Russian forces stepped up their assault on the Ukrainian city of Sievierodonetsk on May 28 after claiming to have captured the nearby rail hub of Lyman, as Kyiv intensified its calls for longer-range weaponry from the West to help it fight back in the Donbas region.
Slow, solid Russian gains in recent days point to a subtle momentum shift in the war, now in its fourth month. The invading forces appear close to seizing all of the Luhansk region of Donbas, one of the more modest war goals the Kremlin set after abandoning its assault on Kyiv in the face of Ukrainian resistance.
Russia‘s defence ministry said on May 28 that its troops and allied separatist forces were now in full control of Lyman, the site of a railway junction west of the Siverskyi Donets River in the Donetsk region that neighbours Luhansk.
Fighting for Sievierodonetsk continues: Ukraine’s Armed Forces
Fighting for the eastern Ukrainian city of Sievierodonetsk continues with Russian forces conducting assault operations on Saturday, the General Staff of Ukraine‘s Armed Forces said on Sunday.
“With the use of artillery, Russian forces carried out assault operations in the area of the city of Sievierodonetsk,” the General Staff said in a statement on its Facebook page.
“The fighting continues.” – Reuters
Russia claims key Ukrainian city surrounded
Russian forces engaged in an all-out battle in eastern Ukraine have captured the strategic town of Lyman and surrounded a key industrial centre, Moscow has claimed.
But a Ukrainian official has denied that the city of Severodonetsk — the focus of weeks of fierce fighting — has been encircled, saying government troops had repelled Russian forces from its outskirts.
As the battle for Ukraine‘s industrial heartland raged on Saturday, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called for “direct serious negotiations” between Russian leader Vladmir Putin and his counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky.
The EU leaders also “insisted on an immediate ceasefire and a withdrawal of Russian troops” in an 80-minute phone call with the Russian leader, the German chancellor’s office said. – AFP
Months after dam destroyed to stop Russian advance, parts of village still flooded
Some 50 homes in the village of Demydiv remain partially submerged months after a dam was destroyed and the area flooded to stop Russian troops from advancing on Ukraine capital Kyiv, regional governor Oleksiy Kuleba said late on Saturday.
The Ukrainian military blew up a dam on the river Irpin in February, sending water surging into the village and thousands of acres around it, flooding houses and fields, but preventing Russian tanks from reaching the capital city.
“At this time, about 50 houses in the village of Demydiv remain flooded,” Mr. Kuleba wrote in a post on the Telegram messaging app.
“People are understanding of the situation. We, in turn, make every effort to resolve the issue.” – Reuters
Russia takes small cities, aims to widen east Ukraine battle
As Russia asserted progress in its goal of seizing the entirety of contested eastern Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin on May 29 tried to shake European resolve to punish his country with sanctions and to keep supplying weapons that have supported Ukraine’s defence.
The Russian Defense Ministry said Lyman, the second small city to fall this week, had been “completely liberated” by a joint force of Russian soldiers and Kremlin-backed separatists, who have waged war for eight years in the industrial Donbas region bordering Russia.
Ukraine’s train system has ferried arms and evacuated citizens through Lyman, a key railway hub in the east. Control of it also would give Russia‘s military another foothold in the region; it has bridges for troops and equipment to cross the Siverskiy Donets river, which has so far impeded the Russian advance into the Donbas. – AP
Explained: The crisis in Ukraine’s Donbas region
As tensions spiral between Russia and the West over Ukraine, the rebel-held self-declared Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DNR/DPR and LNR/LPR) in Eastern Ukraine have started evacuating civilians to the Rostov region in Russia claiming an impending Ukrainian military offensive.
They have also declared a full military mobilisation. Shelling is going on even in civilian areas between Ukrainian soldiers and Russia-backed rebels; in response, Russia has extended military exercises on Ukraine’s northern borders.
Ukrainian negotiator says any agreement with Russia isn’t worth a broken penny
Ukrainian presidential adviser and peace talks negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak said on Saturday that any agreement with Russia cannot be trusted and Moscow can only be stopped in its invasion by force.
“Any agreement with Russia isn’t worth a broken penny,” Mr. Podolyak wrote on the Telegram messaging app. “Is it possible to negotiate with a country that always lies cynically and propagandistically?”
Ukraine says everything being done to defend Donbas from Russian onslaught
Ukraine has said it is doing “everything” to defend Donbas, where an intensifying Russian offensive is prompting Kyiv’s forces to consider a strategic retreat from some key areas to avoid being surrounded.
Russia is waging an all-out war for the eastern Donetsk and Lugansk regions that make up Donbas — Ukraine’s industrial heartland where President Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Moscow of carrying out a “genocide”.
‘Putin’s war’ has put some urgency on India-EU FTA talks: German envoy
India and the European Union (EU) were working on the first texts of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and “Putin’s war” in Ukraine had put “some urgency” to it, German envoy to India Walter J. Lindner has said.
Ukraine, along with climate change, shift to renewable energy and fight against terror, would be on top of the agenda in the coming G7 summit next month for which India had also been invited, he stated.
Ukraine’s former President blocked from leaving the country
Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko was prevented from leaving Ukraine to take part in a meeting of a NATO body in Lithuania, his party’s parliamentary faction said on Saturday.
Mr. Poroshenko was stopped twice at a border crossing with Poland while he was on his way to the meeting of NATO’s Parliamentary Assembly, a consultative interparliamentary organisation, the statement said.