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Russia claims key Ukraine city, shelling kills 6 in Sloviansk

A Ukrainian policeman patrols in front of destroyed shops on a local market after a rocket attack in the Ukrainian town of Sloviansk, on July 3, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

A Ukrainian policeman patrols in front of destroyed shops on a local market after a rocket attack in the Ukrainian town of Sloviansk, on July 3, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. | Photo Credit: AFP

Russia claimed on Sunday to have captured the strategic Ukrainian city of Lysychansk and the entire frontline Luhansk region as a mayor said six people were killed by Russian shelling to the west.

Also read:Russia-Ukraine crisis live updates | July 3, 2022

The gains claimed by Russia would mark a decisive breakthrough for Moscow’s forces seeking control of eastern Ukraine, more than four months into their invasion and after turning their focus away from the capital Kyiv.

The mayor of Sloviansk, 75 kilometres (45 miles) west of Lysychansk, reported the heaviest Russian shelling “for a long time,” saying that a child was among six people killed, with another 15 people wounded and 15 fires sparked.

On Sunday, Russia accused Ukraine of firing three cluster missiles at the city of Belgorod, near the Ukrainian border and late on Saturday, Belarus said it intercepted Ukrainian missiles.

Lysychansk had been the last major city in the Luhansk area of the Donbas still in Ukrainian hands and its capture would signal a deeper push into the eastern region.

“Sergei Shoigu has informed the commander in chief of the Russian armed forces, Vladimir Putin, of the liberation of the People’s Republic of Luhansk,” the Russian defence ministry said in a statement quoted by Russian news agencies.

Ukraine has yet to comment on the Russian claim that Lysychansk has fallen.

On Saturday, there were conflicting reports about Lysychansk’s status with Ukraine denying Moscow’s claim to have encircled the entire city, which lies just across the river from neighbouring Severodonetsk which Russian forces seized last week.

The city of Siversk, 30 kilometres west of Lysychansk, saw overnight shelling, residents and an official told AFP.

“It was intense and it was shooting from all sides,” said a woman sheltering in a cellar.

“Fierce fighting continues along the entire frontline, in Donbas,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an address late on Saturday, accusing “enemy activity” of “intensifying” in the wider region around Ukraine’s second city of Kharkiv.

Two people were killed and three wounded — including two children — in a strike on the town of Dobropillya, local authorities in Donetsk said.


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Printable version | Aug 4, 2022 1:25:13 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/russia-claims-key-ukraine-city-shelling-kills-6-in-sloviansk/article65596483.ece