Zelenskyy adviser says key bastion in eastern Ukraine could fall to the Russians – National

Fighting intensified over the weekend for Lysychansk, Ukraine’s last major fortress in the strategic eastern province of Ukraine. Luhanskand advisor to the President Volodymyr Zelenskiy admit the city may fall.

Russian forces seized Lysychansk’s sister city of Sievierodonetsk on the opposite side of the River Siverskiy Donets last month, after some of the fiercest fighting of the war.

Rodion Miroshnik, ambassador to Russia of the pro-Moscow Luhansk People’s Republic, told Russian television “Lysychansk is already under control”, but added: “Unfortunately, it has not been liberated.”

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Russian forces attack media in Luhansk province, eastern Ukraine

Russian media showed video of the Luhansk militia marching on the streets of Lysychansk waving flags and cheering, but National Guard spokesman Ruslan Muzychuk told Ukrainian television that the city remained in Ukrainian hands.

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“Now there are fierce battles near Lysychansk, however, fortunately, the city is not surrounded and is under the control of the Ukrainian army,” Mr. Muzychuk said.

Zelenskiy adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said Russian forces had finally crossed the Siverskiy Donets river and were approaching the city from the north.

“This is a real threat. We shall see. I am not excluding any one of these results here. Everything will become much clearer within a day or two,” he said.

“If Lysychansk is eliminated, tactically it will be harder for the Russians to continue attacking. The front lines will be flatter and there will be a frontal attack rather than from the flanks. “

Click to play video: ''I need to do whatever I can'': Canadian man fighting on the front lines of Ukraine'

‘I need to do whatever I can’: Canadian man fighting on Ukraine’s front lines

‘I need to do whatever I can’: Canadian man fighting on Ukraine’s front lines

He said the Russians would have to concentrate on capturing six major cities in the industrialized eastern Donbas and with each city their forces would be spread out more and more thinly.

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“The more Western weapons appear, the more the picture shifts in favor of Ukraine,” he said.

Ukraine has repeatedly called for more weapons from the West, saying its forces are being destroyed.

In another development, Oleksandr Senkevych, the mayor of Mykolaiv, which borders the important Black Sea port of Odesa, reported powerful explosions in the city on Saturday.

“Stay in the shelter!” he wrote on the messaging app Telegram when the air raid sirens sounded.

Click to play video: 'Russia allegedly carried out a civilian bombing campaign and escalated attacks in Ukraine'

Russia accuses civilian bombing campaign and escalation of attacks in Ukraine

Russia accuses civilian bombing campaign and escalation of attacks in Ukraine

The cause of the explosions was not immediately clear, although Russia later said it had hit military command posts.

Reuters could not independently verify the battlefield reports.

Ukrainian authorities said a missile hit an apartment complex near Odesa on Friday, killing at least 21 people. A shopping mall was attacked Monday in the central city of Kremenchuk, killing at least 19 people.

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Zelenskiy denounced Friday’s airstrikes as “conscious, deliberate targeting of Russian terrorism and not an error or a random missile attack.”


In his nightly televised address on Saturday, Zelenskiy said it would be a “very difficult road” to victory but the Ukrainians had to maintain their resolve and inflict damage on the “aggressor”. strategy… so that every Russian remembers that Ukraine cannot be broken.”

Kyiv said that Moscow has stepped up missile attacks on cities far from the main eastern battlefield and that they deliberately hit civilian sites. Ukrainian troops on the eastern frontline meanwhile described intense shelling of residential areas.

Thousands of civilians have been killed and cities razed since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov repeated Russia’s denial that it targeted civilians.

Russia is seeking to drive Ukrainian forces out of the Luhansk and Donetsk provinces in Donbas, where Moscow-backed separatists have been fighting against Kyiv since Russia’s first military intervention in Ukraine in 2014.

READ MORE: Germans urge to prepare for possible gas shortage amid Russia’s war

Soldiers pausing fighting and talking in Konstyantynivka, a town about 115 kilometers (72 miles) west of Lysychansk, said they were now trying to keep the supply route to the city blocked. This was cleared, despite Russian bombardment.

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“We still use the road because we have to, but it is within range of the Russian artillery,” said one soldier as his comrades were relaxing nearby, chewing bread or eating ice cream.

“The Russian tactic right now is to just bombard any buildings that we can locate. Once they’ve destroyed it, they move on to the next one,” he said.

Reuters reporters saw an unexploded rocket lying in the ground in a residential area on the outskirts of the Kramatorsk city of Donbas on Saturday night.

Click to play video: 'Russia is about to take control of key Ukrainian stronghold in Sievierodonetsk'

Russia is about to take control of the important Ukrainian stronghold in Sievierodonetsk

Russia is about to take control of the key Ukrainian stronghold in Sievierodonetsk – June 13, 2022

The rocket landed in a wooded area between residential tower blocks. Firecrackers and several loud explosions were heard in central Kramatorsk earlier in the evening.

Although battered in the east, Ukrainian forces have made some progress elsewhere, including forcing Russia to withdraw from Snake Island, a southeastern Black Sea protrusion of Odesa that Moscow has taken captured at the beginning of the war.

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Russia has used Snake Island to impose a blockade on Ukraine, one of the world’s largest grain exporters and a major producer of seeds for vegetable oils. The disruption has helped drive up global grain and food prices.

Russia, also a major grain producer, blamed the crisis on Western sanctions for its exports.
(Reporting by Reuters Bureau; Writing by Lincoln Feast, Edmund Blair, Ron Popeski and David Brunnstrom 😉

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