Moscow warned Lithuania of “serious” consequences on Tuesday over its restriction of rail traffic to Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave, as Kremlin forces made gains in Ukraine’s strategic Donbas region.
Kremlin troops were causing “catastrophic destruction” in Lysychansk, an industrial city at the forefront of clashes in the eastern Donbas, the region’s Governor said. Ukraine confirmed Russia had taken frontline village Toshkivka.
Governor Sergiy Gaiday said “every town and village” in Ukrainian hands in Lugansk region was “under almost non-stop fire”.
Since being repelled from Kyiv and other parts of Ukraine following its invasion in February, Moscow is focusing its offensive on the strategic Donbas region.
In the eastern town of Sloviansk, which could become a flash point as Russian troops advance from the north, local people were preparing to withstand attack and the authorities said the community would defend itself.
The stakes are high. The town was seized by Russia-backed separatists in 2014 and then retaken by Ukrainian forces after a lengthy siege.
Russia’s war of words with EU member Lithuania escalated on Tuesday, vowing “serious” consequences over Vilnius’ restrictions on rail traffic to the exclave of Kaliningrad.
Lithuania says it is simply adhering to EU-wide sanctions on Moscow but Russia countered, accusing Brussels of “escalation”.
Moscow summoned the EU’s Ambassador to Russia. Its Foreign Ministry said Lithuania’s actions “violate the relevant legal and political obligations of the European Union”.
On the ground, the police chief of the Kyiv region said victims of the Russian attempt to seize the capital city continued to be found. So far, the bodies of 1,333 civilians have been discovered and 300 people still missing.