Fierce battles continued to erupt in the east of the country Ukraine With Russian forces on the verge of besieging a major industrial city, bringing a sharp reprimand to the West from Volodymyr Zelensky for not doing enough to help Kyiv win the war.
As the Ukrainian military reported Thursday that 40 towns in the Donbass region were subjected to Russian bombardment, Luhansk Governor Sergei Gaidai described the fighting outside Severodonetsk, a major military objective of the Russiaconsidering that the Russian forces were bombing the city from its outskirts with mortars, as “very difficult”.
“Next week will be decisive,” Gaidai said in a video posted to Telegram, adding that he believed Russia’s goal was to “take the Luhansk region no matter the cost.”
“There is a tremendous amount of bombing,” he added.
Having failed to capture the Ukrainian capital or Kharkiv, its second city, after its invasion in February, Russia is trying to take full control of Donbass, consisting of two eastern provinces claimed by Moscow on behalf of the separatists.
Russia sent thousands of soldiers to the area, and launched an offensive from three sides in an attempt to To encircle the steadfast Ukrainian forces in Sievierodonetsk and its twin Lysychansk. Their fall would leave the entire Luhansk Province under Russian control, a major goal in the Kremlin’s war.
The occupiers bombed more than 40 towns in the Donetsk and Luhansk region, destroying or damaging 47 civilian sites, including 38 homes and schools. “As a result of this bombing, five civilians were killed and 12 others were wounded,” the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ Joint Task Force said on Facebook.
The statement said that 10 enemy attacks were repelled, four tanks and four drones were destroyed, and 62 “enemy soldiers” were killed.
Gaidai said the police in Lysichansk were collecting the bodies of the dead for burial in mass graves. He added that about 150 people were buried in a mass grave in one of the Lysichansk regions.
Gedayi said families of people buried in mass graves will be able to rebury them after the war, and police are issuing documents enabling Ukrainians to secure death certificates for their loved ones.
In his evening address on Wednesday, Zelensky said that Russian forces are “significantly outnumbering us” in some parts of the east and reiterated his Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba’s calls to the World Economic Forum in Davos for more weapons from the West.
We need the help of our partners – and above all, weapons for Ukraine. “Full help, without exceptions, without limits, is enough to win,” Zelensky said in his daily address to the nation.
He demanded that the international community give it too much attention to Russia’s interests and too little to Ukraine.
The Ukrainian president criticized a recent op-ed in the New York Times and other similar statements by influential Western figures suggesting that Ukraine might have to sacrifice some territory to end the conflict.
“We must do everything possible so that the world develops a constant habit of taking Ukraine into account, so that the interests of the Ukrainians who rush to another meeting with the dictator do not win out,” Zelensky said. .
British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is expected on Thursday to call for more military assistance and sanctions to help Ukraine, during a trip to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Russian aggression cannot be calmed. He is expected to meet the gears of strength,” he said, referring to the concessions made to Putin before the start of operations in Georgia, Crimea and Donbass.
The Russian invasion of its pro-Western neighbor has caused global shock waves, most recently fears of food shortages, particularly in Africa.
Moscow has blamed international sanctions imposed after the invasion, while the West says the shortage is mainly due to Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian ports.
“Solving the food problem requires a comprehensive approach, including the lifting of sanctions on Russian exports and financial transactions,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko said.
But Kuleba urged delegates in Davos, Switzerland, not to give up. “This is an obvious blackmail. You cannot find a better example of blackmail in international relations,” Kuleba told the World Economic Forum in Davos. Kuleba also criticized NATO’s western military alliance for “doing literally nothing” to stop Russia.
In other developments:
The presidency added that Russian cruise missiles hit the main railway hub in southern Zaporizhia, killing one person and damaging dozens of homes, indicating that the rest of the country is still in danger.
On Wednesday, President Vladimir Putin signed a decree simplifying procedures To get a Russian passport For the population of the southern Ukrainian regions of Kherson, under the full control of Russian troops, and partially occupied Zaporizhia. Kyiv said the plan was a “flagrant violation” of Ukraine’s sovereignty.
Russia’s parliament on Wednesday abolished the maximum age for contractual service in the military, highlighting the need to replace lost troops. In a late-night video speech, Zelensky, commenting on the new Russian conscription rules, said: “(They no longer have enough young men, but they still have the will to fight. It will take some time to crush that will.”