‘Relentless’: Russia squeezes Ukrainian strongholds in east & More Trending News


KRAMATORSK, Ukraine — Russia-backed separatists claimed they captured a railway hub metropolis in japanese Ukraine as Moscow’s forces pushed to realize extra floor Friday by pounding one other Ukrainian-held space the place authorities say 1,500 folks have died because the warfare’s begin.

With Russia’s offensive in Ukraine’s industrial Donbas area displaying incremental progress, Ukrainian officers characterised the battle as grave and renewed their appeals for extra refined Western-supplied weaponry. Without that, the international minister warned, Ukrainian forces will not have the ability to cease Russia’s advance on the east.

Some European leaders sought dialogue with Russian President Vladimir Putin towards ending a warfare — now in its 93rd day — with world financial repercussions, whereas Britain’s international minister labored to rally the West’s continued help for Ukraine.

“There should be no talk of ceasefires, or appeasing Putin. We need to make sure that Ukraine wins. And that Russia withdraws and that we never see this type of Russian aggression again,” U.Okay. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss mentioned.

But in Ukraine’s east, Russia does have the higher hand. The preventing Friday centered on two key cities: Sievierodonetsk and close by Lysychansk. They are the final areas beneath Ukrainian management in Luhansk, certainly one of two provinces that make up the Donbas and the place Moscow-backed separatists have managed some territory for eight years.

“There are battles on the outskirts of the city. Massive artillery shelling does not stop, day and night,” Sievierodonetsk Mayor Oleksandr Striuk told The Associated Press. “The city is being systematically destroyed — 90% of the buildings in the city are damaged.”

An assault was underway in the city’s northeastern quarter, where Russian reconnaissance and sabotage groups tried to capture the Mir Hotel and the area around it Friday, Striuk said.

At least 1,500 people have died in Sievierodonetsk because of the war since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, he said.

The figure includes people killed by shelling or in fires caused by Russian missile strikes, as well as those who died from shrapnel wounds, untreated diseases, a lack of medicine or while trapped under rubble, according to the mayor.

About 12,000 to 13,000 people remain in the city — down from a pre-war population of about 100,000, he said. Those remaining are huddled in shelters, largely cut off from the rest of Ukraine.

Volunteers hoped to evacuate about 100 people Friday from a smaller city just to Sievierodonetsk’s south. It was a painstaking process: Many of the evacuees from Bakhmut were elderly or infirm and needed to be carried out of apartment buildings in soft stretchers and wheelchairs.

Minibuses and vans zipped through the city, picking up dozens for the first leg of a long journey west by car or train.

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“Bakhmut is a high-risk area right now,” Mark Poppert, an American volunteer working with British charity RefugEase, mentioned. “We’re trying to get as many people out as we can.”

In Donetsk, the opposite Donbas province, the Russia-backed rebels mentioned Friday they took over Lyman, a big railway hub north of two extra key cities nonetheless beneath Ukrainian management.

“We lost Lyman,” Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovich acknowledged Thursday evening. However, a Ukrainian Defense Ministry spokesperson reported Friday that its troopers countered Russian makes an attempt to push them utterly out of the town.

Ukrainian analysts mentioned Russian forces have taken benefit of delays in Western arms shipments to step up their offensive in the east and safe territory earlier than Ukraine’s fighters may repel them.

Russia introduced in a further 10-12 battalion tactical teams to the zone, army analyst Oleh Zhdanov mentioned.

Throwing a lot muscle on the offensive, although, may backfire by severely depleting Russia’s arsenal. Echoing an evaluation from the British Defense Ministry, Zhdanov mentioned Russia was deploying 50-year-old T-62 tanks, “which means that the second army of the world has run out of modernized equipment.”

Mykola Sunhurovskyi, an analyst at Kyiv’s Razumkov Center, mentioned that going ahead, “It is in Putin’s interests to solidify the situation that has developed today at the front, biting off from Ukraine what there is still strength for, and secure this line of contact as a position in (eventual) negotiations.”

As Ukraine’s hopes of stopping the Russian advance faded, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba pleaded with Western nations: “We need heavy weapons. The only position where Russia is better than us, it’s the amount of heavy weapons they have. Without artillery, without multiple launch rocket systems we won’t be able to push them back.”

In his nightly address to the nation, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had some harsh words for the European Union, which has not agreed on a sixth round of sanctions that includes an embargo on Russian oil. Hungary, one of Moscow’s closest allies in the EU, is obstructing the deal.

“Pressure on Russia is literally a matter of saving lives,” Zelenskyy mentioned. “And every day of delay, weakness, various disputes or proposals to ‘appease’ the aggressor at the expense of the victim is new killed Ukrainians. And new threats to everyone on our continent.”

Zelenskyy mentioned Russia’s offensive in the Donbas may depart its communities in ashes and uninhabitable. He accused Moscow of pursuing “an obvious policy of genocide” via mass deportations and killings of civilians.

On Thursday, Russian shelling of Kharkiv, a northeastern metropolis that has been beneath assault whereas Ukrainian forces hold the invading troops out, killed 9 folks, together with a father and his 5-month-old child, the president mentioned.

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AP reporters noticed the our bodies of not less than two lifeless males and 4 wounded at a central subway station, the place the victims have been taken as shelling continued exterior.

To the north, neighboring Belarus introduced Friday that it was sending troops towards the Ukrainian border, elevating issues in Ukraine’s army command. Russia used Belarus as a staging floor earlier than it invaded Ukraine.

Germany’s growth minister traveled to Ukraine on Friday to pledge additional civilian help and focus on the nation’s rebuilding.

Meanwhile, European leaders have been talking with Putin about easing the rising world meals disaster exacerbated by Kyiv’s lack of ability to ship thousands and thousands of tons of grain and different agricultural merchandise whereas beneath assault.

Italian Premier Mario Draghi mentioned there have been no breakthroughs throughout his Thursday dialog with Putin about unblocking Ukrainian ports.

“If you are asking me if there are openings for peace, the answer is no,” Draghi advised reporters.

Moscow has sought to shift the blame for the meals disaster to the West, calling upon its leaders to carry present sanctions.

Putin advised Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer on Friday that Ukraine ought to take away Black Sea mines to permit secure delivery, based on a Kremlin readout of their dialog; Russia and Ukraine have traded blame for the mines close to Ukraine’s ports.

Nehammer’s workplace mentioned the 2 leaders additionally mentioned a prisoner trade and that Putin indicated efforts to rearrange one could be “intensified.”


Karmanau reported from Lviv, Ukraine. Andrea Rosa in Kharkiv, Ukraine, and AP journalists all over the world contributed.


Follow AP’s protection of the Ukraine warfare at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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