Advertising

Russia launches all out assault on Eastern Ukraine

Ukraine -Russian forces were launching an all-out assault to encircle Ukrainian troops in twin cities straddling a river in eastern Ukraine on Tuesday, a battle that could determine the success or failure of Moscow's main campaign in the east.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Russian forces waged an all-out assault on Tuesday to encircle Ukrainian troops in twin eastern cities straddling a river, a battle that could determine the success or failure of Moscow’s main campaign in the industrial heartland of Donbas.

Russia is attempting to seize the separatist-claimed Donbas’ two provinces, Donetsk and Luhansk, and trap Ukrainian forces in a pocket on the main eastern front.

Russian forces took control of three towns in the Donetsk region including Svitlodarsk, regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko told a local affiliate of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

Read more: EU states call for use of Russian assets to rebuild Ukraine

“The situation on the (eastern) front is extremely difficult because the fate of this country is perhaps being decided (there) right now,” said Ukrainian Defence Ministry spokesman Oleksandr Motuzyanyk.

The easternmost part of the Ukrainian-held Donbas pocket, the city of Sievierodonetsk on the east bank of the Siverskiy Donets River and its twin Lysychansk on the west bank, have become the pivotal battlefield there. Russian forces were advancing from three directions to encircle them.

“The enemy has focused its efforts on carrying out an offensive in order to encircle Lysychansk and Sievierodonetsk,” said Serhiy Gaidai, governor of Luhansk province, where the two cities are among the last territory still held by Ukraine.

Ukraine’s military said it had repelled nine Russian attacks on Tuesday in the Donbas where Moscow’s troops had killed at least 14 civilians, using aircraft, rocket launchers, artillery, tanks, mortars and missiles.

Read more: UN body: Ukraine war has strongly impacted Pakistan’s economy

Reuters could not immediately verify the information.

In a sign of Ukrainian success elsewhere, authorities in its second-largest city Kharkiv re-opened the underground metro, where thousands of civilians had sheltered for months under relentless bombardment.

The move came after Ukraine pushed Russian forces largely out of artillery range of the northern city, as they did from the capital Kyiv in March.

World war 3?

Three months into the invasion, Moscow still has only limited gains to show for its worst military losses in decades, while much of Ukraine has suffered devastation in the biggest attack on a European state since 1945.

More than 6.5 million people have fled abroad, uncounted thousands have been killed and cities have been reduced to rubble.

The war has also caused growing food shortages and soaring prices due to sanctions and disrupted supply chains. Both Ukraine and Russia are major exporters of grain and other commodities.

Read more: G7 pledges billions for Ukraine

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen accused Russia of using food supplies as a weapon.

“In Russian-occupied Ukraine, the Kremlin’s army is confiscating grain stocks and machinery (…) And Russian warships in the Black Sea are blockading Ukrainian ships full of wheat and sunflower seeds,” she told the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Reuters with additional input by GVS