Russian shelling kills 6 people in Donbas, EU defends sanctions against Moscow
Kyiv said Russia shelled a town in eastern Ukraine on Monday, killing six people as EU ministers met in Brussels to confirm that Western sanctions pressure on Moscow was working. .
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky appointed an acting security chief on Monday, after announcing the suspension of senior law enforcement officials late Sunday.
Rescue workers wearing blue helmets are digging through debris and clearing debris from a collapsed two-story building in Toretsk, the industrial east that was hit by Russian shelling early Monday .
“I opened the window. There was a big explosion around 5am – rocks and dust,” Nadia, a local resident, told AFP journalists, still shaking.
Ambulance services said five people were pulled dead from the rubble, while a sixth person, seriously injured, died in hospital.
Toretsk, a town of about 30,000 inhabitants, is located 50 kilometers (30 miles) south of Kramatorsk, a major target of Russian forces, who invaded Ukraine in late February.
The Russian army has recently made many gains in the eastern Donbas region, capturing the sister cities of Lysychansk and Severodonetsk.
On Monday, pro-Moscow rebels announced that their next target in Donbas – the town of Siversk – was within their control, a claim that could not be independently verified.
Negotiating grain supply
In Kyiv, Zelensky appointed 39-year-old Vasyl Malyuk – first deputy director of the SBU security service since March – as acting director after pulling Ivan Bakanov from the post.
Andriy Smirnov, deputy head of the presidential palace, told Ukrainian television on Monday that Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova and Bakanov had been suspended to prevent them from “potentially influencing criminal proceedings against their employees.” Security Service of Ukraine”.
On the previous night, Zelensky said security officials were investigating more than 650 cases of suspected treason and aiding and abetting Russia, including 60 cases of officials in Russian-owned territories occupation working against Ukraine.
In Brussels, the EU’s foreign policy chief warned that Russia’s blockade of Ukraine’s ports was threatening grain supplies for tens of thousands of vulnerable people, and said it had to stop.
“It’s a matter of life and death for many,” Josep Borrell told reporters. “And the question is whether Russia has to stop and allow Ukraine’s grain exports.”
Zelensky tweeted Monday that he had spoken with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. “Discussed the importance of resumption of Ukrainian grain exports to avert a global food crisis caused by Russia,” he wrote.
Negotiators from Russia and Ukraine will meet with UN and Turkish diplomats in Istanbul on Wednesday to try to agree an end to a months-long blockade of Ukrainian ports.
Meanwhile, Kremlin adviser Yury Ushakov said an impasse would emerge during talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday in Tehran.
Compliance with sanctions: Borrell
Borrell urged the EU not to falter on sanctions against Russia, stressing that it was working, days after Hungarian leader Viktor Orban said the penalties harm Europe more than Russia.
“That’s what we have to do, and we will continue to do it,” Borrell said.
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba warned that “stepping back and bowing to” Putin’s demands “will not work, it has never worked.”
“This is a trap,” he said.
Meanwhile, Putin vowed to fix high-tech problems caused by sanctions.
“This is a huge challenge for our country,” he told a meeting. “Realizing the huge difficulties we are facing, we will look for new solutions in a dynamic and competent manner.”
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen visited gas-rich Azerbaijan on Monday to secure Russian energy alternatives to Europe.
“We will double the gas supplies from Azerbaijan to the EU,” within a few years, she said after meeting with President Ilham Aliyev, a leader frequently criticized by far-right groups.
Russia aims for long-range weapons
A Ukrainian counterattack in the direction of besieged ports on the Black Sea has been gaining momentum.
With the delivery of long-range precision artillery by Western allies to Ukraine, the dynamics of the battlefield in the south – and in the east – have changed, Kyiv and conflict observers say.
Those weapons are Russia’s main concern, and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in a recent military inspection said Moscow’s forces must aim to neutralize systems like the U.S.-made Himars. provided.
The Russian Defense Ministry said: “Shoigu ordered to prioritize destruction with high-precision weapons – artillery and long-range missiles of the enemy.”
In a BBC television interview broadcast on Sunday, the head of Britain’s armed forces, Admiral Tony Radakin, estimated that 50,000 Russian soldiers were killed or wounded during the invasion, with Nearly 1,700 Russian tanks and about 4,000 armored fighting vehicles were destroyed.
But more than 20 weeks since the invasion began, over the weekend Moscow said it would step up its military activities.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and was automatically generated from the syndication feed.)