(Kramatorsk) The “human cost” of the battle of Sievierodonetsk, a strategic city in eastern Ukraine, is “appalling,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Monday, as the Russians have tightened control there in recent years, but without success to have fully occupy this locality.
Posted at 6:18 am
Updated at 3:59 p.m
what you need to know
- Paris wants to reconsider its military spending and more European cooperation;
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy described the fighting in Sieverodonetsk as “very violent” in a video message on Sunday evening;
- The Ukrainian army surrenders the center of Sieverodonetsk to the Russians;
- The Battle of Donbass could be decisive for the outcome of the conflict in Ukraine;
- European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stated that the Twenty-Seven remained divided on granting Ukraine candidate status for EU membership;
- European leaders to discuss energy and Ukraine in Israel;
- In Lysychansk, according to governor Gaidaï, three civilians, including a six-year-old boy, died in shelling in the last 24 hours;
- In Mikolayiv, an important port on the Dnieper estuary in the south, the Russian advance was halted on the outskirts of the city.
“The human cost of this fight for us is very high. He’s just terrifying,” Zelenskyy said in his daily address to Ukrainians, broadcast on Telegram.
The Battle of Donbass will surely go down in military history as one of the most violent battles in Europe.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy, President of Ukraine
“Up to 100 Ukrainian soldiers” were killed and “500 injured” in fighting with the Russian army, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said on Thursday.
Volodymyr Zelenskyj for his part had the 1ah June that his army was losing “between 60 and 100 soldiers” a day.
“We are dealing with absolute evil,” he commented on Monday evening. Before adding, “We have no choice but to move forward and liberate our country,” including the Russian-held southern and eastern regions facing “a civilizational blockade,” with the Russians cutting off “all communications” to the outside world. To block”.
Mr. Zelenskyy also again urged the West to provide the Ukrainian army with “more weapons” at a time when Moscow forces largely control Sievierodonetsk and continue to bombard Ukrainian artillery.
Earlier in the evening, Luhansk region governor Serguiï Gaïdaï indicated that “70-80% of the city” was occupied by the Russians and specified that “the three bridges [reliant Sievierodonetsk à sa ville voisine de Lyssytchansk] were destroyed.”
The abandoned center of Sievierodonetsk
Ukrainian forces on Monday admitted they had left the center of Sieverodonetsk after a fresh Russian offensive that the two warring factions had been fighting over for weeks.
“The enemy stormed Sieverodonetsk with artillery support, achieved partial success and pushed our units back from the city center. Hostilities continue,” Ukraine’s General Staff said on Monday morning.
Governor Gaidaï confirmed that Ukrainian forces had been pushed back from the centre.
“The street fighting continues […] the Russians continue to destroy the city,” he wrote on Facebook, posting photos of destroyed buildings on fire.
According to the pro-Russian separatists fighting with the Russians in that region, the last Ukrainian divisions in Seyerodonetsk are now “blocked” after the last bridge that allowed them to reach the neighboring city of Lysytkhansk was destroyed.
“You have two options […]Surrender or die,” said Edouard Bassourine, spokesman for the separatists.
Lysychansk bombing “non-stop”
Populated by almost 100,000 people before the war, today Lysytchansk is practically deserted.
Severed electrical cables hang in the streets, shops are completely charred, smoke rises from several houses with blackened walls…
“The Russians are bombing downtown all the time,” said a local police officer. “That’s 24 hours a day, ‘non stop’,” adds his colleague.
“Every day the bombing is intensifying,” adds Oleskandr Pokhna, lieutenant colonel of the special police forces of the Luhansk region, to which Lysytchansk is attached.
During their on-site visit, AFP journalists could hear “booms” almost continuously.
In Lysychansk, three civilians, including a six-year-old boy, died under shelling in the past 24 hours, he said.
Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine claimed four people were killed and 22 wounded in a “massive” shelling by Kiev forces on the city of Donetsk, their self-proclaimed capital.
“Four people were killed, including a child, and 22 other civilians were injured in the shelling,” Separatist authorities said in a statement.
New mass grave at Boutcha
In northern Ukraine, three Russian rockets hit the town of Prylouky and four villages were ordered to evacuate amid fears of fires sparked by shelling, Ukrainian authorities said on Monday.
“The information about the destruction is being clarified at the moment,” added the governor of the Chernihiv region Vyacheslav Chaous on Telegram. No information was given about the targeted infrastructure in Prylouky, on which there is a military airfield.
Kiev police on Monday announced the discovery of seven bodies in a new mass grave near Boutcha, a site near the capital where civilian bodies were found after the Russian army withdrew in late March.
“Seven civilians were tortured by the Russians and then cowardly executed with a bullet to the head,” Kyiv police chief Andriï Nebytov said on Facebook, adding that “several victims had their hands and knees tied.”
In Mikolaiv, a key port on the Dnieper estuary to the south, the Russian advance was halted on the outskirts of the city and the Ukrainian army was digging trenches there, an AFP team noted.
“The Russians are bluffing. There are many of them, they have many weapons, old and new, but they are not soldiers,” Serguiï, 54, a Ukrainian brigade commander, said on Sunday while his comrades fired on enemy positions.
In a report released on Monday, Amnesty International accused Russia of war crimes in Ukraine and said hundreds of civilians had died in relentless attacks on Kharkiv (northeast), particularly with cluster bombs.
After an in-depth investigation, the NGO says it has found evidence of the use of 9N210 and 9N235 cluster bombs and mine dispersion by Russian forces in seven attacks on neighborhoods in Ukraine’s second-biggest city, two categories banned by international treaties.
The NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Monday raised the case of a Ukrainian teacher, Viktoria Androucha, 25, who was disappeared by Russian forces, who accuse her of informing the Ukrainian army, after her arrest in late March.
Mme Androucha, like other Ukrainian citizens, is now detained in Russia and her lawyer does not have access to her, HRW complained in a press release, reminding that enforced disappearance is a crime against humanity.
From February 24 to May 10, the United Nations documented “204 apparent enforced disappearances of 169 men, 34 women and one boy in Ukraine, the vast majority of which are attributed to Russian” and pro-Russian forces, according to HRW, according to HRW.
According to prosecutors, the Ukrainian judiciary has opened more than 12,000 investigations into war crimes in the country since the start of the Russian invasion.
As negotiations between the warring factions stalled, Mikhail Kasianov, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s first prime minister (2000-2004), warned that the Kremlin chief had other countries in his sights.
“If Ukraine falls, then the Baltic countries will be next on the list,” the opponent assured AFP.