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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Ukrainian army will leave a besieged city in the east

KYV, Ukraine ( Associated Press) — After weeks of intense fighting, Ukrainian forces will withdraw from a besieged city in the country’s east to avoid a siege, the region’s governor said Friday.

The city of Svyarodonetsk, the administrative center of the Luhansk region, has been continuously shelled by Moscow troops. Ukrainian troops engaged the Russians in house-to-house fighting before retreating to a large chemical plant on the outskirts of the city, where they barricaded themselves in their massive underground structures.

In recent days, Russian forces had advanced across the river to a steep bank, around Svyerodonetsk and into the neighboring city of Lisichensk, in an attempt to encircle Kyiv troops.

Luhansk Governor Serhi Haidai said Ukrainian troops had been ordered to leave Svyarodonetsk to prevent this.

“We have to get our men back,” he explained. “There is no point in staying on the destroyed positions, because the casualties in poorly fortified areas will increase every day.”

Haidai noted that Ukrainian troops were “ordered to withdraw to new positions and continue fighting there,” but did not elaborate.

The governor said that the Russians also advanced from Zolot and Toshkivka towards Lisichansk, noting that Russian reconnaissance units had raided the city limits, where they were pushed back by the defenders.

Haidai said a bridge on the highway leading to Lisichansk was badly damaged by Russian airstrikes and rendered unusable for trucks. This claim could not be independently verified.

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Friday that four Ukrainian battalions and a unit of “foreign mercenaries”, totaling 2,000 soldiers, were “completely blocked” near Hirske and Zolot, south of Lisichansk.

After a failed attempt to capture the capital Kyiv in the first phase of the offensive that began on February 24, Kremlin forces focused on the Donbass region, where Ukrainian forces have been fighting Moscow-backed separatists since 2014.

The Russian military controls about 95% of Luhansk and about half of Donetsk, the two provinces that make up the Donbass, the country’s industrial heartland.

After repeated calls for heavy weapons from its Western allies to counter Russia’s advantage in firepower, Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksey Reznikov said the answer came in the form of American medium-range missile launchers.

A US defense official confirmed on Wednesday that the four promised high-mobility artillery rocket systems, or HIMARS, were already in the hands of Ukrainian forces, but said it was unclear whether they had already been used .

The United States approved the shipment of precision-guided systems in late May, and once they arrived in the region, soldiers in Kyiv needed about three weeks of training to operate them. The projectile has a range of about 70 kilometers (45 mi).

US officials announced Thursday that Washington would provide $450 million in military aid to Ukraine, including four more HIMARS, ammunition and other supplies.

Separately, a pro-Russian government official from the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson, which was seized by Moscow troops in the first days of the invasion, was killed in an explosion on Friday.

Dmitry Savlyuchenko was killed when his car exploded in what the pro-Russian authorities described as a “terrorist attack”.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Deskhttps://worldnationnews.com/
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