Ukrainian forces are trying to repel the advance of Russian troops in the city of Severodonetsk, the last major focus of Ukraine’s resistance in the Lugansk region along with neighboring Lisichansk and where Russia already controls a third of the town, according to the militias. pro-Russian separatists.
“The situation is extremely complicated. Part of Severodonetsk is controlled by the Russians,” Lugansk region governor Serhiy Gaidai said. He stressed, however, that Russian troops “cannot advance freely” due to Ukrainian resistance.
Oleksandr Stryuk, the mayor of the besieged city, declared for his part to the Ukrainian channel 1 1 that “the front line has divided the city into two parts.”
“But the city is still defending itself, it is still Ukrainian and our soldiers are fighting,” he said.
On the other side of the front, militias from the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic said they are continuing their offensive.
“You can already say that we control a third of the city,” said the leader of the pro-Russian militias, Leonid Pásechnik, quoted by the official Russian agency TASS.
Passechnik said that the main objective at the moment “is to liberate Severodonetsk and neighboring Lisichansk.”
“In these sectors (…) the group of Ukrainian troops is made up of about 10,000 troops,” he added.
According to the Ukrainian General Staff Command, the pro-Russian militias attack the positions of the city’s defenders “with mortars, artillery and missiles along the line of contact”.
“The main efforts are focused on establishing control of Severodonetsk,” he said. Gaidai denounced that the Russian Army plans to carry out a “cleansing operation” in Severodonetsk and its surroundings, in the eastern region of Lugansk, to eliminate or neutralize any resistance.
The Russians “are sending a battalion of soldiers who will pass through the surrounding villages. They are moving teams with large flamethrowers to simply burn our army, along with the civilian population, they do not care,” he denounced.
Meanwhile, the situation remains tense in other regions of the country, admitted the Ukrainian command, which reported mortar attacks in the border areas of Chernigov and Sumy, in the north and northeast of Ukraine, respectively.
Unlike Severodonetsk, where the Russians have redoubled their efforts, in other directions they have chosen to regroup and equip themselves, in order to be ready for future offensives, the Ukrainian command said.
According to the Ukrainian military, this tactic is observed in the Slobozhansk region, near the occupied Liman, and in Sloviansk, one of the key objectives of the Russian Army as, together with Kramatorsk, it is the last important city in Ukrainian hands in the Donetsk region. .
The governor of the province, Pavlo Kyrylenko, today reported three deaths and seven injuries from Russian missile attacks in Sloviansk, to which the pro-Russian militias responded with reports of Ukrainian attacks that caused at least two deaths.
“As a result of today’s attack by Ukrainian forces, the number of victims in the Donetsk People’s Republic grew to seven people (in one day): two died and five were injured,” reported the General Staff of the Territorial Defense of the Donetsk. self-proclaimed republic on its Telegram channel.
According to data released this Tuesday by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, since last February 24, the date on which the so-called Russian “special military operation” began, 4,074 civilians have died and another 4,826 were injured.
In addition, the Russian Defense Ministry reported on Tuesday the discovery of the bodies of 152 Ukrainian fighters in an “isothermal van” in the territory of the Azovstal steelworks, in Mariupol, in southeastern Ukraine.
According to the spokesman for the military entity, Major General Igor Konashénkov, the Russian sappers found mines placed under the corpses.
According to Russia, it has been established that kyiv was seeking to blame Moscow for the “deliberate” elimination of the bodies to prevent their transfer and delivery to relatives.
Russia announced on May 20 the complete surrender of the defenders of Azovstal, a total of 2,439 Ukrainian combatants, mostly members of the nationalist Azov battalion, who will be tried by representatives of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic.
The separatist leader of this pro-Russian region, Denís Pushilin, affirmed that the trial will begin “in the near future” and did not rule out that some of the combatants could be sentenced to the “maximum sentence” for “rapes, torture and murder of civilians” in the Donbas.
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