Russia-Ukraine crisis live updates | Mayor says Ukrainian troops have 'almost left' Sievierodonetsk

Ukrainian service members speak to each other in the industrial area of the city of Sievierodonetsk, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues. File

Ukrainian service members speak to each other in the industrial area of the city of Sievierodonetsk, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues. File | Photo Credit: Reuters

After weeks of ferocious fighting, Ukrainian forces have begun retreating from a besieged city in the country's east to move to stronger positions, a regional official said on Friday, the four-month mark in Russia's invasion.

The planned withdrawal from Sievierodonetsk, the administrative centre of the Luhansk region, comes after relentless Russian bombardment that has reduced most of the industrial city to rubble and cut its population from 100,0000 to 10,000. Ukrainian troops fought the Russians in house-to-house battles before retreating to the huge Azot chemical factory on the city's edge, where they remain holed up in its sprawling underground structures in which about 500 civilians also found refuge.

In recent days, Russian forces have made gains around Sievierodonetsk and the neighbouring city of Lysychansk, on a steep bank across a river, in a bid to encircle Ukrainian forces.

Read more news on the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis here.


Mayor says Ukrainian troops have 'almost left' Sievierodonetsk

The mayor of Ukraine's Sievierodonetsk said Ukrainian troops had "almost left" the strategic frontline city after holding out for weeks against advancing Russian forces.

Mayor Oleksandr Stryuk did not confirm whether a full withdrawal was underway. On Friday, regional authorities said Ukraine was set to pull back its troops there.

"Unfortunately, they have almost left the city," Mr. Stryuk said on national television. - Reuters


Russia pushes to block 2nd city in eastern Ukraine

Russian forces are trying to block a city in eastern Ukraine, the region’s governor said Saturday, after their relentless assault on a nearby city forced Ukrainian troops to begin withdrawal after weeks of intense fighting.

Russia also launched missile attacks on areas far from the heart of the eastern battles.

Serhiy Haidai, governor of the Luhansk region, said on Facebook that Russian forces are attempting to blockade the city of Lysychansk from the south. That city lies next to Sievierodonetsk, which has endured relentless assault and house-to-house fighting for weeks.

After Haidai said Friday that Ukrainian forces had begun retreating from Sievierodonetsk, military analyst Oleg Zhdanov said some of the troops were heading for Lysychansk. But Russian moves to cut off Lysychansk will give those retreating troops little respite.— AP


Ukraine reports 'massive' attack from Belarus

Ukraine said it came under "massive bombardment" Saturday from neighbouring Belarus, a Russian ally not officially involved in the conflict, the day after announcing a retreat from the strategic city of Severodonetsk.

Twenty rockets targeted the village of Desna in the northern Chernigiv region, Ukraine's northern military command said in a statement, adding that infrastructure was hit, but no casualties had yet been reported.

Belarus has provided logistic support to Moscow since the February 24 invasion, particularly in the first few weeks, and like Russia has been targeted by Western sanctions - but is officially not involved in the conflict. - AFP


Ukraine already using U.S.-supplied rocket systems in conflict: General

U.S.-supplied HIMARS rocket systems are already working and hitting targets in Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine, the country's top general said on Saturday.

"Artillerymen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine skillfully hit certain targets - military targets of the enemy on our, Ukrainian, territory," Chief of Ukraine's General Staff Valeriy Zaluzhnyi wrote on the Telegram app. - Reuters


Russian troops kill 'up to 80' Polish fighters in Ukraine: Moscow

Russia said on Saturday its troops have killed "up to 80" Polish fighters in "precision strikes" in eastern Ukraine.

"Up to 80 Polish mercenaries, 20 armoured combat vehicles and eight Grad multiple rocket launchers were destroyed in precision strikes on the Megatex zinc factory in Konstantinovka" in the Donetsk region, the Russian defence ministry said in a statement which could not be independently verified. - AFP


Ukraine says Russia aiming to drag Belarus into war

Ukraine's intelligence service said on Saturday that Russia was aiming to drag Belarus into the war, after missiles were fired from Belarusian territory into a northern border region.

