Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Russia launches push on eastern Ukraine towns, several killed

Russia launches push on eastern Ukraine towns, several killed
May 25, 2022 Reuters

KYIV (Reuters) - Russian forces launched offensives on towns in eastern Ukraine on Wednesday with constant mortar bombardment destroying several houses and killing civilians, Ukrainian officials said, as Russia focuses its attack on the industrial Donbas region.

Russia is attempting to seize the separatist-claimed Donbas' two provinces, Donetsk and Luhansk, and trap Ukrainian forces in a pocket on the main eastern front.

In the easternmost part of the Ukrainian-held Donbas pocket, the city of Sievierodonetsk on the east bank of the Siverskiy Donets River and its twin Lysychansk, on the west bank, have become a pivotal battlefield. Russian forces were advancing from three directions to encircle them.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's office said Russian forces launched an offensive on Sievierodonetsk early on Wednesday and the town was under constant fire from mortars.

Luhansk regional governor Serhiy Gaidai said six civilians were killed and at least eight wounded, most near bomb shelters, in Sievierodonetsk.

"At the moment, with the support of artillery, the Russian occupiers are attacking Sievierodonetsk," Gaidai said.

Ukraine's military said it had repelled nine Russian attacks on Tuesday in the Donbas where Moscow's troops had killed at least 14 civilians, using aircraft, rocket launchers, artillery, tanks, mortars and missiles.

Reuters could not immediately verify information about the fighting.

In a sign of Ukrainian success elsewhere, authorities in its second-largest city, Kharkiv, re-opened the underground metro, where thousands of civilians had sheltered for months under relentless bombardment.

The re-opening came after Ukraine pushed Russian forces largely out of artillery range of the northern city, as they did from the capital, Kyiv, in March.

WORLD WAR THREE?

Three months into the invasion, Russia still has only limited gains to show for its worst military losses in decades, while much of Ukraine has suffered devastation in the biggest attack on a European state since 1945.

More than 6.5 million people have fled abroad, uncounted thousands have been killed and cities have been reduced to rubble.

The war has also caused growing food shortages and soaring prices due to sanctions and disruption of supply chains. Both Ukraine and Russia are major exporters of grain and other commodities.

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen accused Russia of using food as a weapon. 

Billionaire financier George Soros, also speaking in Davos, said Russia's invasion of Ukraine may have marked the start of World War Three.

"The best and perhaps only way to preserve our civilization is to defeat Putin as soon as possible," he said.