Kyiv, Ukraine – Ukrainian and British officials warned, on Saturday, that Russian forces are relying on weapons capable of causing heavy casualties while trying to make progress in controlling the eastern region. Ukraine Protracted fierce fighting drains resources on both sides.
Britain’s Ministry of Defense said Russian bombers were likely firing heavy 1960s-era anti-ship missiles into Ukraine. The Kh-22 is primarily designed to destroy aircraft carriers with a nuclear warhead. When used in ground attacks with conventional warheads, the ministry said, “they are extremely inaccurate and therefore can cause collateral damage and casualties.”
Both sides have expended large amounts of arms in what has become a grinding war of attrition for the eastern region of the coal mines and factories known as Donbass, which has put enormous pressure on its resources and stocks.
The British ministry said Russia was likely using 5.5-ton (6.1 tons) anti-ship missiles because it lacked modern, more accurate missiles. No details were given about where exactly such missiles were believed to have been deployed.
While Russia has also sought to consolidate its control over territory captured so far in the 108-Day War, the US defense secretary said Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine “is what happens when oppressors trample the bases that protect us all.”
“This is what happens when great powers decide that their imperial appetites are more important than the rights of their peaceful neighbours,” Lloyd Austin said during a visit to Asia. “It’s a preview of a potential world of chaos and turmoil that none of us want to live in.”
Ruler: Flamethrowers used in Luhansk
A Ukrainian governor has accused Russia of using incendiary weapons in a village in the eastern Luhansk province, southwest of the hotly contested cities of Severodonetsk and Lychansk.
While the use of flamethrowers on the battlefield is legal, Provincial Governor Serhiy Hayday claimed that the night attacks at Vrobivka caused extensive damage to civilian facilities and an unknown number of casualties.
“The enemy used a flamethrower missile system at night – many houses were burned,” Heidi wrote on Telegram on Saturday. His claim could not be immediately verified.
Sievierodonetsk and neighboring Lysychansk are the last major areas of Luhansk that remained under Ukrainian control. Hayday said Russian forces destroyed railway depots, a brick factory and a glass factory.
On Saturday, the Ukrainian military said that Russian forces would also launch an attack on the city of Sloviansk in Donetsk province, which together with Luhansk makes up the Donbas region,
The self-proclaimed republics in the two provinces have been controlled by Moscow-backed rebels since 2014, and Russia has been trying to seize territory still under Ukraine’s control.
Zelensky calls for more EU sanctions against Russia
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, during a visit to Kyiv, the EU’s top official, called for a new round of “stronger” EU sanctions against Russia.
Zelensky called on them to target more Russian officials, including judges, and to obstruct the activities of all Russian banks, including the gas giant Gazprom Bank, as well as all Russian companies that help Moscow “in any way.”
He spoke during a brief media appearance with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at the heavily-guarded presidential office complex in the Ukrainian capital. Von der Leyen was on her second visit to Ukraine since the invasion in February.
The duo discussed Ukraine’s aspirations for EU membership. Zelensky, speaking through an interpreter, said Ukraine would “do everything” to integrate with the bloc.
“Russia wants to divide Europe, it wants to weaken it,” he said.
Von der Leyen said the EU’s executive arm was “working day and night” to assess Ukraine’s eligibility as a candidate for EU membership. The goal is to have the review ready to be shared with the bloc’s 27 members by the end of next week.
Zelensky and some EU supporters want Ukraine to be recognized quickly.
Von der Leyen described the membership process as a “merit-based path” and appealed to Ukraine to strengthen the rule of law, fight corruption, and modernize its institutions. She said the European Union would help in the reconstruction of the country.
The President of Ukraine addresses the nation
Later, in his nightly video address, Zelensky said that fierce street battles were continuing in Severodonetsk and that he was proud of the Ukrainian defenders who halted Russia’s advance for weeks.
“Do you remember how in Russia they hoped, at the beginning of May, to capture all the Donbass islands?” The chief said. It’s already the 108th day of the war, June already. Donbass catches. ”
Zelensky said Russian forces are being pushed out of parts of the Kherson region they occupied early in the war. Some success was also reported in the Zaporizhzhia region.
He added that no one knows how long the war will last, but Ukraine should do everything in its power so that the Russians regret everything they did and respond to every killing and every blow to our beautiful country.
Russia establishes a company to sell Ukraine grain
A local representative told Interfax news agency on Saturday that Russian officials in the southern Ukraine region of Zaporizhia have set up a company to buy and resell local grain on behalf of Moscow.
Ukraine and the West have accused Russia of stealing grain from Ukraine and causing a global food crisis that could cause millions to starve to death.
Yevgeny Palitsky, head of the pro-Russian interim administration in Zaporizhia, said the new state-owned grain company had taken control of many facilities.
“The grain will be Russian,” he said, and “we don’t care who the buyer will be.”
It was not clear whether the farmers whose grain Russia sells are getting paid. Palitsky said his administration would not forcibly resort to grain or pressure producers to sell it.
The head of Ukraine’s presidential office accused the Russian army of bombing and burning grain fields before the harvest season. Andrei Yermak claimed that Moscow was “trying to repeat” the Soviet-era famine that killed more than 3 million Ukrainians in 1932-33.
“Our soldiers are putting out the fires, but (food terrorism) (Russian) must stop,” Yermak wrote on Saturday on Telegram.
The accuracy of his claims and Balitsky cannot be independently verified.
Russian passports for residents of Ukraine
Russian forces occupying parts of southern Ukraine began handing out Russian passports to local residents on Saturday.
In the Kherson region, 23 residents accepted the passports, including the new governor appointed by Moscow, the official Russian news agency (RIA Novosti) reported.
“For me, this is a truly historic moment. I have always thought that we are one country and one people,” Governor Volodymyr Saldo was quoted as saying by the news agency.
Russian forces also began issuing passports in the occupied city of Melitopol, according to the Russian news agency TASS. A Telegram post by TASS cited a local official installed in Russia as the original source of the information.
It did not specify the number of residents who applied for or obtained Russian citizenship.
Melitopol is located outside the Donbass in the Zaporizhzhya region, which is still partially held by Ukraine.
The number of dead children
On Saturday, the Ukrainian authorities announced that nearly 800 children had been killed or injured in Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian invasion.
According to a statement by the Ukrainian Prosecutor’s Office, at least 287 children died as a result of military activity, while at least 492 children were injured. The statement stressed that the numbers are not final and said that they are based on investigations by the Juvenile Prosecution Office.
The office said children in Donetsk province suffered the most, with 217 reported killed or injured, compared to 132 and 116, respectively, in the Kharkiv and Kiev regions.
Civilian death from an explosion on the beach
Odessa city officials said Saturday that a man was killed in an explosion while visiting a beach on the Black Sea, where mines are a growing concern.
The city council said via Telegram that the man was there with his wife and son despite warnings to stay away from beaches in the area. He was testing the water’s temperature and depth when the explosion erupted.
Russia and Ukraine have accused the other of laying mines in the Black Sea.
Follow the Associated Press’ coverage of the Ukraine war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine
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