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Ukraine says Russian advances could force retreat in part of east -Breaking

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© Reuters. This view depicts apartment buildings destroyed in the conflict with Russia and Ukraine in Popasna (Luhansk, Ukraine), May 27, 2022. REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko

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Conor Humphries, Natalia Zinets

KYIV/POPASNA Ukraine (Reuters) – Ukrainian forces might have to withdraw their last pockets in Luhansk to prevent being captured. A Ukrainian official claimed that Russian troops pushing an eastward advance has shifted the momentum and direction of three months-old war.

Russian President Vladimir Putin may be closer towards his goal to capture eastern Ukraine’s Luhansk or Donetsk areas in total with a withdrawal. While his troops gained ground in both areas known collectively as the Donbas, they also destroyed some cities to make way for others.

Serhiy Gaidai, Luhansk’s governor, stated that Russian troops entered Sievierodonetsk (the largest Donbas city held by Ukraine), after trying to capture Ukrainian forces for several days. Gaidai claimed that 90 percent of the buildings had been destroyed.

Gaidai, who spoke on Telegram to say that the Russians would not be able capture Luhansk’s region as analysts predicted, said, “The Russians will never be able capturing Luhansk area in the next days,” Gaidai. He was referring the the Siverskiy Donets River, which includes Sievierodonetsk.

We will be able to defend ourselves with enough resources and strength. But, we might have to withdraw if we are not surrounded.

Russia’s separatist proxies claimed that they control Lyman (a railway hub west and Sievierodonetsk). Ukraine claims that Russia has captured Lyman most, however its forces are preventing Sloviansk from reaching the southwest.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy, President of Ukraine, stated that Ukraine is protecting its territory “as far as our existing defence resources permit”. According to the Ukrainian military, it has repelled eight terrorist attacks on Donetsk or Luhansk since Friday. They also destroyed tanks and armored vehicles.

“If occupiers believe that Lyman or Sievierodonetsk is theirs, then they’re wrong.” Zelenskiy stated in an address that Donbas would be Ukrainian.

‘PERFORMED POORLY’

According to Washington-based think tanks the Institute for the Study of War (a Washington-based think-tank), while Russian forces may have launched direct attacks on Sievierodonetsk’s built-up areas, it is likely that they won’t be able take the city.

According to them, “Russian forces performed poorly during operations on built-up urban terrain throughout World War II,”

Russian troops advanced following the piercing of Ukrainian lines in Popasna last week. Britain’s defence ministry reported that Russian ground forces captured several villages located northwest of Popasna.

Popasna, who was found in ruins by Reuters journalists on Thursday in Russian-held territory, had been reached by journalists from Reuters. A courtyard contained the skeletal remains of an unidentified man wearing a combat uniform.

Natalia Kovalenko, a resident of the area had fled the cellar from which she was hiding in the rubble of her apartment. The windows and balconies were blown away by the blast. A shell hit her courtyard killing 2 people and injuring 8.

She stated, “We have had enough of being scared.”

Russia’s gains in the east are attributable to its retreat from Kyiv as the capital. A counter-offensive by Ukraine pushed Russia back from Kharkiv.

On Thursday, Russian forces bombarded Kharkiv for the first time since days. The authorities claim that nine persons were killed. According to authorities, nine people were killed in the “special military operation” that was launched in Ukraine by the Kremlin.

According to Ukrainian officials, Russia is seeking permanent control in the southern region, where Moscow has seize a substantial portion of territory including Mariupol since February 24, invasion.

STUGGLING TO LEAVE

According to Hennadiy Leguta, the governor of the Kherson region, Russia was strengthening defenses in the area’s south and bombarding areas controlled by Ukraine.

According to him, the humanitarian situation in certain areas was very critical and it was becoming difficult for people to flee.

According to police, 31 persons were evacuated from Luhansk on Friday. 13 of them included children.

Officials from the European Union said that a deal could be struck by Sunday for Russia to stop oil deliveries by sea. This account accounts for 75% of its supply. However, it will not ban Russian oil via pipeline. The compromise was to gain support for Hungary and allow for the introduction of new sanctions.

Zelenskiy accused the EU for dragging its feet over the ban on Russian oil, claiming that the EU was financing Russia’s war.

Putin maintained his position that the West must lift sanctions to end the global food shortage caused by conflict in a phone call with Karl Nehammer.

Nehammer stated that Putin was open to discussing a prisoner exchange with Ukraine, but added: “If [he] is truly ready to negotiate is an intricate question.”

Russia and Ukraine are both major exporters of grain. Russia’s blockade has prevented shipments from Russia, which in turn, has driven up world prices. Russia charges Ukraine with mining these ports.

Russia’s aggression was justified partly by the need to ensure that Ukraine doesn’t join NATO, which is led by the U.S. The war forced both Sweden and Finland to request NATO membership, which has been one of the biggest changes to European security since decades.

NATO member Turkey opposes the Nordic state’s bids, claiming that it harbours people connected to a militant organization.

According to two sources, the progress made by Finnish and Swedish diplomats during negotiations in Turkey this week was not impressive. A Turkish official said to Reuters that it was not easy.

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