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Eastern Ukraine: “Difficult situation” at the front

Eastern Ukraine: “Difficult situation” at the front

Status: 06/21/2022 09:17 a.m

According to Governor Hajday, the region around Sieverodonetsk is under constant fire. Heavy fighting is also threatening in the south. Deputy Prime Minister Wereshchuk called on people from occupied Cherson to flee.

Ukraine has been defending itself against the Russian war of aggression for four months. The strategically important city of Sievjerodonetsk in the east of the country remains fiercely contested. The governor of the Luhansk region, Serhiy Hajday, said the situation along the front was “extremely difficult”. The Russian army has taken some areas and accumulated enough reserves for a new major offensive. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said there were difficult battles in Luhansk for the cities of Sievarodonetsk and Lysichansk.

In Sievjerodonetsk, according to Ukrainian sources, Russian troops advanced into the industrial area, where their own military only controls the Azot chemical plant. Surrounding towns are also under constant fire, said Governor Hajdaj. For some time, Russian troops have been concentrating on capturing the administrative center of Sievarodonetsk in Luhansk. There were also air alerts in other areas in the east and central regions of the country during the night.

Hundreds of civilians at the Azot chemical plant

According to Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Wereshchuk, around 300 civilians were still staying at the Azot chemical plant. However, the situation is constantly changing, she said, according to the Ukrainian agency Ukrinform. Should the civilians seeking protection there want to be evacuated, an attempt will be made to set up an escape corridor. On Saturday, Hajdaj said the civilians did not want to be evacuated, but were in constant contact.

According to the Russian agency Interfax, around 20 Ukrainian civilians were able to leave the chemical plant on Monday. They used a passage not controlled by Ukrainian troops and are now “safe,” said separatist representative Rodion Miroshnik. He accused Ukraine of using “constant shelling” to obstruct the evacuation of civilians from the region.

conflicting parties as a source

Information on the course of the war, shelling and casualties provided by official bodies of the Russian and Ukrainian conflict parties cannot be directly checked by an independent body in the current situation.

Ukraine reports more deaths and injuries

In the east of the country, according to Ukrainian authorities, three civilians were killed and two others injured by Russian shelling in the Donetsk region and in Kharkiv. One civilian was reportedly killed and another injured in the Sumy region. The information could not be independently verified.

According to a count by the United Nations, at least 4,569 civilians have been killed and 5,691 others injured since the beginning of the war, although the actual number is likely to be significantly higher, even according to UN estimates.

Deputy Prime Minister advises escape from Cherson

The situation also remains confusing in the heavily contested coastal region in southern Ukraine. Deputy Prime Minister Vereshchuk called on residents of the Kherson region occupied by Russian troops to leave the region before the Ukrainian army launched a major counter-offensive. Families with children in particular should leave the country. “Please go, because our army will definitely evacuate this country,” Vereshchuk appealed. She expects heavy fighting there, and then it will be difficult to set up escape corridors.

Vereshchuk even recommended that people – if necessary – flee to the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, which was annexed by Russia and borders on Kherson. Normally, a permit from the Ukrainian authorities is required for travel there – but for fleeing people a temporary stay in Crimea is not punishable, Wereshchuk emphasized.

Cherson was taken by the Russian army at the end of February. A week and a half ago, the occupiers there began issuing Russian passports, and the ruble was also introduced as a means of payment. The occupiers now announced that Russian instead of Ukrainian television programs would now be broadcast everywhere in Cherson. The Defense Ministry in Moscow reported that the last remaining Ukrainian transmitter had also been “reconfigured”.

Shaded in white: advance of the Russian army. Shaded in green: Russian-backed separatist areas. Crimea: annexed by Russia.

Image: ISW/06/20/2022

Zelenskyj: Attention must not be let up

In his nightly video address, the Ukrainian President reiterated that he believed Ukraine belonged to Europe and deserved candidate country status. Ukraine’s aspirations to join the EU made Russia very nervous, Zelenskyy said.

The European Commission recommended on Friday that Ukraine and Moldova should be nominated as candidates for accession to the European Union. The heads of state and government of the 27 EU countries must now make the decision at their summit on Thursday.

According to Zelensky, defending against the Russian invaders is also about drawing attention to the suffering of the Ukrainians and thus mobilizing international aid. But the longer the war lasts, the more difficult it becomes “to compete for the attention of hundreds of millions of people in different countries.” Nevertheless, he will “do everything so that the attention for Ukraine does not diminish”.

Kremlin: Captured US fighters should be punished

The government in Moscow commented for the first time on the capture of two US fighters in Ukraine and called for their punishment. The two former US soldiers, Alexander Drueke and Andy Huynh, were mercenaries and “involved in illegal activities on the territory of Ukraine,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in an English-language interview with US television channel NBC News, which was broadcast on Sept Monday excerpts were released.

Drueke and Huynh “threatened” the lives of Russians. “They should be held accountable for the crimes they committed,” the Kremlin spokesman demanded. When asked what exactly Drueke and Huynh were guilty of, Peskow said it was not yet clear. At the same time he assured that they did not fall under the Geneva Conventions. The two US fighters did not belong to the Ukrainian army, “so they do not fall under the Geneva Conventions,” said Peskov. When asked if they were facing the death penalty, he replied to NBC: “It depends on the investigation.”

“We will never trust the West again”

Peskow sees long-term damage to relations with the West. “Yes, it will be a long crisis. We will never trust the West again.” Since the beginning of its war against Ukraine, Russia has repeatedly raised accusations against Western states – for example because of military support for the country under attack.

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