If he added that they did not “fully occupy” the industrial city, he seemed to be preparing for it: “If in two or three days the Russians capture Chevroleton, they will install artillery and mortars there, and bomb the Lisztansk.” It is very difficult to take him.
Since the capture of the city of Lukansk in 2014 by pro-Russian separatists backed by Moscow, Severdonetsk has become the administrative capital of the Lukansk region for Ukrainian authorities.
Oleksander Motouzianyk, a spokesman for the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, acknowledged that the situation in Severodonetsk was “very complicated” and “fighting in the streets”.
According to him, Russian forces are trying to “take full control of Severodonetsk and encircle Lysitzonsk,” and reach the administrative border that separates the two regions of Donbass, Lukansk and Donetsk.
Links in July?
The Donetsk region is also on fire in Russia.
AFP reporters on Tuesday saw buildings destroyed by missiles in Sloviansk – 80 km west of Severodonetsk – where three people were killed and six wounded. On Wednesday, at least one person was killed and two others were injured in a cluster munitions attack on Solater, located between Sloviansk and Severodonetsk, the AFP reported.
On Wednesday, pro-Russian separatists in a rebel stronghold on the outskirts of the city of Donetsk claimed a small tactical victory by cutting off one of two supply routes to the nearby town of Avtivka, which is controlled by Ukrainian forces. .
When the conflict began in Ukraine in 2014, Avdivka was captured by separatists and later recaptured by Kiev forces. It was a scene of sporadic clashes until the outbreak of the Russian offensive on February 24.
Moscow has set a goal of bringing the whole of the Donbass under control.
In the Kherson region of southern Ukraine, mainly occupied by the Russians, kyiv, on the other hand, claims to have launched counter-attacks and won “partial victories.”
Like others who have been militarily captured by Russian forces, the Ukrainians are concerned about the possible annexation of the region.
Leonid Slotsky, one of Russia’s negotiators on the conflict in Ukraine, told Riya Novosti on Wednesday that a referendum could be held in early July aimed at uniting all these “liberated” territories with Russia.
“Fuel in the fire”
In this context, Ukrainian forces are eagerly awaiting the delivery of the most powerful missile systems promised by the United States.
US President Joe Biden announced in the New York Times on Tuesday that his country would “provide the Ukrainians with the most advanced missile systems and ammunition” that would allow them to more accurately target key targets on the battlefield in Ukraine.
According to a senior White House official, these are Himmers systems (high mobility artillery rocket system), multiple rocket launchers mounted on light armored vehicles, about 80 kilometers away. However, the delivery date was not specified.
The equipment is part of a new wider component of US military aid to Ukraine, totaling $ 700 million, details of which are due to be released on Wednesday.
Some experts believe that the Himalayas can change the balance of military power on the ground.
Anxious to avoid treating the United States as a co-militant, US President Joe Biden insisted that Russia was “not encouraging” the border and “not giving way to attacking Ukraine.”
On Wednesday, US diplomat Anthony Blinken promised that Ukraine would “pledge” to the United States that it would not use these new missile systems to strike targets in Russia.
The Kremlin, however, accused Washington of “throwing oil on the fire” and encouraged Ukrainians not to engage in peace talks, which had been paralyzed for weeks.
Ban Ukrainian ports
The West is trying to restart grain exports to Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea, particularly the port of Odessa (southern), the country’s main outpost for agricultural production, in which Ukraine is one of the world’s major producers.
At least 20 million tons of Ukrainian grain can not be exported due to the siege of Russia, which raises the risk of a global food crisis.
Ankara says Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will discuss establishing “safe corridors” for grain transport during a visit to Turkey on June 8.
Europeans want to open these corridors under the auspices of the United Nations in order to provide “legitimate security guarantees” for Ukraine to continue demining work in the first Ukrainian port, Odessa.
These discussions about possible corridors have helped to reduce the prices of wheat and corn that have been rising since the beginning of the conflict in recent days.
Mr. Lavrov on Tuesday rejected any responsibility to block Western ports, saying EU leaders on Monday decided to tighten sanctions on Russian oil because of sanctions against Moscow.
Moscow is taking steps to “mitigate” the impact of the embargo, which will be gradual, the Kremlin promised on Wednesday, and faced a slump in its gas exports.
This article was automatically published. Sources: ats / afp
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