"Today's strike is directly linked to Kremlin efforts to pull Belarus as a co-belligerent into the war in Ukraine," the Ukrainian intelligence service, which is part of the defence ministry, said on Telegram. - AFP


Russia has removed several key generals from Ukraine: Britain

The British defence ministry said on Saturday that Russia had likely withdrawn several generals from key command roles in the Ukraine conflict this month.

“Since the start of June, the Russian high command has highly likely removed several Generals from key operational command roles in the war in Ukraine,” the ministry said in its daily Twitter update.- Reuters


Russian shelling hits chemical plant where civilians trapped, says Ukraine

Russia launched artillery and air strikes on the twin cities of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk on Saturday, hitting a chemical plant where hundreds of civilians were trapped, a Ukrainian official said.

Serhiy Gaidai, governor of the Luhansk region, said Russian forces attacked Sievierodentsk’s industrial zone and also attempted to enter and blockade Lysychansk.

“There was an air strike at Lysychansk. Sievierodonetsk was hit by artillery,” Mr. Gaidai said on the Telegram messaging app, adding the Azot chemical plant in Sievierodonetsk and the villages of Synetsky and Pavlograd and others were shelled.- Reuters

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UK’s Johnson says he fears Ukraine will be coerced to make a ‘bad peace’

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Saturday that he feared Ukraine could face pressure to agree a peace deal with Russia that was not in its interests, due to the economic consequences of the war in Europe.

“Too many countries are saying this is a European war that is unnecessary ... and so the pressure will grow to encourage - coerce, maybe - the Ukrainians to a bad peace,” Mr. Johnson told broadcasters in the Rwandan capital Kigali, where he is attending a Commonwealth summit.- Reuters


Russian missiles hit Ukraine’s Yavoriv military base - Regional Governor

 A Russian strike on the Yavoriv military facility in western Ukraine wounded four people, Lviv governor Maxim Kozitsky said in a video post on Saturday.

Mr. Kozitsky said six missiles were fired from the Black Sea, with four hitting the base and two being intercepted and destroyed before hitting the target.- Reuters

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Russian military cargo plane crashes, killing 5 crew members

A Russian military cargo plane crashed Friday on a training flight after refuelling about 124 miles southeast of Moscow, killing five crew members and leaving several others injured, officials said.

The heavy-lift Il-76 cargo plane went down in the Ryazan region after suffering an engine problem that forced the crew of 10 to crash-land. The plane, carrying no cargo, was flying from Belgorod to Orenburg, Russian news agency Tass reported.

The regional administration initially said that four crew members died and another five were injured when the plane hit a power line and slammed into a field just outside the city of Ryazan after refuelling at a local air base. Tass reported later that one of the injured had died.- AP

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Ukraine needs ‘fire parity’ with Russia to defend Luhansk region: Top General

Ukraine needs “fire parity” with Russia in order to stabilize the difficult situation in the country’s eastern region of Luhansk, Ukraine’s top general told his U.S. counterpart during a phone call on Friday.

“We discussed the operational situation and the delivery flow of international technical assistance,” Ukraine’s General Valeriy Zaluzhniy wrote on the Telegram app after a phone call with U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley.- Reuters

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Russia says EU candidate status for Ukraine, Moldova will have negative consequences

Russia on Friday said the decision by European Union leaders to accept Ukraine and Moldova as membership candidates would have negative consequences and amounted to the EU’s “enslaving” neighbouring countries.

Although it could take years for the countries to join the European bloc, the decision to accept them as candidates is a symbol of the EU’s intention to reach deep into the former Soviet Union.

Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry, called the move an attempt to encroach on Russia’s sphere of influence within the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) made up of ex-Soviet states.- Reuters

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Ukraine set to quit ruined Sievierodonetsk as Russians close in

Ukraine was set to pull its troops from the ruined city of Sievierodonetsk after weeks of street fighting and bombardment, the regional governor said, in what would be a significant gain for Russia as it grinds out its offensive in the east.

Russian troops also occupied a town about 10 km (6 miles) further south, both sides said on Friday, as Moscow closed in on the last slivers of Ukrainian-held territory in the industrial region of Luhansk.- Reuters

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Printable version | Aug 9, 2022 8:01:32 am |