Russians attack press in eastern Ukrainian city

KYIV, Ukarine – Russian forces are attacking the city of Lysychansk and its vicinity in an all-out attempt to capture the last stronghold of resistance in eastern Ukraine’s Luhansk province, the governor said on Saturday.

Ukrainian fighters have spent weeks trying to defend the city and keep it from falling into Russian hands, as neighboring Sievierodonetsk did a week ago. The Russian Defense Ministry said its forces had taken control of an oil refinery on the edge of Lysychansk in recent days, but Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai reported on Friday that the fight for the facility continues.

“In the past day, the occupiers opened fire from all available weapons,” Haidai said Saturday on the Telegram messaging app.

Luhansk and neighboring Donetsk are the two provinces that make up the Donbas region, where Russia has focused its offensive since withdrawing troops from northern Ukraine and the capital Kyiv in the spring.

Pro-Russian separatists have held parts of both provinces since 2014 and Moscow recognizes all of Luhansk and Donetsk as sovereign republics. The Syrian government said on Wednesday it would also recognize the “independence and sovereignty” of the two regions and work to establish diplomatic relations with the separatists.

In Slovyansk, a major city of Donetsk still under Ukrainian control, four people died when Russian forces fired cluster bombs late on Friday, Mayor Vadym Lyakh said on Facebook. He said the nearby areas hit did not have any potential military targets.

In a separate development, investigators scoured debris from a Russian air strike early Friday morning on residential areas near the Ukrainian port of Odesa that killed 21 people.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said three anti-ship missiles hit an apartment building in the small town of Serhiivka.

“I insist: this was a deliberate direct Russian terrorist attack, and not by mistake or some accidental missile attack,” Zelenskyy said.

The Kremlin has repeatedly stated that the Russian military is targeting fuel storage sites and military facilities, not residential areas.

Ukrainian authorities interpreted the missile attack as payback for the withdrawal of Russian troops from a nearby Black Sea island, having strategic and symbolic significance in the war that began with the invasion of Ukraine. on February 24 of Russia.

Moscow describes their departure from Snake Island as a “goodwill gesture” to help lift the grain export ban.


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