Russian noose tightens in Donbass

The governor of the Lugansk region, Sergei Gaidai, confirmed on Telegram on Sunday that the situation in Lyschansk had “significantly worsened”. “A Russian shell fell on an apartment building, and a girl died instantly, and four people were taken to hospital,” he added. The previous day had been “difficult” in the city according to Mr. Gidayi, who recalls the destroyed cinema and 22 damaged buildings.

In Severodonetsk, “the enemy carried out offensive operations,” according to a report of the General Staff of the Ukrainian Army published on Sunday. According to Governor Gaïdaï, the Russian offensive in the city continues with street fighting.

More than three months after the start of Moscow’s war on February 24, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz asked Russian President Vladimir Putin – during a telephone interview – to start “direct talks” with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky. .

Putin on his part emphasized that Russia remains “open to resuming dialogue” with Kyiv to settle the armed conflict, while peace negotiations with Ukraine have been stalled since March, according to the Kremlin.

‘continuous bombardment’

On Saturday, Governor Gaidic admitted that “the next week will be very difficult”, considering, however, that the Russian forces “will not be able to achieve everything they plan in the near future.”

For his part, the mayor of Severodonetsk, Oleksandr Stryuk, emphasized that “the Russians have brought a lot of means to take the city by storm, but they can’t do it yet.” “We believe the city will resist,” he insisted. He warned of the deteriorating health situation in this city, which had a population of 100,000 people before the war.

He wrote on his Telegram account on Saturday evening that the “continuous bombing” significantly complicates the supply – especially drinking water – to the city, which has been without electricity for more than two weeks. He pointed to the suspension of the activity of the “Humanitarian Aid Center” in the city.

The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed, in a press release published on Sunday morning, that the Russian army destroyed “with high-precision long-range missiles an important arsenal of the Ukrainian Armed Forces”, in the Dnipropetrovsk region (southeast).

These missiles have also in the past 24 hours targeted a Ukrainian air defense system near Mykolaivka in the Donetsk region, a radar station in the Kharkiv region and five ammunition depots including near Severodonetsk, according to the same press release.

Major Cities Circled

Lyssychansk and Severodonetsk, the main cities in eastern Ukraine located on both sides of the Siversky Donets, are threatened with encirclement by Russian forces and pro-Russian separatists, who seek to establish complete control of the Donbass mining basin.

The leader of the Russian Republic of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, for his part, claimed Saturday evening in Telegram that “Severodonetsk is under our complete control (…) and the city has been liberated.”

A little further west, the Russian Defense Ministry on Saturday confirmed the capture of a key locality of Lyman – opening the way to the major cities of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk, in the Donbass.

The territorial defense of this “self-proclaimed” republic by pro-Russian separatists on Friday indicated on Telegram the “full control” of the Lyman, “with the support” of the Russian army.

The Commander of the Armed Forces of the Central Military District of Russia, General Alexander Lapin, on Sunday praised the “courage and heroism” of the Russian soldiers who took part in the capture of Lyman, the Russian Ministry of Defense quoted in a statement.

On Sunday, the Ukrainian military noted that the regrouping of Russian forces was “getting stronger” in this sector.

very difficult situation

President Zelensky admitted that “the situation in this Donbas region (was) very difficult”, with intense artillery and missile bombardment. But he estimated that “if the occupiers thought that Lyman and Severodonetsk would be theirs, they were mistaken. And Donbass would be Ukrainian.”

After the failed attacks on Kyiv and Kharkiv (northeast) at the beginning of the war, Russian forces were concentrated in eastern Ukraine, with the declared aim of capturing all of Donbass, partly controlled since 2014 by pro-Russian separatists with the support of Moscow.

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